Are you tired of guessing when your laptop's battery will be done charging (and tired of second guessing its so-called battery meter)? Give BatteryBar a try. It's an unobtrusive but capable utility that accurately displays the status of your laptop's battery while in use or during charging. It's "smart," too, giving progressively more-accurate estimates of remaining battery or charge time: the more you use it, the better it does its job.
After installing the program, we opened BatteryBar by right-clicking the Toolbars menu on the system taskbar. BatteryBar's main "interface" is a tiny icon that graphically displays charge status. Clicking or hovering over it calls up a small dialog with details of any detected batteries; right-clicking it calls up a menu with some resource settings and the Preferences menu, which activates a Settings dialog. Here is where we found the program's display, alert, and battery profiles options, including numerous display "themes," an unexpected but appreciated touch. You can adjust the slider controls to configure Warnings via time or percent of charge remaining, a vast improvement over the typical laptop's battery charge status indicator. We opted for pop-up alerts over the audible alarm as a matter of choice, though we don't doubt many users will appreciate both reminders.
BatteryBar is available in a free version with a reduced feature set, but the full BatteryBar Pro is available in several inexpensive licensing options, each way cheaper than a new battery. Though it won't charge your batteries faster, it can save time by accurately indicating when they'll be done.Editors' note: This is a review of the full version of BatteryBar 3.3.3. The trial version's preferences window and low battery notification was disabled.