GPS ToDo List review

Reviews Spanner Spencer 16:28, 23 May 2011

We review GPS ToDo List for iPhone, a productivity app that sets your day’s tasks by where you are, rather than what time it is

Rating: 
3
Verdict: 
GPS ToDo List experiments with a great idea, but the results are a bit too fuzzy and exasperating to consider the app a practical reinvention of the traditional to-do list

Having been regularly appalled at the petrol prices, which are almost double the figures that caused the truckers' righteous outrage ten or so years ago, we've been making some small effort to group our daily and weekly chores into the shortest trips possible. No sense in driving past the supermarket today, only to drive back there tomorrow, eh?

Well, iPhone task master GPS ToDo List certainly agrees. This application takes your typical task-based to-do list and organises it in rather a unique fashion: By location. Whereas the majority of similar apps (and desktop software, for that matter) have trained us to think in terms of a time-based schedule, a few minutes adding your tasks to GPS ToDo List proves that following a location-based schedule is every bit as practical.

Indeed, one holds the other's hand. By avoiding driving hither and yon all the time, an efficient, circular route around your out-and-about tasks actually saves you a hell of a lot of time.

The essential notion behind the app is that it fires reminders at you when you're in the vicinity of a particular task. That could be buying some toothpaste, dropping a letter or parcel in the mail, filling up with liquid-gold petrol, or any of the other 1,000 jobs you regularly have to remember to do while out and about.

Inputting new tasks into GPS ToDo List isn't a simple matter, however. At least, not when you're filling it up from scratch. The interface, as attractive as it is, feels quite haphazard, and making use of every small feature is almost too random to bother with. Hunting down a location to assign a task to can feel like a real chore, as searching is limited and the map loading - through which you need to find your locations to assign tasks to - is slow.

That said, GPS ToDo List significantly simplifies itself if you build your to-do list gradually, while you're doing them. Setting a reminder while you're actually at the post office, or petrol station or in the town centre, is considerably easier as the app simply grabs you're current location. Once it's in there, you have fast access to that task-location, and can set regular reminders.

The only other issue of concern, of course, is battery life. Constantly running a GPS app in the background is very hard on the iPhone, and location-based reminders can't rely on instant notifications. The app is very happy to sit in the multitasking panel, of course, and it does make a significant effort to reduce its power footprint.

GPS is turned on and off intelligently, as far as the app can do that, and monitors your location intermittently to ensure battery isn't being burned when you're stationary, or nowhere near any pending tasks. It also features a high level of customisation regarding its operating times, allowing you to schedule the app to remain silent during specific hours of the day, or to shut down during work hours.

The idea behind GPS ToDo List is undeniably effective and efficient, though its practicality - on the iPhone, at least -is harder to resolve.

Specifications

Platform iPhone
Cost £1.19
Version 4.1
Developer Seth Bond
Website http://www.gpstodolist.com

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