Does its job

The free version still beats searching for forecasts from the smartphone browser, but we're waiting for the next improvement--or the next weather app.

WeatherBug's free, ad-supported climate-reader doesn't have the nicest design we've seen--not by a long shot--but it is useful nonetheless. The app attempts to locate your whereabouts without prodding you first, but you can turn off the preference for it to get a location fix in the preferences, particularly if you're often indoors. It's neat that tapping the menu key produces a grid of actions and views that delve deeper into the mercury than simple daily highs and lows, but having the phone's "back" button threaten to close when you press it takes some getting used to, especially when that button often serves a secondary navigation button in other programs.

WeatherBug includes a good range of tools from a multiday forecast to a video of current conditions and maps. You can also set the icon to act as a widget that shows a picture of current conditions and displays the day's high and low when you scroll over it. Unfortunately, that setting didn't always work in our tests, and climate details filled in slowly even over 3G. The free version still beats searching for forecasts from the smartphone browser, but we're waiting for the next improvement--or the next weather app. The premium version, WeatherBug Elite, also pushes alerts and contains a weather widget and enhanced map layers.

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