App Review: Breez

http://cdn.marketplaceimages.windowsphone.com/v8/images/7e971fee-7fae-4040-ad13-3c671115e2f4?imageType=ws_icon_large


Before I dig in to one of Windows Phone's most unique and well loved apps, first I'd like to explain a few things. For one, I'm not a professional reviewer (clearly), but I would like to make this a weekly segment of my own. Basically, I'd like to highlight and review a different Windows Phone app each week so new and veteran users of the platform can hopefully discover and enjoy new apps that they might find useful. My reviews will be based off the following, design, UI, Live Tile, and functionality. Since a weather app is usually the first thing many people download to their phones, I figure I'd start there.

DESIGN/ UI

Now the design of this app is very fitting for Windows Phone. It isn't gaudy, here is practically no added flourish and the overall design is mostly comprised of text. As soon as you enter the app you are greeted simply by the word "breeze" on the middle of the screen, which quickly gives away to a very simple looking set up. From top to bottom it displays the current time, the date what the weather is like (in my case, mostly cloudy) and the current temperature. The text gets slightly larger the farther down you look, assumingly in order of importance. At the very bottom there is an icon for wind direction, and your current location. One of the truly neat things about this app is how you interact with it. Unlike many other apps, you don't access different information through buttons, and the way you "scroll" wouldn't be immediately obvious either due to the lack of chrome. This adds to the overall minimalist look to the app. Of course, this would be an issue if it weren't for the tutorial that you get when you open the app for the first time. It works very simply, and to access all sorts of different information and features, your finger doesn't have to leave the screen even once. You can pull down to see the weather for the next three days, pull up and see the minute by minute weather (the farther you pull up the later in the day the forecast is). Pull left to add a city manually which is an easy process, though unnecessary if you only want to see the weather in your current location. To view these extra locations, you only need to pull right. The only major knock I have on the design is the fact that, to access the settings, you have to tap once in the middle of screen which is not indicated in the tutorial.

LIVE TILE

  • Large Tile: The large tile flips between two sides. One side indicated the same things that would be immediately seen when opening the app (location, temperature, time, current weather etc.) while the secondary side shows the weather for the next five days (everything from cloud cover, temperature to precipitation). It stays true to the rest of the apps design and looks minimal, though slightly cluttered on the primary side of the tile.
  • Medium Tile: The medium tile is actually arguably better looking than the large tile. It uses three different shades of your theme color on the back (lightest to darkest from top to bottom), and two on the primary side. It is fairly similar to the People live tile in this respect. The front of the medium tile displays all the same information as the large tile in a more condensed fashion, while the back offers the forecast for the next hour and next day.
  • Small Tile: The small tile is exactly the same as the front of the medium tile, and because of this is probably one of the worst designed parts of the app. The only thing legible is the current temperature, everything else would require a magnifying glass just to read. This makes the tile look like a mess and very unattractive.

Functionality

Breez mostly contains everything you'd need out of a weather app, although if you want to see what the weather is five days from now, or even four days from now, you won't be able to see that in the app itself, but you actually have to view the large live tile for this information. Even then, you can't see a full week's worth of weather. Breeze also lacks some of the extra information and features that are available in apps such as Moweather (such as "voice", daylight information, and pressure) and Microsoft's own Bing Weather app (maps and ski resort information). However, "breez" will fit most basic needs. One anecdotal flaw I experienced was that it didn't set up my "current" location as to where I presently was, but a city a North East of me, despite the fact that I could find my town when I manually entered it.

Final Thoughts

Breez is a beautiful app that offers up a unique and fun experience while remanding mostly intuitive. While there is a lack of functionality that leaves a bit to be desired, I still highly recommend this app as one of the best weather apps on the market.

Please take the time to criticize my criticizing if you feel it needs it, and to recommend me an app to review next week. I probably won't review any games, and I'll probably stay away from paid apps for the moment (however if the price is right and the app is more than exceptional I might be inclined to review it). Thank you for reading, and I hope to see you all later on the Verge.

Link to App: http://www.windowsphone.com/en-us/store/app/breez/d2455d62-0dbe-4c3f-b427-be7a179c8218