Reviewing S°lar, a Weather App

It’s almost to the point now where I don’t expect any new weather apps to be worth even thinking about, but I am glad I gave S°lar a try after Jon Mitchell pointed it out to me on Twitter. Let’s get something clear first, it’s not an ideal weather app for me, but it is really interesting and worth talking a bit about — because it does weather a bit differently.

The first thing that immediately struck me about S°lar is how much I love the way the weather data (just temp and conditions) is displayed:

Default S°lar view.

That’s a pretty minimal set of data, but it does two things really nicely:

  1. Shows the temp in an easy glance able manner.
  2. Shows a background that isn’t some silly image of the weather, or static thing — instead it gives your a hint of the temp and an indication of the weather (it drips from the top if raining, or shows colors to indicate clouds or blue sky — in this case it is warmish with a blue sky).

S°lar isn’t like Dark Sky, but it’s better than most any other app for giving you an idea of the weather in a traditional manner.

If that was all this app did, I would likely keep it around — but as it turned out this was only scratching the surface.

Pull down, and you get the three day forecast:

Drag down to get this forecast.

Slide your finger from the bottom up, you can see the weather info change based on the hourly forecast — this is pretty neat:

The hourly forecast, shown by sliding your finger from the bottom up.

Double tap to pull back and see all of your locations:

All my locations.

What I love about this is that the view is actually useful, and not just a switcher (you can swipe from side to side to change locations without pulling back to this view). Many weather apps make you select a location before they show you any data, so I love that this app gives you useful data before you even dive into a location. It just works “out of the box”.

The settings screen is equally simple and well designed:

The settings screen.

Ok so none of those screens are unique — because while beautiful, they certainly aren’t revolutionary.

Here’s the reason that I like this app though: go back and look at those swipes and taps I mentioned — each one can be done with only your thumb and iPhone in one hand. That’s not something I can say for many apps.

Why Ben, Why

I really like this app, the UI and interface is really nice and really invisible — S°lar is the Clear of weather apps — and I really like Clear.

Overall I don’t know how useful S°lar will be to me (I love Clear, but I don’t use it anymore), but I do think that S°lar is a very solid weather app, and a perfect convince-someone-they-want-an-iPhone-app.

Get it from the App Store for $0.99.

Originally posted for members on: July 29, 2012
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