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Galaxy S20 Ultra: Samsung's flagship has comparatively disappointing battery runtimes despite its 5,000 mAh battery

Galaxy S20 Ultra: Samsung's flagship has comparatively disappointing battery runtimes despite its 5,000 mAh battery. (Image source: Samsung)
Galaxy S20 Ultra: Samsung's flagship has comparatively disappointing battery runtimes despite its 5,000 mAh battery. (Image source: Samsung)
The combination of Snapdragon 865 and a 5G external modem was always going to hurt battery life, even with a 5,000 mAh battery. Perhaps unsurprisingly then, the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra falls short of its peers like the Apple iPhone 11 Pro, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus and even the Galaxy S10 Plus. Now, Tom's Guide has demonstrated just how poorly the S20 Ultra fares, especially with its display running at 120 Hz.
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The Galaxy S20 Ultra is a monster on paper, but it might not quite live up to the hype in real-world usage. The Verge has noticed focusing issues with their unit, for example, in response to which Samsung has promised to the camera experience of the whole S20 series. Additionally, Tom's Guide has demonstrated just how underwhelming the battery life of Samsung's latest flagship is.

The Galaxy S20 Ultra has a 5,000 mAh battery, which would normally mean that the device would have excellent battery life. However, the inclusion of a 5G modem and a 120 Hz display seems to significantly hamper battery life.

According to Tom's Guide, it conducted its battery life tests by setting its Galaxy S20 Ultra review unit to 150 nits and those browsed the web on the Sub-6 T-Mobile 5G network in the US. Tom's Guide repeated the test four times and then calculated the mean. In principle, a runtime of 11:58 hours, which the website's Galaxy S20 Ultra achieved in 60 Hz mode, is respectable.

However, it only puts the Galaxy S20 Ultra on par with the iPhone 11 Pro Max, a device that has a 1,031 mAh smaller battery. The Galaxy S10 Plus lasts slightly longer on its 900 mAh smaller cell, too. Additionally, while the Galaxy Note 10 Plus, iPhone 11 and Pixel XL all have worse runtimes than the Galaxy S20 Ultra, they would likely last longer with 5,000 mAh batteries.

Switching to 120 Hz mode results in a runtime of just 9:13 hours for the Galaxy S20 Ultra, too. We should point out that the device will likely last longer when running on 4G. Tom's Guide did not run its test on this basis, though. However, we can see why Samsung limited the Galaxy S20 Ultra to 120 Hz at 1080p by default, as stepping up to 1440p would result in even lower runtimes.

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(Image source: Tom's Guide)

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Alex Alderson
Alex Alderson - Senior Tech Writer - 4126 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2018
Prior to writing and translating for Notebookcheck, I worked for various companies including Apple and Neowin. I have a BA in International History and Politics from the University of Leeds, which I have since converted to a Law Degree. Happy to chat on Twitter or Notebookchat.
contact me via: @aldersonaj
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2020 02 > Galaxy S20 Ultra: Samsung's flagship has comparatively disappointing battery runtimes despite its 5,000 mAh battery
Alex Alderson, 2020-02-27 (Update: 2020-02-27)