Reviewing the new Bento 3, Macsimum News' Don Foy says, "Apple subsidiary FileMaker continues to bring database to the masses.
"Database is just a geek word for collection of stuff. Used to be, if you wanted a database, you had to hire someone to program it, or learn it yourself - not an easy task. Filemaker made it easier, but still not easy enough.
"So Filemaker put together a program that makes it simple - Bento. And with the recent jump to v. 3, Bento takes another step toward making it easy for anyone to build and use a database.
"Many of the new features in Bento are geared toward the home user, especially a host of image-related features led by iPhoto integration. But if you use it for work, which I do, there are new features targeted there, as well. Tops on that list is password security. You can now lock down a database with a password, something Bento users have been asking for since the beginning. You can also share a database with up to five users across a local network.
"Other new features benefit everyone, such as the streamlined theme selector (you can still use the old way if you want) and the bulk e-mail sender. Using Apple Mail, you can select multiple e-mail addresses from your address book, which is conveniently already in a database in Bento, and send just one e-mail.
"There are many more new features, but I won’t bore you with the details. You can go to http://www.filemaker.com/products/bento/all-features.html to see all the new features.
"So, how well does it work? Like a charm. It’s what I expect from software: install it and use it. My existing databases worked just like they did before, and I was able to protect my main database with a password, something that I needed to do. I played around with many of the new features, and all worked as advertised.
"This is version 3 for Bento, and you can tell. The program is becoming feature-rich. But is there room for improvement? Yes. I'd love to be able to enter all of my software serial numbers, including multiple licenses of the same program, in one database, and then select the correct license for each machine. I haven't been able to figure that out with Bento. And maybe I’m just asking too much of a simple program.
"It still syncs wirelessly with Bento on your iPod touch/iPhone (assuming you are on the same network), but the password protection from the Mac program does not carry through to Bento on the iPhone. I keep my iPod touch protected at all times, so it's not a real big deal, but it would be nice if that password protection could be extended to the mobile program.
"Still, Bento is worth every penny of the US$49 you pay for it. And a five-computer family license is $99. If you have a previous version, buying directly from the Bento website will save you $20 instantly. If you buy it elsewhere, you'll have to deal with a rebate. But at least there's a rebate."
Macsimum Rating: 9 out of 10.