Watch: iPhone X vs. Galaxy S9 Plus battery life compared

Posted:
in iPhone edited April 17
Continuing the comparison between Apple's iPhone X and Samsung's Galaxy S9 Plus, AppleInsider pitted the flagship smartphones against each other in a number of battery life tests, to see which can last the longest. Can the battery in Apple's premium device out-last its main rival?





AppleInsider has performed quite a few tests to compare Apple's iPhone X against the competing Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus, and credit has to be given to Samsung for the improvements it has made to the latest flagship release over last year's Note 8. While a full comparison between the two devices has already been made, one piece of the puzzle has been left out: battery life.

Displays and Batteries

Both handsets are equipped with OLED screens, which offers both good and bad things to a device's battery life.

On the good side, OLED technology means each pixel is individually backlit, allowing for pixels to use only the power it needs for the required brightness. This can lead to increased battery life, as shown in our Dark Mode battery test video, as well as a higher contrast display.

Galaxy S9 versus iPhone X battery


Conversely, OLED displays can also consume more power per pixel when displaying bright or white colors when compared to traditional LCD displays. If your mobile device has an OLED screen, it is recommended to turn on auto-brightness and use a dark theme wherever possible to extend its battery life.

Looking at the two screens, the Galaxy S9 Plus actually has a physically larger and higher resolution display than the iPhone X, so in theory it should consume more power. The bigger device also has a 3,500 mAh battery, which is approximately 29% larger than the iPhone X's 2,716 mAH battery, so it has a lot more juice to work with.

The iPhone X battery is more comparable in capacity to the regular Galaxy S9's 3,000 mAh battery, but in this particular test, we're comparing the best phone that each company has to offer.

Test 1: Overnight

The first test was relatively simple, measuring how much battery would be consumed overnight on both phones, if they were left alone with no apps running. They were charged to 100 percent, all background apps were closed, and the two smartphones were left in the office until the following morning.

Approximately 16 hours later, the Galaxy S9 Plus said it was at 85 percent capacity, but oddly the iPhone X read it was at 99 percent charge.

Some users anecdotally claim that iPhones have better standby battery life. While that may be true, 99 percent remaining after 16 hours seems unrealistic.

Test 2: YouTube

Last week, a battery life test on the iPhone X showed impressive savings when using YouTube's dark theme. Unfortunately, the same theme isn't yet available on Android, so for the S9 Plus, the same test was performed using the default YouTube theme.

Both phones were set to approximately 80 percent brightness, and played a three-hour YouTube video. After three hours, the iPhone X was down to 55 percent charge remaining, while the S9 Plus reached 67 percent, meaning Samsung's device wins this test by a good margin.

Test 3: Gaming

A fairly graphics-intensive game named Vainglory 5v5 was played on both phones for exactly one hour. We were going to play Fortnite, but it is currently only available on iOS.

Vainglory on iPhone X


For this test, the brightness was cranked up to 100 percent, with the aim of maximizing battery usage and hopefully showing a bigger difference in results.

After an hour of play, the iPhone X was at an impressive 87% battery life, and the Samsung was at 84%.

Since the S9 Plus has a larger battery to begin with, it would probably outlast the iPhone X if you played until both batteries drained. Either way, they both did a great job, considering brightness was maxed out.

Test 4: Partial discharge benchmark

Probably one of the most accurate ways to test the battery life, Geekbench 4's battery benchmark was used on both handsets. First, was the app's partial discharge test, which dims the screen, and runs processor intensive tasks for 3 hours straight.

The iPhone X was at 40 percent battery life at the end of three hours, giving it a score of 2,566.

The Galaxy S9 Plus finished with an extremely impressive remaining charge of 63 percent. This helped it score a massive 4,592, which is 79% higher than the X.

We noticed that the Samsung did really well in longer battery tests. Without being able to see the battery's actual condition, based on these tests it seems like the iPhone X inaccurately displays the battery percentage while closer to a full charge, and quickly drops to catch up with its actual battery life when nearing empty.

Test 5: Full discharge benchmark

For our final test, we ran Geekbench 4's battery benchmark again, except now we ran the full discharge test. This is similar to the partial discharge, except it runs until completion, as the name suggests.

Galaxy S9 and iPhone X benchmarks


The iPhone X was completely drained after 4 hours and 45 minutes, scoring 2,845 points. This score ended up being slightly better than on the partial drain test.

The S9 Plus, on the other hand, lasted 7 hours and 22 minutes before completely draining. Again, Samsung's result towered above the iPhone X, with the S9 Plus achieving 4,420 points.

The Samsung completely blew the iPhone X out of the water with this last battery test, but why is there such a big difference here compared to the others?

We already know the S9 Plus' battery is almost a third larger than the iPhone X, giving it an advantage, but there's another element to consider: processing performance. The iPhone X has more than double the performance of the Galaxy S9 Plus in Geekbench 4's single-core benchmark, and also scores 26 percent higher than its Samsung rival in multi-core performance.

Since these last two benchmarks focus on putting a 100-percent workload on the CPU, the iPhone X is naturally going to require more power when running at full tilt. While the extra battery probably helps even out the consumption in size difference, the lower-performance processor is probably doing less work than the iPhone X and doesn't need as much power over time.

When looking at the tests overall, it's safe to say that the Galaxy S9 Plus is undoubtedly superior to the iPhone X in terms of battery life, despite the size difference.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 28
    nunzynunzy Posts: 662member
    Most people are just fine with that.
  • Reply 2 of 28
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 947member
    I have to confess, I question the methodology of the Geekbench battery tests. It would be more appropriate if both phones performed the same amount of work i.e. performed the same fixed tasks within a three hour time span regardless of how quickly they completed those tasks.
    caladanianradarthekatneo-techolsberndognetmagejdgazjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 28
    I’m surprised at AI’s uncharacteristic comparison of Apples and Oranges. I would want to know how the battery life of similar sized screens/devices compare. A more helpful article would compare the S9 vs. X vs. S9 Plus vs. 8 Plus. And a comment from Apple regarding the 99% reading after 16 hours would be helpful too.
    radarthekatolsnetmage
  • Reply 4 of 28
    competition is good.
    aylkols
  • Reply 5 of 28
    So...

    Choose the larger Galaxy device vs. medium sized iPhone
    the iPhone trounced the Galaxy on standby - we don't believe the results
    The Galaxy doesn't have a dark mode on YouTube (a google app) - compare using the standard mode
    The iPhone handily beats the Galaxy on graphics intensive gaming
    The Galaxy handily beats the iPhone on a nothing-like-real-world-battery-use-case Geekbench test that has the iPhone doing nearly 2x the CPU work since it's twice as fast and the test keeps either CPU at max throttle the whole time (also keep in mind that iPhones CPU/GPUs don't throttle performance over time due to heat nearly as much as most Androids) 

    AppleInsider conclusion? Galaxy device has "undoubtedly superior" "battery life, despite the size difference"

    Seems really biased. 

    First of all, it wouldn't be despite the size difference. If the iPhone were LARGER, it would be despite the size difference. Because it's the smaller of the two, the proper way to phrase that would have been something like "partially due to the size difference". Second of all, I would conclude based on those tests that the iPhone has better standby battery life, better gaming battery life, but also the ability to drain the smaller battery in extreme cases faster than the Samsung, which has a larger capacity battery that is generally used less efficiently but also has a less dynamic power draw capability... true battery life depends on the usage.



    chasmcornchipndirishfan1975radarthekatbb-15neo-techberndogGelardi8000[Deleted User]redgeminipa
  • Reply 6 of 28
    Apple devices loose the last 10% of their battery at an incredible rate.  (First hand experience)

    My conclusion is giving a percentage to battery life remaining isn’t accurate at all.  That is probably true for any phone...
  • Reply 7 of 28
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 1,333member
    I predict a DED editorial to refute this.
    chasmmacseekercornchipberndogmuthuk_vanalingam[Deleted User]
  • Reply 8 of 28
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 2,637member
    So...

    Choose the larger Galaxy device vs. medium sized iPhone
    the iPhone trounced the Galaxy on standby - we don't believe the results
    The Galaxy doesn't have a dark mode on YouTube (a google app) - compare using the standard mode
    The iPhone handily beats the Galaxy on graphics intensive gaming
    The Galaxy handily beats the iPhone on a nothing-like-real-world-battery-use-case Geekbench test that has the iPhone doing nearly 2x the CPU work since it's twice as fast and the test keeps either CPU at max throttle the whole time (also keep in mind that iPhones CPU/GPUs don't throttle performance over time due to heat nearly as much as most Androids) 

    AppleInsider conclusion? Galaxy device has "undoubtedly superior" "battery life, despite the size difference"

    Seems really biased. 

    First of all, it wouldn't be despite the size difference. If the iPhone were LARGER, it would be despite the size difference. Because it's the smaller of the two, the proper way to phrase that would have been something like "partially due to the size difference". Second of all, I would conclude based on those tests that the iPhone has better standby battery life, better gaming battery life, but also the ability to drain the smaller battery in extreme cases faster than the Samsung, which has a larger capacity battery that is generally used less efficiently but also has a less dynamic power draw capability... true battery life depends on the usage.



    The reasoning behind the comparison is explained in the article:

    "The iPhone X battery is more comparable in capacity to the regular Galaxy S9's 3,000 mAh battery, but in this particular test, we're comparing the best phone that each company has to offer."
    aylk
  • Reply 9 of 28
    chasmchasm Posts: 776member
     The conclusions here are mildly interesting,  but the vastly larger size of the battery in the Samsung (nearly a third more capacity) is not counterweighted against the iPhone X, making most of these tests inherently unfair.

    It would have made much more sense to compare the iPhone X to the Galaxy S9, and the iPhone 8+ to the Galaxy S9+, with a simple side note saying something along the lines of “comparing the iPhone X to the Galaxy S9+ directly would give the S9+ an advantage due to its much larger battery, which is not really canceled out by it’s larger display.”

    I don’t think we needed a set of exhaustive tests to tell us that a much larger phone with a much larger battery is likely to do better than a smaller phone with a smaller battery. Duh.
    cornchipstewartsradarthekatbb-15StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 28
    chasm said:
     The conclusions here are mildly interesting,  but the vastly larger size of the battery in the Samsung (nearly a third more capacity) is not counterweighted against the iPhone X, making most of these tests inherently unfair.

    It would have made much more sense to compare the iPhone X to the Galaxy S9, and the iPhone 8+ to the Galaxy S9+, with a simple side note saying something along the lines of “comparing the iPhone X to the Galaxy S9+ directly would give the S9+ an advantage due to its much larger battery, which is not really canceled out by it’s larger display.”

    I don’t think we needed a set of exhaustive tests to tell us that a much larger phone with a much larger battery is likely to do better than a smaller phone with a smaller battery. Duh.
    The X has a bigger screen than the 8+ doesn't it? Why would you compare the smaller Samsung to the bigger iPhone and vice versa? It's flagship vs flagship
    aylkavon b7
  • Reply 11 of 28
    roakeroake Posts: 586member
    This is purely anecdotal, especially considering people use their phones in different ways, but I find that the Samsung people where I work (a hospital), tend to need chargers during the day.  My iPhone X has yet to require charging while I was at work.  My work-day is at least 12 hrs, rare exceptions aside.
    redgeminipawatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 28
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 1,720member
    Is battery part of the reason Consumer Report named Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus as the best smartphones in 2018? 
  • Reply 13 of 28
    I agree with most comments already. The conclusions drawn from these tests seem odd at best and the geek bench test makes no sense in its methodology. In the gaming test you erroneously conclude that disputed the iPhone being ahead 87 to 84% the Samsung would probably win. Clearly you don’t understand how percentages work. The size of the battery doesn’t sway percentages.  Given the size disparity of the 2 batteries this means the Samsung used much more gross battery life during this test. It would be helpful if you understood what you were writing an article about. 
    radarthekatberndognetmagewatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 28
    djsherlydjsherly Posts: 982member
    I agree with most comments already. The conclusions drawn from these tests seem odd at best and the geek bench test makes no sense in its methodology. In the gaming test you erroneously conclude that disputed the iPhone being ahead 87 to 84% the Samsung would probably win. Clearly you don’t understand how percentages work. The size of the battery doesn’t sway percentages.  Given the size disparity of the 2 batteries this means the Samsung used much more gross battery life during this test. It would be helpful if you understood what you were writing an article about. 
    The size of the battery is immaterial and whether one uses more gross battery than the other means very little from the users perspective. 

    This testing is from the perspective of - when I unplug this flagship device from its charger, how long is it gonna last?

    The only thing that would be misleading about the result of this test would be if real-world tests bore out what Roake is observing. 
     
    In any practical sense, both devices are more than fast and capable enough to do what needs to be done for an appropriate length of time, it would merely be a matter of preference as to which device one would choose. 

    Remember that most people don’t actually give a hoot about battery *capacity*. I don’t even know what my phone’s is. They do care about how long they can use it for on any given day. 


    aylksingularity
  • Reply 15 of 28
    chasmchasm Posts: 776member
    The X has a bigger screen than the 8+ doesn't it? Why would you compare the smaller Samsung to the bigger iPhone and vice versa? It's flagship vs flagship
    As I said, the comparison is mildly interesting (I didn’t say “from a flagship vs flagship” perspective, but that’s a good way of phrasing it), but my point was that even if the iPhone 8 Plus screen is smaller, the battery is closer in capacity (the closest Apple has short of an iPad) to the S9+, so while I was mistaken about the minor difference in screen size/resolution between the X and the S9+ (thanks for pointing this out!), I maintain that the article and tests should have counter-weighted the significant difference in battery capacity to make for a more accurate test the two devices’ <b>batteries</b>.

    The iPhone X “lost” most of the tests, but did it lose by 30 percent? No. So, on a mAh-for-mAh basis, the contest is either a wash or actually has the iPhone X ahead, from a battery-efficiency perspective. You’re right that the iPhone 8+ battery is actually slightly smaller (100mAh) in capacity than the iPhone X, so I was wrong to suggest that the iPhone 8+ would be a better comparison, but I still contend that if you account for the difference in battery between it (or any model) and the S9+, you are likely to find them very similar, with a slight edge to Apple in real-world use, since the battery looks to be more efficient on the iPhone.
    redgeminipawatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 28
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 2,528moderator
    mcdave said:
    I have to confess, I question the methodology of the Geekbench battery tests. It would be more appropriate if both phones performed the same amount of work i.e. performed the same fixed tasks within a three hour time span regardless of how quickly they completed those tasks.
    Exactly.  Having a conservationist bent, I want to see which phone is more compute efficient and your suggestion would be the way to accomplish that.  
    berndogwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 28
    bb-15bb-15 Posts: 206member
    chasm said:
     The conclusions here are mildly interesting,  but the vastly larger size of the battery in the Samsung (nearly a third more capacity) is not counterweighted against the iPhone X, making most of these tests inherently unfair.

    It would have made much more sense to compare the iPhone X to the Galaxy S9, and the iPhone 8+ to the Galaxy S9+, with a simple side note saying something along the lines of “comparing the iPhone X to the Galaxy S9+ directly would give the S9+ an advantage due to its much larger battery, which is not really canceled out by it’s larger display.”

    I don’t think we needed a set of exhaustive tests to tell us that a much larger phone with a much larger battery is likely to do better than a smaller phone with a smaller battery. Duh.
    The X has a bigger screen than the 8+ doesn't it? Why would you compare the smaller Samsung to the bigger iPhone and vice versa? It's flagship vs flagship
    First; in terms of total usable screen area, the iPhone 8+ is about = to the iPhone X. 
     
    Second; Flagship isn’t the most important label. High end is.
    The iPhone X, 8 & 8+ are all high end phones.
    They all cost more than $500. 

    https://www.phonearena.com/news/What-makes-a-high-end-phone-different-from-a-low-end-one_id77646

    They certainly aren’t midrange phones. 

    * It is definitely appropriate to compare the 8+ with the S9.

    edited April 17 StrangeDaysnetmagewatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 28
    YatiYati Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    Horrible...just horrible article.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 28
    bb-15bb-15 Posts: 206member
    Yati said:
    Horrible...just horrible article.
    Yes, in terms of the conclusion of the standby battery usage test. 
    It has been known for many years that iPhones have better battery life in standby compared with almost all Android phones.
    For the article to ignore the results which support that is blatant anti-Apple bias.   
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 28
    a comparison with an iPhone 8+ might be fairer as they have more similar battery / screen size?
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