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Early Galaxy S21 Ultra battery life test offers promising results

Published Jan 21st, 2021 7:31AM EST
Galaxy S21 Ultra Battery Life
Image: Samsung

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  • An early battery comparison between the Galaxy S21 Ultra, iPhone 12 Max, S20 Ultra, OnePlus 8 Pro, and Xiaomi Mi 11 shows promising results for Samsung.
  • The new S21 Ultra, powered by the new Exynos 2100 chip, outperformed all other Android handsets, with the iPhone 12 Pro Max lasting the longest. Except for the iPhone, all phones support 120Hz refresh rates.
  • The S21 Ultra’s performance indicates the Exynos 2100 platform will not be plagued by the same issues as the Exynos 990.

A week ago, Samsung launched the Galaxy S21 series, with the three phones already available for preorder in several markets. The handsets feature top of the line specs and offer the best possible Android experience in early 2021. The phones pack brand new processors meant to rival the iPhone 12’s A14 Bionic, including the Snapdragon 888 or Exynos 2100 (depending on the market). Both platforms are built on the same 5nm process as the A14, with Samsung promising the new Exynos will be a lot better than the S20’s Exynos 990 that was heavily criticized last year. Aside from offering a faster performance across the board and new capabilities, the 5nm chips that will power Android phones are also supposed to be more energy-efficient than before. That said, the Galaxy S21 phones will feature 120Hz displays, which can eat up more battery life. Once the Galaxy S21 phones become widely available, we’ll see all sorts of tests that will measure their performance, battery life included. But an early battery test for the Galaxy S21 Ultra is already here, teasing great performance.

YouTube channel TechDroider ran the same battery life test on five devices, including three phones featuring 5nm processors (Galaxy S21 Ultra, Xiaomi Mi 11, iPhone 12 Pro Max) and two phones packing 7nm chips (OnePlus 8 Pro and Galaxy S20 Ultra). Four of the five handsets support 120Hz displays, with only the iPhone running at 60Hz. All devices have Full HD or better resolution, and the screen sizes are simiar.

Not all the 5nm phones did as well in the test, with the Xiaomi Mi 11 proving more optimizations might be required. The Galaxy S21 Ultra lasted for 8 hours and 34 minutes, outperforming all Android phones in the test. The iPhone 12 Pro Max lasted for an additional 34 minutes, taking the crown in this early battery life comparison — here are the full results.

  • iPhone 12 Pro Max (5nm A14 Bionic): 9 hours 8 minutes
  • Galaxy S21 Ultra (5nm Exynos 2100): 8 hours 34 minutes
  • OnePlus 8 Pro (7nm Snapdragon 865): 8 hours 10 minutes
  • Xiaomi Mi 11 (5m Snapdragon 888): 7 hours 50 minutes
  • Galaxy S20 Ultra (7nm Exynos 990): 7 hours 33 minutes

Keeping the refresh rate down to 60Hz definitely helped the iPhone last longer than everything else. Not to mention that Apple is the only company of the four in the test that makes both the software and hardware. That’s why a phone packing a 3,387 mAh battery outperforms a device featuring a massive 5,000 mAh battery pack.

But the S21 Ultra’s performance is remarkable nonetheless because we’re looking at the Exynos 2100 version of the phone. As you’ll see in the clip below, the phone did not overheat while running the same apps as the Exynos version of the S20 Ultra. This is an indication that Samsung has indeed learned from the Exynos 990 mistakes.

This battery life test doesn’t tell us how long the S21 and S21+ will last, but we’ll certainly get these answers down the road. The phones will launch in stores next week.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.