Epocware Handy Tools Pro and Calendar Reviewed

In April I got a new N95, Nokia’s flagship cell phone.  As far as mobiles go, it really is a nifty piece of kit running with lots and lots of potential. One of the reasons I say potential is because even though the hardware and its Symbian OS (3rd edition) is top of the line; it’s the ease of access to information and applications that makes the hardware truly handy. So speaking of handy, let’s have a look at very useful suite of apps Epocware prepared earlier, aptly named: Handy Tools Pro. Handy Tools Pro is a suite made up of Epocware’s Handy TaskMan, Handy Weather, Handy Clock, Handy Converter, Handy Expense, Handy Safe, Handy Keylock, and Zip Manager.

Handy TaskMan

A task manager is an application that is essential for PCs, PDAs and Smartphones. As our devices become more complex managing that precious and (o so often limited) memory is increasingly important. TaskMan is easily accessed by holding the menu button (which normally gives access to Nokia’s limited task switcher). At a glance it gives you the time and day and the RAM, phone and card memory available on the right side of the screen. On the left side is a list of open applications similar to the old list. But if you select Options you can close one or all, kill, lookup, etc. The other list it offers is your 20 most recently used programs.

Handy Weather

Handy Weather is a program I use all the time now. IF you want to check the weather you can open the web browser, find a weather site, then your town and some current conditions then maybe a forecast on the next page. Or you can open Handy Weather. After you have entered your locations and how and when you want it to update — it’s there (subject to network connection of course). In fact I don’t even open it up thanks to its screen saver feature; today and tomorrow at a glance.

Want to keep an eye on the weather in a dozen towns and cities? No problems! There’s plenty of info: temperature – actual and ‘real feel’, wind, barometric pressure, visibility and a quick description with icon.

Handy Clock

Handy Clock is another useful utility. Take the standard clock/alarm utility included with the Symbian OS, then refine it. Add home time and four world times, a day-night map to show you where in the world they are. Also add a two month calendar view, Alarms, forward and countdown timers, a stopwatch with memory and export feature (don’t have to remember that best time anymore) and even time projects (how much time have I taken writing this review so far: not telling, but I know …). The alarm feature is one of the most used features of my mobile now and with Handy Clock you can not only create them but edit and delete, disable and enable them, select them to repeat on work days only, weekly, or only once later or in the next 24 hours, with notes or without. No excuses anymore.

Handy Converter

Money is what makes the world go round according to some folks and Handy Converter will tell you exactly how much that futon couch is gonna cost you if you buy it in the US Dollars or Aussie Dollars, or Pounds, or Rupees, or… you get the picture. Update it when you need. You can even calculate the commission to exchange the rate. Just don’t forget to add shipping for that couch.

Handy Expense

Still on that couch: can I afford it? Handy Expense is a simple way to keep an eye on your expenses. Simply add an expense and select a type, how you paid for it such as AMEX, VISA, cheque, etc. You can even choose the currency and mark it business or personal.

Handy Safe 

Handy Safe will keep your personal data exactly that: safe. It’s a little password protected ‘wallet.’ In custom folders you can store information from miscellaneous notes to credit cards to software serials to prescriptions, insurance policies, clothes sizes, contacts and just about any important bit of info you want safe.

Handy Keylock

Handy Keylock is a basic tool which allows you to select an alternative keypad lock combination. It’s probably the least useful application in the suite as the standard keypad lock is largely adequate.Zip ManagerI mentioned that precious memory earlier. Zip Manager will save some of it for you. Like task managers, a zip file utility is pretty much an essential tool for PCs, PDAs and now Smartphones. This little tool will create zip archives as well and unlock that zip file you received in an email, etc. Handy!That pretty much sums up the suite: handy. Whereas utilities such as task and zip managers are really becoming essential, Epocware’s Handy Weather, Clock and rates Converter are applications that will save you time and money. At around 60 US Dollars for the suite including a one year weather service subscription it is reasonable value for a quality bit of software.

Handy Calendar

— A Separate ProgramTalking about time and money, Epocware have released Handy Calendar, a replacement for the built in Symbian one. It doesn’t add much in the way of categories, calendar filtering, or busy/free time (though it will show busy times on the day bar from Outlook synchronized items). What it does do is provide a new – and much improved inrerface over the Symbian OS calendar. It’s easier to keep track of appointments; it shows how many events you have on a particular day with blue dots and icons. It includes a easier to read at a glance week view and work hours – Busy/Free time bar on top of the day view is very handy. The task view is much better than the standard calendar’s allowing you to filter by all, active, today’s, the next week, overdue, undated and completed tasks.Handy Calendar uses the same buttons as the standard calendar such as to switch between views, create an event and go to today which makes it easy to get used to. It also allows for customizing the view settings a bit more than the standard calendar.Still the best feature that Handy Calendar offers that the standard one seems to have missed out is the ability to have events repeat – daily, weekly, monthly by days, monthly by dates or yearly. At about 40 US Dollars it is not cheap and probably a bit too expensive but still it’s another Handy tool for your Smartphone.