App Showdown: BeWeather vs. Weather Line
App Showdown: Weather Line vs BeWeather (compared to My-Cast)
Every now and then I will have two or more similar apps to review. Rather than simply post a review of each one, I think it is more beneficial to have contrast/compare review, looking at the relative strengths and weaknesses of each app. This is…App Showdown.
BeWeather, by Bellshare Inc
Free ($2.99 to unlock pro version), **** (iPhone app)
Weather Line, by OffCoast LLC
$2.99, **** (iPhone app)
First off, let me say that for some reason I love weather apps. In my mind, the goal of a weather app is to balance two things: presentation and information. Usually weather apps can do one of these very well, but the best manage to balance the two. Presentation has to do with the visual style as well as the accessibility of information (or how it is presented). Information has to do with the usefulness of the information and the amount of information presented. Both BeWeather and Weather Line are very good at presentation and information, although they both lack some ability of customization, and in fact I like both of them more than my current weather App – My-Cast.
First, the nitty-gritty for each app. BeWeather has a very simplistic main screen, with an animated or static weather image that represents the current conditions. The screen is very basic, with the current temperature and current conditions. You can swipe up to bring up a forecast, including a weekly, hourly and 1 hour forecast. On a side note, the hourly forecast also identifies when sunrise and sunset occur. One more swipe up brings you more details – wind direction and speed, moon status, visibility, UV index, as well as a detailed three day written forecast.
Figure 1. The main page on BeWeather is very clean, with a nice static or animated image, but doesn't display a lot of detail.
You can tap on a warning triangle to bring up any local weather warnings (uh-oh, I might be some icing on Friday night!). You can also tap on a radar image to bring up local radar (and choose options for map type, the overlay, storm tracking, and hurricane tracking). In additional menus, you can adjust various units, identify nearby weather stations, and even find some local webcams.
Figure 2. One swipe up on the main image from BeWeather gives you some forecast information.
BeWeather has a nice interface and easy to use controls. While I wish the main screen displayed a little bit more information, the layout is very clean and friendly to the eyes. More information is just a few swipes away.
Figure 3. A more detailed forecast, and some additional information, is just one more swipe away in BeWeather.
Weather Line takes simplicity in a slightly different direction. It gives me the impression of being designed to fit in with iOS 7. The information screens are a little more cluttered, but they still appear very clean. Unlike BeWeather, each location in your weather list only has one screen. Rather than swiping between screens, you tap on what information you want to appear – hourly weather, daily forecast, or monthly forecast. Depending on what selection you make, the data display differs, while still keeping the overall theme.
Figure 4. The daily forecast in Weather Line. Tap the buttons on the top to switch between screens.
With hourly forecast, you can tap on each hour to get information about actual temperature, what it “feels like”, precipitation percentage, and humidity. (Sunrise and sunset also appear, but don’t change). The hourly forecast if for 24 hours. You have a graph showing the change in predicted temperature, which switches from “sun” to “moon” or back again for sunset and sunrise. With daily forecast, you get a 7 day forecast with the average temperature, precipitation, humidity, and wind. The sunrise and sunset information does change based on the day. Tapping on the day also gives you a 1 sentence prediction about the day. The monthly forecast gives you monthly averages (precipitation, temperature, fog days, snow days, etc.) which aren’t a forecast so much as based on historical data. For any of the screens you can swipe up to see how much precipitation has fallen in the past hour.
Figure 5. The hourly forecast includes a nice graphical view of how the weather is changing.
In the upper left corner is the weather warning “lightning bolt” (if you have a weather warning). Tapping on it brings up the warning. There is no radar option available, and you can adjust things like the units in the settings menu.
Figure 6. Both apps include special weather alerts, althogh BeWeather (top) has them more nicely formatted.
Both of the apps have a very nice, but very different display. BeWeather aims for aesthetics, while Weather Line aims to include more information in a visually appealing fashion. While BeWeather ultimately includes more weather information, and has some functions that I really like (radar and hurricane tracking) Weather Line’s design seems to fit in very well with iOS 7. One function that I like about Weather Line is that it provides precipitation amounts, as well as monthly historical data. The main drawback on BeWeather is that there is actually very little information presented on the main screen, and you have to swipe to get a lot of details. However, when when you go to get those details, it has a lot of information. The main drawback on Weather Line is that while it presents a lot of information in one place in a very clean style, there are ultimately some keys pieces of information that I feel are not included, like radar data or more abstract weather information like visibility or UV index.
Figure 7. The historical monthly values provided by Weather Line.
Both of the apps provide useful information, and ultimately the preference will come down to what information you need, and what visual style you like. Prior to seeing these two apps, the weather app of choice was My-Cast. However, compared to these two, it looks a little outdated, and so I will probably be switching shortly. I probably have a slight preference to Weather Line, just because precipitation values are something that I am interested in, but it certainly isn’t an easy choice! Both of these apps are four and a half stars in my book (a five star app would allow for customization of what information I want to include, combined with the visual style and ease of use I am looking for). BeWeather is free (with a $2.99 in-app purchase for all the “pro” features) while Weather Line is $2.99 straight up, so price is not a concern. BeWeather is powered by The Weather Underground, while Weather Line is powered by Forecast.
* = No redeeming qualities or features, probably not worth it even if it is free
** = Few redeeming qualities, or is simply isn't worth the price
*** = Some good features but also some clear flaws.
**** = A solid app, worth the money if interested, a few flaws or problems or slightly overpriced
***** = Top of the line app, no problems or drawbacks.
Price is factored into the ratings. Ratings are lowered if I feel the price of the app outweighs the benefits/enjoyment/features it provides. Likewise, an app that is a good value for the money will have a higher rating. Please comment on these reviews. All opinions expressed in this review are precisely that – opinions. You may agree or disagree. If you own the app, tell me what your opinion is. If the review prompted you to buy (or not buy) the app, let me know why. If you want more information about the app, go ahead and ask.