3 Contact Managers for your Mac

Contact management systems on a Mac are a dime a dozen, they’re everywhere. With so many choices, how do you decide which is right for you? Before spending money on what can be a costly application, it is beneficial to have an idea about exactly what your contact management application will need to be able to handle.

  • What information would you like to track?
  • How much integration with other applications or devices are you looking for?
  • Do you want something simple or do you want something advanced?
  • Etc

When thinking of a contact management system these are the specific criteria I look for:

  • Simplicity: How easy will learning the ins and outs of the application be
  • Secure: Will my data be safe, accessible, and backed up.
  • Integration: Will this integrate into what I am already using and will my info be accessible from other devices, not just on the Mac.

Based of these 3 criteria, below are reviews of what I believe are the top contact management systems available from basic to advanced. These applications go from basic to advanced and each has the ability to be used on other Mac devices (iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch).

Basic:


Address Book

Apples address book is just what it sounds like, an address book. It stores relevant contact and personal information. Address book is extremely easy to use and there is a seamless integration with almost every other application on the Mac, and address book cards can be customized with some specific information relevant to you. Being included on every Mac purchased makes it an ideal choice. Use with the iPhone or iPad is as simple as syncing through iTunes, so your contacts will always be with you.

Pros:

  • Free for all your Devices
  • Managed by Apple, so it will most likely always be up to date
  • Incredibly Simple to use
  • Seamless integration with most applications on your Mac
  • Ability to print address labels
  • Easily imports and exports contacts should you decide on another contact management system

Cons:

  • Could be more customizable

To take Address Book to the next level, strongly consider purchasing MobileMe. On top of the other services offered through MobileMe, your contacts, mail, and calendar information stays synced across all your Apple devices, even to a PC, by storing the information online in the MobileMe cloud.

MobileMe Benefits:

  • Never worry about losing another contact again
  • Information stays synced across all your devices
  • Access to all your contact online should you be away from any of your devices
  • Links to your calendar so your schedule stays up to date across devices.

Apples Address Book is a fantastic application to use with or without MobileMe because it allows you to manage contacts, keeps them secure, it integrates with other devices, and most importantly it leaves room for you to grow because of its ability to export contacts into other contact management applications.

 

Medium:

Bento 3

Bento 3 is brought to you by FileMaker, Inc. A worldwide leader in easy-to-use database software. Useful for individuals home use to small businesses to Fortune 100 companies. Bento allows you to use or create templates to:

  • Organize contacts, clubs and mailing lists
  • Track projects, tasks and deadlines
  • Plan special events, parties and weddings etc
  • Link photos to contacts, projects, and events
  • Manage students, classes, and lecture notes
  • Search collections, wine, movies, books
  • Catalog inventory, assets, and equipment
  • Record billable hours and payments due
  • Keep a daily logs
  • Store recipes and shopping lists
  • Simple integration with both iWork Numbers and Microsoft Office Excel spreadsheets.
  • Ability to be password protected
  • Links directly with Apple Address Book and iCal, so your information is current across all applications.

Bento takes Apples Address Book to the next level. View your libraries, records, contacts, edit data, sort data and more all from with in the Bento app on the iPhone and iPad. Any changes made on these devices will be reflected in you desktop application the next time it is opened.
*Bento for iPhone is available on the App Store for US$4.99
*Bento for iPad is available on the iPad App Store for US$4.99

Pros:

  • Powerful application that can be used for many tasks
  • Easy to use and learn
  • Template and customizable databases
  • Ability to outgrow and easily move up to Filemaker Pro, the big brother of Bento.
  • Multi-user capable

Cons:

  • Limited control over where fields

 

Advanced:

Daylite

Brought to you by Marketcircle, developer award-winning business applications for OS X and iOS, bringing powerful business software to the Mac, iPhone, and iPad. Marketcircle has two core product lines; Daylite business productivity management software, and Billings, a professional time billing and invoicing application – both catered to single users and small businesses alike.
Daylite’s main features:

  • Manage your company’s projects, sales, contacts, tasks, appointments, meetings, notes, and email.
  • Imports and exports with Apple Address Book and iCal so your info is in sync across your devices
  • Mail integration: Daylite Mail Integration creates a rich communication history between you and your customers, employees, and prospects by automatically linking emails to relevant contacts, projects, and sales opportunities in Daylite.
  • Track the progress of your projects by viewing its pipeline and checking the status of the related tasks you’ve delegated. You can easily setup your own set of project pipelines tailored to exactly the way your business works.
  • Daylite Touch lets you access your contacts and all your critical business information on the go. Macworld best of show 2009

Pros:

  • Integrates well with other applications on the Mac: most importantly, iCal, address book, and Mail.
  • Leaves room to grow from a small business to a larger organization.
  • Large variety of functions, not just contact management

Cons:

  • Daylite touch is pricy at $50/year
  • Takes some time to learn
  • Expensive for the complete package

When you do select a contact management system, select one that fits your specific needs and is one that you will actually use.