Playwares, independent online publication in Korea specialized in hardwares, got their hands on Korean retail version of Galaxy S5, to be specific, SM-G900S model thanks to the early sales of SK Telecom. Korean version of Anandtech purchased the device for full review. (Yes, they spent their own money because they don’t accept the temporarily-given-for-review device from manufacturer as far as possible. Their policy like this usually adds to their credibility.) In advance of the full review article, they published the battery life test result.
To test LCD display and AMOLED display under same condition, they set the brightness level of handsets as close as possible each other using the instrumentation equipment used usually for their monitor review articles. Those are Display Color Analyzer CA-310 and CA-PU32 Probe from KONICA MINOLTA.
Orange bars are the results from maximum brightness settings of devices when displaying the specific test web page on screen — in case of Galaxy S5, it was around 360 nit for the test web page — and blue bars are the results from same 230 nit(230 cd/m²) setting for all the devices.
For the test web page, Galaxy S5(5.1″, 2800mAh) lasted 5h:55m:34s with 360 nit(360 cd/m²) and lasted 7h:43m:25s with 230 nit(230 cd/m²). According to web browsing test of Playwares, Super AMOLED display of S5 is significantly improved from that of Galaxy Note 3 let alone Galaxy S4. For comparison, with 230 nit settings, Galaxy Note 3(5.7″, 3200mAh) lasted 6h:43m:34s and Galaxy S4(5.0″, 2600mAh) 6h:18m:20s. Super AMOLED display used to be weaker in web browsing battery test when compared to IPS display because web pages usually have much more white colors.
Playwares tested battery time for video playback by repeating their usual sources, the movie Avatar, etc. continuously. Unlike web browsing in which white colors are seen almost all the time, the video playback shows more diverse colors on screen. Accordingly, Playwares set the criteria at 280~290cd/m² because AMOLED and LCD show different brightness characteristics for RGB colors.
AMOLED display has always advantage over LCD display when it comes to the video playback. According to Playwares battery time test result for the video playback, Galaxy S5 showed the top-tier level result along with G Flex(6.0″, 3500mAh) and Galaxy Note 3 let alone its predecessor, Galaxy S4. S5(5.1″, 2800mAh) lasted 13h:34m:17s with its maximum brightness and 14h:45m:58s with R+G+B 280cd/m² setting. Galaxy Note 3(5.7″, 3200mAh) lasted 14h:55m:37s and Galaxy S4(5.0″, 2600mAh) did 11h:01m:09s with R+G+B 280cd/m² setting. Playwares noted that the actual result was really impressive even though a good result was expected already before the test. As they mentioned, the fact S5 was on par with Note 3 and G Flex is really interesting because those devices have big batteries with 3200mAh and whooping 3500mAh respectively.
Playwares tested battery time for 3D graphics by repeating the C24Z16 portion of GLBenchmark 2.5 Egypt HD. It noted that the differences among devices were not so big that they just tested with maximum brightness setting. (The differences were only within 5% range according to Playwares.)
First of all, Playwares mentioned that their upcoming full review will cover in detail about throttling which is activated when the battery seems to be drained quickly by the excess use of processors(AP and GPU). This matters with the battery test because 3D graphics rendering is the main culprit for this throttling occurrence and usually, with the OS intervention, the process becomes slowed down to lessen power consumption. According to the battery test result for 3D graphics, Galaxy S5(5.1″, 2800mAh) lasted 3h:48m:53s and it’s almost same as the lasting time of Galaxy Note 3(5.7″, 3200mAh). Overall, Galaxy S5 was among top-tier class devices regarding the battery test with 3D graphics. They added that, because 3D graphics are heavily based upon AP, new Snapdragon 801 used in S5 seems to have sort of good battery efficiency compared to Snapdragon 800. I guess they meant that Android OS and the hardwares are more optimized for Snapdragon 800 than for Snapdragon 801 at least currently.
Playwares concluded the battery test of Galaxy S5 as follows.
Galaxy S5 has the outstanding battery efficiency considering some factors:• the brightest among the 360 nit range type AMOLED display such as GS4 and Galaxy Note 3 * • 5.1″ screen estate of 1920X1080 resolution • below 3000mAh-level battery (2800mAh, to be precise)
* I guess Playwares’ naming of ’360 nit type’ stems from the average range and not related to the min-max range. Samsung told at UNPACKED 2014 Episode 1 event that GS5 has some algorithms to control brightness of screen dynamically. Local CE, Local Contrast Enhancement algorithm can analyze the screen to automatically boost brightness of some screen segment up to 500cd/m² to enhance visibility like under the strong sunlight. For the opposite situation, Super Dimming algorithm can lower some segment of screen down to 2cd/m² like in the dark or in the situation you don’t want to bother others with bright screen.
By ranking in the top-tier class for all types of battery tests, especially for web browsing test, AMOLED display of GS5 proved its competitiveness against IPS type LCD display for white colored screen because the white backgrounds of web pages used to tax the battery much with AMOLED screen so far. (This is another advancement of AMOLED technology, I think.)
Battery life was one of aspects S flagship devices have shown the big difference with Note lineup so far. GS5 was on par with Note 3 in tests of video playback and 3D graphics, and even had the edge over Note 3 in web browsing with Wifi test. These results clearly show GS5 was upgraded from its predecessor significantly regarding the battery life. GS5 is unrivaled in the segment of around-5-inch handsets.
With ultra-power saving mode Samsung boasted in UNPACKED event, Lucid’s PowerXtend software suite (GameXtend, NavXtend, and WebXtend) and the instantly-swappable battery, I guess GS5 can be the legitimate candidate for the battery king of 2014. It’s certain that Samsung put an emphasis on the battery life while developing Galaxy S5. It looks like the battery life is one of what Samsung told as “Back to Basics” about the device.
For more information and images, I included the links to Playwares Galaxy S5 battery test pages below because it would be hard to figure out how to navigate between pages unless you understand the Korean language. (Actually the pages have the select box and previous/next link at the bottom part. Yeah, it’s the style of Anandtech and GSMArena.)