Ever since I first saw it, I knew I had to have it. But before I get into the details, some quick background. For nearly 4 years I’d been using a cheap gadget I bought at Walmart to keep track of the weather indoors and outdoors. The base unit had a digital readout the communicated with a chunky brick (with a small flashing red light) that you had to put somewhere outside. For a while, it was great. I had the current temperature inside and out. But then I moved into a condo without a balcony.
While I was working out a way to hang the chunky wireless brick outside without sending it crashing into the people on the sidewalk below, the said chunky brick decided it was tired of talking.
I considered going without, but I forgot how fickle the weather in Atlanta can be. I found myself outside without a coat during a cold snap, or wearing a heavy jacket on the recent freak 75 degree winter days. I kept forgetting to go online to check the weather before hand. So I was in the market for a new unit. And then I saw this “5-day wireless weather watcher” (seriously, that’s its name) and it blew my mind.
As its overly verbose name implies, it gives you a full 5 day forcast, complete with high and low temperatures, and a cool little icon to clue you in on the expected conditions (sunny, partially cloudy, snow, rain, etc.). The current day’s information is prominently displayed and you get the supremely handy current weather reading in your area. And did I mention, no chunky brick to hang precariously outside?
How is this possible you ask? Like the cool clocks you see these days that automagically set themselves, this little 4 inch by 4 inch unit uses radio it receives from AccuWeather to set itself appropriately for your region! Don’t believe me? Take a closer look at the picture. See “BOS” under the current weather reading? That means this unit was photographed somewhere in Boston (BOS is the airport code for Boston Logan Airport). I see “ATL” on mine. (Apparently it uses airport codes, which makes me wonder how well it works away from major airports.)
Ok, so now you’re wondering how much the subscription is for the service. It’s free. That clinched it for me. The only reason I didn’t buy it on the spot was because I knew I was traveling soon to a sales tax-free state. And while it isn’t the most expensive weather gizmo I’ve seen, $85 does generate a fair amount of sales tax.
I keep trying to come up with some negatives about the unit and all the things I come up with are really not that bad. It is $85, which is a good chunk of change, but I’ve seen others that are spendier. It doesn’t tell you the day of the month, or the month for that matter, but I rarely used the old unit for that. Unless this thing abruptly dies in the next week or so, I’d say it was an awesome buy.
UPDATE: I still think this is a great gadget, but I’ve noticed it’s gotten mixed reviews online, specifically regarding its accuracy. This morning I noticed what seemed to be an inaccuracy: I saw thunderstorms, and while it was overcast and with a bit of precipitation, there were no such storms. However, checking the weather map this evening, there do appear to be some small storms rolling in. I think what’s happening here is that you get an icon for the day, the same way you get a high and a low temperature. The icon doesn’t change to reflect the minute-by-minute current conditions the way the current temperature does, it’s intended to be an indicator of the weather prediction for the entire day. Which means that if it was going to be sunny all morning and tornadoes all afternoon and clear the rest of the evening, you’d probably see a tornado icon (if it has one). And as it happens, weather predictions are often wrong. Today, it appears the forecast was right on.
If this sounds as cool to you as it does to me, you can pick it up online here.
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