Up until about a week ago, I only knew of two legitimate weather sources: The Weather Channel and AccuWeather. Both of these services have apps on Android that provide information on the weather. Imagine my surprise when I hear a lot of people raving about the greatness of WeatherBug. As someone without a weather app, I knew I had to check it out.
My own knowledge of the WeatherBug name is limited. Back in high school, I had a short encounter with WeatherBug on my desktop PC and the experience went sour. After battling popups and annoying messages, I concluded that WeatherBug was nothing more than malware. So going into this review, WeatherBug already had a few negative marks from me.
But in the interest of fairness–and giving WeatherBug the benefit of the doubt–I took a look at this app with as much of an objective viewpoint as I could. The results surprised me.
As soon as you open up the app, you’re hit with a decently designed start page that prominently displays the current conditions and the forecast for the remainder of the day. Everything is neatly laid out, easy to find, and the page has everything you’d want from a quick glimpse of the weather.
At the bottom of the start page is a five-day forecast that includes cloud conditions and high/low temperatures for the days.
Clicking on a particular forecast will take you to a detailed breakdown of the exact conditions. Here you’ll find a ton of useful stuff, like the rate of temperature change, the rate of precipitation, humidity, air pressure, wind speeds, and more.
The upcoming forecast feature of WeatherBug is nothing to run home about. The layout is clean and gives you cloud and temperature data, which is 90% of what you’d want to know about the next seven days anyway. If you want more specific information, you can click on the individual days and read the description of the forecasted weather.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a way to view hour-by-hour forecasts, which is something I often use when planning outdoor events. Sometimes I want to know the exact wind, temperature, and cloud conditions of a particular day at a particular time. If WeatherBug had this, it would be perfect in the forecast category.
WeatherBug’s performance is surprisingly good. I haven’t had many experiences with weather apps because they always ran too slow for me; no surprise since I’m using a two-year-old phone. However, WeatherBug runs smooth and crisp on my device without any hiccups.
WeatherBug provides a number of features that are situationally useful, like radar maps and pollen counts. The former is great for tracking weather patterns; the latter for those battling allergies.
As for the available preferences, WeatherBug has some pretty awesome settings. There are the usual, like setting the frequency of weather updates, changing units of measurement, etc. And then there’s Battery Monitoring, which automatically turns off background weather updates when your phone is low on battery.
Free vs. Premium
WeatherBug is entirely free but supported by a small ad banner at the bottom of the screen. There is a premium version called WeatherBug Elite for $1.99 that removes all ads from the program. In addition, the radar becomes fully-featured with animations, additional map layers, and cached data for offline viewing.
- Great layout and aesthetics. Easy to navigate.
- Fast, smooth, and no lag.
- Precise weather details taken from airports, schools, and weather stations.
- Intergrates well with the notification bar.
- Tapping the Back button of the phone closes the app instead of going back to the previous page.
WeatherBug is the best weather-based app for Android, period. It gets major points for being slick and the interface is aesthetically pleasing. Fast and beautiful – there is no better combination in the world of apps. The fact that it has more features than competitor apps is just icing on the already delicious cake.