Install for both desktop and device was a breeze. Straightforward, easy to configure.
Have to say though, several problems/anomalies cropped up.
Performed full sync from Desktop and confirmed items stored online via the web interface. Configured the device app and performed a synchronization. Created a task on the device and then manually invoked sync from the device. Here's my first problem with it, the sync status/summary on the device doesn't indicate if there were any changes. A summary of items changed would be nice. At least a count next to each PIM type. For example:
Contacts - Complete - 2 update(s), 1 new, 1 deleted
Calendar - Complate - 1 update(s)
Tasks - Complete - 3 new
Notes - Complete - No changes
However, I understand this is an app, that for the most part, runs in the background and thus an interface is not entirely the point. However, there may be times this information would be appropriate.
I then continued the sync by invoking the sync from my desktop to capture the new task I had created. By all appearances, it performed a full sync. What I mean by that is, it downloaded all of the PIM data. The Full sync process at this point took ~2 minutes. My intuition tells me that it should only look for deltas and transmit those deltas, not the entire database. So that's problem #2. Problem #3 is I got an error message towards the end of the sync. See screenshot: 2008-12-05_1221
I'll need to dig into the logs to see where it tripped up.
EDIT: It appears the sync process has several modes. I see in the logs it has "slow-sync" and "two-way". Perhaps, initially, "slow-sync" is required to initialize the data. Syncs after the first two syncs, appear to be "differencing" and it is relatively quick. (10-20 seconds).
In any event, the task in question synced, but not all of it so it appears with Thinkpost, I'm striking out again with regards to fully syncing these tasks. The following properties of the task are not synced:
Reminder (date and time)
Actually BBerrySync did a better job here. It just didn't set the Reminder (which is hugely important to me. So, that's a Task.
Let's see how a Calendar entry fares...
Calendar entries are excellent. All properties for the calendar event that I set on the device, transferred:
Let's try a Contact:
Contacts appear to be flawless as well. All fields that I set on the device, synced with my desktop. These included:
Other operations I performed were delete from device, verify delete on desktop and this performed as expected. Deleting on the desktop and syncing that delete to the device worked as well.
Another problem I have is the fact that it doesn't sync your inbox, sent items and drafts...basically, your email. But I knew this going in. BBerrySync did this and did it well...even having the ability to choose which mail account you wanted to sync. I have several email accounts (one that I route my faxes to, my main account and another I use for junk). Taking into account that ThinkPost is primarily an email hosting provider, I still find it perplexing that this is not implemented in the feature set. Having a record of all emails, I imagine, is important, especially for business types on the go. That email you started writing while getting ready for your business trip? It's not on your BBerry? Guess you'll have to start over. That email you sent from your BBerry to a client and you wanted to verify the quote you gave him/her? Looks like you'll have to head downstairs, find your BBerry and forward it to yourself so you can have a copy of it on your desktop. You may want to print it or file it away somewhere else. These use cases aren't adequately handled by ThinkPost unfortunately. At the risk of sounding a little melodramatic, this is a gaping hole in the functionality.
And you can't access Notes in the web interface apparently. This isn't a huge deal, as long as it syncs notes which unfortunately, it duplicated all of mine on the initial sync. It appears to be confusing the first line of the memo and the title. I haven't figured it out yet completely but will update this review. What I've seen is, if the Note on your device has the title "Dad" in then some text after it, ThinkPost will sync the note without the title from the BBerry to the desktop. Thus when it ends up on your desktop, there is no title. And when you sync again to the device, the entire note becomes the title. Again, these are rough observations but there is something seriously amiss there.
Actually, I think figured out what it was, creating the note on the device, it doesn't set the title properly, in fact, it misses it entirely. For example, if you create a note on the device like so:
Title: Device test title
Note: Device test note
And then you sync your device to the service and then sync from the desktop to pull this down, it ends up on your desktop as
Title: Device test note
Note: Device test note
Creating a note on the desktop and then syncing up to the service and then over to the device, works as expected...preserving the title and the note in their appropriate slots. Definitely a bug. Kind of a big one actually in the event you use notes and have a lot of them (me personally, I'll start poems or song ideas in my notes section but those are actually archived off to another location within Outlook so Thinkpost didn't have access to them. I can't imagine what would have been the jumbled up messed caused by Thinkpost with well over 100 notes.
These are some miscellaneous items I would wish Thinkpost considered for implementation:
Minimize to tray. I concede that this is a background process and the interface isn't terribly important except for exceptional circumstances. So why have a window on my desktop? There should be an option to minimize to the systray. The Thinkpost window also goes into a notification state which is unnecessary. I don't need to know every time it syncs, unless there is an error, which, as noted before, it pops up a modal message dialog.
Outlook: I'd rather not have to have Outlook open in order for this app to do its business. Run as a service and connect to the PST file, all in the background. If I want to have Outlook open, I'll open it but I'd rather not have it cluttering my desktop (even if Outlook.exe process has to be loaded) if I don't have to. As it stands now, I have to have two windows on my desktop in order for the program to function properly. These aren't big gripes and when I'm not at my desk, it doesn't annoy me...but when I am at my desk...
Task Reminders and Categories: These are huge for me and seeing as how two vendors haven't implemented reminders as I would expect they should be, it makes me speculate that incorporating reminder data into the sync process may be more difficult than one would think. However, BES does this and it was functionality I enjoyed back in the day when I was on a BES. BBerries are personal productivity tools as well as a business productivity tools. Having to schedule a task in the Calendar is awkward, inelegant and shouldn't be necessary if I want to remind myself of something I need to do. (i.e. Call UPS to order labels, tomorrow @ 10:00 AM).
Processor intensive - the sync process on the desktop, although not very long (less than 10 seconds once both the desktop and device have been synced initially) when running, is rather processor intensive. If it's in the background, it should run like a background service with hardly any resource tax. I shouldn't notice if it is running. However I do. Having a look at CPU utilization while it is syncing will give you the whole story.
EDIT: I did notice in the logs that it sets the process to a "low priority". I'll have to keep an eye on this to see if it is an ongoing issue. More observation is required before reaching a final conclusion.
I understand that most of my review appears to be negative so let me highlight parts of the experience that were positive.
Again, the install was easy. BBerrySync, if they are still in business, should take note. They need to overhaul their entire installation and configuration process as it was maddeningly unintuitive and error-prone. Not so with Thinkpost. I had Thinkpost up in running in less than a minute...literally and in both places. BBerrySync, that's a whole 'nother story.
Configuration was easy and simple. No silly "Datamap" is required for this to work. If the argument is that the datamap (ala BBerrySync) provides more robustness, I'd like to know what that is. I hardly see any differences between Thinkpost and BBerrySync other than the price and Thinkpost wins there...oh...and they're up and functioning. That's important too.
And that leads me to my next "positive". Although I haven't had the time to experience this myself (I've only been using it for 2 hours), there are plenty of testimonies online from various users and assurances from ThinkPost themselves that they will always be available. This is important.
Logging - I love apps that log their activity and offer a variety of levels of detail when logging. This is a huge plus for me.
And last but not least, customer support. It is the best I've ever seen. Me personally, I have not experienced it yet, but there is plenty of evidence here in these forums that they are "ultra-responsive" and that is reassuring. Customer support cannot be overestimated in its value and will certainly mitigate technical / usability issues with the product. It means they aren't afraid to listen to their customers. The information obtained from customers is probably the most valuable you can acquire...many development shops are insular in that respect. I just don't get it (I've witnessed it myself over the last 10 years being a Software QA professional).
For the most part, I'm impressed with ThinkPost although not overly. As stated above, I think there are significant issues the vendor needs to look into. Perhaps there may be something I've missed in the configuration or there were some one-off data hiccups.
If I were to give it an x/10 ranking, I'd give it a 6.5 out of 10. If the issues I have cited above are solved or mitigated, I'll surely have a better assessment.