Opinion

Samsung’s flagships need to start getting battery life similar to its mid-range devices

When the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ got announced, Samsung confirmed what the leaks had already told us, that the company’s new phones would be shipping with rather small batteries for their respective screen sizes. Like me, many had probably wondered how the battery could be smaller now that it had to power bigger displays. But I decided to give it a try, even though Samsung’s official stats said that in terms of battery life, the new phones wouldn’t be much better than their predecessors, with the S8 even having lesser endurance in most respects compared to the Galaxy S7.

Again, I decided to give it a chance, and I used the Galaxy S8 for a couple of weeks before our review was published. Well, guess what? Battery life didn’t turn out to be so good. The Galaxy S8+, tested by my colleague Martin, certainly managed to return respectable battery life, but even that was on Wi-Fi and not on mobile data. But hey, why should I, or any of us here at SamMobile complain? We’re paying over 800 Euro for a device that can barely offer 4 hours of screen time on a full charge, unless I turn off things like AOD or even automatic screen brightness. Or, to put it in other words, paying so much for a device that doesn’t even match its direct predecessor in terms of battery life and falls way behind Samsung’s mid-range phones like the Galaxy A (2017) lineup.

It’s not to say I don’t love the Galaxy S8. I like what Samsung’s offering here. That display is beautiful, the camera has gotten notably better (my girlfriend is especially happy about the selfies), and I even think that iris scanner is awesome (if a little slow at times). But why has battery life taken a backseat? Why is such an important feature still neglected? They say we want phones with sleek designs and large displays, but shouldn’t the battery inside these devices be large enough to be able to power those displays comfortably?

Samsung has made so many jokes about Apple and how iPhone users are “wall huggers,” and that is exactly what the company turned its users into with the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge, and now, will do the same with the Galaxy S8 and S8+. It’s like every time Samsung innovates with its displays and design, it puts battery life on the low priority list. Wireless charging and fast charging, which are great features in general, can’t make up for the fact that I must worry about taking a battery pack along or be judicious with how I use my phone when I’m out and away from a wall socket.

The newest Galaxy A lineup costs around 500 Euro, and from our experience on at least the A5 and A7, we can see that battery life is way better than any flagship Samsung phone. How and why is this a thing (not just with Samsung, but with other manufacturers as well)? Galaxy A lineup users don’t get all the fancy features, but they can still live free of fear that their phones will run out of juice at any moment.

I would say slim designs and beautiful displays are important, but if a flagship can’t even offer 4 hours of screen time in this day and age, it’s almost tantamount to a slap on the consumer’s face. Like Samsung itself said, we’re living in a display-centric world, so why are our displays so handicapped by poor battery backup?

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