Opinion

Is Samsung now making up for smaller batteries by lowering display resolution?

Android 7.0 Nougat brought many new features to the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge, and we discovered a slew of minor changes the new version of the OS made across the board. One important change post Nougat was the lowered screen resolution, as the S7 and S7 edge default to Full HD after being upgraded from Marshmallow. Recent leaks are now suggesting that Samsung will be making Full HD the default resolution on the Galaxy S8 as well, and it makes me wonder if the company is doing this to make up for smaller batteries.

With a 3,000 mAh battery, I’m not expecting the Galaxy S8 to offer great battery life with that 5.8-inch display up front. The Galaxy S7 barely managed to get through the day with the same battery capacity, and it had a display that’s considerably smaller than its upcoming successor. Use the S7 with two SIMs inside, and it further reduces its overall endurance, so I’m very worried the Galaxy S8 will be a repeat of the Galaxy S6. Yes, Super AMOLED displays are rather efficient and there’s also the promise of the new 10 nm processors inside the S8, but the small battery is still likely to be an issue.

Many will argue that Full HD is enough for displays up to 6 inches in size, and I would agree. Quad HD display resolution doesn’t serve any notable purpose in everyday usage, so it wouldn’t be odd if Samsung decided that the Galaxy S8 will only run at Quad HD (or WQHD+, as its new resolution will be called) when it is hooked up to the company’s Gear VR handset. Again, I wouldn’t normally have a problem with this, but it looks like defaulting to Full HD could be an excuse for what seems like insufficient battery capacity, at least for the regular Galaxy S8.

Or it may not be so, as reducing screen resolution doesn’t have any noticeable effect on battery life on the Galaxy S7. Maybe Samsung has improved the feature for the Galaxy S8, but in any case, it would be disappointing if Samsung takes this route for its flagships this year rather than attempting to put in larger batteries by making its phones a tad thicker. As usual, there is no telling what Samsung is up to, and we will only get details when the phone is made official on March 29th.

What do you think? Could Samsung be using a lower screen resolution on the Galaxy S8 to make up for the small battery inside the device?

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D C
D C

This is exactly what I was looking for. The batter stats that are going around seem to show the S8/+ having pretty much the same battery life as the S7/edge. What concerns me is whether the quoted battery life is based on running it at 1080p instead of full resolution, because if it is then it is completely misleading and not comparing apples to apples because the battery life quoted on the S7 was for the full 1440p resolution (because resolution changing only came with Nougat long after the S7 came out). The worry then if this is true is… Read more »

martindale
martindale

Samsung have improved battery life by optimising the software in a way that has zero negative impact (i.e. they have turned off QHD by default). How do you manage to twist that into a bad thing? You want to run it at “the full 1440” all day? Why, just to make the battery last less time than quoted? What’s the point, do you prefer a shorter battery life?

Adhi Suryana
Adhi Suryana

I’d rather have smaller battery than exploding battery
The size of S8 with 5,8″ display is smaller than my 5,5″ S7 Edge, if they put 3600 mAH there will be no space left just like what happened with Note 7
I hope they put “smart battery” feature like the one on SONY Xperia

benlol98
benlol98

about 24 more hours!

martindale
martindale

How about they do away with all the hideous acres of white background. That would save burning our retinas as well as our batteries.

OLEDMAN
OLEDMAN

THIS all day long

wpbogdan
wpbogdan

there is a theme store, you know
but yeah i agree

LeifS
LeifS

My guess is that they’re doing it mainly for the gaming performance. In games a too high resolution can get difficult to render and Samsung started to introduce such features with theit game tools on the S6 (?)

whqhdrbs
whqhdrbs

this has more to do with speed test Youtubers are doing, iphone with half the pixels to push is put to the test with galaxy with double that for speed test w/o mentioning a word

maccyb
maccyb

I’m using QHD on S7 Edge and it did default to FHD with Nougat. I didn’t recognize it happened until I started getting nearly 2 days on a charge. I think rather than making up for the battery size they’re giving us the option to have even better battery life. I suppose we’ll see how S8 does as this 10nm architecture is a huge battery saver.

ayushjha
ayushjha

In my opinion, to default the resolution to FHD with the Nougat update almost equals to cheating users. The first thing I did was to change the resolution to QHD like I alredy posted.

ayushjha
ayushjha

I hope not. Kind of defeats the purpose of having such a pixel dense display. Besides, changing the resolution to FHD lets my phone predict that it would only gain battery life in terms of minutes, not hours. 3000mAh: S6 Edge+.

martindale
martindale

Actually you raise a good point; what exactly is the purpose of a QHD display resolution?

wpbogdan
wpbogdan

VR

martindale
martindale

Exactly, thank you. VR. All those people saying they are being ‘cheated’ and Samsung is being dishonest – I guess they must be stuck inside a headset all day doing VR? Otherwise QHD has no noticeable effect other than to consume more battery. Kudos to Samsung/Nougat for turning it off and saving battery.

Khlad
Khlad

They should go for Full HD and Quad HD in some apps like gallery, video, youtube, games.
Who cares if the phone has Quad HD when you are texting? Or see your calender shedule, calculator, settings etc. you don’t benefit from Quad HD in these apps that’s just waste of battery.

antonmassoud
antonmassoud

Actually, the new display on the S8 consumes less battery.
The new processor reduces battery consumption by at least 40%.
Also, the new RAM LPDDR4x reduces RAM usage from 1.1v to 0.6v.
But nothing is real until we test it in real life

tonster76
tonster76

It doesn’t improve the battery life, so.. “no”

maartenverbunt
maartenverbunt

I agree, it does feel like the Galaxy S6 all over again. Even the 3600 May on my Galaxy S7 Edge leaves a lot to be desired in terms of endurance. Going back to a smaller battery, with a larger screen is not encouraging. And with added sensors for facial recognition for one, I am sure this will not be a phone that will have an impressive battery life. In fact, this phone has little to impress overall, at least for us ditches. No, Samsung Pay, no Bixbi in Dutch, probably not all colors will be availble, fingerprint scanner on… Read more »

billywongwashere
billywongwashere

Samsung knows that the battery life is an issue and defaulting to 1080p will help with prolonging the battery. Personally i would switch my s7 to fhd only if i know i m going to be out all day and with limited time to. Garage the phone. Rest if the time it’s qhd just so i know i m getting the max out of my screen. Tbh a few friends with Nougat on their s7 and s7e didn’t notice it was on the lower resolution after the update. As for the s8, i posted a comment on another article saying… Read more »

Omaha4K
Omaha4K

you repeated what the article said.. duh

arovik
arovik

Hopefully they will start realizing that we don’t need more resolution on these small screens. But changing resolution will of course not have any impact on battery as long as the physical display has the same amounts of dots to light up the screen. Lowering the resolution settings just change the amount of dots pr pixel

mweinbach
mweinbach

nope. it does matter. It is because the pixels are not turned on, therefore not using power. Its the same way the AOD works but on a larger scale.

superjdb22
superjdb22

The pixels do turn on. Unless you think your screen is just 1/4 as bright in HD compared to QHD. And if that were the trick, switching the pixels off… just lower the brightness to 1/4 it would have the same effect

warlockba
warlockba

True that. The only thing you save is GPU/CPU processing power, nothing more. They did the same for the Note 4 when the faulty Android 5.0.1 came out, for half a year or so – to at least keep somewhat the performance of the initial Kitkat 4.4.x release. Only 5.1.1 brought a decent resolution back.

jojo337
jojo337

I don’t see the benefit of a smaller resolution to gain battery…
All pixels are illuminated even if it is QHD FHD or HD, so the screen consuption is the same (and it’s always the bigger battery eater).

The only gains are about processing, so it’s all about the CPU/GPU. And when we are messaging or on the menus the gains are nearby zero. Only games and maybe web browsing could change it.

lilmoe
lilmoe

We’ve been over this for many years. I can’t believe people are still bringing this up. Do yourself a favor and read more. I don’t want to sound pissed off at uninformed people like you (I am if that wasn’t obvious enough), but just because someone “thinks” there are “nearby zero” gains for lowering the resolution, it doesn’t mean that their _opinion_ is in any part accurate, scientific or true. Show me the numbers where the gains aren’t significant enough. Show me your tests. And no, juvenile app load speed tests from kids on youtube won’t cut it. This is… Read more »

superjdb22
superjdb22

A lower resolution should be less demanding on the CPU and GPU, but… for very simple UI tasks… the overhead of the “upscaling” may offset any gains. For instance… blanking the screen would be faster in QHD, faster than blanking the screen in HD pixel doubling the rest. And they are not pixel doubling.

mohsinm20a
mohsinm20a

By lowering the resolution all pixels don’t light up. This is AMOLED. Individual pixels can be turned off. So by lowering the resolution some of the the pixels would be turned off….. and this would result in quite noticeable result in battery life … I’m using my S7 on 1080p and I am satisfied with it. I can’t see any noticeable change in general. But if I view closely and carefully i can feel the difference between 1440 and 1080p.

superjdb22
superjdb22

All pixels (and all subpixels as well) still light up. Putting a 2560×1440 screen in 1280×720 would mean, in your logic, only 1 in 4 pixels would turn on… it would make the screen very very dark. You would notice very well if only 1 in 4 pixels were turned on. The pixels just aren’t rendered, but take their color values from adjacent pixels that are. When rendering is intensive, such as in games, videos and maybe browser, this could improve battery life, but otherwise, like when rendering the solid white background of your average app, it makes no difference… Read more »