Thursday, November 10, 2011

Product Review: ScoutLook™ Outdoor Weather Guide
When hunting, I like to have some sort of GPS on me at all times. Even if it is just for locking down different spots I highlight for future reference. The problem with handheld GPS tools is they usually take forever to find a satellite, your location and then you have to punch in a bunch of info just to save it. It used to drive me nuts until I started using the ScoutLook Weather Guide.

I was approached by the North American Hunting Club to field test the ScoutLook app on my hunts. I used it in New York and California. Two different terrains. Two different hunts. One phone. Yes, you read that right - it's on my phone and NOT on a suped-up GPS unit. I am using an LG Ally Android phone and NOT an iPhone. The app worked the same in both environments, so I am only highlighting my NY hunt.

Being a member has its perks.
Here are just some of them:

  • Activity and Category based map locations for precise weather
  • Wind maps – ScentConeSM, SetZoneSM, DriftPointSM
  • Free photo sharing tool – ScoutPics
  • News and articles sent from our Pro Staff and Experts

Getting the app on my phone was fairly easy. I went to the ScoutLook website and opened a free account before purchasing through the Android Market. There I was able to set my preferences and such. The great thing about this app is that you can access it from your computer AND your phone. Once loaded into my phone, I started reviewing the different components. There are many features that function very well, starting with setting a location.

When you first start off, you can search for a general area or if you are on watch, you location will be found by homing in on your GPS signal. Then, simply touch the screen at that point and choose the type of location this is. Here is an example of the dropdown you'll see. There is a wide variety of choices so that you can pinpoint an exact set-up. For my testing, I was hunting the whitetail season, so I chose Whitetail [hunting] and it gives me an icon with a deer silhouette. Pretty simple and cool!

Choose your category.
Once my location was set, I touched the icon. A small dialogue window appeared with the current temp/weather for that area. I touched the small arrow inside the window and a few other choices appear. I won't go into all of the details, but I chose the Weather Details. You get a detailed forecast and you can choose the Solunar Details, too. This is an excellent feature if you follow the moon phases (and I do). Also, once a location is set, you can pull it up on the other device as well. If you set a location on the computer, you can pull it up on the phone and vice versa.

The weather report is very detailed.
Fast forward to a few days later when I had marked up four hunting locations. I wanted to see what the ScentCone looked like for that area. The ScentCone gives you the wind direction and speed (bottom right of the screen of your phone). That way I could choose which stand locations were going to be the best set-up for the wind and temperature that day. This is a VERY cool feature. It saves you having to find the weather online or on the television and guess at what the wind might be doing. I checked this against weather reports AND the actual wind in these locations. The ScoutLook app had the wind pegged! This was awesome!

Wind direction with ScentCone enabled.

After I pulled up my stand location, I wanted to see what the weather was doing right then. On the bottom of the app you can click on Radar. That pulls up a live weather map. I found this invaluable when there was rain and wind in the forecast. I was able to figure out when the rain was going to hit and prepare myself in the stand. While I agree it's an average, it was still nice to know if rain was in the forecast.

To be fair, I only used a few of the available components to the application. There are other features like ScoutPics and advice from other hunters. For me, I wasn't interested in any of that. When I am hunting I want to hunt, not read, so I chose to use the features that applied to me as a hunter in the field.

I did find a couple of issues with the ScoutLook app. The first was if you search for your GPS location and the service is spotty it will 'hang' and blip over and over. I tried over and over to 'go back' or go to my home screen on the phone, but something in the program didn't allow me to do that. Three times I tried it and I had to shut my phone down each time. I stopped using the app in that location. There should be some sort of time out code that allows the app to stop searching so you can try a different location.

The second issue is a user interface issue. The SAVE button appears as a grayed out button in the upper right corner. (My Android phone won't let me take a screenshot of what I am seeing, so I can't show you.) Most times, on an app or a web page, if the button is grayed out it means you can't use it. I think that this is one of THE most important buttons and should be changed to a green or a different color so the user knows they can press it. It will also help them find where it is. When you are up in a treestand at 7am and trying to find the save button when it's grayed out you will have a tough time. I did.


I also don't like the fact that if you are on the computer and looking at your location, and click over to ScentCone that is goes back to an overall map and you have to search or plug in your info again. I think you should be able to click ScentCone, as you would on the phone, and it should just switch over to that feature while still viewing your location.

A beneficial added feature would be to have a PRINT function for an area where you have marked several locations. That way, when you go to set up your stands for the next following year you'll have a good idea where you had them the year prior.

I do like that when you exit out of the app it logs you out and closes the app. It doesn't continue to run in the background thereby draining your battery. It loads back up when YOU engage it. 

Overall, the ScoutLook app is an excellent tool for hunters. For $1.99 this is a tool you must have. Once you begin using it, you will quickly forget about the minimal fee. I always have my phone on me and to have a tool like this, especially in California where we do a lot of spot-n-stalk hunting proves to be priceless. I highly recommend getting this for your hunts.
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Disclaimer: The reviews on The SoCal Bowhunter are solely my honest opinions. The ScoutLook weather app was  provided to me for the purpose of review. I received no monetary compensation in exchange for this review.

3 comments:

  1. I like that, pretty interesting stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Very interesting App. I looked at their website last week & browsed the features.

    I personally have a hard time getting any weather information that doesn't come from the National Weather Service (local office that covers the area I will be in).

    Good review Albert.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for the review.

    ReplyDelete