Bad weather is one thing technology won’t let us escape, no matter how hard we try. The new ClimaCell app will at least help you be prepared.
ClimaCell launched earlier this week on iOS with the promise of hyper-accurate forecasting, at least relative to the default weather app on your iPhone. In a Washington Post profile this week, the company behind ClimaCell explained how its “weather of things” approach helps it create better forecasts faster.
That’s all well and good, but should you make ClimaCell your default weather app? After using it exclusively this week, I can definitively say “maybe.” Just ask yourself if you’re willing to pay for a weather app.
Not just any weather app
The unique hook to ClimaCell is that it uses data collected from “connected cars, airplanes, drones and IoT devices” and combines that with other meteorological sources to create a more up-to-date view of the weather around you. In other words, the app can adapt to changing conditions pretty quickly.
As such, ClimaCell relies on push notifications more than something like Dark Sky, the weather app I’ve used for the past few years. It will give you the forecast for the next day at night, as well as warn you when precipitation is about to drop near you, as long as you let the app access your location.
This has definitely been my favorite thing about ClimaCell in the week I’ve spent using it. New York City has been plagued by random storms in the middle of otherwise nice days lately, so an app that tells me when it’s about to rain has been certainly welcome.
When it’s hard to tell the weather from the nearest window or, like me, you just forget to check your phone, it helps to get a heads up.
A modern approach
ClimaCell definitely positions itself as a cutting-edge weather app, for better or worse. We live in an era where everything is collecting all sorts of data about you at all times, so I suppose it’s nice that an app is using that to give us better weather forecasts.
On the other hand, ClimaCell feels like it’s chasing trends in a way that isn’t necessary. You can get a “Story” version of each day’s weather by tapping an icon on the lower right corner of the home screen, which is what it sounds like. It’s a Snapchat or Instagram Story version of the weather forecast.
It’s pretty goofy and absolutely harmless, but I also didn’t find it very useful. That same information is available on the home screen anyway.
As an aside, I should mention the app isn’t without bugs right now. You can do specific location searches (as well as save home and work addresses), but the in-app GPS seems a little iffy. My home address, for example, directs to a completely different part of New York City on ClimaCell’s map. That’s a problem for an app that sells itself to users on its accuracy.
At least give it a shot
The only reason I don’t wholeheartedly recommend ClimaCell is that you need to pay a monthly fee to access all of these features. Without paying, your forecasts won’t go quite as far into the future, and you won’t have as many alert options.
It comes out to $2 per month (or $12 annually if you pay for a year upfront), so it’s not exorbitant, but I understand most people don’t want to pay for weather forecasts. The good news is that there’s a week-long free trial upon downloading the app, so you can get a taste of the full experience before deciding what you want to do.
ClimaCell is still in its infancy and will theoretically improve over time, but I might still recommend Dark Sky over it. That costs money, too, but it’s a one-time $3.99 purchase for an app with many of the same features. Having said that, the specificity of ClimaCell’s alert notifications is genuinely useful for people who live in places with volatile weather.
At the very least, you should try ClimaCell’s free trial and see for yourself if it’s the weather app for you.