For a generation of phone users used to gauging remaining battery power by how many 'bars' were left in the status pane at the top of each screen, a measurement which has been proven time and time again to be both non-linear and inaccurate, Nokia Battery Monitor is something of a breath of fresh air.
Users should note, however, that even this uses battery voltage as one of its fundamental measured variables (the other big one is time, of course) and that, as with any electronic device, the actual voltage will also vary slightly according to the electrical load at any given instant. So, although an improvement on previous estimates of remaining battery life, you should still not take the readings here as 'absolute'.
This new version of Nokia Battery Monitor is almost completely rewritten, in Qt 4.7, and it takes advantage of the new features in the latest Qt SDK 1.1. Implementing the UI in Qt provides "much better performance and responsiveness" and there has been "major rework on the algorithms to make them more reliable and consistent".
Functional improvements for Nokia Battery Monitor 2.0
- Estimates for any application. Several estimates can now be selected to be scrolled in the home screen widget. Estimates can in fact be shown for any application installed on the device, even for the Battery Monitor itself. You can customise the application used for each estimate via a long press.
- A rough estimate of the standby usage time (no active usage, only background apps and services) has been included. The difference between 3G and 2G talk time is also shown, in percentages, based on real measurements from the device.
- Time elapsed from the last charging is shown.
- Battery health analysis. The maximum capacity of batteries will degrade over their lifetime. As this happens gradually over hundreds of charging/discharging cycles, it is not easy for the end user to notice this degradation, but Battery Monitor will now analyse the battery capacity during charging cycles and notify the user when a replacement is recommended.
- Power saving features. There's a new page, currently providing a quick and easy access to the Power Saving Mode and power critical display settings (display brightness and display timeout). Power saving mode can be set to activate automatically on battery level specified by the user.
- Battery saving tips. There's a useful scrollable panel providing tips on how the end user can save power and improve battery life with their own actions. Many of these are common sense (turning down display brightness, reducing email check frequency, disabling WLAN scanning, etc - there's an All About Symbian tutorial on all this coming up shortly), but it's nice to have them all collected in one place.
- Application level energy monitoring. The Statistics page has been completely redesigned - you can now see the energy consumption history per application. Daily, weekly and all time top 8 lists of the most energy hungry applications are shown. Importantly, background energy consumption is also shown in the list. This includes all consumption when the device screen saver is active, for example cellular modem, Bluetooth and WLAN standby, always online email and social networking services.
Someone's been overdosing on Angry Birds....
Battery Monitor 2.0 is now available for free download in Ovi Store for the Nokia C6-01, C7-00, N8-00 and E7-00. Older versions of Nokia Battery Monitor should be uninstalled (e.g. from Settings>Application manager) before installation.
Even before the update, the majority of the All About Symbian team had Battery Monitor installed on their devices, but now we must give it an even bigger recommendation. We would really like to see this shipping on every Symbian^3 device as one of the default widgets.
The team behind Battery Monitor are continuing to develop the application and would like to hear your feedback, as well as ideas for new features and improvements to the application. You can email them at email@example.com.
Steve Litchfield, AAS, 31 May 2011