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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.

QR: Battery Monitor

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Reader comments

What’s your battery level? Just ask your Windows Phone.

55 Comments

I assume it'll need two processors, 1GB or RAM and NFC to work, hence is not gonna be available for WP7.5 or 7.x...

Ahahahahahahahahah
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 :)

Don't worry, its is still such a crappy implementation that you wouldn't want it anyways.  Microsoft needs to have a voice queue server on the phone that can send messages to designated apps and return a response without having to fully launch that app.  This is just cludgy.

By making two different APIs, Microsoft messed it all up.
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. 

I'll do that now...thanks for the tip.
What would be considered a lot? I went from full to 10%, medium usage, in 5 hours.

I'd tried ALL the suggested tricks. I took the first one back. Now, I can get about 12 hours with medium/heavy usage.

My 920 has same battery life as the other guy. I read the other day that Gmail had a glitch where sometimes it would never stop syncing, don't know if you use Gmail but figured I would pass tip just in case.

The only other tip I have is again just what some are saying, that location services was wearing down the battery. I know personally mine works very well so I hope at least that tip helps.

How to in limit the phone on checking my location? I find mine doing it often. I see you can totally turn it off, but I don't think that should be a proper fix.

I've been using my L920 pretty heavily today at a football game. 15-20 pics, calls, texts, catching up on wpcentral news, etc. 9am-815pm, still have 48% battery life. On top of all the other tips provided, make sure to let your phone completely die at least once. Might seem stupid, but my dad had that problem with his 920 and once I had him let it completely die and then fully recharge, he has had no battery problems.

My question is: how long have you had it?
 
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.

We wouldn't need it if they just put the frickin battery level at the top of the screen like every other OS in existence!

Kind of defeats the point of "glance and go" if I have to go to settings and then scroll down just to get battery life. It should always be displayed at the top of the home screen (and while were at it, cell signal and wireless signal should always be there, too)

Totally disagree, I hate the ugly cluttered notification bars in Android and the iPhone. In fact, I think they should copy WP's swipe implementation - easy and clean, just like WP itself.

It would be nice if the swipe gesture worked everywhere. Apps (even system apps like IE) can choose to not show status bar on swipes, which I don't really get why WP SDK allows for.
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.

Don't understand why people pay so much attention on the bettery level, try to pay less attention on the battery level, you will found yourself a much better user-experience.

Nah, you know we have power sucking devices with all sorts of power sucking features, we tend to use them as if they are plugged into a never ending supply of  power....Then the Shock of it..

+1
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.

"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."
 
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...
 

I'm no expert on this, either. But I think the point the author is trying to make is there's no way to use natural conversation like - "What's the battery status?", "How much battery life do I have?", or, "How much longer will the battery last?". It needs specific phrases that, if not memorized correctly, won't provide the desired results. Now consider this across all the apps supporting voice commands that require memorizing specific commands. To make this truly successful, Microsoft (and possibly the developers) must be able to decipher actions through natural conversations. Until then, it'll remain a novelty that, quite possibly, won't (can't) be used to its full potential.

+1 That's what I was getting at.

Regarding "...I'm having a hard time imagining a voice system that doesn't need specific strings", I'm not a developer either but that's beside the point, which is it's a clunky system.

It's not our job as consumers to solve theses kinds of problems for developers and just because "there's no better way" right now doesn't mean the system is flawed and not readily usable for everyday usage. Taxing people's memories in a digital age is antithetical to the point of technology, imo.

Who said the voice features were perfect and didn't need to improve???

By the way has somebody else solved this problem? I've never used Android so I don't know if they have APIs that use "natural language" controls across all apps already and basically it is MS fault for not producing something similar.

Otherwise if what I'm asking is NOT the case and NOBODY has cracked that nut yet then how is MS "failing big time"? Would it have been better for them to not have included the voice command feature in its current state and just waited longer (years?) until they had "natural language" capability?

I'm not going to mince words here: Android 4.x *crushes* Windows Phone for language control--for speech to text, text to speech, natural language searches, etc.

Crushes. Microsoft is years behind Google on this. 

I really wish we had a true battery monitor app which told us what uses it the most and things like screen time on, ect. Some us really do have battery issues, especially with the 920

I think I remember there being an app in keynote that did that and they were all "yeah were awesome look at this app" but it wasn't ready and hopefully it will come in the first update.

Yeah again if memory serves me correctly, then they were showing it off along with data sense app. Which it could have been just another feature of data sense and not an entirely different app.

There should be a poll to see what percentage of people actually use battery status apps. I find that the included icon works fine for me.

I've installed the app in my Lumia 920. Speak "Battery...Tell me Status" and it just searches Bing for the search term...
How do you get the is to parse the commands to the app??? Frustrating

I've installed the app in my Lumia 920. Speak "Battery...Tell me Status" and it just searches Bing for the search term...
How do you get the os to parse the commands to the app??? Frustrating

I always have a charger handy... Until they release an amazing new battery technology these smart phone will run dry in 5hrs if you're constantly using it for music, maps and voice! My phone will last all day if I just leave it alone... But yeah background apps that are not properly optimized will drain you're battery. I remember an app for android that monitor apps usage might have been called battery monitor...

You're right to a point, but devs can use any number of options for the speech phrases. They can think of every formal and casual way of asking, and mark words as optional/ignored in the phrases. When well done they should be very natural. On the other hand, it would be great if the app could expose actions/verbs and you could clarify your own word choices by disambiguating the action to invoke.

...seems not to work when country/language setting is not English. When I am asking the question about th status in Engish, it translates it into German and searches for Bing results with keywords "Battery", "Status" etc.....

Does anybody know if it would be possible for this app to record the level throughout the day, and then display it in a graph later?  This would be helpful to see when it took the biggest hit.  I work in a building with Terrible/No reception and I have a feeling that the "searching for signal" is having a significant effect.

A live tile like this would be useful, just wary of 30-min constant checking which then sucks down a bit of battery throughout the day.
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.