Battery Health: For a Longer Battery Life

Posted by | April 18, 2012 | Apps | No Comments

If you travel a lot or have a job that keeps you working in different places throughout the day, a decisive factor when you purchased your computer might have been the battery life. MacBooks generally have pretty good battery run time, but in order to keep it functional for as long as you can, you might have to give your battery a little maintenance over time.

Today we’re going to present to you a free app called Battery Health that can give you tips and information regarding the battery of your MacBook. Want to check it out?

Getting Started

Apple.com

Apple.com

Taking care of your computer is very much like giving maintenance to a car. There’s a lot of things to worry about, more than you probably care to do. Doing fresh installs of the operating system, upgrading to the newest versions of everything, cleaning your hard drive, and doing some maintenance on your battery are all factors that might help your computer stay functional for a longer time.

While some of these measures might be a little controversial for some Mac users, we at Appstorm believe that it’s better to be cautious. We have written a few articles regarding common practices for maintaning the life of your laptop’s battery, perhaps the most important of them being on the topic of calibrating your battery periodically.

But how will you know if these practices are needed or if they are turning out well? That’s where apps like Battery Health come in.

Battery Health

Battery Health

Battery Health

Battery Health is a very simple app that can show you some useful information regarding your battery’s condition, especially so that you can know when to change it for a new one and when to start taking more care of it. Among some of the information Battery Health can show you are:

  • Current battery charge (in milliamperes per hour)
  • Battery health (current and original one)
  • Estimated time remaining for the battery (in various activities like browsing, watching movies or in standby)
  • Cycles (times your battery has been completely discharged and recharged)
  • Age (since the battery was manufactured)
  • Current battery temperature
  • Power usage (in watts)
  • Milliamperes usage (with a graph)

Tips

Tips

Tips

Below all the information of the app you can find a button called “Tips” that will display some basic text with some instructions regarding your battery’s health. Some of them are quite obvious, like turning down certain things like the volume and the brightness if you want to conserve battery.

However, some other tips are a bit more useful, like some very complete instructions on how and why you should calibrate periodically your battery, as well as a very interesting read on why you shouldn’t disable your CPU cores in order to decrease battery consumption.

The Competition

Coconut Battery

Coconut Battery

Coconut Battery

The most obvious direct competitor of Battery Health is the freeware, widely popular Coconut Battery. I’ve been using it since I have owned my computer and I’ve always been quite satisfied with it, even though I’m not always happy with the readings that it gives (in the first couple months my battery’s condition decreased considerably, now it has sort of stuck in the same place).

Coconut Battery and Battery Health are both free and they’re both quite similar. From my experience with each of them, they also give the exact same readings. Although Battery Health has a few more features than Coconut Battery does, like displaying the time remaining if you keep doing certain activities and the tips that come with the app.

Watts

Watts

Watts

Watts is a more complex app, as it fills a much bigger purpose than just informing you of certain details of your computer’s battery. It’s not in direct competition with Battery Health, but I think it’s worth bringing up because it might be better suited for some people looking into apps like Battery Health.

Watts can give you most of the info that you get from Battery Health, but it can also help you calibrate your battery by providing you with Growl reminders and an interactive tutorial for getting the process done each time. Even though Watts is $6.95, if you really care about keeping up with battery calibrations, it might be worth it for you.

Conclusion

I’ve read some comments in the App Store calling Battery Health a rip-off of Coconut Battery, and I can definitely see where the comparisons are coming from, the two are extremely similar (I fully expect a wave of comments on this subject). Ultimately, they’re both free and they share nearly the same set of features, with only a hadful of features giving Battery Health the upper hand. If you’ve already got Coconut Battery, there might not be enough reasons to switch to Battery Health, but if you don’t have any of them yet, I think Battery Health might be a slight better alternative.

Now, if you’re looking for something a little more useful that could help you keep track of your battery’s calibrations, then Watts might suit you better. In the end, having the information isn’t going to help much if you aren’t going to take any action with it. What do you think? Do you pay attention to the stats of your battery or do you tend to not care about stuff like that?