Spoiler alert! Aelios is yet another weather app that claims to be the most popular weather app in the world. I can’t deny that it’s slick as hell and if I ever figure out how to use it, I may warm up to it. But since Carol’s the weather junky, I’ll probably just continue to rely on her. Five stars for pretty, three for usefulness.
I was writing this review while sitting at Thunderbird Coffee with Carol and waiting for our Honda to be fixed across the street, when Carol called my attention to the little princess who was pushing the door open ahead of her parents. She was dressed in pink shorts with pink flip flops, a white t-shirt with pink sparkles and an enormous plastic pink and white tiara.
I asked Carol if that brought back memories of her childhood when she wore a tiara in public, and she told me she never needed a tiara. People just knew she was a princess. And, as much as I love her, I have no doubt that she was right.
I report this incident because we were comparing temperature forecasts as I was reviewing Aelios Weather, just to see how well it performed. The Austin Statesman site, Weatherbug (105) and Weather Doodle (103) were all within two degrees of each other for the high forecast. Aelios Weather was well below the norm (100). So this is the perfect app for people who want to measure their weather like their weight by setting the scale down.
When you first launch Aelios Weather, you will definitely be impressed. The interface is nothing less than gorgeous, displaying the daily forecast around a dial that looks something like the f-stop ring on an SLR camera. It may take you a few minutes to realize why you’re seeing seeing eight different temperatures, however, because the app does nothing to explain itself or its features. Only when you look closely do you realize that the dial is actually a military clock face (0-2400) with pointers to indicate the quarters of the day (6, 12, 18 and 24, which would be 3, 6, 9 and 12 in American).
Aelios Weather displays eight different forecasts around a 24 hour military clock, so that you can track the weather from midnight to midnight. You can see the temperature plus a sun/cloud icon and the wind speed as well.
But let’s not nitpick yet. Not only is the display breathtaking, if you click in the center lens the display will convert to a Google Map satellite-style display allowing you to scroll to different areas around your city. Not the map, mind you, but the brown earth satellite-style display where you can zoom in and spy on the neighbor’s swimming pool.
You can even circumnavigate the globe in search of weather (or simply type the city name in the search field). For Carol, who loves Google Maps second only to weather apps and conspiracy theory web sites,1 this feature alone would put her in weather app heaven.
If it predicted temperature correctly.
Which, in our three spot tests, it didn’t.
If I were a Republican, this one example would prove the entire app is a lie. If I were a scientist I would have to test twenty or thirty more times to make sure this one occurrence wasn’t an anomaly. Since I’m just a reviewer I will simply report what happened this one time and let you decide.
You can also rotate the dial like you would the f-stop ring on a camera to shift to a weekly forecast, showing the highs, lows, wind speed and precipitation for each of the following seven days. Strangely, the weekly forecasts include precipitation, but not the daily forecast. I guess the developers figure you can guess from the cloud cover icon. Again, the temperature forecast highs are three to four degrees lower than other apps.
So there we have it. Aelios Weather:
- Is breathtakingly gorgeous,
- Has a satellite-style map display, and
- Can be switched to weekly forecast view.
Now I can nitpick, which, admittedly, I’ve been doing already, but I’m going to be honest about now.
First, I’ve been playing with Aelios Weather for a week now and I’m still not sure if I have it working right. Since I can’t find a help file, info link or directions, I guess I’ll be stuck. What leads me to suspect I haven’t figured it out is the dial itself (if it actually is a dial, which I’m beginning to doubt). It seems to indicate that you can switch to different settings (e.g. there is a position for “tomorrow” and what appears to be a toggle for “next 24 hours”). There is also a brass colored pointer.
As far as interfaces go, you can’t get one more slick or as puzzling as this. I still haven’t figured out the purpose of this window.
If I touch the dial to change the settings, I only end up zooming or switching from the map to the background view. I finally realized that the brass pointer was not a dial setting indicator but the equivalent of an hour-hand. This makes me suspect that the switch settings aren’t settings at all, but permanent displays made to resemble dial settings.
I could grumble about people who design pretty interfaces without stopping to think how people will interpret them, but I will simply settle for this sentence. What looks like a dial may not be a dial at all, but the designer’s idea of a “cool look” for the app. This still leaves me wondering why developer Jilian would include a “tomorrow” faux setting, but since there are no help files, I can’t answer.
In the end I’m left with the impression I would get when I would hook up with a gorgeous date and then actually have a conversation. Looks, I would realize, might not prepare you for the experience to follow.
Since Aelios Weather is $3 and more accurate weather apps are free, the experience feels more like an expensive date but a disappointing….Never mind.
Jenny Manytoes rates Aelios Weather
Jenny Manytoes would take a nap next to Aelios Weather. Nice house with somebody home, but not quite who I expected.