Pros: Clean, intuitive interface; Local weather videos; Choice of satellite or road maps; Helpful widgets in Android version
Cons: Radar map overlays slow to load on iPhone; Android version only shows regional forecast videos
Verdict: A visually pleasing layout and useful extras make The Weather Channel app a worthwhile download.
The most literally named channel on television has, appropriately enough, a namesake app for Android and iOS. Users who consider The Weather Channel's weather.com their go-to forecast site will enjoy the app's similarities, such as detailed 36-hour forecasts. While we tested the free version of the app on both Android and iOS, iPhone users get more videos and images built into their app.
Regardless of the platform, we liked the clean design of The Weather Channel app. The background is a pleasing Weather Channel-blue, and the vast majority of the buttons and menus use words instead of vague icons like the ones in the WeatherBug Android app. Unlike the Weather+ HD app, home screen information isn't squeezed in so tightly that it's hard to read. Of all the apps we tested, this and WeatherBug had the most approachable layouts, but The Weather Channel app is more visually pleasing.
Both the iPhone and Android versions of The Weather Channel app open to a screen showing your current location and conditions along with a timestamp noting the last time the app updated the weather. Near the bottom of the iPhone screen, there are links to the hourly, 36-hour, and 10-day forecasts; these same links appear at the top of the screen in the Android app.
The Weather Channel apps lets you view a Google map of your location and add layers such as clouds, radar, rainfall, and points of interest such as cities, schools, airports, and golf courses. While there is plenty of information in the Weather Channel app--including the "feels like" temperature, wind, humidity, visibility, and dew point--it doesn't match the depth of WeatherBug. That app includes the sunrise, sunset; current and average wind speed; current, daily, and monthly precipitation totals, and humidity highs, lows, and current rates. Menus also include links for viewing videos, but this is where The Weather Channel's Android and iOS apps begin to differ.
In the iOS version, there are menu options for viewing severe weather alerts, eyewitness images and videos for your location, flu incidences maps, and a video option that includes tabs for "Must See," local, U.S., and world weather videos. The local weather video forecasts show the familiar "Weather on the 8s" videos from the cable channel as well as forecasts for the region. The iPhone version also includes a button for sharing your weather forecast via Facebook or e-mail. While the Android version of The Weather Channel app doesn't have the above video extras, it does automatically show the regional weather video when you click on Video in the menu.
The Android version of The Weather Channel App has a few bells and whistles of its own. First, there are three widget options for putting the app on one of your home screens. Two of the widgets show the current temperature and wind speed, while the third also shows a two-day forecast. In the map section of the app, users can view either the road or satellite image of their location, and available overlays include traffic and current wind speed. We noticed that the animated radar maps played much more quickly over Android than they did on iOS. On the latter, animated radar maps loaded either very slowly over Wi-fi or not at all.
The Weather Channel app has a lot to offer forecast fiends and especially appeals to frequenters of weather.com. While we prefer WeatherBug for Android devices, as that app shows the current temperature in the notification bar, but iOS users will prefer the Weather Channel app's superior layout and menu navigation.