Live! Weather: Pretty But Sluggish Forecasts for Your Mac

There are too may weather apps on the Mac. All I’ve ever wanted is an accurate forecast in a simple yet beautiful user interface. Most apps are inconsistent in design, aside from the fantastic Clear Day.

The other day, I stumbled upon Beautiful Weather, a nice-looking app with a basic black, white, and pictorial design. It was only two dollars, so I decided to give it a test run to answer the typical question: was it worth downloading?

Greeted with a Pleasant User Interface

The Flickr photos compliment the minimal design nicely.

The Flickr photos compliment the minimal design nicely.

Some apps are just too simple. Beautiful Weather has a perfect balance of design and functionality. I really like the monochrome user interface with its slight hints of blue and illustrated forecasts. Rather than using animations, which typically lag, it displays fitting Flickr photos geotagged near the location. These blend well with the rest of the app, which has a nice selection of icons and a pleasant font for all the temperatures.

An error I was presented with just after I started using the app.

An error I was presented with just after I started using the app.

I did encounter one issue: after a location is added, you’ll need to reopen the app for it to pull photos from Flickr, else you’ll get a pixelated “This image or video is currently unavailable” message. Thankfully, it only happens when you just added a location.

Even though the user interface is well-designed, there’s no fullscreen mode to show it off. This seems like a necessity for any weather app that is over 900 pixels wide by default. It is by no means a menu bar app, so it should have a fullscreen option for secondary displays (when this mode actually works properly in Mavericks).

Accurate Weather at Just the Right Detail

Adding a location is simple, but you wouldn't expect organizing them to be under the same function.

Adding a location is simple, but you wouldn’t expect organizing them to be under the + button.

It’s not always necessary to know the precipitation, wind speed, and conditions of each day. For that, you can just go to Wunderground. This app doesn’t include a ridiculous amount of numbers, and I like that. It also uses data from Wunderground, which makes it very accurate. Hourly forecasts, high and low temperatures for the day, and precipitation is all the average user needs from a weather app, and this one delivers on each of those in a presentable way.

Organizing locations isn’t as user-friendly as it could be. Rather than clicking an X beside the name, you must click the + button as if you were to add a new location and then hover over each one to reveal the X.

The tiny menu bar app is perfect for quick stats. If only the dock icon were hidden while this was open.

The tiny menu bar app is perfect for quick stats. If only the dock icon would be hidden while this is open.

While it isn’t a menu bar app, Beautiful Weather does include a handy micro counterpart. The app’s preferences include two options: display weather in Celsius rather than Fahrenheit and include the temperature and condition icon of the selected location in the menu bar. The latter looks very nice and does the same thing as Degrees. It would be nice if clicking it opened the app though.

A Few Idiosyncrasies

In addition to the weird image display bug, this app is extremely slow at loading conditions the first time you add a location. No, not a few seconds of waiting: a few minutes. For some reason, it takes a while to pull the data from Yahoo Weather’s API. Another thing I’ve noticed is the app lags a bit when the window size is adjusted. All the other transitions are fine, but it has some trouble in this area.

Such Potential

In the end, the best part about the app is the photos from Flickr.

In the end, the best part about the app is the photos from Flickr.

Beautiful Weather is a very nice app for viewing Yahoo Weather natively, outside the browser. The problem is, it just isn’t consistent in its delivery. The user interface is fine, but the functionality is partially broken with its lagging, display errors, and occasional crashing when adding a location. For the price, you can get the aforementioned Clear Day, which is equally alluring and much less buggy.


Summary

It's a nice-looking app, but at the same price as Clear Day, it doesn't offer anything too special, aside from some plaguing bugs.

6
theatre-aglow
theatre-aglow
theatre-aglow
theatre-aglow