Bento - Mac review

Life is hectic with plenty to keep track of but Filemaker thinks it has the answer for Mac OS users with its simple entry-level database management software application called Bento. Will it get you organised? We ditch the Filofax and find out.

Before you get scared by the word database, it's probably best for us to point out at this point that while Bento is one big collection of databases they aren't as scary or boring in real life as you might imagine.

In attempt to ease you in, Bento's interface has an iTunes look and feel to it. Everything is drag and droppable, windows and menus easy to understand and very easy therefore to pick up and get going from the start.

The basic premise to Bento is that it allows you to manage Mac's Address Book, iCal calendar, and a stack of projects be it a "To do" list or something more business-focused like projects you are working on or expenses you're managing.

The main application window is broken down into three windows called Libraries, Source and Fields.

The Libraries is where your databases are displayed and Bento is automatically linked (although you can turn it off) to both Address Book, iCal, and iCal Tasks so that changes in either programme are automatically updated in both. The Source window is the file in the database be it a contact or "to do" item that you are working on and then the Fields are the fields that are available to you for that file.

As you might expect from a database everything is searchable via a search bar that is always on show and databases can be cross-linked easily.

The whole processes is exceedingly easy to manage and master and Bento also gives you greater control over adding media and more information than is originally available to both Address Book and iCal.

Verdict

If you're one of these people that has created a series of spreadsheets or scraps of paper to manage your life then Bento will probably help you no end.

The easy to use interface, multitude of templates and drag and drop qualities mean this is the digital organiser most Mac users will benefit from, but more importantly use without being intimidated by complicated forms found in the company's main application Filemaker.

If that wasn't enough praise, the best bit about Bento is the price; it's just £35 rather than the hundreds you might well easily have expected.