Unlike the usual, all business digital weather stations, the Oregon Scientific Crystal Weather Station makes an effort to bring a bit more style and a bit less science to the range.
The crystal top half is laser engraved with sun, rain and cloud icons which light up red, green and blue respectively depending upon the forecast.
A gadget of two halves
Out of the box, it comes in two pieces. Rather at odds to its emphasis on style, you have to glue the two halves together yourself, using the two sticky patches included.
The weather forecasting gives you the prediction for the next 12 to 24 hours, which seems almost intentionally vague. By our reckoning it was pretty accurate, when we could remember what it had been forecasting a day ago.
Of course, switching on the telly or hitting the web yields more accurate, detailed and useful results. And you’d also be able to find out the probability of snow, something Oregon Scientific’s box doesn’t do. But then, neither of those things look as cool as the Crystal Weather Station.
On the bottom half, things are pretty straightforward. The glossy black finish and striking orange-backlit LCD display look good and the big digits are easy to read. Best of all, it receives the time via radio signal from an atomic clock so you know precisely when to make that dash for the train station.
In fact, it would be the perfect bedside clock were it not that the gentle illumination of the weather icons during daytime transforms into a glaring light show capable of summoning Batman come nightfall.
The Crystal Weather Station’s final trick is to give you the lowdown on the current indoor temperature. As the only physical buttons are on the underside of the unit a motion sensor has been included, which means all that’s required to switch the display from time to temperature is a regal wave of the hand - in theory.
In practice we found that we would sometimes accidentally trigger the sensor just moving past it, and when we actually wanted to switch the display we would end up going through a process of frantic waving just to elicit a response.
For all its faults, you have to admire the Crystal Weather Station for what it is – a bold attempt to turn the dry, humourless world of digital weather stations into something a bit sexier.
If you’re buying one it’ll be because you want a radio-controlled clock and like the way it looks, not because you have a burning desire to know the likelihood of precipitation, frozen or otherwise. And that’s no bad thing.