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Five best weather apps for your smartphone

Five best weather apps for your smartphone

5/20/2014

Now that the weather is finally beginning to warm up after a long, cold winter, many people are undoubtedly eager to plan outdoor events. But whether you're going for a hike, a stroll in the park, a round of Frisbee or a visit to an outdoor flea market, the weather will still be a factor. You need to know what climate conditions to expect before you arrive.

With that in mind, here are five of the best weather apps for your smartphone.

1. Yahoo! Weather
Yahoo! Weather is an extremely popular option, and for good reason. The app, which is free to download, won a 2013 Design Award from Apple thanks to its attractive, informative layout. Last year, LifeHacker declared this to be among the best full-featured weather apps available for iPhone users. There is also an Android version which, as Tom's Guide noted, is now on the same level as its iOS counterpart. The app displays images of your current location along with the time and weather conditions. You can also view heat, radar and satellite maps. The source noted that Yahoo! Weather does not have as many features as some competitors, but it provides the most basic, useful information in an extremely pleasant, effective manner.

2. Dark Sky
Dark Sky is another great, free option. As TechCrunch reported, this app began as a 2011 Kickstarter project dedicated to providing hyperlocal forecasts. Dark Sky can forecast rain to the minute, and offers graphs to demonstrate likely future rain patterns. Additionally, the source pointed out that recent updates have made Dark Sky even more powerful, providing users with 24-hour and 7-day forecasts. TechCrunch reported that some consumers have complained that the app drains their smartphone's batteries, but Dark Sky's co-creator maintains that whenever investigated, such claims prove unwarranted.

3. The Weather Channel mobile app
Another free option, The Weather Channel app is available for iOS, Android and Windows phone users. Tom's Guide noted that this is a fairly robust offering, providing users with temperature, wind and visibility data on an hourly, daily or weekly basis. The app offers interactive maps that incorporate Doppler radar information. Notably, The Weather Channel app also features a significant social sharing component, allowing users to upload videos and photos directly to social media platforms.

4. Weathertron
An iOS app, Weathertron offers a more in-depth weather forecast experience. As Mashable noted, this app provides visuals of minute-to-minute forecast information, complete with interactive graphics that can compare temperatures between days. The app also provides a timeline clarifying forecast temperatures and precipitation throughout the day. Unlike the previous apps on this list, Weathertron costs $0.99 to download.

5. Solar
If you want a minimalist weather app, Solar is likely your best option. As Mashable pointed out, Solar, which is free for the iOS, features a simple but visually beautiful design. Basic weather data, including temperature and sky conditions, is displayed in front of a striking colorscape. This colorscape, as well as the weather data, is updated hourly. And if you want more information, simply slide down to view an extended forecast.

Whichever app or apps you choose, you should also consider investing in a cell phone insurance plan in case your device is exposed to rain, sleet or snow. ProtectCELL's insurance plan offers complete protection, starting as low as $29.99, and is available for iPhones, Android devices and most other smartphone models.

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