Review: Weather HD


[New review June 2011] Weather HD has made a name for itself on iOS as a 'premium' weather utility, where for 'premium' you can read 'gratuitous video clips that may or may not bear some resemblance to what the weather's actually doing (or going to do)'. Here's the updated (v1.01) version for Symbian, with significant work done to improve the speed and responsiveness of the app. But is it enough?

Author: Vimov

Version Reviewed: 1.0.1

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In my original review, I criticised Weather HD for being too slow to start (twelve seconds!) - this has now been shortened to under five seconds, which is a major improvement and, on its own, transforms the casual view of this application. I also criticised it for the video sequences taking too long to start, at four seconds each - these video delays are still present, but at least the rest of the interface isn't locked out while the videos load. All in all, v1.0.1 is far more useable for - shock, horror - actually looking up what the weather's going to be doing.

The best way to get a feel for what Weather HD does is to see it in action, so here's my new video walkthrough, on camera:

As you'll have seen in the video, using Weather HD is as easy as picking the day you want to preview in the bottom, scrolling selector and observing the portrayed weather. You don't have to wait (the four seconds) for the video to start - as mentioned above, you can tap on other days or hours to jump straight to a different forecast. 

City support is now much better, in that there's a drop-down list of cities that you've previously set up, i.e. you don't have to cycle through them one by one. In addition, Weather HS now remembers the last city you looked at - usually your 'home' city. Saving you having to start with 'Alexandria' or similar every single time!

The Settings pane now includes 'Display settings' and you can opt to respect or ignore the usual Symbian OS display dimming and shutting off (for power-saving reasons) - the default is, sensibly, to 'respect' this behaviour. 

The only remaining gripes with Weather HD are that it only works in 'portrait' mode, making it a pain to use when your device is already in landscape orientation (especially on the E7!). But this is being a little picky, especially considering the magnitude of the improvements already made in going from v1.0.0 to v1.0.1.

Yes, this is a luxury application, something to show off with down the pub, and it will fulfil this role well enough, if only to deflect some of the attention from the same app running on your friend's iPhone 4. The video sequences are genuinely beautiful and a clear labour of love from Weather HD's creator.

If there was such a thing as a 'coffee table' application, then this would be it - great to dip into and admire, but not something you necessarily want to consult every day. However, with the speed ups and improvements, Weather HD is certainly more practical than it was and a positively sumptuous way to get a morning weather fix. 

Steve Litchfield, AAS, 9th June 2011

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