PlayStation Mobile has opened up a wonderful world of new content for PS Vita owners. As well as a range of budget prices games from new developers eager to join the array of teams already working on Sony consoles, bringing new and original games to us hungry gamers, many offering entertaining, bite-sized gaming chunks that we can enjoy between meatier gaming sessions, it’s also enabled us to widen the scope of what we can do with the Vita, bringing us a range of Apps currently missing from the range available as native PS Vita titles.
So that brings me onto Sola Weather. Developer Zhang Bo has written a wide range of Apps for PlayStation Mobile over the last year or so covering a plethora of functions all currently missing from the PS Vita’s operating system as well as features that some gamers have been asking for. This time with Sola Weather, he’s created a small package offering PS Vita owners local weather forecasting at your fingertips, as well as giving you the opportunity to check weather in any other city that you want.
Or that’s what you’re lead to believe. On loading the App you’re informed that it uses location data from your PS Vita to get things started. Fair enough and if it’s going to provide you with a local weather forecast then naturally it will help if the app knows where you are. The app very quickly makes use of your location data and just a couple of seconds later moves into the main screen displaying a coastal photograph and overlaid onto that is the current time, a panel with a three day forecast, and details of your current location and the weather at the present time.
Everything is presented clearly and is easy to read and understand. For the current day, there is the temperature, an icon representing the current weather along with a humidity reading and minimum and maximum temperatures. The three-day forecasts offers the weather icon along with minimum and maximum temperatures. There’s no reference to where the weather data has been sourced and I wasn’t able to check how accurate it was, but I’ll come onto why in a moment…
Touching the bottom right corner of the screen will change the temperature readings between centigrade and farenheit, ideal for users no matter where you live in the world and at the top of the screen you have the option to choose another location. Now this is where I encountered some strange issues… The PS Vita is known to have a strange quirk when it comes to location data. For those of you who use the Vita’s GPS function at home and who have moved house at some point, some users have found that their console thinks that it’s still at their old address and no amount of refreshing using Near or the Maps app changes things. Other devices you may have connected to your home router work fine, but not even a factory reset can convince your Vita that you’ve moved house.
My own Vita is such a strange beast and even though I moved to South Wales back in September, it still thinks I live in Lichfield – over 160 miles away (as you can see from the screenshot below from Maps). We live in a remote area with a population of 2,000 people yet Near tells me that there are about 50 people in my immediate area using Vitas… all in Lichfield, of course! Now, it’s rare that I use Near so it’s not an issue but when it comes to Sola Weather, it’s understandably a problem. However, when using the location data it thinks I live in Birmingham – 20 miles away from Lichfield! That in itself is a problem because Birmingham and Lichfield are likely to have differing weather patterns.
So, after encountering this issue I decided to try entering my location manually. I typed in my village’s name and got an error message saying that there were no search results available. Okay, I decided to expand my search to a larger town, Port Talbot on the south coast. Still no luck. At this point I was a little perplexed so I went a step further. Surely Cardiff would be on there… Nope! Nor was London, Manchester, Glasgow, Los Angeles, Tokyo… the only result I was able to get for any weather forecasts whatsoever was using the GPS and that was 20 miles out from what my Vita actually recorded as being it’s location.
It’s a real shame as this app offers a lot of potential. It’s a bargain price, looks good and is incredibly easy to use but it’s woefully inadequate, inaccurate and simply can’t tell you the weather for anywhere in the world unless you’re actually there and even that seems to be hit and miss. Hopefully we’ll see something more useable in a future update but for now I’d avoid this completely.
At A Glance
- Title: Sola Weather
- Publisher: Zhang Bo
- System: PlayStation Mobile
- Format: PSN Download
- Cross Buy: N / A
- Cross Play: N / A
- Online Multiplayer: No
- Memory Card Space Needed: 10Mb