FileMaker Bento 4 for iPad review
Apple-owned firm FileMaker has been refining database software for some years now, gaining a solid user base among both business professionals and more modest users. Bento (for Mac, iPhone and now newly revamped for iPad) has always been aimed at the latter group, with potentially a much wider appeal than sibling Filemaker. Bento 4 for iPad should broaden that appeal further as you no longer need a copy of the Mac-only desktop version to take full advantage of the iPad app.
Free of its shackles, Bento 4 shines with a look and feel that is intuitive and pleasing to the eye. It comes with 40 new themes and 25 templates; more are available for free via a built-in link to the user-created Bento Template Exchange, to get your database up and running.
These cover a range of activities from small businesses to school study, recipes, fitness and simple 'to do' lists. Users can customise these further, creating a library of information and fields suited to each task, pulling together a wide range of data in one attractive interface.
That data still requires input, which can be tedious on an iPad without resorting to an external keyboard. Frustratingly if you are a Bento for Mac user, data can only be synced over the same Wi-Fi network, making on-the-road updates tricky. Bento 4 for iPad also lacks support for iCal Events, something which the developer really needs to fix in future updates, although iCal tasks are supported.
FileMaker should be congratulated for an all-new Bento for iPad which is easier on the eye and the head. A significant update which, despite some quirks, should make life easier for anyone needing to pull data together in one appealing package.