Filemaker's Bento 4 for iPad is da bomb

Filemaker's Bento 4 for iPad is da bomb

Summary: The latest update to Bento for iPad gives users a powerful, customizable data collection platform at a killer price. With its new features, the app now works as a stand-alone information manager away from a host Macintosh.


Filemaker has previously pitched Bento — whether for Macintosh, iPhone or iPad — as personal information manager aimed at students and home users. It was a database utility for dealing with lists and simple, flat spreadsheet data. However, the capability, usability and functionality in Bento 4 for iPad is now so greatly expanded, that the company is pitching it to small business owners, knowledge workers, freelancers, contractors and consultants.

Users of the Mac version of Bento will be familiar with Bento 4 for iPad. Previously, Bento for iPad offered a frustratingly limited list-style view of Library data. It was a very stripped-down version of the Mac program. Its usefulness was still great, but with the increasing power of the iPad and especially its larger screen, the iPad software was more than a bit of a letdown. No longer.

Now there are four views of data: a Form View similar in functionality to the Mac version, the Table View that is really a spreadsheet view, the Split View that combines the spreadsheet and the form, and the Full Screen View that shows a sidebar of Libraries, similar to the Mac version. In addition to the usual data types, the app supports many different data elements including multimedia files, predetermined choices, GPS locations, ratings (stars) and many more.

Bento 4 for iPad supports the creation of new databases as well as the customization of forms and projects. It's easy to add fields, reorder and sort lists, and add calculation formulas. Many commands take advantage of the iPad's tap interface and users can click on a field or a header and then be presented with the iPad-standard GUI element for popup commands — Filemaker calls these Heads Up Displays. So, if you click on a column header, it will show a bar of commands such as sort, rename, delete or hide.

The new business audience will definitely appreciate that Version 4 can create encrypted fields. Windows users can easily share libraries by emailing them in .CSV format from within Bento (Mac users can use this function too, but I suggest getting Bento for Mac instead).

However, I don't know that I'm sold on the Record Slider interface. But it is the iPad way.

The app comes with 40 Retina display-ready themes to customize the many built-in project templates. And Filemaker offers easy access to the Bento Template Exchange that sports a wide range of professionally-designed and user-submitted templates.

Of course, Bento 4 for iPad can be synchronized with Bento for Mac (Version 4.1, a free update). The syncing is still over Wifi.

Bento 4 for iPad is priced at $4.99 until July 31, the company said and $9.99 afterwards. There's a $29.99 deal on for Bento 4.1 for Mac also until July 31, a $20 discount.

(Note: I purchased in retail Bento for Mac, Bento for iPhone and Bento for iPad, including the latest Version 4.)

Topics: iPad, Apple, Hardware, Mobility, Software

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  • Filemaker? What's that?

    Oh right, the epic fail of a database from Apple.
    • Clearly you're trying to corner the market

      On pathetic posts that is. Crack on dear.
    • Hmm

      Filemaker wasn't Apple and the apps were on both Windows and Mac.

      I liked Filemaker Pro when I used it years ago on the PC.
    • toddbottom3 are you for real

      I got I think a 12 old boy sitting in his family basement with Microsoft Windows XP laptop that you found in the garbage dumpster. You know we can use Google to look up things before you post. That could be too difficult a task for you. If you haven't got anything good to say don't say anything. Epic fail yeah that's your line of business.
  • Bento 4 - will not Sync the Address Book

    I agree with you that it is a great update. What I don't understand, is that it will not sync the Address Book with the Mac once you convert the file. It will sync between the Mac and the iPad great but there is no syncing between the Mac version of Bento and the OSX address book.
  • Almost bought it...whew!

    I almost bought it, but then saw a lot of 1-star reviews from people who had just bought Bento at $10 and then purchased this one to find that there is no syncing across devices....whoa...big killer right there. I didn't buy.
  • It's da bomb alright: It can't print

    How can any serious database be unable to print any sort of report?

    **Address Book and iCal sync has been removed.**
    That's like saying jpg support in Photoshop has been removed.
    Bento for iPad is now rendered all but useless. The Mac version will follow suit in the next version, and Filemaker has neither offered suggestions for a workaround or a timetable for feature parity to be restored.
    I find it incredible that the reviewer, David Morgenstern, did not even mention this.
    Bad form.
    • @Neil

      I think he was too busy trying to sound like a hip teenager...da bomb indeed! This is an informercial, not a review.
  • Unbelievable Applephobia

    I can't believe some of the comments that people left on this site. toddbottom3 is such a idiot I cannot believe he's not working for Microsoft.

    I've used this program and it works just fine thank you very much. Fantastic piece of software at such a low price. The iPad really comes alive. Don't believe what these naysayers are saying, this is a great program and deserve to be looked at.

    For a small office environment that's using Macs and has a few sales people on the road with iPads. This can be a very productive program. Syncing with the Mac is a dream. Setting up your own database is easy to do. Bento 4 for the Mac is a well thought through application. FileMaker has a long history with Apple. It's a spinoff company once owned by Apple Incorporated.

    If you're looking for low-cost databases functional and allows you to access iPad at the same time I highly recommend this program.

    As for the Mac heaters out there you can go back to sleep.
  • Bento no longer syncing :-(

    I love Apple products and bought them all so I could use Bento to organize seamlessly. Well bento no loner syncs. Any advice? Is the a better product the replaces Bento???????
    Milo lowe