GPU Performance

We’re shortly also recapping the GPU and gaming performance of the new S21 Ultras. We investigate that this new generation of SoCs isn’t quite as power efficient as we would have hoped for, meaning the increased peak performance the new chips are advertising comes at a great cost in power consumption.

Generally, any contemporary phone is only able to continuously dissipate between 4 and 5W of power through radiation and convection (42 to 50°C peak skin temperatures at 22°C ambient), and once it reaches that peak thermal envelope, it will have to throttle performance.

Basemark GPU 1.2 - Medium 1440p - Off-Screen / Blit GFXBench Aztec Ruins - High - Vulkan/Metal - Off-screen GFXBench Aztec Ruins - Normal - Vulkan/Metal - Off-screen GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 Off-screen GFXBench T-Rex 2.7 Off-screen

A Stand-Still Year for GPU Performance

This year’s Galaxy S21 devices look quite unimpressive when it comes to their gaming performance.

For the Snapdragon S21, I think Samsung here can do better in terms of thermal management, as the phones currently throttle down to 3W even though the device could in theory supports more. Xiaomi’s Mi 11 with the same chip showcases much better performance (we’ll have a review of that device soon), so it’s an area of improvement which could very well be achieved with future firmware updates.

For the Exynos S21, it’s a large generational boost for Samsung, however the absolute numbers are still lagging behind Snapdragon 865 devices. This is important to note for devices such as the S21+ - the S20 FE 5G actually features a Snapdragon 865 SoC in traditional Exynos markets, and if gaming performance is an important aspect for your, that device might be the more interesting purchase.

System Performance Display Measurement
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  • Silver5urfer - Monday, February 22, 2021 - link

    These phones are not Flagships.

    - Design, the back camera metal to glass camera island is hard to repair, how do you even do it, meaning once the battery is busted, you cannot do a DIY easily on these phones at all. It makes them harder than iPhones, which have Glass glued onto the back panel making them have official repair being expensive than a display.

    - No 3.5mm jack, No SD card slot. More features removed and they are True Flagship ?

    - No more charger shipped in the box copying Apple.

    - Display resolutions reduced hard. $1000 for a 1080P grade display, it's pure rip off. Worse than Apple.

    - S21 base edition has plastic back, really horrible.

    AT won't even mention anything, but all praise. Shame. This is what the computing looks like now, a disposable tech product which is useful nly for social media bs. What about the filesystem issues, never mentioned at all. Scoped Storage kills NAND performance HARD, it's a known fact and no acknowledgement of that all. Another year another new shiny product just spend more $1000 money because it looks amazing !! Just like all Youtubers out there.

    People say it's for nature and environment, but nope it doesn't matter just buy new shiny product every year regardless of the drop in the features on HW and SW.
  • Psyside - Monday, February 22, 2021 - link

    Hi Andrei, thanks for your brilliant review. However, please take note, that all of the first 10x zoom shot on the exynos are a total anomaly! the phone takes, much, much much better photos at 10x, it looks like the shot are not take by the 10x camera, check out the EXIF please, it does not state f/4.9.

    Please reconsider to redo the test shots, thanks.
  • Andrei Frumusanu - Monday, February 22, 2021 - link

    All of the 10x S21U shots are great and are f/4.9 per EXIF, so I don't know what you're talking about.
  • Psyside - Monday, February 22, 2021 - link

    I talk about the exynos version. The S21U I didn't check because it looked good, but i noticed immediately that the 10x exynos are not even close to what they should be.

    Check this 10x AUB9 shot,
  • Andrei Frumusanu - Monday, February 22, 2021 - link

    Yes.... the S21U (E) 10x shots are all are all looking great and are on the correct module...I don't know what you're seeing, maybe you're confusing it with the S21 (E) which is the regular non-Ultra phone.
  • Psyside - Monday, February 22, 2021 - link

    Damn, it could be! i will check from my desktop, really, really sorry if that's the case!
  • s.yu - Wednesday, February 24, 2021 - link

    Actually, the 3x shots all look cropped, that's what's strange.
  • Andrei Frumusanu - Monday, February 22, 2021 - link

    > Design, the back camera metal to glass camera island is hard to repair, how do you even do it, meaning once the battery is busted, you cannot do a DIY easily on these phones at all.

    You can remove and replace that part easily, along with the whole back cover, as well as a battery replacement, the same as any other phone we've had since removable batteries had been retired.

    I've covered the SD card, 1080p, and the plastic (which is absolutely fine). The charger I didn't mention because I don't consider it very important. Scoped storage doesn't affect performance in everyday usage and I did not notice it at all.
  • Silver5urfer - Tuesday, February 23, 2021 - link

    Okay I checked Teardown and yes you are correct. I was thinking Metal frame of camera island is a part of the phone frame.

    Absolutely fine ? not even Apple does it for $400 USD priced entry level iPhone SE, they have a glass back with AL frame. This is extreme cost cutting from Samsung and shameless. Since iPhone moved plastic backs a long time back. Why it is okay in the $800+ price tag territory, they will creak badly after time and with heated gaming sessions and all that expansion and contraction they will wear out.

    Again for such price tag the charger needs to be packed in the box. A 100% unoriginal idea from Apple should not be excused but at-least should be covered from your publication when you called out 3.5mm jack for S20 reviews which no one even cared to mention.

    Yeah it doesn't but that Scoped Storage has huge issues, the Issuetracker is filled with developer complaints and Commonsware blog listed out so many issues. And here's Dolphin Emulator developers saying the huge performance impact.

    When you have a significant advantage on Journalism you should use that to show to the world on these, Camera comparisons are great but you know who read these ? only people who visit AT and they are too common, not saying should not do them but AT is a tech focus site and if you guys do it some other blogs might pick them up & most important of all, Google and Samsung might as well notice.

    Yeah it doesn't even matter if you cover or not now, because it's been there since 2 Android iterations already and Google is decided to yank the Filesystem.
  • ksheltarna69 - Monday, September 27, 2021 - link

    Yes, reviews on Anandtech have become a marketing place. And it seems Android is going the Apple way. We need a new system.
    Andrei should stop being so defensive and become more objective.

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