Laptop owners need to do more than optimizing the system and cleaning junk files. Keeping the battery in good shape is equally important. BatteryCare is a free program that allows you to extend the life of your laptop’s battery, offering a simple way to manage it and reduce power consumption while the laptop is unplugged. Moreover, it delivers useful information concerning battery technical specifications and damage prevention.
Installation & Requirements
BatteryCare has a very simple installation, with standard settings, although you should read the information offered in the dialog windows carefully since one is adware-based (optional of course).
BatteryCare requires .NET Framework 2.0 and runs on any version of Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8.
The program runs in the system tray, and by holding the mouse on the icon a small display will show the current battery level, status (charging/discharging), current power plan and CPU/HDD temperatures.
A simple click on the tray icon reveals a small menu that allows users to quickly switch between power plans. The right-click menu includes the power plans from the first one, but also other options such as showing the interface, donate/facebook/help/about links, a shortcut to Windows Power Options, the program’s settings and an exit button.
BatteryCare has a very clean and intuitive UI: the main screen can show basic or detailed information. The first display only includes the battery status (remaining time, capacity, status), a discharge cycle progress bar, HDD/CPU temperature and an info link to online documentation about discharge cycle (recommended reading for those that really want to put this application to good use).
The Detailed Information window displays all there is to know about your laptop’s battery, like its model, designed/current/total capacity, voltage and charge/discharge rate. It also shows the current wear level, total number of discharge cycles, last calibration date and number of performed calibrations.
BatteryCare’s Settings are nicely organized into categories: The General pane offers a few optimizations that the program can perform when the laptop is in battery mode (disable sidebar, gadgets, Aero theme and others); the Notifications area can issue alerts for several situations, such as the battery is fully charged, recommendation for battery calibration after a certain number of discharge cycles, low and critical battery; in the Power Plans section, users can set the program to automatically switch between two power plan depending if the laptop is plugged/unplugged. The Advanced options include running the program at Windows startup, hiding the Windows energy icon and changing the usage statistics values.
The program has a thorough F.A.Q. covering lots of issues and a Proper Laptop Battery Usage Guide that offers very useful information on how to correctly use the battery so you can extend its life.
– Fast installation.
– The system tray icon shows a small window with essential battery information
– Two menus can be accessed from the tray icon: a basic one for switching between power plans quickly and an extended one that contains more options such as showing the UI, a shortcut to Windows Power Options and the program’s settings.
– The program calculates total number of discharge cycles so users will know when it’s time to perform a full discharge (calibration).
– Notifications can be set for various scenarios such as low/critical battery, battery is fully charged, battery calibration recommendation…etc.
– None worth mentioning.
BatteryCare is fairly simple to use and has a useful set of features to minimize power consumption when the laptop is in battery mode. While the program is intuitive and friendly, to properly maintain the battery and minimize the wear, the occasional calibration is needed. This is a lengthy process, although easy to perform.