Although there is no shortage of fine weather apps for Windows Phone, when it comes to Windows 8.1, things are a bit different. There is a selection of weather apps, but from my experience, there is a dearth of quality ones that highlight the Modern look of Windows for tablets and PCs. I know everyone cites Bing Weather as his or her go-to app, and with good reason. Assuming, however, you want something different– and the ability to ditch ads – Ambient Weather is my choice these days.
Ambient Weather is not a new app, in fact, I have been using for nearly a year now. However, Ambient Weather has been getting a nice amount of updates lately, and this mini-review is long overdue in highlighting this fantastic app.
Ambient Weather is not the most powerful weather app around, but it does contain plenty of detail and more than just the basics.
Weather is presented in four sections, including Current, Today, Hourly, and Daily. Each one of those provides current temperature, wind speed and precipitation. Current also includes the 'Feels like' temperature, which takes into consideration humidity levels and the Today area includes sunrise, sunset times, and humidity levels in percentage.
When it comes to Daily, there is a small snippet of the forecast displayed such as 'Mostly cloudy throughout the day' or 'Light rain in the morning' with matching weather icons.
Tapping into any of those sections reveals more information, such Summary and Details, like percent cloud cover, dew point, visibility and even the moon phase. Upon first launch of Ambient Weather, the app walks you through a tour of the app, making sure there is nothing hidden or missed.
Location support includes using your current location, which is ideal for roaming tablet or laptop users, entering in your location and handling multiple locations.
Unfortunately, Ambient Weather does not include radar support or push weather alerts at this time. However, Ambient Weather does display NOAA alerts for your location within the app itself. For radar enthusiasts, I currently recommend checking out MyRadar Weather Radar.
One of the best reasons to try out Ambient Weather is the background images, which you cannot find anywhere else. The reason for that is the 26-year-old developer, Kurt Dowswell, is a photographer who adds his photos to the app (he often updates the database with new images). The images are a welcomed change from the often-recycled public photos in other apps, or for apps that opt for just a plain background.
As expected, the background images reflect the current conditions. If there is precipitation, you get an excellent rain shot (or snow if that is the case); if sunny, you get a beautiful sky shot with a few clouds. At night, the app switches to a dusk shot of the sky. In short, the pictures give the app personality, and they sure brighten up things.
What is a proper weather app without a Live Tile? Luckily, Ambient Weather has one that provides you with the current temperature, weather conditions, location, precipitation percentage, and wind speed.
Tile sizes include small, medium, wide, and the awesome large version, covering all the bases. Like the app itself, the Live Tile's image is taken from Dowswell's personal collection.
Ambient Weather is free to use, although there are ads and the Live Tile only functions for the first seven days. You can remove ads and keep the Live Tile for a one-time purchase of $1.49. Value? I think it is worth it, considering weather apps tend to be one of the most frequently used on a tablet, PC, or laptop.
Back in March, we did a roundup of the best weather apps for Windows 8 and to be honest, not much has changed. Due to the design, frequent app updates, and the ability to ditch ads, Ambient Weather is my go-to choice. In the end, it is a personal decision as to which weather app you prefer, but in case you did not know about Ambient Weather, I think it is worth a quick look.
Is there a newer weather app on the Store worth highlighting? Let me know below in comments. If you use Ambient Weather, give a shout out as to why you prefer it to others.
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Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.