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The Skylight Calendar is an absolute game-changer for getting my busy family organized

In my constant battle to get organized, the 15-inch Skylight Calendar smart display made the biggest difference.
Written by Maria Diaz, Staff Writer
Skylight Calendar
Maria Diaz/ZDNET

ZDNET's key takeaways

  • The 15-inch Skylight Calendar is a smart display for $320, with a 10-inch version available for $160.
  • It's a touchscreen calendar designed with busy lifestyles in mind that allows for shared use within a household or team.
  • Though it's proven indispensable for my family, I wish the chores, not just the events, were visible in the calendar view, and the 15-inch version is expensive at $320.

Getting organized is a neverending battle for me. As a self-proclaimed "organized person," I like being in control of my schedule, surroundings, and everything in between. But every time I succeed in getting my things in order, something throws me off, whether it's a new kid, a new house, or a cross-country move.

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I've always preferred pen and paper, so I love my bullet journal and wall calendar. But I don't always have them with me, and I can never find a pen when I need one. This is why the Skylight Calendar has made such an impact on my life. 

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With three young kids and a dog running around the house, I often forget who needs to go where and do what at what time. This results in missed doctor appointments, which come with missed appointment fees. You've also got your garden variety of hot mess family staples: missed extracurricular classes, being the only kid at school without a toy during share day, double-booking activities, etc.

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I've always relied on my wall calendar, a trusty traditional paper calendar I'd get each year from Walmart, to keep me on track. But after moving across the country and buying a new house, starting new jobs, new schools, new doctors, and new everything, the paper-made decor couldn't keep up. I'd forget to add events or things I needed to get done, and the old 'out of sight, out of mind' couldn't be more accurate. 

While looking for an alternative to my paper calendar, I started testing the Skylight Calendar last fall and realized I could never go back.

The Skylight Calendar is a 15-inch smart display that looks like a high-end tablet. It runs an Android-based OS and displays a calendar at all times. The Calendar can go on a table or shelf or be mounted to the wall. I chose the latter installation method to replace my old wall calendar. 

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Using the Skylight app on my phone, I can add events, chores, and dinner plans and create lists for everyone to see on the wall calendar within seconds. Each account also gets a custom Skylight email address that you can give to others who don't have the app. They can then send events to that email, and those will also be added to the calendar almost immediately. 

Skylight Calendar

The Skylight Calendar features different options aside from adding events, like a chore chart and dinner plans.

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

This means that no matter where I am, whether on the phone with the doctor on the way to school pickup or at home, I can always immediately send events to my calendar on my wall from my phone.

You may think, why don't you use your phone's calendar app? The biggest difference between using the Skylight Calendar and a calendar on your smartphone is that it is always visible where you put it. So the screen displays the calendar at all times, except when you schedule it to go to sleep, which I do at 9 pm each night. This makes it into a family hub where everyone, even younger kids who don't have a phone, can see what is going on and when. 

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You may be glad to hear that the Skylight Calendar also auto-syncs with other popular digital calendars, like Google, Outlook, Apple, Cozi, and Yahoo. 

When you're not actively using the Skylight Calendar, the screen remains on unless scheduled to sleep in whichever calendar view you choose. Skylight also gives you the option to display photos on your calendar when it's idle, like a digital picture frame, which requires a Skylight Plus plan at $39 a year. I decided to skip the subscription for now, but it's worth noting that this option also lets you import emails or PDFs to automatically convert into events on your Calendar, which sounds pretty convenient.

Skylight Calendar

The Skylight Calendar turned out to be the perfect addition to our drop zone.

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

Now, onto the elephant in the room -- or on the wall. I can't gloss over the Skylight Calendar's price -- not at $320 for the 15-inch model. 

The price was the biggest thing that kept me from buying the Skylight Calendar. Since Skylight isn't the most widely renowned brand, I was afraid I'd spend so much for a tablet that would end up bricked in a year or two when the company stopped providing support for it or something happened to it. It's not like buying a tablet from Apple, Samsung, or Amazon that you'll know you'll get a few years' worth of use out of it. 

I've had my Skylight Calendar for almost six months at this point, and the company continues to go strong. The calendar has seen several updates since I've had it and the company released a new larger version. 

ZDNET's buying advice

In the end, I was lucky enough to get a review unit from Skylight, and after using it for a few months, I'm certain I would buy one for myself, even if it's $320. Skylight also sells a 10-inch Calendar at $160, a great option for smaller families, couples, or individuals, and the silver version is on sale for $250.

The biggest selling point for the Skylight Calendar is that it makes for a visual and interactive way to display your calendar and help you get organized, auto-syncing with your phone's calendar and the ability to add events from wherever you are for everyone at home to see. 

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