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Galaxy S22 Ultra battery life can’t match iPhone 13 Pro Max

Published Feb 15th, 2022 6:02PM EST
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
Image: Samsung

The Galaxy S22 Ultra is the most expensive phone that Samsung is releasing this month, so it makes sense that it’s being compared to the most expensive iPhone. We already saw the iPhone 13 Pro Max crush the Galaxy S22 Ultra in benchmarks, although that didn’t surprise anyone. However, we wondered whether or not the iPhone 13 Pro Max would be able to keep its battery life endurance title after setting new records last fall. The Galaxy S22 Ultra packs a larger battery pack than the Max and features a few technologies to improve efficiency.

It turns out that the Galaxy S22 Ultra battery can’t match the iPhone 13 Pro Max. In fact, it doesn’t even outlast the Galaxy S21 Ultra.

Last year’s Galaxy S21 Ultra was the phone to beat in battery life tests. The phone scored 8 hours and 41 minutes in YouTuber Mrwhosetheboss’s test. But then came the iPhone 13 Pro Max with its record-setting 9 hours and 52 minutes.

That was an incredible performance from the handset and a significant accomplishment for Apple. All of a sudden, an iPhone with a 120Hz display was ready to deliver better battery life than all its competitors.

The new tech that improves battery life.

The Galaxy S22 Ultra features several technologies that should help it conserve battery life. First of all, the phone has a 4nm processor — either the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 or the Exynos 2200, depending on where you live. Secondly, it features a 5,000 mAh battery.

Thirdly, the display can drop the refresh rate to 1Hz, which means it should be more efficient in tasks that don’t require high refresh rates.

Finally, Samsung added a few smart features to the software that can intelligently turn off features like Wi-Fi and 5G to save battery life.

We do have to tackle the chip of the Galaxy S22 Ultra in this battery test separately, however. Samsung unveiled its Exynos 2200 System-on-Chip a few weeks ago, which was slightly later than initially expected. Going into the Unpacked event, there was speculation that Samsung might use the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip in all of its Galaxy S22 series phones.

After the Exynos 2200 arrived, some wondered what sort of performance gains the chip would offer compared to last year’s version, given that Samsung didn’t offer any details. Also, the Exynos 2200 delays and Samsung’s history prompted speculation on whether the SoC would overheat during intensive tasks. That’s the kind of behavior that can impact battery life.

iPhone 13 Pro Display
iPhone 13 Pro display. Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

The Galaxy S22 Ultra battery life test

This brings us to the Galaxy S22 Ultra battery life test, courtesy of the same YouTuber. Mrwhosetheboss compared the latest Samsung flagship to the Galaxy S21 Ultra, iPhone 13 Pro Max, Pixel 6 Pro, and Xiaomi 12 Pro.

This battery test consists of the same tasks. All phones are brand new devices featuring 100% batteries that have seen no usage. They will run the same apps, from browsing photos and videos to playing games, loading web pages, and exporting 4K video.

All handsets are on their default settings, they feature lighter-colored displays, and they’re on light mode instead of dark mode. Also, the phones do not have SIM cards, which would consume additional energy.

That is to say, the comparison is as objective as possible, offering you a glimpse at the sort of battery life you’ll get by buying the Galaxy S22 Ultra right now — or any of the other devices.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra next to S Pen stylus. Image source: Samsung

The battery life test results

The Galaxy S22 Ultra offers great battery life, lasting 8 hours and 8 minutes in the test. But the iPhone 13 Pro Max absolutely crushed the Galaxy S22, reaching 10 hours and 27 minutes. That’s even higher than the battery life tests from last fall. Even the Galaxy S21 Ultra beat the new phone.

Here are the full results, from the lowest battery life phone to the Galaxy S22 Ultra, to the iPhone 13 Pro Max:

  • Google Pixel 6 Pro: 7 hours 6 minutes
  • Xiaomi 12 Pro: 7 hours 34 minutes
  • Galaxy S22 Ultra: 8 hours 8 minutes
  • Galaxy S21 Ultra: 8 hours 15 minutes
  • iPhone 13 Pro Max: 10 hours 27 minutes

The Galaxy S22 Ultra battery life performance might improve in the future via software optimizations. And we have no idea whether the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 model can do better. But it sure looks like the new Galaxy S22 Ultra can’t touch the iPhone 13 Pro Max.

You can watch the full video below:

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 closely follows the events in 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.