App of the Week: The Easiest Lists You'll Ever Make, with Clear

App: Clear Platform: iPhone Web site: Apple Store Link Cost: $2.99

I've mentioned on this blog before that I'm a list maker. I make tons of them. The to-do list I have every week is basically the reason anything in my life gets done. The truth is that I make lists not because I'm organized, but because I'm not. The lists allow me to keep from forgetting all the crap I have to do.

As I've also mentioned on here before, I'm a big fan of Evernote. It is where the bulk of my list-making takes place now and it makes my life a lot easier. But Evernote does a lot more than just allow me to make lists, and sometimes I just need a quick list to take to the store or when running errands. Enter Clear.

The Good If you've ever thought, "Gee, I wish I had a really, REALLY simple app that would help me create lists and then mark them off easily on my phone," this is your app. Clear makes list-making easy and does it with style. Tap the phone to create a new list. Tap the list entry and then the blank screen to start entering items.

The items are color-coded from red to green, from high to low priority. A variety of swipes, taps and pinches provide all the moves that need to be made, from adding a new item to moving items around to collapsing the list to go back to the main list menu. Pull down to create new lists or to get to the settings, which includes a full tutorial on all the different movements you'll use.

It's extremely simple. And when you start to mark things off your list, you just swipe them to the right and they are gone, just like that.

The interface is clean and easy. The documentation is outstanding. And, honestly, that is the long and the short of it. It's that simple.

The Bad Unlike other list apps, Clear doesn't connect to any outside sources, so there's no way to import items or export items into other formats. That limitation, while making Clear extremely simple, does create some issues if you do want more options for your list outside of the app. Essentially, there are none.

I also found it a little disconcerting that once an item was swiped off the screen, I could not find any way to retrieve it. I personally like to see what I've checked off my list, particularly when at the grocery store, and I found the complete removal of list items a drawback.

Finally, there is the price. Paying almost $3 for an app is a commitment despite the fact it costs less than a cup of coffee. When all kinds of full-featured apps are 99 cents or even free, a hyper-simple app like Clear, no matter how elegant, shouldn't be triple the cost of other similar apps.

The Verdict I do like Clear a lot and I think the interface is fantastic, but the price point is really high for an app with such extreme limitations. If you don't care about the limitations I mentioned and just really want the easiest list app you've ever owned, buy it. For everyone else, there are cheaper options without the limitations I would recommend over Clear.

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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke