What's best to use as an electronic organizer?

(28 Posts)
FreddoBaggyMac Mon 01-Apr-13 20:47:23

Am looking for something that I can use to organize the lives of myself and my family... Something that will replace the kitchen calendar and to do lists and diaries etc... I currently use a couple of android apps on my (quite old) sony xperia phone but it's a bit small and fiddly and just not ideal... I want something that can act as a calendar for my whole family that can live in the kitchen (in one of those proppy up case things!) but it needs to be portable and fit in my bag (Preferably with a pretty cover that I can buy separately smile). I want to be able to use the calendar offline so I can update it at any time.

Should I go for a new mobile phone or an android tablet? An ipad would be my ideal but is way beyond my budget unfortunately. An iphone is smaller than I would like and I don't like the fiddley touchscreen keyboard on such a small device (my xperia phone has a flip out qwerty keypad which is great). Possibly a kindle fire or blackberry playbook or other tablet??? I'm not sure about the calendars on any of them though, and I've read that cheaper tablets can be unreliable which is no good as I'm going to have my life stored on it!! The cozi calendar app and google calendar both look like what I need but I don't think they can be used offline!

Can anyone out there give me some advice? Many thanks x

PedroPonyLikesCrisps Mon 01-Apr-13 22:07:40

Asus Transformer tablet. Has a detachable keyboard so easy to type on, plus also can stand up by itself as it opens like a laptop and also serves as it's own case by folding shut.

Benefit is that it will sync with your Android phones (which an iPad wouldn't without some serious faffing)

The calendar app on the Transformer can use Google calendar as it's basis, so you can use it offline but then when you hook up to the interweb it syncs all that data with your online Google calendar.

FreddoBaggyMac Tue 02-Apr-13 07:55:16

Thanks Pedro - I will check it out!

FreddoBaggyMac Tue 02-Apr-13 08:05:08

Hmmm, the Asus does indeed look wonderful, but I think it's a bit out of my budget as it looks like it costs a similar amount to an ipad. Can anyone present me with any more options please? I can't afford to spend more than £200 and would rather spend much less if it's possible. DH thinks this may be good for what I need. Does anyone have any experience of it or anything similar?

I'm quite confused about how the android calendars/ organizers work. Would I be able to download a good organizer onto this that I could use without being connected to the internet?

I love the look of the cozi calendar (it seems to be exactly what I'm looking for). Would I be able to download it onto something like the samsung galaxy and use it offline??? Many thanks in advance for any help and advice.

NetworkGuy Tue 02-Apr-13 08:27:08

Have to admit I've not bothered with Google or similar calendars.

Reminders on the phone are usually enough for me.

Would have thought that a tablet type device would stay in sync while at home (using wireless connection to home router) and I'd have hoped that any events would still cause one to be reminded at a suitable time, without having to be connected all the time.

PS There are dozens of Samsung Galaxy mobiles. Perhaps you are meaning some specific model such as the Galaxy S3 (I have the Galaxy Ace, Galaxy Europa and Galaxy Mini but there are heaps more!)

FreddoBaggyMac Tue 02-Apr-13 08:48:34

Sorry NetworkGuy I should have been a bit clearer, I meant the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7 inch Tablet that I linked to further up in my post. I've read somewhere that the google calendar is 'read only' while not online (not sure if that's true??) which would be no good to me.

I use reminders on my phone too but as I'm now organising my whole family of six (plus the dog!) on my little phone I'd like to upgrade to something a bit more fancy that I can have on display in the kitchen smile ... and I want to start downloading apps as I'm not into any of that and feel I'm being left behind!

BertieBotts Tue 02-Apr-13 09:05:37

I'm sure there was some gadget that does this specifically, it was reviewed on mumsnet a while back. Unfortunately I don't know what it was called blush

FreddoBaggyMac Tue 02-Apr-13 09:11:37

Thanks Bertie grin Hopefully someone might come along who does know (anyone???)

NetworkGuy Tue 02-Apr-13 09:17:55

If it's in the kitchen, and you have broadband with a wireless router, then it would surely be "online" all the time anyway. It'd be if you took it from the kitchen to somewhere with no wireless that it'd go "offline". You can (on some mobile networks) have "tethering" which allows your mobile to be made into a wireless hotspot (so the tablet could connect to the internet that way.

With Three they sell a 1 GB data add-on (which allows "tethering") for £5 a month. If you're on their "One Plan" tethering is included. You just tell your phone to enable hotspot (at least on Android) and set the network name and password (encryption key). Get the tablet to scan for the available networks, key in the password and it connects via the mobile phone, so can be used from a caravan, mountain side, motorway services, or anywhere else you happen to be (so long as your mobile can get a network connection).

Some other networks include it (but primarily on the most costly tariffs), whereas the one for Three could be added onto almost any of their deals (which start at 6.90/month).

So it depends on what network(s) you use in your household and you'd only need "tethering" if you planned to use the kitchen device out of the kitchen!

It was the O2 Joggler. But it seemed to fade without trace.

tribpot Tue 02-Apr-13 09:19:33

I have the Galaxy Tab 10 inch, it's excellent.

Google Calendar is very good for sharing; DH and I have a joint one called 'Home' in addition to our own ones. Can you update it when you're not online .. hmm ... I will try that now and let you know.

Cozi Calendar looks like it's compatible with Google, which is good, and there's a mobile app for Android devices. Not totally clear from the little bit of reading I've done that it will work offline, but it shouldn't be hard to find out.

Back in a sec whilst I take my <cough cough> other Android tablet (a Note) offline ..

NetworkGuy Tue 02-Apr-13 09:22:40

Ah, I have an O2 Joggler. That had a "Pure Radio" app built in. Then the b'stards "upgraded" it one night and it zapped the Pure radio app and I use mine (only) as a digital clock in the lounge now sad

Really loved the fact it could work as a radio for stations only on DAB/ Satellite/ Internet like 6 Music, 1 Xtra and what's now called Radio 4 Extra (BBC Radio 7), among others. Coud put it in any room in the house using the wireless connection to the home router. Still has other functions on it, but sadly my main use has gone...

NetworkGuy Tue 02-Apr-13 09:23:20

s/Coud/Could !!

PedroPonyLikesCrisps Tue 02-Apr-13 09:27:59

How Google Calendar works is that it stores all your details in the cloud. You then have a calendar app on your device which can display data from multiple calendars. So you'd set it up by adding Google Calendar as the calendar which your app uses. You can do anything you want on the app (add, remove edit, etc.) whilst offline and then when you connect to the Internet, everything will sync automatically to your Google Calendar. You don't have to use Google of course, you could quite feasibly just have an offline calendar too, but then you wouldn't be able to share it with other devices.

tribpot Tue 02-Apr-13 09:28:29

Just added a number of appointments to my Google calendar through the Google Calendar app whilst I was offline - all happy, synced them when the connection returned.

FreddoBaggyMac Tue 02-Apr-13 09:39:08

Thanks so much everyone. I have just been doing a bit of googling and found myself that it was the O2 joggler that Bertie was referring to. Shame there doesn't seem to be a modern version of it...

Hmm that's interesting about tethering NetworkGuy. I definitely want to use it out of the kitchen and to be able to put it in my bag and update it wherever I am (even perhaps use it for shopping lists etc..) I think I would still prefer to be able to use it without being connected to any kind of internet or phone network though (just because I'm the kind of person who still likes to be able to plan and organize even when stranded on a remote mountainside with no phone signal!) We currently use virgin mobile (all tied in with our broadband and phone) I currently organize just about everything in our family life using astrid tasks on my phone, which I can use all the time whether my phone is connected to the internet or not... However I'm in constant fear of my phone breaking or getting lost as then I'd lose everything on there for good!

Good to hear your report about the Galaxy tab tribpot, that might be my best chice it seems at the moment...

Snowgirl1 Tue 02-Apr-13 09:42:19

I second Google Calendar - DH & I have separate Google calendars, but share them, so when he enters something on his calendar I can see it and vice versa. His calendar entries show in one colour, mine in another. All you need is to set-up a google email address each (you don't need to use the gmail address if you don't want to).

FreddoBaggyMac Tue 02-Apr-13 09:43:19

Oo fabulous grin sounds as if it's simply google calendar that I need then!

So is the Galaxy tab my best option or could i go for something cheaper like this?

FreddoBaggyMac Tue 02-Apr-13 09:44:44

ps. Thanks for the great explantion PedroPony... I finally understand how google calendar works!

NetworkGuy Tue 02-Apr-13 10:02:52

7" tablet running Android v4.0.4 (ICS) for about 35 quid...

Looks similar to the one you found, Freddo, but clock speed slightly higher (1.2 GHz) and weighs a bit less.

NetworkGuy Tue 02-Apr-13 10:04:55

Don't worry over the Joggler - it needs a mains power supply as far as I know, and the metal angle 'bar' on the back doesn't come off, so it is unlikely to be usable as a device you'd want to carry around smile

BertieBotts Tue 02-Apr-13 10:20:58

I wouldn't go for one of the ultra cheap Chinese tablets as they tend to have recurring problems with wifi, and also come with US/Japan plugs and a dodgy little adaptor - not very safe if you want it plugged in all the time. But a budget tablet like the versus 7 or an Archos would probably be fine. Or you could look at upgrading your phone to a galaxy note?

FreddoBaggyMac Tue 02-Apr-13 10:21:40

Oh well, the joggler was obviously not for me smile.

Thanks NetworkGuy that 7" tablet looks great. Can someone advise if these tablets that cost around £50 are actually any different to something like a Galaxy tab or Nexus 7? Is the extra £100 or so just payment for the brand name or something more??

I'm getting very excited about google calendar and thinking I may possibly upgrade my phone (as I think I could get something much better for what I'm paying) and have google calendar on there as well as the tablet and be able to sync them all together.... very exciting for someone like me grin.

FreddoBaggyMac Tue 02-Apr-13 10:24:31

Thanks Bertie - very helpful. Will look into the galaxy note and also the tablets you mention.

niceguy2 Tue 02-Apr-13 10:28:41

The main differences between the cheap chinese unbranded tablets and the likes of the Nexus/Galaxy tab will be battery life and screen resolution.

The cheaper ones will almost invariably use an 800x480 screen which is pretty poor. To put it into perspective the Nexus has a 1,280 x 800 IPS screen which is far better. What this means is that the cheap screen will look quite blocky and viewing angles poor. So for example if you are holding the tablet for people to see, it's going to look worse for those not sat right in front of it.

Secondly battery life. The branded ones like the Nexus will use a big battery which is quoted to give you up to 8 hours. The cheaper ones about 3. Whilst 3 hours seems like a lot, in reality it isn't and you will be forever charging it. Plus over time the battery will hold less charge meaning in a year's time it will be probably an hour.

Lastly of course it's the support. With a Google/Samsung tablet you will be confident that if anything goes wrong you can get it fixed. Good luck with a cheap chinese tablet.

Of course you have to put into perspective the cost. For me I'd happily buy one of these cheap tablets for the kids to use. For adults, no thanks. I'll pay extra.

FreddoBaggyMac Tue 02-Apr-13 10:49:46

Thanks niceguy - you people are all so helpful! Yes I'd noticed the low battery life on the cheaper tablets.

At the moment my best option seems to be to upgrade my phone to something like the samsung galaxy ace plus and have a galaxy tab which I'd mainly use at home, and I'd be able to sync google calendars on both smile. Or I could think about upgrading my phone to a galaxy note instead of getting a tablet (which will work out more expensive I think so I will probably go for option 1!)

tribpot Tue 02-Apr-13 19:25:18

Btw Astrid is backed up on a server, you wouldn't lose it if you lost your phone. You can access it already on multiple devices. It's cloud-based like Google calendar.

Waferthinmint Thu 04-Apr-13 19:01:30

Set up a google account and calendar. It runs our family: access on iAd, iPhone, nexus 7, pc eyc etc

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