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Watch iPhone 13 Pro Max destroy Galaxy S21 Ultra in battery life test

Published Oct 5th, 2021 5:29PM EDT
iPhone 13 Galaxy S21
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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Battery life is one of the great selling points of the iPhone 13. All four new iPhones feature larger battery capacities than their predecessors, with Apple promising up to 2.5 hours of additional battery life. Reviews so far have highlighted the amazing battery life of the new handsets, with a focus on the iPhone 13 Pro Max. That’s the largest handset of the group, featuring the largest battery pack. A recent test revealed the iPhone 13 Pro Max has the best battery life of any phone, including the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra.

But a brand new battery life comparison shows the two phones side by side, going through the same type of real-life usage.

The Galaxy S21 Ultra is the obvious iPhone 13 Pro Max rival right now. But any similarly sized 120Hz Android device running on a Snapdragon 888 processor would do while we wait for the Galaxy S22 to drop.

YouTube channel PhoneBuff compared the two handsets in a real-life speed test, with the iPhone 13 Pro Max being the unsurprising winner of the two.

The S21 Ultra also came up in a battery life comparison test from a different YouTuber. That test compared the iPhone 13 models against all the other iPhones in Apple’s current inventory. All iPhone 13 outlasted their predecessor, with the iPhone 13 mini lasting longer than the iPhone 12. It’s the iPhone 13 Pro Max that set a new record, outlasting the Galaxy S21 Ultra. However, the S21 wasn’t featured in the clip.

iPhone 13 Pro Max vs. Galaxy S21 Ultra
iPhone 13 Pro Max vs. Galaxy S21 Ultra battery life test. Image source: PhoneBuff

iPhone 13 Pro Max vs. Galaxy S21 battery life test

That’s why PhoneBuff’s battery life test stands out, as it shows both handsets side by side. A robot performs the same routines on each device. This involves going through apps and performing the same tasks to see how they impact battery life.

We’re looking at hour-long phone calls, email, internet browsing, navigation, and video streaming. Some of the action on the screen will bring up the refresh rates. Both handsets support up to 120Hz refresh rates. And both screens dynamically adapt the refresh to the type of content. As a result, the dynamic screens help conserve battery life. Otherwise, the 120Hz screens would eat up even more energy.

The video also includes 16 hours of standby time in between two usage sessions.

All said and done, the iPhone 13 Pro Max lasted for 28 hours and 6 minutes, compared to 25 hours and 28 minutes for the Galaxy S21 Ultra. Substracting the 16 hours of standby from that gives the iPhone 13 Pro Max 12 hours and 6 minutes of screen-on battery life, compared to 9 hours and 28 minutes for the Galaxy S21 Ultra.

That’s almost 2 hours and 40 minutes of extra energy from a phone with a smaller battery. The iPhone 13 Pro Max features a 4,352 mAh battery. The Galaxy S21 Ultra has a larger 5,000 battery pack.

Another conclusion of the test is that the iPhone 13 Pro Max outlasts its predecessors, the iPhone 12 Pro Max and iPhone 11 Pro Max. Check out the full video follows 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 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.