Galaxy Note 20 and 20 Ultra battery test: one step forward, two steps back

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Galaxy Note 20 and 20 Ultra 5G battery test: one step forward, two steps back

The The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra has been one of the most anticipated devices of 2020. Now that this giant is finally out, it’s time to focus on one very important aspect of this phone: battery life. Raw power is good, camera performance is, of course, important, but if you run out of battery, none of that will matter. We submitted the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra to our rigorous testing procedures, designed to reflect actual use cases.Samsung has jumped on the “Ultra” bandwagon this year, so we have to compare Galaxy note 20 Ultra at Galaxy note 10+, because the former is the logical successor to last year’s Note. There is a big unknown in the equation and it’s called the variable refresh rate. The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra’s display can run up to 120Hz, and if you’re curious about how that affects battery life, we’ve got you covered.

Samsung Galaxy note 10+ Battery: 4,300 mAh

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Battery: 4.300mAh
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra battery: 4,500 mAh


PhoneArena Navigation Battery Test Results

The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra’s extra 200mAh battery capacity turns into extra runtime in our boating test. The phone pulled off a respectable result of 11 hours and 57 minutes, about half an hour longer than the Galaxy Note 10+. However, this was achieved using the 60Hz manual refresh rate mode of the screen. When we release the extra hertz in automatic mode, the battery life deteriorates by two and a half hours. Smooth navigation has its price, after all.

The Galaxy Note 20 got almost exactly the same result as the Note 20 Ultra at 60Hz, which is actually quite good. Especially considering the smaller battery. But then again, the Note 20’s screen is also a bit smaller (6.7 vs. 6.9 inches), so no surprises here. However, no smooth 120Hz navigation experience is involved.

PhoneArena YouTube Video Playback Battery Test Results

Samsung phones have traditionally been among the best phones when it comes to YouTube video streaming battery life. Interestingly, the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra breaks tradition with a rather uninspiring result. We used the 60Hz mode because YouTube doesn’t support higher refresh rates anyway, but the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra lost almost an hour of YouTube playback compared to its predecessor, the Galaxy Note 10. +, despite the larger battery. With around 7 hours of video playback, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra lags behind most flagships, which is a shame given its stunning display. The Galaxy Note 20 lasted 17 minutes longer while playing a video, which again isn’t a stellar result compared to the competition.

PhoneArena 3D gaming battery test results

Mobile gaming is probably the best use case for the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra’s variable screen refresh rate. After all, high refresh rates have been the holy grail of pro gamers for years, and now the technology has finally found its way to mobile phones. Unfortunately, playing intensive 3D games at 120Hz drains the battery like nothing else. And while results at 60Hz are comparable between the Note 20 Ultra and Note 10+, games at 120Hz consume more than 2 hours of battery life, producing a result of 5 hours and 8 minutes. Keep in mind that not all games support the high refresh rate, but in the end, drawing those extra images to the screen takes energy. Things don’t look any brighter when we take a look at the Note 20. The little brother lacks 120Hz display gibberish and yet it only manages six and a half hours of continuous play.


The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is without a doubt a wonderful piece of engineering. You can check the completeness test the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and see for yourself. Unfortunately, while Samsung has taken a few steps forward with its new flagship, battery life is a bit of a letdown. Even without enabling the screen’s 120Hz refresh rate mode, the phone lags behind the competition. You’d expect more from such a big phone, with a big battery, and well … a big price, but that’s what it is. All of the above also apply to the Galaxy Note 20, which adds insult to injury.

There is always the possibility that a software update will make things better and we’ve seen it before, but at the moment battery life is one of the few weak points of the Galaxy Note 20 and Note. 20 Ultra, at least compared to the competition.