It’s been another rather ‘dreich’ day here in Scotland. And with all this rain and gloomy weather, I thought it would be a great idea to look at some apps out there that are freely available for us to download to our smartphones so that we know whether to take that Brolliesgalore brolly with us when we step out outiside!
Today I plan to look at a couple of apps for Android that are freely available on Google Play (formerly the Android Market). Next week I’ll also look at what is available for Apple’s iPhone/iPad.
WeatherBug is an excellent all-in-one app for providing you with an up-to-date weather forecast. When you install it, it asks you to click a few check boxes in order for it to establish your location (anwhere in the world!) using your GPS or proximity to cell-phone coverage. In addition, it also asks if you would like to receive severe weather alerts. I suggest that you click yes to both of these. It then quickly establishes your location and fills out all the necessary data in display that is very pleasing to the eye.
The first view gives an excellent overview of the current weather in your location (see image), giving you the current temperature, wind direction & strength. But at the bottom there is a handy scrollbar that allows you to flick through to other views. You can also get a tabular breakdown of temperature, precipitation, wind, sun, humidity & pressure in another view.
Other views include tomorrow’s forecast and an extended 5 days’ forecast. There is a handy view showing rainfall satellite imagery overlaid on googlemaps. Other views are not so useful if you are living outside of the US – the pollen count and video weather forecasts only apply to the continental US.
The app also very usefully adds the temperature to the status bar at the top of the phone, so alongside your phonesignal strength you will be able to see the current temperature, even when you are not actually inside the app.
All in all this is a very useful app, and even although there are adverts on it, they are not too obtrusive, making it certainly worth downloading.
The Weather Channel
This app is from the trusted Weather Channel company. With a brand like this, you know that you can trust the data provided with this app. Like the previous app discussed above, this one is entirely free to download through the Google Play store.
I have to admit, at first I wasn’t as taken with this app as I was with the WeatherBug app. Even though this doesn’t have intrusive adverts, I much preferred the interface of WeatherBug. It just felt more intuitive to use. Furthermore, the Weather Channel App asked me to input my location rather than just find it through my phone’s GPS. Nevertheless, the Weather Channel App has a few more benefits up its sleeve.
This app feels a bit more scientific. You get a breakdown of the essentials – temperature, current weather, ‘feels like’ temperature, dew point temperature, relative humidity, wind direction, UV index, visibility, sunrise and sunset times – all providing a scientific meteorological breakdown of the current weather around you. It also has a handy little arrow tab to remove the menu interface at the bottom from sight. In addition, you can break this down into hourly, 36 hour and 10 day forecasts! More than you can possibly need to predict the weather.
The maps interface is much better in my opinion – it is quicker to load, has better visualisation of the rainfall radar overlay and it also highlights local weather stations that you can click on to compare your weather with theirs. Much better than the WeatherBug app.
The weather alerts do seem to be much clearer (or perhaps more prepared) as I have been given a weather warning for my location in this app, but wasn’t given any by the WeatherBug app – so maybe this is a little over-cautious, or the Weather Channel just might be privvy to more local data.
This app also has a UK weather forecast video feed available through the app, so you do feel that this app is providing a much better prediction of UK weather compared to the more US-leaning WeatherBug app.
All in all, I would suggest that set side-by-side, the Weather Channel App is the better option between these two. Although I did enjoy the user interface of WeatherBug more! Why not try downloading these for yourself and see what you think. There are also lots more weather apps out there available for Android. Which ones would you suggest are best? Let us know on Facebook or in the comments below!
Also, don’t forget, these apps might tell you when it’s raining, but to make sure you are fully protected, get your lovely umbrellas from Brolliesgalore!