Weatherman Umbrella review: by a weather man


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Erin Lawrence

It’s not every day you find the perfect assignment for the perfect writer. But when the Weatherman Umbrella landed on my desk, I knew I couldn’t trust just anyone with this review. The Weatherman Umbrella promises to keep you apprised of when you need to bring it along, tracking weather conditions in your area and letting your know when you need to bring it. Does it work? I enlisted weatherman and almost-full-fledged-meteorologist Kevin Stanfield to test it out.


Weatherman Umbrella Review

Alright, let’s get one thing out of the way right now: I don’t like feeling replaced. I just don’t. Probably a natural human response to items named after your profession. If there was a Roomba knockoff called “The Plumber” that also plunged the toilet, I’m sure more than a few tradespeople would have something to say about it.

Let’s, for a moment, ignore the extras that this device brings to the table, and “brass tacks” the basic function: the Weatherman Umbrella is going to keep the rain off. But we can go deeper.

The industrial-strength fiberglass frame is designed to prevent inversions and is all you need to turn your less-than-40-pound toddler into Mary Poppins in a strong wind (NOTE: DO NOT DO THIS). I tested in 43 km/h peak wind in a field near my house. No give. Hold it straight, friends! It’ll catch a breeze.

Let’s talk tech.weatherman umbrella review

The Weatherman Umbrella is, in a word, fantastic. As a weather specialist, it’s been fun having the Weatherman Umbrella app on my phone, since I get another opinion on forecast conditions for that evening, and because my phone tells me if I need to grab my umbrella on the way out the door. Neat! I want several elements to be borne in mind in this discussion: first, I’m operating on an iPhone 5S. I’m not a fancy person. Second, it’s Calgary. The going expression here is “If you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes.”

That’s a real saying. Things change quick here.

Using Weatherman Umbrella App

The app itself does not get along well with my phone. The app can be up in seconds, but there have been occasions where I get a “white screen of death” and I am required to restart the app for it to function. My takeaway is that the app requires a decent deal of processing power for a good phone to use.

When you’re in, there are several Menu choices: Weather, which is configured to your location, or wherever you like; My Umbrellas, which has a neat feature I’ll chat about in a minute, Notifications, which is where you schedule the app’s delivery, and Settings, which is where the legal stuff is, and you can adjust between Celsius and Fahrenheit.weatherman umbrella review

The Weather function on mine takes a little while to load. When it does, the numerical information’s reasonably accurate, although from a conditions perspective, there have been some lapses.

Is Weatherman Umbrella Accurate?

Using my weather modelling systems, I saw a streak of forecasting  that all called for rain,  while the Weatherman Umbrella App opts to call for sun. I don’t hold the app fully responsible for this – with mountains to the west, Calgary’s a tough city to forecast for, and can be merciless to forecast models that are better suited to flatter regions.

Of the eight notifications I received, only a handful were accurate.

On some days, I received no notification at all, which was marginally more troubling, especially since there were a few moments of light rain where the Weatherman Umbrella would have come in mighty handy!

Of those errors in forecasting on the Weather Umbrella, around 75% called for rain where sun developed, and another 25% did the opposite, calling for sun when a smattering of rain occurred.

Find your lost Weatherman Umbrella easilyweatherman umbrella review

The My Umbrella button is by far the most fun. I’m writing this, from the basement, and with the touch of a button, (the “Play Sound” button), I can make the umbrella beep. This is thanks to a little button or fob (photo at top) that fits neatly in a pocket on the underside of the umbrella. So not only is this thing impossible to lose (unless you also lose your phone, somehow, in which case it was only a matter of time for your umbrella), it’s the most fun I can have irritating my wife without ever leaving my office.

If you’re looking for a high-quality umbrella that lets you know where it is and when you need it, the Weatherman Umbrella is most certainly for you. I love this thing. It’s great. The app leaves a little to be desired for speed and forecasting accuracy, but I partly blame the city it’s forecasting in; one of the toughest to predict in Canada.

With a little more app development down the pipeline, I’m positive this will be a valuable tool for the techie in your household.

Just don’t replace me. Please.

The Weatherman Umbrella sells for $89USD for the 62″ size and $95USD for the 68″ size from the Weatherman Umbrella website.

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