Battery Life

Battery life is undoubtedly one of the most important parts of the user experience of any mobile device. One of the major reasons why many people use phablets is to get better battery life, as the PCB size of a phablet is often roughly similar to what you’ll see in a smartphone, but the battery will be bigger to fill the available space. As a result, a phablet has a higher proportion of battery than a smartphone. This inherently means that battery size will scale faster than platform power. In order to test this metric, we use a number of different tests ranging from display-bound web browsing to SoC-bound CPU and GPU load tests. In order to eliminate confounding variables, we test all devices from the same ASUS RT-AC68U router for WiFi testing, and in strong LTE/3G reception for mobile web browsing, in addition to setting all devices to an average of 200 nits on the display.

Web Browsing Battery Life (WiFi)

In our first test of WiFi web browsing, the Galaxy Note5 performs identically to the Galaxy Note 4. This might be surprising because the display is the same size and resolution as the Galaxy Note 4 with a smaller battery than the Galaxy Note 4. However, the smaller battery is compensated for due to improvements in SoC and display efficiency. In particular, the move from a planar 28nm process to a 14nm FinFET process dramatically reduces power consumption on the SoC.

Web Browsing Battery Life (4G LTE)

In LTE battery life, we see a noticeable drop relative to WiFi battery life. It’s likely that this is mostly due to the power consumption of the Shannon 333 modem present in these devices. There’s not much else to say here, but battery life is still good.

PCMark - Work Battery Life

Moving past our mostly display-bound web browsing test, PCMark provides a much more balanced look at battery life as APL tends to vary a bit more with content like videos and photos instead of just webpages, and the CPU component is much more strongly emphasized. Here we can really see the Note5’s Exynos 7420 stretch its legs as it keeps a high performance level with long runtime.

GFXBench 3.0 Battery Life

GFXBench 3.0 Performance Degradation

In our sustained SoC-bound workloads, GFXBench shows a healthy improvement over the Galaxy S6. Although we’re unable to test in perfectly controlled temperatures, it looks like Samsung has improved the throttling behavior of the SoC as the throttling appears to be more graceful rather than sinusoidal, and the result is a pretty significant jump in runtime over most devices.

BaseMark OS II Battery Life

BaseMark OS II Battery Score

In Basemark OS II, we see a pretty significant uplift in runtime when compared to something like the Galaxy S6 or Note 4. The runtime increase isn’t just due to excessive throttling though, as the battery score shows that this isn’t just a case of throttling the CPU until the runtime is an improvement over past devices.

Overall, if you’ve read the Galaxy S6 review it’s pretty fair to say that you’ll know what to expect from the Galaxy Note5. Battery life is roughly equivalent to the Galaxy Note 4 despite the smaller battery, and due to the greatly improved Exynos 7420 SoC relative to 2014 SoCs SoC-bound cases will show pretty healthy improvements as long as you’re controlling for performance.

Charge Time

While normally battery life is the primary area of concern for a smartphone, in some cases it’s important for a phone to charge quickly. We can all claim to be perfect but one of the simplest cases for faster charging is forgetting to plug the phone in before going to sleep, so the maximum allowable charge time goes from something like 6 hours to an hour at best. As a result, a faster charger can dramatically improve practical battery life in any situation where you have limited time to charge. This can be accomplished by increasing either the current or voltage of the charger. The original quick charging standards improved charge rate through higher current, but this eventually hits a wall due to resistance in the wire. In order to increase the total amount of power delivered without increasing the thickness of the cable used voltage was increased in the case of newer standards like QC 2.0. In the case of the Galaxy Note5 and Galaxy S6 edge+, we’re looking at the same 9V, 1.67A QC 2.0 compatible charger that shipped with the Galaxy Note 4. In order to test this properly, we log the time it takes for the phone to charge by running a timer until the charger power draw hits a point that represents 100% battery.

Charge Time

It probably isn’t a surprise, but charge time ends up similar to the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy Note 4. I suspect that we’ll be waiting until QC 3.0 to be able to see significant improvements as the current standard doesn’t have particularly fine-grained voltage scaling according to cable and phone conditions. Interestingly, the wireless fast charger is actually not too far off from the wired charger as it indicates 100% around 1.84 hours into charging which is almost identical to the wired fast charger.

Introduction and Design Display
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  • The0ne - Friday, October 2, 2015 - link

    WTF, so you want him to voice on something that doesn't exist then? That's just stupid. I bet you use this argument all the time to feel good about yourself. lol. Be easier if you just tell him to not bother in your little fight at all. Makes much more sense.
  • Sttm - Friday, October 2, 2015 - link

    Go cry about your real world problems and leave the comments sections of a tech site to us! I'm sure there is a starving kid somewhere that can use your tiny violin services.
  • The0ne - Friday, October 2, 2015 - link

    He's not crying, he's laughing at you and the other people bitching about the two companies RATHER than enjoying the devices. You totally misunderstood and misinterpreted his comment. Tech sites needs smart people, please just leave. Take your fanboy arguments elsewhere.

    And thanks for sharing something a little about your selfish self, all from your stupidity.
  • melgross - Saturday, October 3, 2015 - link

    Oh, shut up!
  • kspirit - Saturday, October 3, 2015 - link

    No. >:(
  • generalako - Saturday, October 3, 2015 - link

    A more recognized source is the industry standard DisplayMate. Take a look at their tests of the newest Samsung flagships. Ever since the S5, they have been leading in the mark, and ever since the Note 4, their displays have been "considerably better" than the best LCD display (iPhone 6) out there, on virtually every category (contrasts, black levels, efficiency, color accuracy, brigthness, performance in bright lights, viewing angles, sharpness, etc.)

    Anandtech's test is hard to take seriously when they can't even rate the true peak brigthness of the Samsung phones. They don't even mention that they have left it out of their test! When put on auto brigthness, the Note 4, S6 and Note 5 all get far higher brightness than on manual. The Note 5 can reach 861 cd/m2. That's 50% more than Anandtech claim.

    Take a look at DisplayMate's review. They give a proper analysis of the display, which contradicts the Anandtech review on so many areas it's funny.
  • Peichen - Monday, October 5, 2015 - link

    DisplayMate is a Samsung marketing partner. I wouldn't trust it consider them never mention the lackluster AMOLED sub pixel arrangement.
  • MattL - Saturday, October 10, 2015 - link

    What the hell are you talking about... first of all read the DisplayMate Samsung review again and search for "Diamond" where they outline the Diamond sub-pixel arrangement. They also have a completely separate article detailing this arrangement (including a zoomed in picture):

    Also in the review in their spec lists they list the sub-pixel count so you can fully compare resolution and sub-pixel counts... hell for their distance in which 20/20 vision can be resolved by the human eye they include stats for the different subpixel counts (which are different per color based on the Diamond arrangement).

    How you missed all that I have no clue other than you didn't bother to actually read it.

    Also on your first point, Displaymate has been a leader in screen calibration for a long time now... this is their specialty and not the speciality of Anandtech, hence why people take them far more seriously on that topic... it's also why it's a bit surprising Anandtech keeps coming up with different (and less detailed) results, especially when Anandtech doesn't include important values and analysis)... You should really know what you're talking about before you make such a bold response.

    Also Displaymate rates the iPhone screens *very* well, just not as a good as Samsung for the past couple generations. You do realize of course that Apple sources their screen manufacturing from a variety of companies... including Samsung, so it makes complete sense that Samsung is doing better when they finally decided to put the resources into it.
  • Kamus - Sunday, October 4, 2015 - link

    On par? You do realize that a Delta below 3 is very much unnoticeable when it comes to gamut and grayscale calibration right?

    This means that even the galaxy note 4 display smokes any iPhone display to date, because EVERY LCD that has ever been made has downright comical contrast ratio. And OLED on the other hand has the end game in contrast, as in, its perfect.
    The only reason this isn't more obvious is because most of the content viewed in smartphones is bright and viewed in very bright environments. Which sort of gives LCDs a free pass since its contrast ratio deficit isn't as obvious as in those situations.

    You should know that videophilies spend thousands of dollars on displays that offer even slightly better contrast ratios. And here we have a situation where we go from terrible contrast, to perfect. Watch any sort of dark content on both displays at the same time in a light controled environment and you'll immediately see how these Samsung displays are simply in a whole different league.

    Then there's is also the fact that the color gamut is also much wider on OLED, so if the day ever came that we finally decide to stop using the obsolete sRGB standard, OLED would also have an advantage there. (Somethg that had been ironically seen as a disadvantage before they started shiphing phones with color profiles, because the gamut is so wide it results in over saturated colors if a profile isn't is used for sRGB)

    I also have to question the brightness results that anandtech got from their unit. Displaymate stated that this is the brightest smartphone display they have ever tested, they get over 800 Nits on their unit. Making it by far the best display you can use under the sun.

    To meet it seems obvious that LCD has been surprised in most meaningful metrics, and its only going to get worse for LCD as OLED continues to evolve. LCD has never been good enough, but as it matured it got to a point where it became really good in a lot of ways compared to CRTs (never in contrast or switching times)

    TL;DR: these Samsung displays are the benchmark every other display has to be compared to.
  • thedons1983 - Sunday, October 18, 2015 - link

    Yeah, but it's made by Apple, and is pretty much exclusively sold, therefore, to sheep, whom generally have no idea what they are talking about. I'd rather not have a smartphone at all, than one of those ugly ass iphones. But then, that's probably because I actually have taste, and don't just buy whatever hipster rubbish is currently en vogue.

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