Review: Zenbe Lists for iPhone

Posted on Nov 22, 2008 in iPhone, Reviews

I’ve been reluctant to get invested in an iPhone todo app, because I still see Apple integrating the iPhone Notes application with the todo feature that Mac OS X offers in

However, it doesn’t look as though that is going to happen anytime soon, so I’ve been checking out a few iPhone todo applications. I’m not really interested in iPhone-only solutions, as I frequently write myself todos at my desk and mainly need a quick and easy way to reference those on my iPhone. But since I work on multiple Macs, I would also need a way to access my todos across multiple machines.

So far I’ve been able to narrow it down to two contenders: Zenbe Lists and Things.

Two approaches to Todos

Both applications take quite a different approach to task organisation: Zenbe Lists is a stripped down, minimalist todo list web application, whilst Things takes the full GTD approach and integrates with Address Book, iChat and iCal on the desktop.

However: Zenbe offers web-syncing, whilst Things requires you to sync with the desktop client application, which is something I’d like to avoid. So for the time being I’ve decided to go with Zenbe Lists.

Zenbe allows you to create multiple “Lists” of todos, allowing you to categorize your tasks into different areas. You then just type in your todo, can optionally set a due-by date and hit return to finish. It’s very simple and very fast.

Zenbe: The iPhone client

Zenbe’s iPhone client offers the same functionality as the web application. 

The iPhone client is free and seems quite stable. I haven’t had it crash on me yet, but I did occasionally run into a bug when adding a new list. Web-syncing is extremely fast – even on GPRS / EDGE connections.

You can manage and edit lists, todos as well as notifications (although those will only be displayed when you launch the application – there’s no iPhone integration).

The UI isn’t the prettiest and feels a bit out of place on the iPhone. Curiously enough, it doesn’t match the web application’s theme that well either – the only unifying characteristic is the liberal use of the colour green. But it works well and is quite intuitive.

Launch-times could be a little bit better, but that’s more of a general iPhone gripe.


If you’re looking for a light-weight todo app that will sync to the web, Zenbe Lists is definitely a strong contender. Whilst not as fully-featured as some other apps, it does exactly what it claims to and the price is pretty unbeatable.