Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra’s killer hidden feature just revealed

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
(Image credit: Future)

A secret Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra feature just got revealed, and it explains how the display on the company's latest flagship phone looks so good while not annihilating battery.

Samsung Display, the company's display development and manufacturing arm, announced a new OLED technology that greatly improves efficiency. It offers some details about this new type of display, as well as reveals that the S21 Ultra will be the first device shipping with this panel.

The biggest benefit is battery life. Samsung claims that its new display uses 16% less power than a standard OLED panel thanks to greater "luminous efficiency". That can end up working out to several extra hours of phone life, and may explain the S21 Ultra's excellent battery performance on our custom TG battery test in our review.

Other benefits of the new material include "wide color gamut, high brightness, HDR, and outdoor visibility," according to Samsung's press release.

What also helps is LTPO, another key display technology used on the S21 Ultra. This allows the display to dynamically alter its refresh rate between 10Hz and 120Hz, depending on what you're using the phone for at the time, conserving power. For example, playing games will make the phone go up to 120Hz, but going back to the home screen and not touching the phone would tell the phone to reduce the refresh rate.

The Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21 Plus use a similar technology called LTPS. The dynamic refresh rate alterations remain the same, but they can only drop to 48Hz.

Samsung's next flagship phone is likely going to be the Galaxy Note 21, Galaxy Z Fold 3 or Galaxy Z Flip 3. It's a reasonable assumption to make that this new display will be present on at least some of the models for these devices. Given how well the S21 Ultra turned out, there's a good chance these phones will make our best Android phones or even our overall best phones rankings upon launch.

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.