The last of the snow has melted, temperatures are rising and the sun is shining sweetly—yes folks, spring is in the air! People are out and about, enjoying the warmer weather. That doesn’t mean that we are well rid of rain for good; March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb, April is the Cruelest Month and May… well, we shall see what May has in store for us. One thing is for sure: it would be nice to know when to expect oncoming rain showers…
Rain Alarm is an app that promises to do just that: it sends you a warning every time showers are expected in your area. Find out how well it works in today’s review.
Features & Use
The app’s function is to let you know if rain or snow are coming your way. Sounds quite basic, right? Well, the app can do a little bit more than issue a rain alarm (via vibration and LED): it also provides you with a weather chart and a widget. There are also lots of settings options such as configuring how you’d like to be notified and making changes to the app to suit your personal needs.
After starting the app you will find a map on which your current location is indicated. We recommend using GPS connection to pinpoint your exact location, but it is not obligatory to resort to GPS. After your location has been determined and the weather data has loaded, you can click on the ‘Play’ button in order to display up to 120 minutes preview of the rain clouds in your area.
The following functions can be found by hitting the menu button:
• Updates (weather updates)
• Change viewing mode (map / satellite)
• Change viewpoint (use the compass function to view different parts of the map)
• Help (very useful: lots of tips, an FAQ and a link to the developer’s website)
The settings are rather opulent: the app can be tweaked or completely reformatted according to your own ideas and preferences. The interval at which updates with weather data are displayed can be set (in minutes) as well as the radius that should be scanned for rain clouds (in km).
Your location can be determined automatically (should you opt for this you can decide how often your location is to be updated), or manually, for which case you need to enter a location. There’s also an ‘advanced Settings’ option for the really nit-picky stuff. Here you can determine which units are to be used, how Rain Alarm is to perform for the case that you don’t have internet connection. You can also enter several locations for which precipitation warnings should be issued.
Profiles can be set up determining when alarms should go off. Decide how close or big rain clouds have to be before you receive a notification. Warnings can come in the form of a sound, LED or vibration.
The widget can also be manipulated (as well as subsequently placed in the homescreen, of course). Both the widget's functions and look can be determined. Choose between a 2x1 or 1x1 widget. There’s also a complex widget motif (which displays the size, density and distance of a oncoming clouds in three separate bars) or a simple display (an open or closed umbrella, depending on the weather) to choose from. You can also select different designs and colours for the widgets.
With the sheer amount of settings options available one might think that the app can quickly become somewhat overwhelming. However, due to its logic setup and useful functions users will come to appreciate each option once they’ve gotten used to the app. I have had really positive experiences with Rain Alarm thus far and can honestly say that the app has helped me circumvent a few sticky situations. That being said, it’s impossible to make 100% accurate predictions of the weather, but at least with Rain Alarm users can select of they want to receive tons of warnings or just a few every now and then…
Screen & Controls
The app itself – and remember that it consists of a map and a settings menu – has a basic look with its black background, but if you set things up well you won’t be needing the actual app very often as the widget and alarm function are the real stars of Rain Alarm. The designs for the widgets are very nice and well thought out.
Another positive factor is that each settings option comes with an explanation; a few sentences explaining what each function is good for. Very helpful!
Speed & Stability
Rain Alarm didn’t crash while I was testing it, but it takes a bit for the weather map to load, especially when the connection isn’t super fast. The updates are fast, though, even when network connection has been interrupted.
There’s a free and full version of Rain Alarm. The ‘Plus Version’ costs EUR3,75. The free version has a few limitations: the search radius and search intervals can’t be adjusted, there are fewer motives for widgets and there’s an ad banner. If you feel that you need the plus version in all its glory you can rest assured that it’s worth every penny.