Users are also able to get current conditions from other local weather centers by simply clicking on the location name. For example, if you are getting weather from Chicago, IL, you may have your default set as O’Hare Intl Airport. By clicking on the O’Hare Intl Airport forecast, you will see a list of other local weather centers such as Midway Airport, Pal-Waukee Airport, Gary Regional, etc. This feature is very easy to overlook, but is great for getting a read on areas that are affected by a large body of water.
The marine forecast provides users with a brief overview of the current and next day, broken down into different parts of the day (morning, afternoon, evening, and night). The overviews include the general wind condition, wind speed and direction, and wave conditions. Selecting an overview provides surf information, wave height, mean wave, wind wave, and surface temperature.
The ski report feature did not seem to be working at the time of testing, as all the resort names entered produced an empty list on the next page.
The UI is very logical and straight forward. It is very easy to view any of your location forecasts – especially with the mapping of the enter key. Addition of a new location is a simple one-step process. Simply choosing New Location from the menu brings up the location setup screen where you can choose which type of forecast you want to retrieve. US locations can be quickly established by simply entering the zip code of the area. Entry of the zip code is quick, as the field defaults to numeric mode – handy for users with the 7100 series. If you aren’t sure of the zip code for the location, you can simply enter the city name and choose the state or province and country (US is the default) from a list.
All the forecasts are accompanied by basic icons to help you tell the forecast at a quick glance. The icons themselves are a bit difficult to make out, but are still a handy feature.
Express Weather’s performance through all our testing was outstanding. The entire forecast was loaded for each location in less than ten seconds, and the radar images in about ten to fifteen seconds. An updating information screen keeps you informed of the progress of the updates so you’re never left guessing if the application is indeed still gathering information, or if you’re just about to receive an email.
In addition to the quick retrieval of information, the UI is very responsive. Even the state and country lists load almost instantly, avoiding the performance pitfalls of many other programs with these lists.
This robust weather application gives users a full-featured forecast in remarkable time. Express Weather also avoids the limitations of forcing the user to choose a single location. Handmark offers a one-year subscription to the weather service for just $19.99, or as part of the Pocket Express suite for $69.99 per year or $6.99 per month. A free 30-day trial is available on their website, so be sure to give it a try. While there are a few programs out there that offer weather forecasts, Express Weather offers an affordable, quick running, and quick responding solution for weather updates on your BlackBerry.
Visit http://express.handmark.com/ for more details.
Reviewed by Kevin Muller. Kevin Muller is a Wisconsin native turned Chicago regular. He currently manage a Chicago Hip-Hop artist on rise named Marz, so he tends to find himself on the road for 3/4 of the year with touring and business trips to the East and West Coasts. While he’s on the road, his BlackBerry is the connection to the outside world, so having applications that assist with staying in touch are a must.
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