Best Weather App(s) Part 2. / by Natashia Tjandra

Last week we compared Good Weather, Haze, and Swackett. And Good Weather came in as the top weather app – it’s functional and fun at the same time. I love the entertainment, anticipation and discovery aspects of the app. It makes me want to launch the app everyday, just to find out the different games that goes with the current conditions.

This week, we’ll look at three more and see how they measure up against Good Weather. First up is Fahrenheit.

4. FAHRENHEIT

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Unique Feature The only weather app that displays the current temperature of any location right on your iPhone/iPad Home Screen. It uses the push notification service to push current temperature,

which makes it possible to always automatically have the up-to-date temperature displayed in the red badge at the top-right of the Fahrenheit icon on your Home Screen. The temperature is displayed on the app icon as the (red) icon badge.

Features Current conditions along with temperature, humidity, air pressure, dew point temperature, feels like temperature • 3-hourly clouds radar (up to 2 days) • 10 day forecast • Maximum and minimum temperature per day • Wind direction per day • Weather condition per day • Precipitation per day • Sunrise/sunset • UV Index • 3-hourly forecast for 10 days • 3-hourly condition and temperature for 10 days

Pros

  • Simple and easy to use interface.
  • Fahrenheit keeps things simple but informative with a 10-day forecast, each day showing high/low temps and a general summary: “overcast and rain,” “partly cloudy,” and the like.

  • You can tap any day to expand a full forecast, complete with UV index, wind speeds, sunrise/sunset times, and temps/conditions in three-hour intervals.

  • If you are like me, with troubles of spelling the notoriously tricky word “Fahrenheit”, this app will help learn to spell it – it’s forever present on your screen.

Cons

  • It is not possible to display the temperature in Celsius. You have to download the Celsius application instead.

Smile factor

It displays the current temperature as an icon badge, in other words, now you and I can finally have a temperature gauge right on your home screen. Without launching the app.

The Verdict

Fahrenheit is practical and powerful, with basic weather information. Should I’d like a more in depth weather information, the app provides an impressive detailed overview with its array of real time information from anywhere around the world. But what is convincing me to keep it, is its ability to display the temperature on my home screen, without me having to launch the app.

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5. SOLAR

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Unique Feature A one-of-a-kind interactive UI and experience. Instead of simply displaying the weather forecast for you, Solar will display different information based on gestures. Don’t get what I mean? See Pros.

Features Current conditions along with temperature, weather, date and time • Multiple locations/cities • High and low temperature • 3-day forecast • Unlock color themes

Pros

  • Gestures based UI and experience. For example, swiping up with scroll through the 24-hr forecast, swiping down will display the 3 day forecast, and swiping left/right will switch between locations.

  • The main screen of Solar is a simple gradient of colors that represent the time of day and weather conditions.

  • The bottom of the main screen displays the location. The upper right corner displays the time, date, conditions and temperature.

  • Swipe down, the 3 day forecast will slide down from the top of the screen. Each day includes the day of the week, high and low, and an icon that represents that day’s conditions.

  • What’s fun about this main screen is that if you don’t touch it, the colors will subtly pulsate to add slight movement to the background.

  • The best gestural based feature though is (drum roll please): as you swipe up SLOWLY, a little analog clock will display in the up right hand corner that represent the current time you are looking up. The digital clock display will also adjust as your scroll. If you scroll slow enough, you can look at every single minute over the next 24 hours hours. As you scroll through time, the temperature will adjust to the forecast and the background colors will also change to match the time/condition.

  • The pinch-to-zoom gesture will let you view up to four different locations at a time.

  • Swipe through multiple pages for locations.

  • You unlock color themes if you launch Solar often enough

Cons

  • If you need a weather app that clearly displays specific information in a traditional format, then Solar is not for you.

  • Not the most efficient way to get your 24-hr weather conditions

Smile factor

The somewhat mesmerizing, swiping up SLOWLY feature, that changes the analog clock and background. See it in action here.

The Verdict

Although Solar is definitely not for everyone, it’s still awesome for many. I’m a sucker for unique, clever UI’s that are exciting to use. And for that reason, Solar is a strong contender.

The iTunes description for Solar actually sums it beautifully, so instead of trying to find a clever way of restating it, I’m just going to share it here:

No vector polygons, no dew point calibration and it won’t remind you to wear a jacket. Just radiant, Rothko-esque colorscapes in a very simply designed, interactive weather forecast app.

A modern tech-cessory for the aesthetically-inspired, new-fashioned adventurer.

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6. WEATHER MOB

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Unique Feature Social network integration to an informative and usually utilitarian app. It lets you express and share the weather around you, how it makes you feel and what it makes you want to do. And “discuss” the weather with people on your network or strangers on weather mob.

Features Weather Videos and photos • Comment and Love • Weather reporting which allows you to record a video, take photos, icons and comments • Facebook and Twitter sharing • Current conditions along with temperature, weather, date and time

Pros

  • Easy to use weather reporting to make your own weather reports with as much or as little detail as you like

  • See weather videos and photos from other users near you, or from your friends and favourite places around the world

  • Eight-day and hourly forecasts

  • Instant sharing to Facebook and Twitter

  • Interact with friends through giving and receiving love and comments

  • Earn points and titles for talking about the weather – be the Bureau Chief for your zipcode / postcode

  • Beautiful intuitive design

Cons

  • No 24-hr weather conditions

Smile factor

Going through other people’s “weather reports” – videos, comments, photos and icons.

The Verdict

Weathermob is a useful – and usable – social weather app, combining real time human reports alongside traditional weather forecast information hour-by-hour for the next eight days. If you ever secretly wanted to be a weatherman or woman, now is your chance.

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THE WINNER OF THE BEST WEATHER APP.
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From the 12 weather apps that I downloaded and tested, I can conclude that weather apps tend to fall into two main categories – packed with information or very minimal. Some apps put everything, right on the main screen so you can absorb tonnes of information at a glance. Others hide away everything but the essentials, either let you dig deeper when you want to, or eschew complexity entirely. What’s clear is that there are a ton of different takes. Some use buttons, some use gestures. Some are static, others dynamic. Some try to match weather with mood, others prefer a dashboard look. Some go for a full-on digital look, while others stick to more real-world analogs. In many cases, the diversity is as thoughtful as it is impressive.

As much as I love interactive and one-of-a-kind UX and interacting with my friends on Facebook, I’ve decided to crown Good Weather as the winner. Fahrenheit came second. I ended up keeping both of them. The former for its entertainment and engagement value, while the latter for its practicality – getting the information that I want without having to launch the app.