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REVIEW: Volume Manager

A while back we reviewed the first automated volume level controlling app called Quiet Hours. Initially there were a large number of updates in a short period and it looked like being all that had been hoped for from Symbian users transitioning to Windows Phone after having used Situations by Pastilli Labs. Sadly the app development seemed to stop prior to providing more than one scheduled volume change per day.

In steps Volume Manager by Vinod Shinde, providing what seems to be unlimited scheduled volume changes per day. Having said this, the app is available for free in the Windows Phone Store providing a single scheduled volume change per day with the following premium, paid for options, via in app purchase:

  • 15 Day Trial: enables all of the premium features for 15 days free of charge.
  • Appointment Pack: enables automatic volume control based on calendar appointments, costing 79p.
  • Schedules Pack: enables schedules automatic volume changing multiple times per day costing 79p.
  • Pro Upgrade: enables both the Appointment Pack and Schedules Pack, costing 1.29p, saving your 29p when compared to the separate purchase prices.


Having sung the praises of this new contender to Quiet Hours, it does have its limitations, some of which are shared, but not quite as openly by the Quiet Hours developers.

  1. The app relies on Windows Phone Background tasks functionality to change the phone’s master volume. If ‘Battery Saver’ is enabled the app will no longer be able to automatically change the master volume as background tasks are disabled.
  2. According to the Vinod for automatic volume changes to continue to operate, the app needs to be manually opened every seven days. This is an interesting one as we have been using Quiet Hours for a few months and have not encountered this issue. We will check this as time goes by and update this review if this does not prove to be the case.
  3. The current version of Volume Manager (version 1.2) requires that scheduled periods do not span across days. This requires you to create a period up to 23:00 and a second on the next day starting at midnight to set-up sleeping time silent periods. This Vinod has advised us that this will be rectified in the next issue due out in two weeks.

“A special night schedule/profile will be added in next update.
User will be able to set night time say from 10:00 pm to morning 6:00 am which will be applicable for all days.”

As mentioned previously the free version of Volume Manager is limited to a single schedule period per day, which currently stops you from being able to use it to cover sleeping hours, but that should change in a couple of weeks. Once you have paid for the Schedules or Pro pack you are can cover sleeping hours and much more. In addition to this the free version has in-app links to Vinod’s other apps To-Do Prime and Cashback Categories which are removed when the Pro pack is purchased.


We asked Vinod the following questions about the future of Volume Manager:

Are there any plans for scheduled periods to be applicable to multiple days of the week rather than setting each day separately, to which he advised that:

“I am thinking on this as many users have requested it.”

Are there any plans to enable/disable silent mode (vibrate only) and flight mode?

“There is no API from Microsoft for specific sounds and therefore it cannot be implemented.
We can only set the volume of entire phone.
Again there is no API to control airplane mode and vibration of phone and therefore cannot be implemented.”

Although he advised that silent mode could not be enabled/disabled Vinod did say that:

“If a schedule is created with 0 volume then the phone will be in silent mode for that schedule.
It is also possible for appointments.
If appointment volume is set to 0, then phone will be in silent mode for appointments.

I will again do some API search and check if API’s are available for airplane mode and phone vibration.”

Vinod also advised us that the next update, expected by the end of March, will bring a new Sleep Time schedule which will be able to be set for multiple days and OneDrive backup and restore.

Finally Vinod told us that a new feature is being added to enable you to stop Volume Manager from managing volume for certain number of hours and a new app live tile to change the volume back to the last volume level set by the app.

Conclusion

Volume Manager appear to pick up where Quiet Hours stalled, providing multiple scheduled volume changes per day and a link to calendar appointments and with the future updates plans it seems positioned to rule the roost. Our advice is to download Volume Manager and spend the measly £1.29 to gain the power of the Pro version.

Verdict

4 out of 5

Post Credit goes to Martyn Brett.

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