The Galaxy S8 is a revolutionary phone in many aspects, but battery life is not one

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.

Samsung has a dream and that dream is to overcome Apple.

This is not our interpretation of current events: it is the words of Samsung's vice president of product strategy himself, spoken in front of a small group of journalists in Korea.


The dream he refers to is the Galaxy S8, a phone that genuinely impresses me in so many aspects: the meticulous craftsmanship is unlike that of any other phone with the glass smoothly and almost seamlessly flowing into the metal frame, the Snapdragon 835 system chip, the most powerful in the Android world, the new camera that is now even better for low light pictures, the Bixby virtual assistant that is a promising first step for Samsung and last but not least, DeX, the little dock that revives the dream of one-device computing. The level of finish and refinement on the Galaxy S8 is impressive. It's water-proof, it fast-charges, it has an even better front camera, an improved interface, and the list goes on and on. It even comes with a pair of $100 AKG earbuds bundled in for free.

Yet still, in one aspect, Samsung has not dared dream big. And in that aspect, it matches the iPhone one to one.

That one aspect is battery life.

Here is a one-to-one battery life comparison between the Samsung Galaxy S8, S8+ on one hand, and the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus on the other.

Battery life comparison: Galaxy S8 and S8+ vs iPhone 7 and 7+


*Official numbers provided by the manufacturers (Samsung, Apple).

Notice the similarities? The bigger batteries in Samsung's Galaxies give them a natural advantage in screen-off tasks like music playback and talk time, but in the most important screen-on test, Internet browsing, Samsung's and Apple's devices are indeed on par.


They all have good battery life, but is 'good' enough when we deal with the first 10nm system chip on a phone that has the potential to bring much bigger gains in battery life? And do we really need the extra load of Quad HD resolution on Samsung's phones?


Finding a winning formula for a flagship phone is not an easy task. Some users will prefer all-out performance focus and even an obvious overkill like a 4K display (thankfully, Sony is still the only one to experiment with such phones), but one can also easily argue that we have long reached the level of smooth performance that we need in phones. What we know no user would reject is better battery life.

We have recently noticed that affordable phones that no one talks about that run on the 14nm Snapdragon 625 system chip get crazy battery life. I have lived with the Lenovo P2 and its battery life was a revelation: the 5,100 mAh cell lasted three to four days on a single charge and the phone measures 8.3mm thick, almost the same as the 8.1mm Galaxy S8 and S8+. The Moto Z Play gets a solid two days with a 3,510 mAh battery and a 7mm body, much slimmer than the new Galaxy S8 duo. 

The Lenovo P2 and Moto Z Play were certainly not the fastest phone around, but for the vast majority of daily tasks it was hard for me to find a difference in the performance.

Conclusion


The Galaxy S8 and S8+ are clearly two great phones. More than that: they are revolutionary and exciting in so many areas, but at the same time, the battery life on them is... just good enough. At least according to the official numbers (and we will certainly test the hell out of them once we have final units).

At the same time, other, much more affordable phones have raised the bar so much higher. There is no limit to perfection, but in the current smartphone market, mastering battery life seems like one of the last frontiers. Do not get me wrong: ask me if I would rather get the Lenovo P2 or Moto Z Play over the Galaxy S8 and my answer would be a 'Hell no!" But if you ask me whether I would miss its outstanding battery life every step of the way... You bet I would.

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71 Comments

1. Phonehex

Posts: 768; Member since: Feb 16, 2016

Excepting the battery life... Which will be good not great ! ITS THE BEST PHONE EVER

8. torr310

Posts: 1692; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

The battery will be the major defect.

35. RoryBreaker

Posts: 246; Member since: Oct 11, 2015

There is no excuse to have kept the batteries the same size. They SHOULD have been 4000 mAh & 4500 mAh respectively.

58. rockzer

Posts: 6; Member since: Jul 11, 2016

Are you a fool, It's a fake news. iPhonearena is a fraud site. Please Don't trust the Apple media (iPhonearena).

60. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

can you find flagships with similar physical size with S8 and have 4000mAh battery? or S8+ size with 4500mAh battery? no?

72. grahamb1989

Posts: 6; Member since: Jul 01, 2014

The real problem is that to add significantly more mAh than we saw in the S7 series, Samsung would have had to make a second battery cell and stack them. Factor in that for a cellphone, the battery form factor has to be changed to meet the dimensions of the device. There's a reason you never see AA batteries above 3,200 mAh, or AAA batteries above 2,000 mAh. It's just not realistically possible to put more into a single cell. Devices with more mAh only achieve more by using multiple cells. So nope, Samsung are stuck here, as are everybody else, until a new battery tech other than LiPo becomes available. The problem with Samsung is, though, they know how to push device sales every year. They don't care about scaling back their devices when they can drain the batteries faster and get a new sale the following year instead. With the S7 and S8, you won't see many people using them 4 years from now like you still do with the S2, S3, S4, Note 4 and S5 because batteries are locked in and lose max capacity faster thanks to fast charge and faster drain rates (and with this, an increase in the number of charge cycles done per year). What there really is no excuse for, is Samsung reducing battery from 3,600 to 3,500 mAh, especially when the new devices have a larger chassis. They could have used that space for just 100 more mAh for an extra 30-60 minutes of usage time.

46. playingwithplato

Posts: 3; Member since: Feb 19, 2015

Yeah...it's exploding onto the scene.

52. raky_b

Posts: 420; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

you really have a big problem dude...now, if you are not payed by samsung to be like dumb parrot that have learned to say one line, and one line only....and act a fool of yourself over and ove...., i hope you will invest your money ment for a phone in to something more necessary for you - psychiatric treatment.

64. R-vjn

Posts: 301; Member since: Jan 07, 2013

Man thats savage, lol. But I admit, almost every s8 article has this one liner...!!

62. audibot

Posts: 668; Member since: Jan 26, 2017

thats the price of having the best quality screens battery goes down but since you can change the screen to 720 or 1080 now they should do the test with whats closer to apples res

2. You_Dont_Say

Posts: 431; Member since: Jan 26, 2015

hahaha this phone is nothing but hot trash. It's literally not better than the S7 edge

5. Phonehex

Posts: 768; Member since: Feb 16, 2016

Please, considering you can't afford ..forget the S8.. S7 or S6 also for that matter. Please go buy a burner phone and feel happy that you got max value for your money.

32. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

If he lives in the US and has a job, he can afford it. He is simply a troll. Claiming someone can't afford something is not an argument. You have no way of knowing what he cant afford. He needs to afford himself some time in school, because he's a dumb-ass though!

6. Phonehex

Posts: 768; Member since: Feb 16, 2016

Also keep upvoting your comments using your outdated core 2 duo desktop from the 2006 era using multiple browsers and multiple accounts. Good , shows how jobless you are . Hahahahahaha.

27. tango_charlie

Posts: 347; Member since: Nov 16, 2011

I wouldn't call the S8 trash but "You_dont _say" isn't wrong at all. The S8 is a mainly design-wise updated S7 Edge. Nothing new or ground breaking except for being the first phone with BT5.0.

33. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

So what? Isn't every phone a speed bump away from the next model? Isn't most phones a design change from the previosu or next model? At leats Samsung did not use the exact same look and phone for 3 years? The S6, S7 and S8 all look similar, but at least you can tell them apart when they are all black. TRY THAT with the iPhone 6, 6S and 7?

47. playingwithplato

Posts: 3; Member since: Feb 19, 2015

Unfortunately still the same garbage UI. What I don't like about this article is it complains about battery life while barely giving a nod to the fact that the Sammy S8 has a vastly superior screen than the iPhone. Which is precisely why the battery life is on par. F#*k this VR bulls**t that makes up

20. geordie8t1

Posts: 307; Member since: Nov 16, 2015

Your an idiot, really do u have nothing better to do then troll all these samsung posts, get a life u loser, if you dont like the product thats fine but get a grip with ur baby whining anti samsung dribble

4. QWIKSTRIKE

Posts: 1461; Member since: Mar 09, 2010

I would say wait until the all screen iPhone 8 drops. The larger screen would definitely utilize more juice because of the larger screen. It won't Be Apples to Apples ;) until; the larger screen iPhone 8 hits the market. Then a better comparison can be made in my opinion.

48. playingwithplato

Posts: 3; Member since: Feb 19, 2015

No, not really. If the Samsung has the inferior resolution of the iPhone (a model I would LIKE to see from Samsung) then it would be an apples to apples comparison.

7. Tyrion_Lannister unregistered

Why don't we get such articles when iPhone is released?

9. Victor.H

Posts: 1098; Member since: May 27, 2011

Good point. Let me explain. The reason is simply that back then we did not have phones with such an amazing battery life as the Lenovo P2, Moto Z Play, Samsung's A (2017) series, etc. It is this new manufacturing process at 16nm and the lack of a Quad HD screen that really allows these to shine, I think. Whatever the case, I think I have quite fairly put the Galaxy and iPhone under the same token in this particular article.

12. Tyrion_Lannister unregistered

We did have phones like Redmi note 3(snapdragon), moto z play and S6 active back then too. These budget phones still can't match the work done on flagships. If you run a CPU instruction load, the flagship will still calculate more before dying compared to these midrangers. This is the traditional ultrabook vs full powered laptop kind of debate. Whether you want power or battery life is up to you. Flagships certainly can't beat out 1W designs like SD625, that's just illogical to expect. We can't have high brightness high res screens, fast processors with smooth animations, a lot of multitasking and 2-3 day battery life all in one phone without making it huge or like a brick. These phones have good enough battery life and should easily last a full day of heavy use. That along with fast charging and wireless charging should more than offset the issues for 99% of the people.

54. raky_b

Posts: 420; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

what you have write have a sense, but....you wouldn't agree that 4000mAh in this phone would be better!?g i am not so sure that it will hold whole day of "heavy usage"

14. AmashAziz

Posts: 2934; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

What about the even older, Galaxy A-series (2015), or even 2016? They had amazing battery life too. Plus, even the Huawei Mate 8, even though it was a flagship-class phone. You definitely need to criticize Apple where required. Don't be its promoters, rather be unbiased. You certainly didn't criticize iPhone 7 series when it got lower battery life than the 6S series, even according to your own results....did you?? Shows how much of 'iPhonearena' you are!! Don't get me wrong, I am against those trolls who call you that. But not completely. Because you have some of that i-essence in you. So open your eyes, and see the next big thing instead.........

16. maherk

Posts: 7007; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Which 2017 flagship phone has came with a revolutionary battery technology that destroyed the competition in terms of battery life?!

22. Victor.H

Posts: 1098; Member since: May 27, 2011

None. The question I am asking is why did we not get a 5,100 mAh battery like on the 8.3mm Lenovo P2 and wouldn't it be better if we got Full HD screens that could result in improved battery life over Quad HD. Or alternatively, why don't we get a Snapdragon 625 phone with a great camera, if the power-draining A57 makes it impossible to get good battery life out of a flagship-grade device.

24. maherk

Posts: 7007; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Because the Lenovo P2 lacks so many hardware features that the S8 comes equipped with, in a smaller body as well, that's why they have enough space to throw a 5100 mah battery. It's crazy that someone in your position is comparing the battery capacity of a feature rich flagship phone, to a mid-ranger that as far as I know doesn't even have an OIS for it's main camera.

28. Victor.H

Posts: 1098; Member since: May 27, 2011

I am glad we have this discussion and so many different viewpoints! That's super cool :) Unfortunately I have to go back to work, so let me just give you a quick reply: why is it crazy to want / expect great battery life from a flagship phone? Why can't we have a bigger battery in the body of the S8+, though, (it's certainly bigger)? By the way, the Google Pixel also does not have OIS, yet still is considered one of the best camera phones out there.

36. maherk

Posts: 7007; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Try shooting a video in a low light or indoors on a Pixel, then you'll get it why OIS will always be better than EIS.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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