When comparing Google Calendar vs Todoist, the Slant community recommends Todoist for most people. In the question“What is the best cross-platform to-do list app?” Todoist is ranked 7th while Google Calendar is ranked 36th. The most important reason people chose Todoist is:
Todoist's web and desktop interfaces have a 2-column layout. The right column has all tasks organized in nested lists with color codes and information such as what people are assigned to each task and which project the task is part of. The left column offers ways of accessing various groups of tasks – tasks that have to be completed within a certain timeframe, tasks that are a part of a certain project or have certain labels attached to them, etc. The left column also contains filters that allow even more advanced ways of finding a group of tasks. The mobile interface follows a similar design philosophy, but gives each column a separate view.
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Pro Integrates with Google Maps for directions
The app leverages Google Maps when adding location for an event by offering suggestions as well as offers opening Maps to help get directions to an event via shortcut on a reminder notification.
Pro Comes pre-installed on most Android devices
Google Calendar is a free Android calendar app without ads that comes already installed on Android devices that have stock support for Google Services.
Pro Clean design with 5 different views including an excellent schedule view
Google Calendar has a monochrome base design that's accented with colored-coded events and image banners that separate months in schedule view.
The app has 5 different views - schedule, day, 3-day, week and month.
Day, 3-day and week views split up the days horizontally and hours vertically. Month view lays out all days in a grid and displays up to 3 events in a day.
Schedule view displays an agenda view that allows browsing all events by swiping vertically. Additionally, the way events are displayed in the agenda view is context-aware. For example, adding an event called "gym" will display the event on a background with a dumbbell.
All views except for month view can be split horizontally to display a condensed month view at the top that can be navigated by swiping horizontally.
Events can be added from any view by clicking the red plus button that's available at the bottom-right corner of the screen.
Pro Integrates well with other Google services
Google Calendar is part of the Google ecosystem, it integrates with services like Google Now for creating events, Google Maps for directions and Gmail for pulling information about planned flights.
Pro Can set on-screen and e-mail reminder notifications
Google calendar allows setting how many reminders are needed with each having the ability to set how long before the event the notification should remind and if it should be done via on-screen or e-mail notification.
Pro Offers creating events from e-mail messages based on content
Google Calendar integrates with e-mail for quickly creating events from e-mails that contain the word "meeting" or dates or times, or any other information about events or plans that it can understand.
Pro Straightforward event creation with autocomplete
All views have an option of adding a new event by tapping the plus sign at the lower right corner of the screen. This opens up a form and allows the user to add a location, start/end times, guests, description, color-code as well as choosing if it's an all day event, how often it repeats, how many and what kind of reminders are needed and setting the users availability and privacy settings.
Pro Color-coding for events and calendars
The app will color-code different calendars in different colors as well as allow selecting a different color for each event.
Pro Supports non-Google calendars (requires accessing web client)
Google Calendar can be integrated with any calendar that support iCalendar format, including Exchange and iCloud, via URL, but it has to be done using the web client.
Pro Allows subscribing to public calendars through web client
Through the Google Calendar's web client, it is possible to subscribe to any public calendar. Google also maintains a list of public calendars for various sports events and holidays in different countries and for different religions.
Pro Lots of third-party widgets
Google Calendar comes with a home screen widget, and there are also many third party widgets developed for this calendar app.
Pro Awesome flairs / images view inside the agenda view / event page
Whenever you enter agenda / event title with the keywords (when available), the event will show up interesting flairs whenever the keyword inside the agenda / title you typed matches the flairs that are available inside the system, examples such as haircut, cycling, swimming, coffee, movie etc.
Pro Advanced functionality available through IFTTT
IFTTT offers over 198 channels to plug into the users Google Calendar.
Pro Minimalist UI that's designed for efficient use
Todoist's web and desktop interfaces have a 2-column layout. The right column has all tasks organized in nested lists with color codes and information such as what people are assigned to each task and which project the task is part of. The left column offers ways of accessing various groups of tasks – tasks that have to be completed within a certain timeframe, tasks that are a part of a certain project or have certain labels attached to them, etc. The left column also contains filters that allow even more advanced ways of finding a group of tasks.
The mobile interface follows a similar design philosophy, but gives each column a separate view.
Pro Multiple ways to organize tasks
Tasks can be structured in nested lists. They can be moved around by dragging and dropping them or via keyboard shortcuts. Tasks can be assigned labels, color codes, priorities, and can also be grouped into projects.
Pro Powerful search and filtering functionality
Todoist allows you to perform advanced queries to find tasks that are overdue, have a certain priority level or label, are within a certain project, are assigned to a certain person, or have a deadline set within a certain date range. It also allows combining different queries, removing certain results from the queries, and creating either/or statements.
These queries can be saved as filters for easy access. Filters can be color-coded.
Pro Supports natural language input
Todoist supports phrases like "tomorrow," "next month," "in 3 weeks," or for recurring tasks, "every week" or "every 3 days."
Pro Allows sharing and collaborating on tasks
Anyone can be invited to collaborate on tasks and projects. Users can work alongside five people for free and 25 via the paid version. Collaboration includes the ability to assign tasks, comment on tasks, and receive instant updates.
Pro Monitors productivity and rewards it with karma
Todoist monitors how many tasks are completed and gives karma points as rewards for accomplishing them. It can also display charts showing productivity trends, which are great for finding areas that need improvement and increasing your overall productivity. This feature is a great motivator and an effective way of tracking productivity.
Pro No ads in free version
The unpaid version contains no ads or popups encouraging you to upgrade. The only time you will be asked to upgrade is if you attempt to use a premium feature.
Pro Visual scheduling
By clicking on a task and then selecting “schedule,” a dialog box will pop up with shortcuts like "today," "tomorrow," or "postpone until tomorrow." A date can still be entered manually.
Pro Great home screen and lock screen widgets
The native widget is fully functional and editable without needing to open the app. A premium feature allows you to add and edit the task list on your mobile device’s lock screen.
Pro Extensive integration with a wide range of external apps
Todoist offers integration with a wide range of external apps, including Google Drive, Dropbox, Google Maps, Apple Maps, Zapier, Toggl Button, TaskClone, CloudMagic, IFTTT, Calendar Sync, Google Now, Dispatch, Mailplane, Airmail, Drafts, Workflow, PomoDone, 1Password, Powr of You, Mailbird, Yoke, Taco, Ginger Keyboard, Time Doctor, and Rindle.
Pro Can be set to send a daily digest email
You can easily program a digest email that will send you an up-do-date summary of your tasks and deadlines.
Pro Browser extension for "add website as task"
Bookmark any webpage as a to-do item.
Pro Allows creating task templates
Tasks can be saved as templates by going to "task actions" and selecting "export as a template." The template will be saved locally. Saved templates can then be imported by going to "task actions" button and clicking "import from template." This allows you to use past task items as a starting point for creating new tasks.
Pro Allows creating location-based reminders
Location-specific tasks can utilize the GPS in your mobile device to offer reminders when you are in the appropriate vicinity. For example, grocery lists that are linked to the location of your regular grocery store.
Pro Super quick syncing
You can shift between devices without having to worry about if tasks have been synced or not. Todoist sync will always be quicker than you.
Pro Business strategy doesn't hinge on being acquired
Doist publicly declared their opposition to exit strategies like acquisition that regularly leave users high and dry (https://blog.doist.com/why-we-don-t-have-an-exit-strategy-d3256107d958).
Pro Supports text formatting
You can make tasks stand out by setting them in bold and spice up your project names with emojis. Todoist also allows editing of hyperlinked text in the task comments. Hypertext, bold text, italic text, and emojis are supported in task names, project names, and task comments. Emojis are also supported in label names.
Hypertext, bold text, italic text, and emojis are supported in task names, project names, and task comments. Emojis are also supported in label names.
Pro Infinite list depth
All subtasks are full featured tasks. This means that at a glance you can see subtasks, unlike other applications that require you to open the task.
Pro Integration with any app supporting web-calendar link
Pro Smart Schedule (Let AI schedule your tasks)
Todoist Smart Schedule adapts to your habits over time, analyzing your workload and determining how urgent a task is. By using both your past todos and future todos (as well as the data from millions of other users), it can sort your tasks in most important/ most urgent order, if you want.
Pro Quickly browse your list through smartwatch devices
The Todoist app supports Apple Watch and Android Wear for instant action and task viewing through smartwatches.
Pro Quickly assign a task to a project as you type with #
Typing # while entering a new task brings up the list of projects (and sub-projects) to assign the task to. Type in any letters of the project name to filter the list to a subset of projects that have those letters in them.
Pro On mobile apps, swipe left/right performs fast reschedule/done
Swipe right to mark a task as done, swipe left brings up several rescheduling options (tomorrow, next week, specific date, etc.).
Con No weather forecast
The Android app version of Google Calendar does not show any weather forcast information, even if it is added as an extra calendar in the web application. Being that weather is tied into Google Now, the absence is surprising.
Con Privacy concerns
Google integrate all their services to connect and mine information on an individual to better profile and target advertising.
Con No natural language input support
The Android app has no natural language input support, while it's available using the web client and in a limited capacity using Google Now.
Con Google tasks do not show on Google Calendar
You can create tasks in your desktop Google Calendar but they will not sync nor show up in your android Google Calendar
Con Once you create a event on a Calendar, you can't move to a different Calendar
Con Month view shows limited information about the event
Month view does not show how many events there are in each given day or color-code them in any way, only informs of their existence.
Con Weak default view
Even if month is set as default view, as soon as you touch a day or an event, you have to carefully select twice to get back to month view.
Con Time zone is incorrect no matter what's done
Con Timezone for Moscow is incorrect
Timezone for Moscow is 1 hour off. This makes the calendar unusable in Russia.
Con Setting up non-Google calendars requires accessing web client
There is no ability in the Android app to access other calendars. This limits the usefulness for people that use more than one calendar, such as OSX and iOS users.
Con Does not listen to user suggestions
Todoist has been shown to be fairly unresponsive to requests from their user community. An example can be seen here.
Con Awkward data entry
Several aspects of data entry are far more awkward than they should be: Adding notes, moving subtasks within the outline, and scheduling repeating tasks are all handled better by other apps. Adding notes cannot be done while creating the task, but must be done after. Moving items within the outline hierarchy is very clumsy and the use of keyboard shortcuts (such as holding down 2 or 3) requires knowledge of your current level in the hierarchy (which is not always clear). Finally, there is a natural language syntax for repeating tasks but it is very finicky and there is no good feedback mechanism to tell you whether or not it’s working.
Con Heavy premium advertisement
There is a screaming red "Upgrade and get more done" badge fixed in the bottom of the view, and additional features free users cannot access.
Con Annual subscription required for notifications and attachments
A yearly subscription costs $29.
Con Using "next" actions requires a messy workaround
Todoist was not designed for "next" actions. You can use a workaround by manually setting certain items as priority and then filtering them, but that process requires a lot more management than other tools.
Con Makes it too hard to see all tasks assigned to you across the app
There is no default or easy-to-access view to simply see all your tasks from all your different projects. You have to use the filter (to:me) which seems like too much effort for something that should really be a default view.
Con Labels (@contexts, etc.) only available with premium subscription
Con No way to add additional info to a task
There is no metadata for the task itself, like a description. While a paid feature allows you to write comments and attach files, info could be lost in the conversation.
Con Not much independence of customising the layout
This has been a consistent "con" with Todoist. You cannot decide what should be the size of the fonts. You cannot switch between one-column layout and 2-column layout. You cannot view completed tasks. It is a brilliant application of course, but the development team is stuck on its basic idea of the app and after that they just haven't been developing further.
Con Free version has limited functionality
Without a subscription you won’t have access to reminders, comments, or labels and filters. These are features that many users find essential, but aren't included without a subscription.
Con Can't mark all completed tasks uncompleted
It's possible to select multiple uncompleted tasks, but there's no way to select completed tasks.
Con Cannot import data
Con Cannot export data
Con Lacks advanced task repeating options
For example: second Saturday of every 2 months.
Con No support for dependencies
Cannot hide tasks until prerequisite tasks are completed
Con Now start dates, only due dates available.
Con Inbox is limited to 200 tasks
Con Recurring tasks are hard to set because the app only supports "natural language"
Con Naming convention for labels is very limited
No spaces or special chars are allowed.
Con Very basic compared to alternatives
Compared to some other options, this is not a feature-rich app. The free version is not much better than keeping a text file of your to-dos.
Con Mac Mail not supported
Even in the Pro version, Mac Mail is not supported for sending tasks as email attachments. There are some workarounds to send mail, but those attachments will still be impossible to forward.
Con Latest iPhone app only available for iOS 8 and above
The latest iPhone app is only available for iOS 8 and above, which excludes users with iPhone 4 or older models. Older versions of the app that can be used with previous iOS versions can be found here.