When it comes down to the weather, everyone has a different opinion. What is perfectly relaxing to one person is tropical heat to another or chilly to the next.
Weather apps for the iPhone don’t usually mix emotional interpretations with factual data, but swackett X is different. It’s not just about giving you the facts, it’s about making it fun. After the break, we’ll take a look at how well this approach works.
It’s Fun to Look At The Weather
The very moment you fire up swackett X, you’ll see that it is a little different from other weather apps. While most focus on the hard facts like temperature, rain probability and the likes, Swackett presents you with figurines taking up most of the screen.
That’s right, Swackett will give you recommendations on how to dress according to the weather. There are figurines for men and women and there are different dress options which can be accessed by swiping up and down.
If possible, the background will display animated high resolution images. They will pan gently across your screen, giving the entire display a nice visual touch.
If you swipe horizontally, you’ll find some interesting facts about the weather (and from all other areas of life) to brighten up your day. I wish those would be more diverse and change more often; it might be just my subjective perception, but I felt that the information kept repeating quite often across the duration of a week.
There are different “editions” available for styling your weather display (e.g. the clothing of the figurines). By default, the Modern edition and the Classic edition are available with the app, as well as the really nice Easter Eggs. Those Easter Eggs are usually drawings of famous people from all walks of life or current events. They pop up unannounced and it’s fun to check swackett X every day to see if there is a new Easter Egg.
In addition, there are more editions which can be bought for 99 cents each.
The Hard Facts
So, now that we have talked about why swackett X is different from other weather apps, let’s take a look at how it presents the facts that we are interested in most: the weather forecast.
In the main screen you can choose between four different views: current (right this minute), today (overall forecast for the day), tonight and tomorrow. The information is presented in the top left, with a large icon representing the weather, the temperate (actual and feels-like), the rain probability and a verbal summary of the conditions. You can set how many of these pieces are displayed as well. For example, you can decide whether the actual temperature or the feels-like temperature are the primary, giving it the larger font. Also, depending on your own preferences, you can define when something is “cold” or “hot.”
This is something I like best about swackett X — it doesn’t force somebody elses definition of warm or cold on me; also, it changes with the season and it’s very easily adjustable.
At the bottom of the window you see different tabs; hitting Forecast will bring you to the predictions for the upcoming week. On the top there is a row with the hourly forecast for the current day, on the bottom for the next seven (both rows are scrollable horizontally).
By tapping any of the info boxes they flip around and you will be presented with some more in-depth information for the time frame it represents.
Continuing our walk-through of the tabs, the Imagery will show you weather maps with precipitation, wind speed, uv exposure and a regional satellite image.
The regional satellite image is in fact animated and shows the cloud cover over the course of the past three hours. Alerts is a feature that, to my knowledge, only works for the US and will display weather warnings if dangerous conditions arise.
Sharing is obviously aimed at those wanting to share the weather (forecast) with their peeps on Facebook or Twitter; the Settings allow you to tweak many of the app’s settings and add additional locations. Switching between cities is very comfortable and can be done from the main screen.
Swackett is also available for iPad and Mac; by creating an account you can sync your locations and preferences across the different platforms.
I think swackett X is definitely a very creative and unusual weather app. Its take on the display of weather information is completely different from the mainstream apps without loosing focus on the important data.
It takes a while to get completely familiar with the app because the information is not displayed concisely in one place (except for the forecast tab) — but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s just different. I wish, though, that the forecast tab would be somewhat more … elegant or more visually polished. You have all the information, but it’s somehow not as attractive as the rest of the app.
If you are bored by the standard weather app from Apple, give swackett X a try. It just might cut down your time needed for selecting your clothes in the morning as well. No guarantees, though.