Android has what seems like a billion different weather apps available, but when it comes to getting the essential in an easy-to-read fashion, we prefer 1Weather.
Price: Free, $1.99 Pro
- Current weather conditions, hourly, and detailed 10-day forecast
- Real-time severe weather alerts
- Optional persistent notification in the menu bar with current conditions
- Animated radar and satellite with multiple layers
- Tons of themes and customization options
- No ads (Pro version only)
Where It Excels
1Weather crams just about all the weather info you could need in a simple-to-read interface, without feeling overly cluttered or confusing. Swipe to the right to visit different sections, like a forecast, graph view, radar, and more—each with their own separate tabs that customize the view (such as hour-by-hour or 10-day forecasts). It also comes with multiple themes, so you can tweak its looks to your heart’s desire.
Where It Falls Short
While 1Weather’s design is better than most weather apps—which often feel very cluttered—I do feel like its design could still be better. Yahoo Weather, for example, puts everything in one, simple, vertically-scrolling view, which is nicer than switching between tons of different tabs. Similarly. Apple’s default weather app on the iPhone lets you expand certain portions of the interface for more info instead of putting everything in front of you. Little touches like this can make a big difference in usability. Still, 1Weather bests most of its competition.
Yahoo Weather is my personal favorite of the bunch, and it solves most of my design issues with 1Weather. Everything you need is on one screen, with smaller (but still readable text), so as you scroll, you see the panels you want in descending order of common need (though you can rearrange them). It fits in all the important stuff without wasting space. Yahoo Weather’s downfall, unfortunately, is its radar map, which does not move—a functionality quirk that keeps it from being our top pick.
Weatherbug has improved a lot since it was our top pick, but it just hasn’t surpassed the more well-designed apps out there. Weatherbug suffers from an overload of clutter, making it hard to read at a glance like 1Weather. However, it probably offers more weather information than any of the others on the list—so if that’s what you want, Weatherbug is for you.
The Weather Channel aims to mimic the great design Yahoo Weather pioneered, and it does an *okay* job. Its biggest annoyance, however, is the unnecessary stuff in between the useful tiles—gigantic ads, news and video from The Weather Channel, and something called “Social Weather,” which I can’t imagine I’d ever want. And, you can’t move those tiles around, so I see little reason to use this over any of the others. AccuWeather has a similar problem, giving precedence to graphs and gimmicks that get in the way of the actual info you want.
If you want a different paradigm altogether, there are a few other cool apps out there too, like Nice Weather with its flat, minimalist look, or Eye in Sky Weather, which is about as simple to read as they come (but doesn’t give you much beyond the basic temperatures and forecasts). If you want something truly simple, though, one of them will probably make you happy.