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Wunderlist 2 goes native, adds many new features to beautiful, free app

Wunderlist 2 goes native, adds lots of new features to a beautiful, free app

6Wunderkinder's Wunderlist 2 is now available on desktops (as a native app and a web app) and iOS devices to make personal productivity more connected, more social and more informative than ever before.

To-do lists are probably the most commonly downloaded and then least-used apps across the App Stores. We all want to be productive and have plenty to do. With the cloud powering our nearly ubiquitous computers and smartphones, it makes sense that software should help us remember what all that stuff is.

Several good solutions are available, and odds are that if you have a favorite (2Do is my current app of choice, though honestly nothing is more familiar to me than just a real pad of paper and a pen), you'll stick with it.

The developers at 6Wunderkinder, however, want you to use Wunderlist 2, and they've given the experience a full makeover.

At its core, Wunderlist 2 is a to-do app. As with most of these, your usage habits depend on (surprise!) you. If you don't use a to-do app to remind you to do things, it's pretty useless no matter how well designed it is. But the question here is this: Is the new Wunderlist sporting enough new features to convince you to give it a try, even if you've dismissed it in the past? Also, is this new version worth a download (the software's free, so the answer is probably yes), if you've got a functioning system in place?

Let's browse through the new app and find out.

Design

The main design goal of a to-do list app should be responsiveness and simplicity. Wunderlist 2 delivers here, as it has done before. The main screen is a list of tasks, which you can easily check off or delete by tapping or swiping. The app's default look is a classy wood panel backing that looks great, though the app also offers several other options.

Starring an important item adds more some color. A little flag appears with a star on it, and your item then goes into a special "smart list" where it's more easily accessible. But most of Wunderlist's deeper functionality (which we'll dive into in the next section) is basically hidden. On the front of it, this is a todo list app, and so the main screen simply gives you your to-do items, with no fuss and no muss.

I prefer the mobile app's design. On the iPhone, the smaller screen really focuses you down to your tasks, almost insisting that you get to work and check things off. The desktop app is well made, though certain functions are hidden in interesting places. For example, you can access those aforementioned custom backgrounds by clicking on your account name. Also, the app's notification center is accessed by clicking the title bar icon. The desktop version is a little too complicated for what works best as a simple and small app.

Cloud functionality is very nice, and I like that I can punch in to-dos on my iPhone and then browse them on the desktop in the larger interface. But again, simplicity is the key here, and I think Wunderlist 2 mobile nails that down better than the desktop version.

Otherwise, Wunderlist looks very good. Aside from some new features (which, again, we'll get to in a second), the core app hasn't changed much, I think because 6Wunderkinder knows what works and sticks with it. Like the best productivity software out there, this app is designed to let you do what you want, and get the heck out of your way afterwards.

The most notable design feature is that while the original Wunderlist was built on Appcelerator's Titanium framework, these new versions are all completely native, built completely by 6Wunderkinder. That means that while this app may not look all that different, it's running on a completely different platform, and 6Wunderkinder has expressly said that this will make updating the app quicker and much easier. That's nice for users for sure.

Functionality

Here's where the new version of Wunderlist really earns that "2". There are a host of new features that weren't in the original version.

The biggest is a new detail view. By double-clicking (or tapping) on a to-do item, a view moves in from the right that allows you to add lots of detail, like a due date, specific timed reminders, extra subtasks, or a full notes system. This is where much of Wunderlist 2's functionality is hidden. The original version was relatively simple, even as to-do apps go, and the extra details here make the app a very powerful piece of productivity software. The fact that all of this information is synced almost instantly in the cloud makes it even more helpful. You can set up some very complicated tasks and reminders on the desktop, and then browse through them or receive notifications while out and about on your mobile device.

These features are of course not new to to-do apps (2Do, for example, has had these functionality for a while), but 6Wunderkinder uses them to elevate Wunderlist 2 from a relatively stripped-down service into something that can grow as you need it. The notes field, for example, can be dragged right out of the desktop window and worked on almost as a separate app. You can pretty much use it for whatever you want. I expect more functionality to be added here over time -- with this version of Wunderlist, 6Wunderkinder has announced that it's canceling its "WunderKit" platform, so my guess is that we'll see some of those ideas implemented here.

And speaking of collaboration, it's clear that 6Wunderkinder has big plans for that. The apps don't require a Facebook connection, but that opportunity is placed front and center in all versions, so if you have a lot of chances to share to-do lists with your friends on Facebook, you can do that very easily. Personally, I use to-do apps as a more personal thing, so I'm not really looking for sharing in app like this. But 6Wunderkinder has big ideas about business collaboration in terms of productivity, so I expect a lot of the upcoming updates to be in that area.

Finally, the new version also plugs right into Apple's Notification Center, and even includes an "Activity Center" right there in the app. So not only can you keep track of what you're doing, but you can make sure that you're notified whenever a task comes due, or when anyone else wants to share a task or to-do with you. Again, my guess is that 6Wunderkinder plans to grow this functionality in the future. It's already done a lot of work to make sure these lists are all connected up quickly and easily in the cloud, and there are other opportunities here to keep users engaged and productive, especially when working with other people.

Conclusion

Wunderlist 2 is a beautiful and great app. It's got a host of terrific features for to-do list tracking, and when it comes down to it, this app does let you jump right in and track whatever you want, be that business tasks, parenting duties, or just reminding yourself to grab milk and bread from the supermarket.

The original Wunderlist was a simpler affair, and this version ups the ante to a point where some users may be overwhelmed. I don't need a reminder, subtasks and a notes field to just make sure I remember to get my laundry done before the day ends.

Wunderlist 2 goes native, adds lots of new features to a beautiful, free app

But all of these changes and additions have clearly been made with an eye towards the majority of users. Just like any good productivity software, Wunderlist 2 does a very good job of scaling, allowing itself to be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it.

The price is obviously very reasonable as well. All versions of the app are currently completely free. When you compare that price and all of this functionality to other pro to-do apps, this is pretty much a no brainer. If you want to track todos, Wunderlist 2 is worth a try for sure, and for many people, it's probably exactly the to-do client you want.

All of that said, however, Wunderlist still depends on the one thing that all productivity software depends on, and that's your willingness to use it. You can put in all the tasks and notes you want, but if your mind isn't prepared to see what needs doing, you might as well go back to whatever works for you. I like Wunderlist a lot, and it's a great app, but even with this installed and running, sometimes I'll just fall right back on that old pen and paper.

Pros

  • Remains simple, but adds a lot of powerful functionality.
  • Complete and total cloud integration -- very fast, very smooth, very impressive.
  • Easily expands to do what you want, from just listing to-dos to tracking major research and projects.
  • Totally free, on all platforms, including iOS, PC, Mac, Android, and even the web.

Cons

  • Can be too much; sometimes all you need is a post-it.
  • More social connections and more notifications may not be what you want.
  • Productivity software depends on you using it to be useful.

Who is it for?

Productivity junkies have probably already downloaded it, and oldsters who prefer analog lists probably don't need it. But anyone looking for a good, multiplatform, cloud-enabled to-do list solution with a shockingly low pricetag should grab this app, especially on iOS.

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