The New Fantastical 3: Calendar App Gets More Fantastic for Mac

Utility •  Feb.24, 2020

Fantastical review

Missed a date, a meeting, or that big deadline? Life can be quite hectic, and it can get hard to keep track of all the things that we have to attend. When our messy schedules get the better of us, we must step back and make sure that our basics are right — basics such as a good calendar app.

A good calendar app serves a couple of core functions: it tells you what your schedule is like, and reminds you of all the important events that require your attention with handy automation.

While Android, iOS, Mac, Windows, and other operating systems do have a native calendar app, there’s clearly a need for a better calendar app which does more than the basic job of setting reminders and notifying you about them. You need a calendar app which is easy to use, syncs well and keeps you updated on everything that you need to know.

Considering the sea of calendar apps out there, picking a favorite can be hard. But there’s a particular calendar app out there which has been gathering headlines for a long time because of its excellent features: Fantastical 3.

So today, we will review Fantastical 3, the calendar app has got everyone’s attention.

Fantastical 3: what is it?

Flexibits, the developer of Fantastical 3, says that it is a calendar app that you “won’t be able to live without“. Can it be an exaggeration? Let’s enjoy a promo video from the developer first:

Fantastical 3 is a smart, flexible, and convenient calendar app which supports all your devices and helps you stay organized. It comes with an intuitive design and has features such as file and photo attachments along with the highly popular dark mode which makes using Fantastical 3 so much easier.

With Fantastical 3, you can work together and get rid of the hassle, which generally comes from coordinating invitees, scheduling events, and scheduling things.

There are tasks, support for time zones, multiple languages, weather forecast, customization, and more for you to toy around, get used to, and start loving.

Fantastical 3, our favorite new updates

The primary challenge for Fantastical 3 has been integrating features across devices, syncing them through so that you don’t feel at a loss of some features on a particular platform. Here are some of our favorite updates in version 3.

Calendar sets across devices

The calendar sets for Fantastical have been around for a while on the Mac and Apple Watch, but now it’s available for the iPad and the iPhone as well.

The new feature allows you to sync calendar subsets on your device based on your location. You can set Fantastical 3 to switch calendar sets when you arrive or leave a location.

Proposing multiple meeting times

Pick out a proposed meeting time, select your attendees, and then have them confirmed with their participation. Yes, Fantastical 3 can do this for you.

If you are worried about whether the people you have invited will have to download and use Fantastical or not, then be assured that Fantastical just sends an email to their inbox, taking them to a neatly-designed page (which looks much like the Fantastical interface) from where they can confirm their invitation.

Interesting Calendars for powered integration

Interesting Calendars is an addition to Fantastical 13 which lets you add information to the calendar from outside sources.

Interesting calendars

You can search for Interesting Calendars of your favorite team and have them appear on your calendar. There are also TV show calendars, finance calendars, astronomy, and space calendars.

Templates for creating events quickly

Often, there are so many events that tend to recur in our calendars. While the events might reoccur, several other things such as the list of attendees might change.

The templates feature on Fantastical 3 lets you take pre-existing events to create templates that you can use to recreate future events quickly. You get to choose the criteria which you want while you are trying to pre-populate your calendar.

While regular users might not use this feature extensively, it’s a great tool to have for power users who have to deal with a lot of events.

A handy weather forecast

The integration of the weather module in Fantastical 3 is a welcome move. The weather report is provided by AccuWeather. You can click on your weather report and jump out of the app to get more details on the weather.

While having your own calendar with your own sets of events is quite handy, it is even better to get access to specific calendars from your favorite sports teams and organizations to know what they are up to and how their events are lined up.

fantastical 3 weather

You don’t really have to leave the app to figure out what’s happening on the weather front. The integration does the job just well enough.

Working with time zones

Fantastical 3 simplifies time zones. You can choose to have the local system time shown on the left side of the screen. The right side can be customized to show another time zone. The event bit is in the middle of the screen, so you can easily find out what time the event will take place in both of these time zones.

Now, your favorite time zones also come up on the event card, unlike the older versions where you were only shown the time zone your event was based on.

Improving existing features

Flexibits has used the new release to work on the existing features inside the app. Now, the natural language parsing has been updated. With this feature, we could create events by just typing down sentences. For example, you can just write “Group meeting on Monday at 10am.” This will create an event on Monday titled “Group meeting”.

Now, Fantastical 3 also looks up names in your address book to add new attendees. So if you type “Lunch with David at 2pm”, it will create an event, look up for a David in your contact list, and send them an invitation. It also uses the same system to guess locations of the events.

We could also add to-dos in the same way — just write “to-do, but grocery tomorrow” and you will have the to-do set.

Another feature which has received a significant overhaul is the support for Zoom and Google Hangouts Meet. So now when we create an event, we can also generate a Zoom or Google Hangouts link to create video-conference rooms.

Fantastical 3, how it works?

Wondering how is it to use Fantastical 3 for more productive days? Keep reading to find our hands-on review.

Getting started

The installation process of Fantastical 3 is quite simple. Like most of the Mac apps, we dragged and dropped the installation icon to the Applications folder. Post-installation and during the setup process, it asked us a bunch of permissions, and made us log in or create a new account.

From there, it synced our calendar and brings you to its own interface. The interface and dates became more familiar after the syncing was done.

Fantastical 3

During our course of usage, we realized that there are several ways of making the best out of Fantastical 3. And it’s a great way to get started with Fantastical 3.

The first is to sign in using your favorite accounts. This way, you can make sure that all of your events are in one place.

Next, you can head over to the preferences to figure out what the app should look like on your Mac. With your display settings intact, you can use the app the way you want.

You can move on to downloading all the compatible apps on your iPhone or iPad. If you use either or both of these devices, you can head over to the App Store and download these apps. Since Fantastical 3 is now bundled into one subscription package, you can use all the apps through one subscription model.

You can look at each of these individual features, such as templates, specific calendars, and more to make the most out of this app. These particular features really help the app stand out from other calendars out there, so it is for your advantage to use these features.

You won’t be having a hard time figuring out the setting of this app since most of the features are well laid out and not buried inside the app.

When we opened the Fantastical 3 app on our Mac, we were welcomed with an interface which adapted to the day and night. It carries the stock theme when it’s day, and in the night it changes to the dark mode — or the night mode — so that your eyes don’t hurt.

This is a great addition to a calendar if you are someone who uses a calendar for a significantly longer period, maybe as an event manager? These little additions really affect your relationship with the app. In a way, you get adapted to it.

That said, the primary interface has everything you want from a calendar app. The screen is divided into two sections. The right part shows the calendar, while the narrower left section shows the events and highlights of the day. It’s simple. It was nice to see an uncluttered interface which was distraction free.

There, we could change the view from day, to week, to month and then to a year. The interface adapted aptly to each of these views.

Adding, syncing, and collaborating

We were surprised at how easy it was to add and sync events, and collaborate with other individuals during event creation.

We could add an event by right-clicking on a particular date or just clicking on the ‘+’ button highlighted on the top of your left section. From there, we could also get access to event creation along with the option to invite people to control their participation in it.

Inside the event-creation section, we could change the calendar, add colors, change the visibility, propose another date, add invitees, attachment, URL, notes, and much more. Fantastical 3 did let us have a wholesome event creation experience, and we think this is something that you cannot miss out on.

Scheduling an event and collaborating is one of the biggest Fantastical 3 features. We could schedule an event with multiple dates and times and have our invitees pick from the list. The event gets created once the invited people pick a preferred slot which works for everyone. If the people you have invited can’t agree to the same time, then you get a notification which asks you to propose new timings.

event scheduling

We could also right-click on any event to create a template or email it to our contacts.

Yes, it’s quite easy to create an event, and why not — calendar apps to have this feature simplified. The intuitive interface form lets you add all the details while creating an event. Besides, if you have a duplicate event, then you also get to combine them to avoid any confusion.

We were also excited about using Interesting Calendars, which has been quite a highlight feature of Fantastical 3. We could search for a specific calendar and integrate it into our main calendar. This It’s especially great if you want to follow a team or something. For example, you can choose to follow your favorite club and get a reminder if they have a match. You are no longer missing a game even if you have a busy schedule.

Customizing options

The Preferences menu lets us take control over the basis of our calendar such as the default calendar, starting day of the week, time at which the day begins and ends, date and time formats, default task lists and more.

Fantastical 3 preferences

We could change the appearance of the app from the Appearance tab in the Preferences menu. There’s an option to hide the app icon from the menu bar in case your menu bar is already loaded with numerous app icons. We got to change the lists, text size, what the menu bar and app icons show, and more. There are a bunch of other handy toggles in the Appearance tab, including the option to switch between dark and light theme.

Then other options had us playing around with the weather settings, map settings, alerts and notifications, connected accounts, and more. With Fantastical 3, there’s always something to dig into and make use of — the customization game here is excellent.

Pricing: is Fantastical 3 worth it?

The premium version of Fantastical 3 costs $4.99 per month or $39.96 per year. Earlier, Fantastical would come as a one-time purchase, but Flexibits has decided to take the subscription route with its latest release.

That trial version for Fantastical 3 lasts 14 days — that should be enough for you to check out its features and decide if it is the right calendar for you.

Fantastical 3 subscription 1

Fantastical 3 is available across Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. It comes in three versions: free, premium, and upgrade (only available to the owners of Fantastical 2).

The free version lets you view and add calendar events, but it doesn’t have the option to add invitees. You also don’t get access to the full-screen view of the calendar and tasks.

Here are some of the features that the premium version offers:

  • Day, Week, Month and Year views
  • Combine duplicate events across calendars
  • Extended weather forecast of 10 days
  • Favorite time zones
  • Invitees and meeting proposals
  • Task and event templates
  • Attach info from Zoom, Hangouts, and Meet
  • Better customization
  • Interesting Calendars

Without its premium features, Fantastical 3 is like any other calendar app. The premium features empower you with essential tasks such as event management and templates.

The pricing is also not too much, considering how much the value of a missed meeting could be. Yes, it’s definitely worth it if you use your calendar for much more than just remembering birthdays. What else? If you are in the Apple ecosystem, then your calendar can be synced well across your devices.

We recommend that you go ahead and give it a try — with Fantastical 3, you will get a wholesome calendar experience and perhaps fall in love with productivity.

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