Developer: FileMaker, Inc.
Price: $4.99 Download on the App Store
Bento is one of the most popular personal organizers for the Mac. Now a new iPhone version is available that syncs with the popular desktop organizer-on-steroids so you can take all your essential information with you.
Bento, a product of Filemaker, is most effective if you are a Mac user and plan to use it in combination with the iPhone version. Windows users are out of luck. However, there is still a lot to like from the Bento iPhone app alone if you are the organizing type. Bento will appeal to a certain crowd — those who like to put together their records, notes, class schedule, music collection, and other information. With Bento, all these various records can be updated and accessed from within one application.
Bento integrates quite nicely with some of the native iPhone applications, such as Contacts, Safari, Mail and Google Maps. The interface is clearly Mac-centric with an overview of your notes reminiscent of the iPod album cover flow. When you tap the Bento Contacts app, you will see your iPhone contacts. Through syncing with your Mac you can then add in any other contacts or calendar events. There are plenty of libraries (as Bento calls them) to choose from or you can create one from scratch. Bento is incredibly flexible with the options to input specific data fields that suit your particular tastes.
However, Bento may be a bit too much detail overload for some. Entering data means filling out long lists and categories from within the various sections. It's great if you want to fill out your vehicle history, keep track of what is in your wine cellar, plan out your class schedule. But if you would rather throw these paper documents in a file or just tap it in your iPhone calendar then Bento may be overkill.
Those who want a less detailed experience at keeping notes and data may prefer Evernote (works across Windows, Mac, and iPhone) or Microsoft OneNote (desktop and Windows Mobile only). However, if you are already a heavy Bento user this iPhone version is pretty much a must-have.