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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  • theblitz707 - Monday, February 22, 2021 - link

    Can you comment about black clipping at minimum brightness? Back when you were testing s10 you would show minimum brightness graphs i really miss those they were important for me.
  • Andrei Frumusanu - Monday, February 22, 2021 - link

    Black clipping on the S21U occurs at 7% levels at minimum brightness after which it has accurate gamma, it's a bit better than the S10 but still not great. On the S21 it clips at 7% as well, but has garbage high gamma up until around 13% after which it is fine. I'll add the graphs tomorrow.
  • Psyside - Monday, February 22, 2021 - link

    Upon further inspecting of all photos, i have noticed the bad blurry, grain and out of focus early firmware characteristic, i can confirm that nothing of that edge blurriness, lack of sharpness and softness is not present in AUB9. The 10x zoom shots are stunning, and the night shots without night mode are also very much improved.
  • Andrei Frumusanu - Monday, February 22, 2021 - link

    I say as much in the review that there are firmware updates. Unfortunately I can't delay testing arbitrarily in hope that Samsung updates their camera software, nor am I going to redo the testing for a given review.

    If Samsung has improved the camera, that's great, and I'll cover that in the next round-up.
  • Psyside - Monday, February 22, 2021 - link

    Thanks for everything you qre a legend
  • Psyside - Monday, February 22, 2021 - link

  • TheinsanegamerN - Monday, February 22, 2021 - link

    Those camera jumps are UGLY AS SIN. good thing we don’t put a bigger battery in and flatten the bottom of the phone!
  • Chaser - Monday, February 22, 2021 - link

    While I respect Anandtech, a majority of professional (smartphone only) reviewers disagree with your assessment of the Ultra 21 and in my experience I can second their very positive experiences with the camera and the rest of the phone's refinements. Especially compared to the S20 Ultra.
  • Psyside - Monday, February 22, 2021 - link

    Andrei stated that most if not all shots are on early firmware, the camera was quite bad at launch.
  • Psyside - Monday, February 22, 2021 - link

    He will redo the comparison in future articles

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