High refresh rate displays are known to take a toll on the battery which is why Samsung bumped the battery capacity greatly across its Galaxy S20 lineup this year. The Galaxy S20 Ultra, in particular, comes with a 5,000mAh battery to power its equally massive 6.9-inch 120Hz OLED display.
A test conducted by Tom's Guide has now shown just how much of a difference the 120Hz display makes to the Galaxy S20 Ultra's battery life. Their test involved surfing the web over T-Mobile's 5G network with the screen brightness set to 150 nits. With the refresh rate set to 60Hz, the S20 Ultra averaged 11 hours and 58 mins. Switching over to 120Hz refresh rate saw the battery life go down to 9 hours and 13 minutes -- a reduction of nearly three hours!
The battery life numbers of the Galaxy S20 Ultra with the refresh rate set to 60Hz puts it above the likes of the iPhone 11, Galaxy Note 10+, and even the iPhone 11 Pro and it sits almost at the top of the chart in Tom's Guide testing. However, with the 120Hz mode activated, it fares worse than all the above devices.
Do note that the testing was conducted when the phone was connected to a 5G network which is more taxing on the battery. You could get slightly better battery life from your Galaxy S20 Ultra if you only use it on 4G networks. The device also supports 45W fast charging so you can top up its battery to last for a few additional hours by charging it for just a few minutes.
Thankfully, Samsung provides an option on the Galaxy S20 series to switch the display refresh rate between 60Hz and 120Hz. The company even ships the device with 60Hz set as the default refresh rate.
The Galaxy S20 Ultra comes with a massive 5,000mAh battery and yet the difference between 60Hz and 120Hz refresh rate is pretty massive. The difference on the smaller Galaxy S20 and S20+ is likely going to be around the same ballpark which could turn out to be a cause of concern for many users.