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.

If live tiles were childhood fictional characters, weatherbug is the ugly duckling

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.

An eye-gasmic experience for your forecasting research

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.

Weatherbug? Not so much

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?

12 COMMENTS

  1. I only recently realized that Weather Channel had a live tile so I installed it. Its very slick. They are both on my home screen now but so far WC is winning. Prettier, easy to get the info…I could live with either but WC is winning for me too

  2. tried out both in the beginning, but weather channel definitely won out, could never get over the weatherbugs icon, very off putting.

  3. If only it updates the location as Sense does, that would be awesome. It uses location services but requires you to click the location icon… fail.

  4. I find this awful bug with the weather channel app where the live tile just looks like an empty tile and then the application won’t load. It’s pretty annoying, so far weatherbug hasn’t done that but I agree that the weather channel app is greater.

  5. Been running both tiles since reading your Surround review. Temperatures are usually within 1-3 degrees, but sometimes vary a bit more. I am running the Weatherbug update every hour which probably explains that. Day to night changes at around the same time, at least from what I have noticed.

    In addition to displaying on the tile, Weatherbug does announce weather alerts, which can sometimes be a nusiance (been dealing with fire alerts in Florida all week) but could be important in certain circumstances. The Weather Channel alert is a bit confusing as the icon on the app home screen tells you there is an alert, but when you click on it you go to a screen with six different categories and have no way of knowing which item the alert is related to. Or maybe there is more than one. So I have to click/scroll through each of them and try to figure out what the alert was related to. Would like to see this cleaned up with maybe an asterik next to the item(s) the alert is associated with..

    The Weather Channel interface is for sure better looking, but Weatherbug provides more detail. As noted, it’s just weather, so stick your head out the door and you could probably learn just as much. But for severe storm/weather I rely on the info/radar I get off of my phone. That’s why I will probably keep Weatherbug running in the background (apps list) and The Weather Channel Live Tile around for the day to day.

  6. One advantage of Weatherbug is that on the opening “Now” screen, you also get the 5 day forecast across the bottom of the screen. In Weather Channel you have to move to the forecast page. The Weatherbug graphics don’t bother me, so I must be in a minority on that.

  7. Off topic: so I guess we all know at least where two of the writers are from. One is from Florida and the other is from Birmingham, AL.
    Back on topic: both apps are mediocre until one of them support the automatic location detection and display the weather for that location.
    @Jimski – does the HTC weather app have automatic location detection? and does it have a live tile?

  8. @Gary:

    Well I must be in the minority of minorities. TWC’s app just looks busy to me, almost like they didn’t have a full grasp of the Metro UI concept.

  9. @adp: Yes, HTC Weather is location sensitive (toggle on/off) but the HTC Hub tile (double wide) is a useless waste of space so no Weather Tile. You have to open the hub to see it. And I can’t seem to stop auto weather updates even though I have it turned off and don’t use it. Thanks to you though I found six World cities that I have been updating for the past month. Bye bye.

  10. @Matt: May have spoken a bit too quickly on Weather Channel alerts. Today when I opened the app the red exclamation point was pulsing (hard to see really) and after clicking on it the Alerts screen only had 4 listings instead of 6, with Fire Weather Watch on top. Yesterday there was a Freeze Watch and something else on the list. The fire alert was the actual alert, but the three other alerts; Storm Watch, Tropical Summary and National Forecast Summary are either unrelated to my location or reports from a week or more ago. These three stock alerts should really be at the bottom of the screen, a different font/color or separated in some way so you can distinguish between the important stuff and general info.

    So it’s a little better than I first thought, but no audible notification as with WeatherBug, or at least I have not heard one yet.

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