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Review: Poncho – Bright and breezy weather app

Developer: Poncho Inc.
Price: Free
Size: 35.3MB
Version: 2.0.4
Platform: iPhone & iPad

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When it comes to weather apps, many reviewers will swear by the hyper-detailed likes of Dark Sky and MeteoEarth. The former can tell you precisely when and where it’s going to rain to an almost uncanny degree, while the latter packs in the kind of detailed data that professional weather reporters rely on.

The blunt truth, however, is that most of us simply don’t need that level of meteorological insight in our lives. We just need to know whether to pick up an umbrella on the way out of the door in the morning.

Version 2.0 adds new life hacks

For several years now Poncho has been providing just such a succinct service, but it’s the app’s side-order of sass that really makes it stand out. With Version 2.0 recently adding fresh astrological outlooks, mantras, life hacks, and iMessage stickers, now is as good a time as any to (re)visit this weather app.

The main way you’ll interact with Poncho is through its thrice daily weather notifications. By default these occur at 7am, 12pm (though only occasionally) and 6pm, but you can adjust the timing and frequency of these alerts to suit.

Poncho is all about the upbeat notifications

You’ll also get special alerts whenever there are severe weather warnings or impending rain, though these only seem to apply in select areas. It’s unclear how extensive this special coverage is, but during a week of usage in Bristol – the tenth most populous city in the UK – we didn’t receive special notifications for any of the outbreaks of adverse weather.

Still, Poncho’s standard weather reports generally proved to be on the money. Right from your iPhone’s lock screen you’ll be told useful glanceable information like “Drizzle later,” followed by a couple of descriptive weather emoji and the high and low temperatures for the day.

It might be zany, but Poncho can also be useful

You’ll also get an amusing little phrase that’s only tangentially related to the weather report. For example, on a clear day you might be told: “I’ll be clear, too: I think beets taste like dirt,” while a drizzly summer’s day might yield: “Time to do some spring cleaning! Ya, I know I’m months late. Don’t wanna talk about it.”

Other days might provide dubious astrological advice or little life hack one-liners. Needless to say, it’s all very hip and tongue-in-cheek – albeit in a far less cynical tone than the similarly themed CARROT Weather.

If GIFs are your thing, Poncho is your weather app

Jump into the app proper and you’ll receive a humorous GIF to accompany the day’s non-sequitur. Below that you get Actual Weather – a breakdown of the predicted weather conditions over the next three hours – followed by a five day forecast, the current wind speed and a three day UV Index prediction. This is all genuinely useful stuff, presented in a clear and concise manner.

Another example of Poncho’s unique combination of usefulness and playfulness comes in the shape of a Hair Forecast, which tells you in one or two words what kind of hair day you can expect to have. “Looking fly even with flyaways,” we were told under a bold header of “Wind-Frizz!”.

Find out if you’re in for a good hair day

Poncho’s presentation is bright and clear, which is perfectly in keeping with the kind of young audience it’s evidently aiming at. It has to be said that the app’s particular brand of internet savvy, pop culture-referencing humour won’t be to everyone’s taste, and it may even start to grate on you given the sheer number of notifications that it will be sending your way.

Of course, if you’re looking for a weather app that plays things straight then Apple includes a perfectly decent one with iOS. Meanwhile, the likes of Dark Sky and MeteoEarth are available for those who need extra layers of detail. Poncho, however, is perfect for a certain niche that likes their weather apps like a spring morning – bright, breezy, and just a little bit fresh.