Monday, 10 June 2013

Android App Review: Is it Raining Yet?

There are an almost innumerable amount of weather apps around for your smartphone or tablet so finding one that does the job in a good looking way is quite a job.  I've been using Accuweather's offering for a while now but both the BBC and Yahoo have released standalone weather apps of their own which I've been trying out on my Android powered HTC One X.

BBC's new weather app was released today. (image androidcentral.com)

AccuWeather

As I mentioned, I've been using AccuWeather for a while as it does what I want and looks nice. The UI is clean and clear with subtle graphics (none of the dramatic lightning bolt animations you might normally find) and naturally you can add saved locations as well as your current location.  Swiping across the different tabs works nicely to view current weather, today's hourly forecast, 14 days in advance and live rain maps.

Information available, from their own accuweather.com includes day and night separation, likelihood of precipitation, wind speed and a personalised advice section telling you how good weather might be for such things as travel, sports or outdoor DIY!  You can also get some nicely designed widgets giving current information and an overall daily forecast.

The information is mostly accurate as far as I have seen though the app does sometimes take a while to start and load new data.  My favourite thing in this app has to be the table that plots the forecast either for the next 24 hours or week, showing where peaks and troughs may be coming up.

8/10


BBC Weather

The BBC is one of this country's great institutions and is world renowned as a top source of news and information.  As The Next Web's review says, it's a wonder they haven't released a weather app already, as they have done with news, sport and iPlayer.

The app loads very quickly and immediately shows you your local weather. Again, you can load separate locations as well as your current one which you can sweep through by scrolling up and down.  There are two parts to the main UI that can scroll sideways, the days at the bottom and the main area in the middle.  This works nicely as you can see the hourly forecast easily and switch between days just as well.

Each forecast can be seen in detailed version showing humidity, visibility and wind speed but there is limited data for precipitation, maybe due to the unpredictability of rain or maybe to ignore the often wet, British weather!

The app looks very nice with full-screen and subtle graphics, and works very intuitively.  There is a nice widget too which has those subtle graphics included and you can trust BBC with top notch information on the weather.  Unfortunately, the lack of precipitation information lets it down.

7/10


Yahoo! Weather

Yahoo! have recently updated their Android weather app to match the new release on iOS with a very nice feature.  As you can see from the image, each location comes with an image of that location with matching weather.  Taken from Flickr, also owned by Yahoo!, images of your location will follow you around making a window into your location.

Unfortunately, this app seems to be not much more than a gimmick.  You can see temperature, a summary forecast and the forecast for the next four days for a range of locations but that's it.  Anything more and the app will throw you out into the Weather Channel's website.

There is no widget with this app and although the imagery is a wonderful touch and seems to work well, the practicality of the app just isn't quite good enough yet.

5/10


I think I'll move over to BBC Weather for now.  There is the lack of detailed precipitation information and I'll miss the graph of AccuWeather but it is from the trusted BBC and is much nicer to use.  The proof is in the pudding though so I'll see how I feel after a week has passed!

Let me know if you've tried these or have any other suggestions for better weather apps for Android.