The summer always brings unpredictable weather, including tons of rain and some crazy heat, depending on where you live. Sure, you could watch the weather channel or your local news to keep up with what’s going on, but you have a smartphone, so why not take advantage of it? Most phones come with a weather app and widget baked in, but there are tons of apps that give you excellent ways to track the weather, including radar, temperatures, and some useful notifications that go above and beyond what you’ll find pre-installed on your phone. In this guide we’re going to go over some of the best options to try out so you don’t get caught without an umbrella in a thunderstorm this summer.
Weatherbug is the first app on our list, and it has several unique features to make it worth testing out. The app functions as a small hub that gathers all kinds of information and displays it in an extremely easy to navigate interface. There are traditional weather forecasts, radar coverage, and alerts, but you also get some really useful things like live weather cams and local photos.
Accurate weather forecasts can really make or break a weather app, and that’s something that Weatherbug really excels at. The service pulls weather information from real-time data streams as opposed to data that is refreshed every few minutes (or even hours) so it offers an extremely accurate, up-to-date forecast of your current weather whenever you check it. That same real-time data collection is used by other features of the app, including Spark Alerts, (which turns your device into a literal lightning detector) extremely accurate severe weather warnings, and interactive maps that show you information such as precipitation, humidity, pressure, and more. The app bundles up this information and uses it in its Lifestyle Forecast that intelligently suggests whether you should be concerned about the weather for your picnic tomorrow, or if it’s a good day to go for a walk. Think Google Now’s weather features, but one step further. If nothing else, Weatherbug gets points for being one of the most accurate apps on this list.
As far as the other features go, Weatherbug can do some pretty fancy stuff. There are options to view live cameras and photos which show the current weather conditions of different places, which can be very useful if you’re planning a beach trip or if you just enjoy checking out the weather in different parts of the country. Users can upload and share their own photos of the weather too, so the crowd-sourcing aspect keeps the service refreshed. All of this is easily accessed from the main page of Weatherbug, which you can be customized to quickly get to whichever information you care about the most.
Weatherbug is an extremely feature-filled application that can do much more than your typical weather app. For some people, it can be a little bloated, but if you’re looking for an app that can handle forecasts, maps, and tons of other information, Weatherbug is hard to beat.
Yahoo has been doing a great job lately of overhauling their Android apps to make them extremely light, fast, and fantastic looking, and their weather application is no exception. It isn’t the most feature-filled on this list, but it’s arguably the best looking weather app you’ll find.
As far as features go, Yahoo Weather covers all of the basics. You get your current forecast, a 10-day forecast, plus a few more details like precipitation chance and humidity. It also offers a small map and radar of the area, as well as wind speed and the exact time of the sunset and sunrise. You can set up multiple locations to keep track of, and it defaults to showing you the weather in New York and San Francisco next to your current location. If you travel often, it’s extremely easy to swipe left and right to check out all of the different locations you have saved, and the animations and pictures are fantastic. The app pulls photos from Flickr galleries, so they change pretty often and never get boring.
Yahoo has adopted a very clean look to all of their apps that follow Google’s design guidelines very well. You’ll get full screen pictures matching the current weather of the location you’re looking at, plus tons of swiping gestures and a pull-out side drawer for everything else you need to manage. To top it off, Yahoo has implemented a fantastic looking widget that’s on par with (and arguably better than) what you’ll find pre-installed on a custom Android skin. It uses the same photos from Flickr galleries and updates depending on the weather, just like the app, so you’re always treated to a great skyline picture on your home screen.
Yahoo follows a “less is more” approach to their apps, and it really pays off. It doesn’t try to do too much, but takes a lot of pride in the few things that it can do. If you’re just looking for something simple and clean, or you need a fantastic weather widget, definitely try this one out.
Bright Weather is a relatively new weather app from the developers of Beautiful Widgets. Although Bright Weather doesn’t offer quite the same type of widget options that Beautiful Widgets does, it gives you a much better weather experience, especially within the app itself.
Bright Weather takes a cue from Yahoo’s approach and uses a very minimal, clean aesthetic. The app shows you all of your weather information in front of slightly blurred backgrounds that change depending on the current weather conditions. Each pane of information is navigated by swiping, and the entire experience just flows and feels great to use.
The first pane shows the weather information, including temperature, weather, and a graph of the highs and lows of the temperature for the day. The second pane elaborates on that initial information, giving you sunrise and sunset times, a brief 7-day forecast, and the wind speed. The last pane handles the maps and radar for your area, in case you need it. Another very cool feature baked right into the app is a camera button that allows you to take photos that are tagged with your weather information. You can share these pictures easily, which is useful if you’re travelling around and want to record the weather on your photos.
Bright Weather also offers a solid widget. You get two options (4 x 2 or 4 x 1) that are standard for what you get in other home screen weather/clock widgets. There’s not too much customization to deal with, but they’re very clean looking so they fit into any home screen setup pretty well.
The app honestly feels like a smaller version of the Yahoo Weather app, with a few differing features like the camera sharing options. It doesn’t have a laundry list of features, but if you just want something slick and simple, it’s another great option.
Eye in Sky is one of the best looking weather apps for Android, period. It offers a very dark, well designed theme for browsing multiple locations as well as getting plenty of information about your current weather, plus it has a fantastic widget and plenty of icon sets and customization options.
The main app features a basic multiple day forecast with a bit of extra information sprinkled in, including the humidity and wind speed. You can get detailed information on the next 48 hours, including the chance of rain over particular hours, and there’s also a wide 15 day forecast that takes ballpark guesses at the weather for the next two weeks. The biggest draw here is really the customizable icon pack: Eye in Sky has several different icon packs, ranging from “realistic” weather icons to minimal, clean outlines. All of them look fantastic on the app’s dark background, so you can adjust them to whatever fits your personal taste.
Outside of the main app, Eye in Sky has a handful of fantastic widgets to slap on your homescreen. You get a choice between full forecasts and smaller icons that only display the current weather, so you can fit them into just about any setup. These widgets can be adjusted in a variety of ways, including changing the background color and opacity, the font color, and of course, the icon packs. These icon packs are the same ones from the main app, so you’re sure to find one that fits in with the rest of your app icons, whether it’s a colorful group of icons or minimal symbols. You can also set up a permanent weather notification in your notification bar, which is also extremely handy if you’re out of space on the home screen.
Eye in Sky offers a free, ad-supported version of the app, with the Pro version running just two bucks. This one’s definitely worth checking out before you make a decision.
1Weather is a simple weather app that handles all of your weather information needs, plus gives you an extremely customizable app to tweak as much as you’d like. You’ll get the normal weather information, plus quite a bit of theme support and a unique persistent notification to stay on top of the weather.
Out of the box, the app shows just as much information as any other app on this list and sticks to Android’s holo-design standards. The main screen shows your current forecast, including temperature, chance of rain, and other details like UV index and humidity. Swiping through the pages shows longer forecasts, where you can view hourly, detailed, or extended forecasts, as well as charts and graphs of temperatures, precipitation chances, and the standard maps and radar. The animations are all top notch, and if you like apps that stick to holo design, you’ll love 1Weather right away.
By default, 1Weather uses dynamic backgrounds that change depending on the weather. At night, you’ll get a starry sky, and during a rainstorm, you’ll see plenty of clouds and raindrops. All of the backgrounds look great and match the weather perfectly, but sometimes you’re just in the mood for something different, and that’s where the customization comes in. There are multiple themes for the app, including basic stuff like a wood background or clouds, but you can also pick things that are a little weirder, like cats or trains. If you’re not happy with the default themes, you can create custom themes where you pick specific background pictures or picture albums, the image transparency, and the color accent for the theme. You can also use your own custom photos if you’d rather add a personal touch.
Outside of the main app, 1Weather offers great widget and notification options. The widgets come in multiple flavors, ranging from your typical 4 x 2 weather and clock skins to smaller widgets that fit in more cramped home screens. The persistent notification can also be adjusted to show more information than what you’d usually find, and you can change the background and font colors.
1Weather offers a nice middle-ground between the super slick apps like Bright Weather and Yahoo Weather and the more feature-laden options like Weatherbug. If you’re really into customizing your apps, this one’s worth a test drive.