Haze: A Minimal Weather App With Substance

Its seems like every other week I learn about a hot new weather app that’s just launched in the App Store, and for some reason I’m always excited. But when I look at the list of weather apps I’ve purchased, I find myself asking why I even bought them. The Weather Channel — an app I review in June 2012 — provides a lot of information, but often more than I need on a daily basis. Dark Sky is an app I’ll use for its unique radar map, but only during times of inclement weather. Solar is a beautiful app and I love the hourly report feature, but unlike The Weather Channel it offers too little information.

The hot new weather app right now is Haze, which, according to the App Store description, is built on the premise of providing a “radiantly crafted forecast at a glance.” So of course I had to buy it immediately and take it for a spin, so to speak. After spending a few days using it as my No. 1 source for weather information, I’m ready to share my thoughts.

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Sunshine, Temperature & Precipitation

When you open Haze initially, you’ll need to run through the introductory tutorial and grant location permissions. Once that’s done you’ll unlock your first theme, which is something I’ll go into further detail later. The app is divided into three panels — Sunshine, Temperature and Precipitation — and each panel features a glowing orb that displays information relevant to the panel. You can switch between panels by tapping their perspective icons at the bottom, or simply flicking left or right anywhere on-screen.

Beautiful and minimal are words I'd use to describe Haze's design.

Beautiful and minimal are words I’d use to describe Haze’s design.

The orb in the Temperature panel, as you might imagine, displays the current temperature in your precise location (Haze doesn’t offer support for multiple locations, unfortunately). Tapping the temperature orb pops out five smaller orbs that offer up more detailed information, such as the high and low temperature, “feels like” temperature (a.k.a. wind chill), and wind speed and direction (Haze makes use of the iPhone’s compass, and the orb’s arrow will rotate as you move your phone).

Tap the orb to display additional information.

Tap the orb to display additional information.

On the Precipitation panel, the main orb provides the precipitation chance in percentage, and the smaller orbs display the precipitation amount in square inches, humidity levels and atmospheric pressure. The Sunshine panel is a rather unique feature of Haze, as the main orb displays the number of hours of expected sunshine for the day. The smaller orbs display the cloud coverage, UV, and sunrise and sunset times.

The Sunshine panel uses yellows and oranges, while the Precipitation panel uses various shades of blue.

The Sunshine panel uses yellows and oranges, while the Precipitation panel uses various shades of blue.

Tomorrow’s Trends

The feature that sets Haze apart from other weather apps is the animated feature, referred to as “tomorrow’s trends.” Those familiar with Solar know that the app uses a gradient to signify the time of day and weather conditions, and Haze also utilizes gradients as a main feature, but in a much different manner. The gradient animates directionally (up or down), indicating the panel’s trend for the following day; the faster the animation the more stark the change. So if the current temperature is 10 degrees and the background is animating rather quickly in an upwards direction, expect the temperature tomorrow to be a great deal warmer.

If it appears that the background isn’t moving, it’s not because the app is broken. It simply means there will be little to no change in that aspect of the weather on the following day.

Five-Day Forecasts

By pulling down every so slightly on any of the panels, you’ll find a five day forecast specific to the individual selection. Much like the main orb, the miniature orb for each day varies in position based on the information displayed within (e.g. an orb with a forecasted temperature of 27 degrees will be lower than an orb with a forecasted temperature of 35 degrees). One of the main features that’s lacking in Haze is detailed information about future weather, and the five-day forecast and tomorrow’s trends feature is really all you have at your disposal — but that’s the trade-off you make with minimally designed apps.

A five day forecast is one of the few sources available for future weather information.

A five day forecast is one of the few sources available for future weather information.

Themes

The color schemes for the three panels are quite stark, which is a sign of great design — otherwise it’d be rather difficult to tell which panel you’re viewing. The overall use of color is quite eye-catching, and the availability of interchangeable themes (accessed in the settings menu by dragging down on the screen) makes it all the more enjoyable. There are eight themes in total, with the Monochrome and Purple Haze themes available by default. To unlock the remaining six themes, you’ll need to perform various tasks, such as sharing your weather stats, rating the app and gifting the app (also done in the settings menu).

Each theme gives Haze a whole new feel.

Each theme gives Haze a whole new feel.

The Bottom Line

Haze may be a minimally designed weather app, but it’s got a lot more to offer than just the temperature and current weather conditions. The three-panel system is a concept that’s really well put together, and I particularly love knowing the amount of sunshine I can expect for the day (though the information can be a tad depressing some days). In addition, the app features sound effects that are extremely suiting for the app’s overall aesthetics (sound effects can be turned off, if you happen to find them annoying).

It’s true that Haze does not offer hour-by-hour forecasts, a weather radar or detailed future forecasts, but it’s difficult to fault developers Robocat for not including features that are clearly missing for a reason. With that in mind, weather stats junkies need not apply when considering Haze as their go-to weather app. However, if you’re someone that needs to quickly check the more mundane weather stats, like temperature and precipitation, Haze is more than suited for your needs.

Personally, I’m going to continue to use Haze day to day, but rely on Dark Sky for my weather radar needs. If you’re interested in picking up Haze, it’s currently available for $0.99 in the App Store, with plans of a price increase to $2.99 in the future.


Summary

Check the temperature, precipitation, sunshine hours and more with this minimally designed weather app.

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