I bought the Brookstone Weather Wizard (which is made by Ambient Devices) as a Christmas gift for my weather junkie-girlfriend and thought I’d post a review now that we’ve been using it for over a month. And, I must say, it has delivered on its goal of allowing the viewer to get the weather forecast at a glance. For example, prior to buying it, I never checked the weather because it was so time consuming to get the weather forecast from the TV. Now, I get it in 2 seconds.
Overall, I recommend it but there are a few things you should know before you spend your hard earned cash on it:
- The E-Ink display technology is pretty cool – it does a good job of making you feel like you’re reading ink on real paper, which is easier to read than traditional LCDs found in most other weather devices.
- The various weather icons are very intuitive, have a ‘clean’ design, and are large enough to read from a decent viewing distance.
- It’s the perfect size – not too big, not too small.
- Includes a magnet so you can attach it to your fridge.
- Includes a foldable stand so you can display it on a desk, nightstand, etc.
- Automatically determines your location (we just inserted a pair of AAA batteries and after 5 – 10 mins the weather was displayed for Boston)
- Clock is sychronized by satellite
- Price ($85) is expensive compared to other weather devices (but can be had for a fraction of the cost on eBay)
- Some of the city codes are not intuitive (I had to loook at their website)
- Weather is only from Accuweather.com
- There isn’t a ‘real feel’ temperature.
- Sometimes, the unit is not in-sync with Accuweather’s website. A couple of times, we noticed the unit was reporting a temp that was 10-20 degrees higher than the Accuweather website and it took around 30 – 60 minutes for it to synchronize with the website.
- The Weather Wizard should display the ‘real feel’ temp.
- Add the ability to choose between Accuweather or Weather.com data. Some people prefer Weather.com over Accuweather (I know this would require infrastructure changes to Ambient Device’s weather network but it would be a nice selling feature).
The Brookstone/Ambient Devices Weather Wizard is designed very well from both a physical and software/user interface perspective. It accomplishes its goal of allowing people to get the weather forecast at a quick glance and would be a great gift item for your friends/family who simply need to know the weather forecast at a high level. However, it may not be enough for those who want detailed weather data such as radar & satellite maps, wind speed/direction, or are just pure weather junkies that “need” to have as much weather data as possible (you know who you are!).
Given it’s retail price ($85), it will appeal to those who either have a bit more disposable income and/or those who are willing to pay a premium for a well-designed product w/Accuweather data. Other weather devices, like those found at Radio Shack or Best Buy, will appeal to those who just want a basic weather device at the lowest cost.
Personally, I’m happy with it because it serves as my primary (and only) source of weather info (and I no longer ask my girlfriend what the outside temp is every morning!). As for my girlfriend, the TV is still her primary source for the weather and she uses the Brookstone Weather Wizard as a complementary source.