On the lookout for a compact smartphone? You might notice that your options have become very limited. The shift to large-screened phones was subtle in the beginning but now they are the overwhelming majority in the market. Consumers demand good battery life on their handsets and shoving a higher capacity cell is easier when the screen real estate is more. Barring Apple’s iPhone lineup, the Android world really hasn’t perfected the formula of a compact design with a lasting battery.
Samsung’s Galaxy S23 (review), launched earlier this month, may look to change that perception. Our review of the device categorically stated the S23 as “the best small Android phone in the market right now”. I spent a full day with the Galaxy S23 as my primary device and here is what I found out about its battery life.
Battery capacity and usage
The Galaxy S23 packs in a 3,900mAh battery on the inside, a rather small capacity cell in comparison to the standard 5,000mAh we usually see on smartphones these days. Last year’s Galaxy S22 had an underwhelming battery life, with the handset barely pushing through one day of moderate usage. Samsung has definitely made strides to improve that particular shortcoming with the Galaxy S23. Having Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Gen 2 SoC running underneath the hood has also worked in favour of the device in terms of power efficiency.
Above I have shared a few screenshots that constitute my day with the S23. I should note that this can be considered particularly heavy usage given that I put in nearly three hours of Netflix and about an hour of Call of Duty: Mobile. There was also an hour of navigation involved as well although it was mostly operating in the background. Apart from that there was also significant time spent viewing YouTube and browsing through my Instagram feed. I should also point out that most of my Netflix time was on 5G and not Wi-Fi.
Keeping all this in mind, I started my day at around 9 AM with the S23 at full charge. My screen was at full brightness for the most part since I was viewing content on the go in bright sunlight. By evening, when I returned from office, I had about 60 percent battery still left. Afterward, I cranked up the graphics and frame rate settings to Max on CoD: Mobile and played a couple of rounds on the phone.
By about midnight, a full 15 hours after I had disconnected the S23 from its power supply, I still had 26 percent in the tank. My screen-on time was 6 hours, a figure which is likely to be more than the average user. Extrapolating with the battery remaining on the S23, my guess is that you can push towards 8 hours of screen-on time without an issue. After waking up in the morning, I checked the S23’s battery and found it to be at 18 percent, indicating that the phone has a very low drain when on standby.
I also did a few tests just with gaming using various GPU-intensive titles like BGMI and PUBG: New State. On both games, at the highest possible presets, the phone dropped somewhere around 20 percent after an hour. From here I can gather that you can at least pull off three to four hours of heavy-duty gaming before looking for a charger.
PCMark and charging time
I also ran PCMark’s Battery test which returns a time score based on how long the battery takes to get from 100 percent to 20. In the case of the Galaxy S23, the final result was 15 hours and 3 minutes, which I think is very reasonable for the device. For comparison, the Galaxy S22 from last year gave out at just 10 hours.
The only problem of note is that the S23 is a slouch when it comes to charging speeds. With a Samsung-provided charger, the device can juice up at 25W, which is not even remotely close to what other OEMs are offering in this price range. In my tests, the phone does charge from 20-75 percent in just under 50 minutes while a full 100 percent takes about 30 minutes more.
Analysing my time with the Galaxy S23, I can safely say that the device’s battery life is quite good for its compact size. Yes, the phone may not necessarily charge at lightning-fast speeds. However, the average consumer will find their needs met well with the S23’s battery capabilities.