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Review: Weather HD for iPhone

iPad users may be familiar with WeatherUnderground’s “Weather HD” weather app. What sets it apart from your typical weather app is that it doesn’t display everything in your typical list style. Instead, it uses moving backgrounds corresponding to current conditions with the actual forecast/current weather text overlayed on top. It’s a real eye catcher. Unfortunately, iPhone users have been left out in the dark as there wasn’t an equivalent for the small screen — until now.

Weather HD is a completely different animal when compared to your typical weather app. But is it unique enough to justify purchasing it over any one of the other countless weather apps? Gadgetsteria investigates…

The first time you fire up Weather HD, it of course asks for a location. After which, you’re thrust into the real meat of the app — the weather. As we touched on earlier, instead of your typical listing of information in some type of chart or graph, Weather HD displays a moving wallpaper that corresponds to the actual weather outside. On top of the moving wallpaper you have your usual weather information such as temperature, wind speed, humidity, probability for rain, and so on. You can also toggle the forecast on and off just in case you wanted to stare at those pretty moving pictures.

But back to the forecast — When it’s enabled, you’re presented with the option of viewing hourly as well as daily. It’s worth mentioning that this forecast overlay is positioned at the bottom of the screen and is “held in place” by a translucent glass dock of sorts. Overall, it’s very Apple-like in design.

Performance wise, Weather HD is no slouch on the iPhone 4. Then again, with an A4 processor running between 800MHz-1GHz, nothign should be just yet. With that said, the transitions between weather screens is the only real UI design I don’t like — it’s nothing more than a simple fade to black which then fades into the next screen. Some will like it no doubt. But for me, it just doesn’t seem like it fits in with the rest of the app.

Now, feature wise there’s only one thing that’s missing — radar. I know a fair amount of people could care less about such things and are perfectly happy with a forecast-only app. But you know what? I like weather. I have 6 weather apps on my phone. Am I obsessed? Yeah, very much so. But you don’t have to be obsessed to need a radar. Whenever inclement weather is approaching it would be nice to see exactly how far/how big it is when you’re on the go. Plenty of other weather apps have radar. Not to mention, WeatherUnderground’s radar online is phenomenal. So why they chose to leave it out of the iPhone app is beyond me. Perhaps it’s too graphically intense. Given the other radar apps I’ve seen, I highly doubt that. Nevertheless, I’ll keep my fingers crossed for an update.

Should you buy Weather HD? It’s only $1. It’ll hardly break the bank. It’s easily the best looking weather app (save for the lack of any radar). Everyone from a weather nut to the person who checks once a week, Weather HD is unique enough that I think it’s more than worth the meager $1 asking price. But don’t take my word for it. Download it. Give it a shot. Report back how you like it. Ready…go!


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