This Galaxy S21+ battery life test shows where Samsung did 'pull out all stops'

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Galaxy S21+ battery life test
Our Galaxy S21+ battery testing is ready, and if there is one key takeaway to be had, beside that the phone scores very good on the endurance front, is that the S21 Ultra fares even better, for some reason.

At first blush, the high-end Ultra model should indeed beat them all as it has the biggest battery and the same key power draw advantages as the other two - a 5nm Snapdragon 888 or Exynos 2100 processors with integrated 5nm 5G modems and new, more frugal antenna materials. 

The key element for greater Galaxy S21 series battery life when compared to the S20 models - 1080p instead of 1440p display resolution - however, is missing from the equation on the Ultra, so what happened? 

The Galaxy S21+ battery life and fast charging test

  • YouTube: 8:27h
  • Browsing 120Hz: 10:50h
  • Browsing 60Hz: 12:10h
  • Gaming 120Hz: 6:05h
  • Gaming 60Hz: 8:36h
  • Charging: 4800mAh for 70 minutes with 25W charger

While one would expect the Ultra to last less than the S21+, for instance, which has almost the same battery capacity and a 1080p display, our battery benchmark tests showed that the opposite is true.

hoursHigher is better
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
16h 7 min
Samsung Galaxy S21+
12h 11 min
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
11h 57 min
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G
12h 23 min
Samsung Galaxy S21
9h 6 min
Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max
14h 6 min
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
12h 28 min
OnePlus 8
12h 15 min

What gives? Well, this time around the QHD display on the S21 Ultra is of the latest-gen frugal LPTO variety, not the LTPS panel with static 120Hz refresh found in the S20 Ultra. That alone would amount to a 15-20% diminished power draw. 

When we add the more granular dynamic 10Hz-120Hz refresh rate that its latest-gen LTPO panel allows, compared to 48Hz-120Hz on the S21+, the battery savings may be as significant as having a lower-res display. 

That's precisely what happens in our Galaxy S21+ vs S21 Ultra battery life round as you can see from our benchmark tests here, as the S21 Ultra lasts even longer, despite that the S21+ has a lower-res screen, and only a slightly smaller battery. 

The S21 Ultra, however, comes with a different display technology and refresh rate management than the S21+, which might explain why it does wonders in the endurance department not only among the S21 series, but among all of its peers, too. Surprisingly, the S21 Ultra wins the fast charging round, too, as it fills up a slightly larger battery for a slightly shorter time on the same 25W charger, proving once again that Samsung has indeed "pulled out all stops" in making its most specc'd-out phone to date.

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