Samsung Galaxy S21 killer upgrade leaked — and it's bad news for iPhone 12

Samsung Galaxy S21
(Image credit: LetsGoDigital)

Qualcomm's Snapdragon 888 chipset will give the Samsung Galaxy S21 and other Android flagships great battery life and gaming performance according to a new rumor. And it should put the heat on the iPhone 12 lineup, whose endurance is not one of its better qualities. 

Leaker Ice Universe recently tweeted encouraging claims about the power consumption and GPU of the Snapdragon 888, the chipset we'll find in the S21. It looks like great news for Android-oriented phone users who've been waiting to upgrade to a new flagship phone, albeit with a couple of caveats.

Galaxy S21 battery life vs iPhone 12

The benefits of better power consumption are straightforward, as a more frugal 5nm chip means you'll be able to use your phone for longer between charges. Combine that with the large batteries rumored to be in the S21 series (4,000 mAh. 4,800 mAh or 5,000 mAh for the S21, S21 Plus and S21 Ultra) and we should have some phones with excellent longevity.

If you look at the iPhone 12 battery life for the various models, it mostly fell behind the Galaxy S20 series. The regular iPhone 12 lasted 8 hours and 25 minutes compared to 9:21 for the S20 on our web surfing test over 5G. The Galaxy S20 Plus lasted for 10:31 compared to 9:06 for the iPhone 12 Pro. And the iPhone 12 Pro Max endured for 10:53, while the S20 Plus Ultra lasted an epic 12:03.

However, keep in mind that the S20 series delivered shorter runtimes when the 120Hz screen mode was on. The regular S20 fell behind the iPhone 12 by 21 minutes, the S20 Plus about 10 minutes and the S20 Ultra 1 hour and 40 minutes. The S21 Ultra is expected to feature a dynamic display, which should help overall efficiency

So overall, the Galaxy S21 series should be able to surpass the iPhone 12 models on battery life. 

Samsung Galaxy S21 graphics boost

As for GPU performance, the Snapdragon 888 promises packs an Adreno 660 GPU that's supposed to increase the speed of graphics rendering by 35% over last year's chip, with power efficiency improving by 20%. The performance gain is the biggest yet for the Adreno GPU, which bodes well for gamers who buy the Galaxy S21.

We're particularly interested in the gaming applications though since Samsung partnered with Xbox at the launch of the Galaxy Note 20 to ensure support for Xbox Game Pass streaming. With access to all the brand new AAA titles that Microsoft can offer, the GPU boost will be invaluable for getting smooth and gorgeous gameplay from the S21.

The Galaxy S21 will launch on January 14, according to the latest rumors. The other new features to look out for besides the Snapdragon 888 are the refreshed design and the S21 Ultra's S Pen support and dual rear telephoto cameras, capable of 3x and 10x zoom. 

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.