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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  • mixmaxmix - Monday, February 22, 2021 - link

    s21+ battery life is better than s21U ?
  • Samus - Monday, February 22, 2021 - link

    $800-$1200 for a phone that'll lose value faster than a Chrysler. I'll consider it next year when you can pickup a refurb for $400.
  • flyingpants265 - Wednesday, February 24, 2021 - link

    The prices keep skyrocketing so the used market is holding fast. Oneplus 5-6 phones are still expensive. A phone with old motherboard, battery, USB port, etc.. no thanks.
  • shabby - Monday, February 22, 2021 - link

    First time I skipped the galaxy s phones, the downgrades are just unacceptable. Since the s7 i used the sdcard for extra storage, now without an sdcard the 256gb that's on the s21 just isn't enough, why isn't there a 512gb option on the s21? The base s10 had a 1tb option and I had the 512gb myself, makes no sense 🤷🏼‍♂️
  • flyingpants265 - Wednesday, February 24, 2021 - link

    microSD is super great. I have my entire music collection on my phone and a crapload of movies.
  • Pinn - Monday, February 22, 2021 - link

    All those cameras are giving me trypophobia (don't look it up).
  • Samus - Monday, February 22, 2021 - link

  • Bearded2021 - Monday, February 22, 2021 - link

    Excellent review. Were the battery tests for s21 ultra done at 1080p or 1440p resolution?
  • Andrei Frumusanu - Monday, February 22, 2021 - link

  • Bearded2021 - Monday, February 22, 2021 - link

    Thanks. Any idea if display power consumption is measurably lower at 1080p with these new displays and if so, is it significant?

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