This question has been asked and beaten up before. Try doing a search on this site and you will find some good answers.
It seems several have gone with Logbook Pro that does their advertising here (ads will link you to their site). I didn't like that program -- I went with FlightLevel 2000. I haven't tried their companion program that runs on a PDA but overall it seems many are happy with it. I know I am. Their address is www.flightlvl.com.
These seem to be the two most popular and in my view the best two. You may be able to download a demo version of both to try out first.
I just got done doing the same research, and I agree that you should download and evaluate all the strike your eye. I am a very picky buyer and I only want to buy once, so I evaluated the top two that I keep hearing of; Flightlvl and Logbook Pro. If you're interested, read on, I'll give you a few minutes of my time, hope it helps steer you as to what I reviewed.
I got interested as I just read an article written in NAFI as it reviewed the top logbook software, and they chose Logbook Pro as the best. I began my research by first looking at the companies, evaluating their web sites to evaluate their level of professionalism, dedication, and devotion to the customer. Support solutions available online, download ease, ability to update and ensure I have the latest version with the latest features. Logbook Pro seems the most aggressive at adding features and keeping their software up-to-date with the latest technology and customer requests. The Logbook Pro site definitely proved more professional looking, feature rich, and most definitely informative, hands down! It's well done. The FL site is VERY basic, but I guess that's all you need. You be the judge.
I e-mailed both support addresses for the software and checked the responsiveness. I got a reply from Mr. Culiner in 8 minutes from my request! Dang!! I got a reply from Flightlvl in 18 hours. Not bad!
As for the software, the FL is very fixed and I couldn't get it customized to my needs. The reports are very limited and data analysis even more so. They do have the palm software, but I need to ensure I have the core on my PC first, no sense in having two half-good's rather than one software done right! I didn't get a good feeling that I had a powerful software package in my hands with FL, unlike Logbook Pro where this think is jammed packed and well thought out. It's very basic looking at first look, so it's easy for the beginner. Then you start to realize the power of this beast! An Explorer view of your data, customizable reports, and a gazillion preformatted ones to choose, and you can combine them. You can print to a professional leather binder, which is a new feature they added, and customize the reports with your own custom fields. FL was not the best for customizing, Logbook Pro allows all kinds of custom fields of different types. The most useful feature of Logbook Pro is what they call an "Analyzer" which is a pivot-table analysis tool, date filterable, so you can get ANYTHING out of your logbook data. It's cool!
There's a ton in both of these software packages. Read the help documentation and study what it has to offer. I read the Logbook Pro help file (well written) top to bottom and that really really turned me onto this package, it's super charged. Lastly, an important aspect is can the software handle the currency information you require? If I can't get my software logbook to tell me when I'm going out of currency, what the hell good is it? Check out the nifty system they just built in Logbook Pro! Haven't seen anything else like this. FL has a basic one, but I couldn't figure out how to add custom currencies based on taildragger, etc. Logbook Pro is the only one with aircraft level fidelity.
I am thinking of writing up a report on my comparison and maybe it would be useful to others. Seems like more and more are looking for software logbooks these days. If you're interested, let me know, maybe I'll take some of my time between trips and do some journalism!
I hope this helps, sorry for the documentary, but you timed it right, I just bought mine and am 4800 hours into 6,000+ in getting mine loaded up!
Good luck, and please let us know what you found and chose.
Crapt, I didn't ask, is price a factor? I don't have all the pricing details, I think FL is 99.95 and I paid 69.95 for Logbook Pro.
Score one for FlightLevel. I've been using it for four years and I'm very happy with it. Though I admit I haven't perused Logbook Pro recently since four years ago the choices were more numerous but less functional. When I've called for tech support (after changing computers) I've talked to the president both times and received immediate satisfaction. During an emergency he even answered my email during a Superbowl, though he asked that I wait untill the game was over if I needed to call.
Dr Evil gave you some good info. I'd stick to one of these two products. Try the demos as everyone likes something different about each product. I was looking for a program that would be my composite logbook for civilian and military time, easy customizing and nice paper product. FOR ME FL2000 worked best but you'll have your own needs. What you don't want to do is enter all your data and then re-enter it into another program later on!! Been there - done that!
Good luck and you starting this now will save you lots of headaches later on.