Review: TimeBits | webOS Nation
 
 

Review: TimeBits 8

by Robert Werlinger Thu, 14 Jan 2010 11:02 am EST

I'm always on the search for tools that will help me to better manage my time, as effective time management is critical to being as productive as possible throughout the day. The use of a superphone smartphone helps to aid in this task and it makes sense - it's the one device you keep with you nearly 24/7, and its usually the one screen that you check more often than any other.

We took a look at the TimeTracker time management application last year in our App Spotlight series, and were thoroughly impressed with how easy it made managing tasks and projects, how it presented the tracked data, and how easy exporting that data for use in spreadsheet programs was. TimeBits ($3.99 in the App Catalog) has been on my radar for awhile now, so it made sense to delve into the other time management/tracking application currently available to webOS to see how it compares to one of our favorites. 

 

Features

Rather than being designed as a comprehensive task and project management application, Timebits aims to give more of a generalized breakdown on how you spend your time throughout the day. Instead of tracking how much time you've spent developing a specific website for example, it tracks how much time you've spent on developing in general, and it does so in the background even after you've closed out of the app.

No time tracking app would be complete without some way to view the results, and Timebits takes all of the tracked activities and displays them in two ways; the first being by percentage, the second being by total amount of time spent per category.

Use

Use of the program revolves around two primary scenes - the category category scene, where new tasks are created and previous ones listed, and the category editing screen where the finer details of the category can be modified. Creating a new category is done by typing the desired category name (eating, sleeping, etc) into the text field and tap the "+" button. Editing category details is done by tapping on the "i" button - here, you can modify the category name, details, time started, and even set where the category originated with assistance from GPS.

   

The actual management of categories is where the use of the program, due to some odd UI choices, tends towards being a less than pleasant experience. Pausing a category is a convoluted process as there isn't a floating "pause" button present anywhere in the app - you either have to completely invert your device to reveal the pause button, or you have to create a new "placeholder" category which has to be later edited or deleted. Category setup is a bit odd as well, as the "back swipe to go back" webOS UI convention is ignored here - a new card is generated when editing category details, and instead of returning to the previous screen with the back gesture, the card is minimized.

Jumping to the analytics section is easy enough though, as the one floating button included here lets you jump straight to that scene. Even better, the back gesture actually gets you back to the main scene when you're done looking just how much time you've spent reading PreCentral or posting in our forums.

Summary

The idea behind TimeBits is great, to create a window from which you can view how you actually utilize your time, but the execution is hit and miss. The oddities in the interface make the program down right frustrating to use at times - It would be nice to be able to pause my current activity with a pause button that isn't activated only when I turn my phone upside down, and it'd be really nice to be able to reactive old categories instead of having to recreate them.

Professionals looking for a way to track their time while working on specific tasks should instead look at the TimeTracker application that was mentioned above. Not only does it does it have all of the same functionality that TimeBits has to offer for the same price, it allows for much more detailed tracking and analysis of time spent per project, in addition to the ability to export that data via email.

Overall, though, there is a solid foundation here. Those willing to live without the more in depth tracking capabilities offered by others in this category and live with some of the confusing UI decisions in TimeBits will enjoy using it.
 

Pros

Analytics are clear and easy to read.

Cons

Inconsistent and sometimes frustrating user interface.
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