Disclaimer: This is not an app review, hence why review is not in the title. This is a rant about personal preference in a comparative essay format. Without further covering of my ass I give you this:
I just recently posted my review of the HTC Surround here. I did a quick run through of the applications I have installed on my phone and one of them was The Weather Channel application. One of our readers, D-Money posted that he had used both the Weather Channel and Weatherbug Application, and preferred the Weatherbug app because
“It is slicker looking, the live tile is more accurate because it updates more frequently, and it can do everything that weather channel can do.”
Although I did not mention the Weatherbug application in my review of my hardware, it is an application I have used extensively. Because of my knowledge of both these apps I was aware of some issues with D-Money’s statement and wanted to make sure that he, and anyone else kind enough to listen to me talk about my phone, was unaware of some major differences in the functionality and aesthetic value of each.
So the first reason the Weather Channel app is better is because the tile isn’t ugly. Weatherbug is not the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen but I’ve also seen the “two girls/one cup” video. Please don’t ask what I’m talking about and avoid the temptation of enlightenment. Just trust me that it’s far worse than any application icon could ever be. Weatherbug is up on the list though. The icon and its choice of color stand out on your home screen like Michael Jackson at a daycare. This is not a good thing. The internal application is also less visually pleasing. When I first opened the Weather Channel app my eye-holes experienced something akin to a visual orgasm, or at least some thorough stimulation. Weatherbug brews up an epic pot of fail again inside the application by giving you a big black screen full of nothing while it loads. There is no screenshot app available yet or I’d be giving you a lot more visual aids but both these apps are free so give them a whirl. I’m not saying the Weather Channel app is a masterpiece and has its down sides, but their is some functionality that D-Money is also not aware of.
So the Weather Channel app doesn’t update as frequently. How much does the weather usually change throughout the day? As much as we like to pretend we can predict the weather, we really have no idea what is going to happen. When you turn on the weather and they say there is a 50% chance of rain, what does that tell you? They have no clue if it’s going to happen. Anyway, open the app and it updates. I guess since my car spits out the temperature and I also sort of know when I plan on leaving my house and have the sense to prepare for the venture it’s not a huge deal. Functionality is more important than an application that is constantly using my data connection and draining my battery. This is where Weather Channel continues to excel.
The Weather Channel allows you to access forecasts for multiple locations much more quickly. It also allows you to share forecasts with others via email. Both programs allow you to map the data but Weather Channel gives you more layer options. And while going through the videos for each Weatherbug hurts itself again with Meteorologist Rachel Peterson and generally low quality production. The Weather Channel distinguishes itself as a professional outfit that gets much greater revenue from being the de facto television weather station for most people I know.
Lastly there is the problem of Weatherbug’s desktop reputation as a resource devouring ad whore. There mobile application is nothing like their desktop counterpart which I recommend they scrap immediately from shame. I can’t feel comfortable associating my recommendations with Weatherbug for fear of someone thinking I support them in that endeavor.
So with all that on the table I’m going to have to say its The Weather Channel for the win. Any problems the application suffers from are inconsequential and the benefits outweigh them by a long shot. So what do you guys think? Does D-Money have the more astute evaluation of Windows Phone apps or have I justified my decision to go with The Weather Channel?