Galaxy S24 delivers a major breakthrough — and it's not the AI

Galaxy S24
(Image credit: Future)

The Galaxy AI additions to the Galaxy S24 lineup may be getting all the attention at the moment. But as I spend more hands-on time with the Galaxy S24 in preparation for my full review of the standard model, it's the battery life that truly blows me away.

Our custom battery test forces each phone we review to surf the web over cellular until it runs out of power. An average phone can hold out for 10 hours or so. The Galaxy S24 turned in a time of 13 hours and 28 minutes, which is going to earn Samsung's flagship phone a spot on our best phone battery life list.

In a sense, I shouldn't be surprised. Our Galaxy S24 Ultra battery test also produced stellar results, as Samsung's premium device lasted nearly 17 hours. It's very clear that with this round of flagship phones, Samsung — and the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset that powers the S24 lineup — has figured out how to squeeze every last bit of power from a fully charged device.

But then, the Galaxy S24 Ultra has a big advantage over the Galaxy S24. The Ultra's larger frame gives it more room for a bigger battery. And indeed, Samsung uses a 5,000 mAh power pack in the Galaxy S24 Ultra, compared to a 4,000 mAh cell in the standard S24.

Size limitations have often meant that the entry-level Galaxy S model has had a hard time keeping up with the battery life of its bigger siblings. Last year, the Galaxy S23 posted a result of 10 hours and 27 minutes — roughly half-an-hour better than the average smartphone but well behind the times posted by the Galaxy S23 Plus and Galaxy S23 Ultra.

Since the Galaxy S24 is essentially the same size as the S23, there's only so much room for the battery to grow. And while Samsung did turn to a bigger power pack for its new phone — the S23 ran on a 3,900 mAh battery — that minor bump alone doesn't account for a 3-hour improvement on our battery test.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
PhoneBattery sizeBattery test result (Hrs:Mins)
Samsung Galaxy S244,000 mAh13:28
Samsung Galaxy S233,900 mAh10:27
iPhone 15 Pro3,274 mAh10:53
iPhone 153,349 mAh11:05
Google Pixel 84,575 mAh 9:43
Asus Zenfone 104,300 mAh12:34
Motorola Edge Plus (2023)5,100 mAh15:47

That's why we have to credit the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, which powers the Galaxy S24. Qualcomm said its new silicon was more power-efficient than the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 used by the Galaxy S23 lineup, and it's clear the chip maker wasn't kidding.

Of course, there's a big flashing caveat to these results, and it effects Galaxy S24 models shipping outside of North America. Those phones don't feature a Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset — instead, Samsung is turning to the Exynos 2400 to power the Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus shipping in other parts of the world. (The Galaxy S24 Ultra doesn't have this issue — it's using the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 silicon no matter where you buy that model.)

We haven't gotten our hands on an Exynos-powered Galaxy S24 yet, so we don't know if that model will have the same staying power as the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3-powered version. In the past, Galaxy phones running on Exynos have been a step or two behind their Snapdragon counterparts.

Still, it's exciting to see the Galaxy S24 do so well on our battery test, especially after previous compact phones have had a hard time delivering such long-lasting performance. With the Galaxy S24 Plus also posting a terrific result on our test — it lasted just shy of 16 hours with its adaptive refresh rate turned on — it's very clear that the entire S24 lineup is the one to turn to if you want to go all day without needing a recharge.

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Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.