Samsung started using the Ultra branding for its top-of-the-line Galaxy S models three years ago. The Galaxy S20 Ultra was the first ‘Ultra’ flagship, and one of its most attractive specifications was the 5,000 mAh battery.
It’s a specification that hasn’t changed since then, with every new Galaxy S Ultra phone featuring a 5,000 mAh battery. That includes the new Galaxy S23 Ultra, and if our early experience with the phone is anything to go by, this is the first time you actually feel like there’s a big battery in there!
Let’s face it: mid-range phone or flagship, a battery capacity of 5,000 mAh is a lot. And when the Galaxy S20 Ultra launched with a 5,000 mAh battery, everyone expected battery life to be excellent. That clearly didn’t turn out to be the case, at least for those who got the variant powered by Samsung’s Exynos 990 chipset.
The Exynos 2100 was a considerable improvement over the Exynos 990, but even the Galaxy S21 Ultra did not last all that long on a single charge. The Galaxy S22 Ultra somewhat fixed this issue as Samsung used a Snapdragon chip in virtually all markets outside Europe, but even that chip failed to live up to the expected potential.
Galaxy S23 Ultra makes proper use of the 5,000 mAh battery
Thankfully, three years since these ‘Ultra’ Galaxy flagships hit the scene, Samsung seems to have finally achieved what it set out to achieve back in 2020. The Galaxy S23 Ultra’s battery life is pretty insane – yes, I say that keeping even the Galaxy S22 Ultra in mind. My S23 Ultra has been used for less than 48 hours and battery life is already better than anything I ever got with previous Galaxy S Ultra flagships.
Once the phone learns my usage patterns and adjusts power usage accordingly over the next few days, I have a feeling battery life will get even better. It probably won’t be as great as Apple’s iPhone 13 Pro Max or iPhone 14 Pro Max, but Samsung has managed to get real close to the class-leading endurance of Apple’s largest iPhone models, and that’s a major achievement.
Making all of this possible is probably the TSMC-manufactured 4nm ‘Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy’ processor, customized specifically for Samsung’s new flagships in partnership with Qualcomm. This chip is clocked higher than the regular Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, and while we were worried that the effiency gains would be affected as a result of the higher clock speeds, that’s not the case in practice.
Of course, as with all new phones, we will need to test the Galaxy S23 Ultra for a few days more before we can offer a proper verdict. But initial battery life impressions — and initial impressions in general — are positive for me and all of my colleagues who have the S23 Ultra, and hopefully our experience won’t sour in the coming days as we continue to use the device.