Out of Milk has been providing a clean, feature-rich task management app for some time, and earlier this month they started offering list sharing and syncing for free, along with having a major UI overhaul. We decided to take a look because hey, who doesn't have trouble keeping track of all the stuff they have to do?
The core functions of Out of Milk are just about what you would expect: make shopping lists, and mark them as done. There are dedicated interfaces for the pantry and more generic task lists, but groceries are really the main thing. If you're willing to pay $1.99 through an awkward separate app download, you can get even more, such as additional themes, fonts, home screen widgets, coupon tracking, and customizing tap and long-press actions.
Items can be added to lists either by manual text input, voice recognition or barcode scanning, which is handy when someone in the house is rather particular about their brand of mayo. There are plenty of sorting options as well as mass-clearing of individual lists, as well as color-coded categories for keeping everything straight. Things can get pretty specific when you drill into individual items, and can set unit prices, quantities, and even set a globally-applicable tax rate to all of your shopping items. Scheduled reminders can make sure you get notified when you need to pick something up.
The web interface is even more nuts. You can export lists as CSV files for the intense micromanagers that want to have their shopping lists in spreadsheets, and display or print QR codes for quickly accessing them on phones. On the web, you can mass manage categories, and use a much wider variety of colors for them.
There's collaboration tools built in so users can share lists. This is a bit tricky, since it means new invitees have to register for an account, but once done, they can do everything from the web interface without having to get the mobile app.
Though Out of Milk makes use of taps and long-presses, swipe gestures are sorely lacking - that's the definitive movement for crossing things off your list. The home screen widget isn't particularly elegant; while it shows what's on any indicated list, any real interactivity requires
It's easy to knock Out of Milk for horning in on Remember the Milk, a popular and venerable task app that started on iPhone and iPad. Out of Milk was just providing Android users with solid task management while Remember the Milk was making do with iOS, but a few months after Out of Milk was released, Remember the Milk made their Android port, and the two have been fiercely competing since.
For me, it's a close race between the two; Remember the Milk does a better job of sticking to Android UI guidelines has a boggling number of web and app plug-ins, but Out of Milk has a better web interface and doesn't try to ding you with a subscription fee.
- Extensive options
- Simple, easy interface
- Barcode scanning to add items
- Awkward upgrade process
- Getting new collaborators to register can be a chore
Out of Milk will most definitely take care of your core task management on a day-to-day basis, and the extensive additional functions will likely meet the needs of the serious busybodies out there. The upgrade process was a bit wonky, and getting friends to register to check out shared lists is a bit of a hassle, but overall, Out of Milk is an excellent task management system. I can't wait to see more tailored categories like the pantry that offer specific spheres of task management - even if they're IAP additions.
Download: Out of Milk (Free/$1.99 upgrade)