What’s your battery level? Just ask your Windows Phone.
If it’s one thing people with smartphones like to know it’s the battery level. Double so if you’re the OCD type. Windows Phone 8 makes knowing such information a smidgen easier by displaying it under Settings without having to tap into the menu, but people still want more options.
The new (and oddly named) Windows Phone 8 app Battery Monitor with Voice Control just hit the Store and as you can probably tell from the title, it adds a new feature via speech...
True, the app has a Live Tile that can show you many things including percentage and estimated time remaining (it updates every 30 minutes, a limit via Microsoft) but it’s the voice part we’re interested in. Yes, the unique feature this app brings is the ability to hold your Windows Key and use your voice to send out commands including “Battery…speak/say/tell me Status”. The app will then open up and the familiar TellMe lady will kindly pass on the info. In addition, you can tell it “Battery…speak/say/tell me Time Remaining” and you’ll get the amount in hours and minutes that your precious Windows Phone has left before blanking out.
It’s a nifty little addition, one for which we think we’ll use often. We’re not a huge fan of battery Live Tiles and to be honest, the design of this one leaves a lot to be desired (it's seriously ugly). But being able to not have the Tile on our Start screen and still be able to get our specific battery level via voice? Well, we think that's cool.
Having said that we’re still not a fan of being required to memorize these voice commands for each app--it’s not intuitive and requires you to purposefully remember a specific string for multiple functions. Cognitively speaking, Microsoft has failed here big time, as most people will forget the key phrases.
But back to Battery Monitory with Voice Control, it’s a neat little app that is also free. Go pick it up on the Windows Phone Store here.
Windows Phone 8 devices only.
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Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.
Seriously, I think that's an API problem: WP8 added a lot of those, so with Mango the apps are still not allowed to use certain features of the OS :)
I hope WP7.8 will bring some new APIs along with the new start screen, that'd be great :)
Consider Temple Run. The Lumia 900 is 0.4GHz faster than the iPhone 3GS, but can not run it. People don't care about WP7 anymore.
What would be considered a lot? I went from full to 10%, medium usage, in 5 hours.
Mine when from very poor batter life 5-6 hrs to 12-18 hrs over the first week. During that time I did two full discharge/charges. I can keep Location on and some background tasks without issuse. Only things still turned off are super sensitive screen (I don't need it) and push email (have it set to 15 minute updates)
TLDR: Try cycling the batter at least twice or more, and give it a few days. Otherwise you should return it for another unit.
I'm not saying this is a disadvantage for WP alone, as iPhone and Android also allow apps to hide the status bar. But, I thought the whole point of the swipe-to-glance status bar was for apps to have all the screen space, yet allow the user to check status whenever. And to see it work in some cases, and not in others is kinda whack.
I wish the UX designers at microsoft thought this through properly.
Once you know what the phone is capable of in a day the battery bar is no longer needed constantly. I like that about WP.
I'm not an app developer but I'm having a hard time imagining a voice system that doesn't need specific strings. So if I were to say "Battery cheest toast" what exactly is the app/api supposed to interpret what I mean or want?
I think as long as the strings are "human" readable, intuitive, and not clunky its OK. Its like a remote control for a TV: You can hit channel up and down if you don't remember the exact number or you can punch the number in directly and for channels you frequent you will eventually remember, but you don't expect it guess what channel you want when you typed in the wrong number...
How do you get the is to parse the commands to the app??? Frustrating
How do you get the os to parse the commands to the app??? Frustrating
It's worth reading through and some tips really work.
I do go into settings to look at the exact battery level, mainly because I didn't believe in the battery level icon from start screen. Many times my L920 would go for 4-5 hours lite use, and the battery still at 100%. But it is accurate. Very glad with my phone's battery life. Though I bought it on 12/1, so it's not a launch batch.