The App: Pronto
The Device: iPhone 4
The Price: 99 cents
The Basics: Pronto is a hybrid of two common apps: the list app and the alarm app. Each of these markets is at its saturation point, so cutting through them both and offering both services in a single, inexpensive package is the kind of thing that’ll get you downloads (being one of iTunes’ featured apps helps, but I digress). Of course, there’s always a problem when you try to combine two concepts like this and that’s the threat that you’ll dilute them to make them work in conjunction. Does Pronto pull it off?
The Review: Yes, it does. I’ll get to Pronto’s flaws momentarily, but it’s effective as both a list-making app and an alarm/reminder app.
Pronto is a pretty barebones experience, a simple app that does a handful of functions and does them cleanly, clearly and without confusion or effort. Users looking for the exact opposite of something deep and confounding like Evernote will find themselves at home here, where lists can be made and organized in a matter of seconds. Similarly, setting your lists to coincide with an alarm is instant, quick and painless. Even though there’s a help page that tells you how to use and navigate Pronto, it feels almost entirely unnecessary. Like most great apps, you can learn this thing in two minutes on your own.
The main page is simple (although you sadly can’t change the ghastly purple background). You tap the plus sign in the corner to add a category (wherein you will story your various lists of that kind) and you tap the edit button in the other corner to rename or delete categories. Once you’ve made a category (I made one called “Pet Stuff” to keep track of my upcoming veterinary appointments.
Once you’ve created your category, you can tap on it to enter another page (which looks identical to the main page). Once again, you tap on the plus sign, but this time, you are creating individual items/lists that you want stored under your category. For my “pet Stuff” category, I added two upcoming veterinary appointments. I specified one for August 27th and another for September 19th and the item immediately displayed how man days were left until the event. You can then set a reminder alarm for each item (it can be an alarm for the same day up through 30 days prior). There is also the option to set a recurring alarm if it’s a monthly or weekly event. After that, you can add additional notes, details and sublists under each individual item and all you have to do to edit anything is swipe it. It’s all very simple and very easy.
Pronto is a nice app. It’s not particularly snazzy looking, but it’s intuitive and it does what it sets out to do and does it well. There’s just one problem at the end of all this: the price. Even at a minuscule 99 cents, Pronto feels overpriced. It’s a double-edged sword: I’ll praise Pronto all day for its restraint, but there are so many free options out there that I look and Pronto and wonder what makes it so special compared to the countless other apps of this type. Truthfully, Pronto needs a makeover. It needs to look significantly better than this if it wants to ask for any money whatsoever. When its aesthetics can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the best, Pronto will be worth the download.
The Final Grade: B