Exynos Galaxy Note 4 outlasts the competition in battery tests

by: Robert TriggsSeptember 29, 2014

samsung galaxy note 4 ui aa 8

The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is finally here, boasting some of the best hardware on the market right now. However, higher resolution displays and faster processors all require more battery life, the one are that smartphones are struggling to improve.

One of the handset’s intriguing features is the addition of Samsung’s first 64-bit Exynos processor, which can be found in the Korean version. Although the processor is running in AArch32 (32-bit) mode, it still makes use of ARM’s latest powerhouse Cortex-A57 and battery friendly A53 CPU cores in a 4-by-4 big.LITTLE configuration. Big.LITTLE is ARM’s method of arranging CPU cores for the optimal balance of performance and battery life.

Thanks to extensive testing carried out by Korean site PlayWare, we can take an early look at just how energy efficient the Note 4 and this SoC are. The short answer – very.

Testing time

The Exynos version Galaxy Note 4 has been put through a wide range of battery tests, including peak display brightness calibration, WiFi and screen on-time, video playback, and 3D gaming. To keep the comparison fair across the range of devices tested, the brightness level has been set to consistent 230 nits.

Without further delay, here are the results (Wifi, video, then 3D gaming):

Galaxy Note 4 screen and wifiGalaxy Note 4 battery video

Galaxy Note 4 battery 3D

The Galaxy Note 4 manages a decent 8:30 hours with its display constantly on with a pure white image, which, considering the high display resolution, is much better than the LG G3’s 5:38. Although we could probably put some of this down to Samsung’s AMOLED display technology too.

Impressively, the Galaxy Note 4 manages a higher screen-on time than the lower-resolution Galaxy S5 LTE-A, suggesting that the Exynos 5433’s Cortex A53’s and Mali-T760 have a lower idle battery drain than the Snapdragon 805’s Krait 450 CPU cores and Adreno 420 GPU. When it comes to WiFi-on time, the Galaxy Note 4 is also the best of the current flagship devices. Managing just over 7 hours of constant use.

The video playback test also shows a mighty performance for the Galaxy Note 4 and Samsung’s Galaxy S5, both scoring well over 12 hours each. This suggests that the CPU is having less of an impact on the energy savings made here. Instead, when we compare results with those handsets with similar hardware, such as the LG G3 or Nexus 5, we can conclude that the AMOLED display is responsible for most of the power savings, along with efficient digital signal processing.

Finally, the big test of energy efficiency is 3D gaming. Here we can see less of an advantage for the Note 4 at just 3:30 hours, although it still performs very well. Due to the Note 4’s QHD display, the GPU is working extra hard to render those extra pixels. Additional strain equates to more energy consumption. Overall though, the Exynos Note 4 is still the best performer out of the tested devices. I’d really like to see exactly how it stacks up against the Snapdragon version.

Limited availability

Although most of us won’t be able to get our hands on the Exynos 5433 powered Galaxy Note 4 and enjoy all these power saving advantages, there is some good news to be taken away from this for Western consumers. Next year’s Snapdragon 808 and 810 processors will also be making use of the same Cortex-A57/A53 CPU configuration as the current Exynos 5433, and will likely end up in a number of high-end devices next year. MediaTek’s MT67XX and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 610 and 615 are also be making use of the energy efficient Cortex-A53 core for mid-range devices.

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 is clearly leading the field at the moment, both in terms of hardware power and battery longevity. Although Samsung will retain its AMOLED technology, next year’s flagship smartphones will all likely use SoCs with higher levels of performance and improved battery efficiency. There is plenty to look forward to.

  • User2080

    misleading title.
    which competition? those are mostly against korean devices and apple’s.

    • Emmanuel

      aren’t those “competition” as well?

      • Anthony Evans

        I dont think user2080 knows what competition means.

        • Fabian Taveras

          no he is joking around basically saying that the note 4 is so good that it has no competition

        • User2080

          i don’t think you know the english language that well.

      • User2080

        if you know the difference between “a” and “the” as in “a number of” and “the number of” in english – you’ll understand what i mean.

        “the competition” does not equate to “a number of competitors”

  • Fabian Taveras

    DAMN! despite the 2k display the note 4 was superior to most phones using a sub resolution and it ran circles around the lg g3. i cant wait to buy the galaxy note 4! :D

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    • Pumpkin King

      They say that the 5.7inch QHD Amoled actually uses 40% less power than a 5inch 1080p LCD

      • Fabian Taveras

        But still it’s QHD and Samsung has engineered one hell of a screen knowing it can easily complete with sub resolutions.

        • Pumpkin King

          Eggs crackly

  • Anshul

    Note lineup is a winner… Had plenty of fun with note 3, selling it and getting the note 4 :)

    • Zach Cline

      Same here …I’m thinking about putting my note 3 up on ebay and getting the note 4.

      • J.J.

        better hurry, people expect deep discounts when the new version is out, especially since all the stores will drop the price on the note 3 in the next few weeks. i sold mine on ebay 3 weeks ago. took 3 days and got $450 in excellent condition. not bad for a phone i had since launch day

        • Zach Cline

          Probably will soon ..I’m probably switching to sprint soon so I’ll have mine up for sale soon enough .

          • J.J.

            nice. preordered my note 4 with a trade in too so waiting on samsung to pay me lol.

          • J.J.

            breaking news. bit of a pain for folks wanting to sell their note 3. tmobile just dropped the price to $516. im sure other carriers will follow soon, i assume you could still sell for a bit over $400 if in great condition tho

    • Cicero

      For S4 owners it is time. Mine sure is to upgrade on Note4.

  • Anonymousfella

    If you really want the Exynos variant, you could get it exported from 28mobiles.com
    The best part of getting korean variants is that sometimes, samsung throws in an extra battery and a battery pack charger…

    • HitokiriX

      If it is the Korea variant and the extra battery isn’t in there, then someone took it. I’ve never purchased a phone in Korea that didn’t have an extra battery already in the package

      • Anonymousfella

        Thats strange. I saw a youtuber unbox the korean variant of Galaxy Alpha and he did comment an extra battery was one of the perks of getting the korean version…

        • HitokiriX

          Yes. That’s what I was saying. An extra battery should always be there. Even in older model flip phones they give you an extra.

          • Jesus

            That is an extra battery, with a dedicated charger.

      • DeLeon629

        Funny you’d mentioned this, because I was Larry about this when id purchased the phone myself…

        As a matter of fact, I’d called customer service and asked why the battery want included in the packaging (I was a little bold with them on account that I live in South Korea and was returning an s5 lte-a in exchange for this model; which included an extra battery AND charger). Their answer? “We’re sorry. In exchange for an extra battery, we’d like to offer you our promotional 6,000mAh battery. We also invite you to exchange the phone after one years use for the latest model of that quarter.”

        I could be reaching, but I think this phone is put out to act as a go-between for the transition from 32-bit to 64-bit when the lollypop update is in store…

    • Mike – Construction Contractor

      Why do they do that with Korea? Because it is home?

      • Discuss

        Yeah, they’ve been doing that in korea forevers. They always give you 2 batteries

      • [S]unjay

        LG does it too. It’s a “standard” in Korea.

    • Kanaan Awira

      how trustworthy is that 28mobile.com…?? i want to buy from it but i need to seek advice first..

  • IPhart 6 bendgate

    Wow. Impressive! Can’t wait to take this beast for a stroll. Com’n Samsung, let the beast loose already. I’m getting aggy.

  • Xavier_NYC

    Forgetting an ‘A’ in area in the first paragraph.. Threw me off for a sec lol

  • Neil Ranasingha

    Dat note 2 battery life though :P

  • where’s the exynos sucks because no developer support kernel source blah blah blah comments ??? I am disappointed …

    I guess the most refined android device every year is still Note series … every single year it manage to outdone everyone ….

  • Galaxy366

    Is the Exynos version also faster?

    • Toss3


  • Akki

    I always used to feel that Snapdragon is much better and stable than Exynos.. But this is showing something else..
    Maybe its all due to its Cortex A-53/57 configuration or Exynos is always a better than Qualcomm..
    This seriously, no biased prediction, but I actually like Note 4 after the release of Samsung Galaxy S2. All devices b/w this time period was complete crap to me. (sorry if ur the owner of any device b/w that period cycle.)

    Either the Android Authority is trolling today, or I’ve being trolled from many months.. xD :Peace:

    • Joe J

      The note 4 is a worth successor to the S2 design

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  • Note 4 is a winner this time…

  • beatles

    all that frustration from LagWiz will pull down any battery life supposed gain

  • Adam Beňko

    Even though this Note4 is the beast , i am going for note 3 for much lower price and will wait for note 5 probably and buy it as soon as the note 6 comes out :D

    • Mike – Construction Contractor

      You should do what makes the most sense but being a year behind on purpose does not sound like the best idea. I understand waiting a few months until it is 199 instead of 299 but not a year.

      • Sam Bonatas

        Being about a year behind is great!

        – Its cheaper and last years flagship is still a great phone.
        – Any manufacturing flaws or shortcomings are already known.
        – You can buy the revision you KNOW has awesome custom rom support so you don’t care if the manufacturer stops updates.
        – All the 3rd party equipment (cases, wireless charging covers, bigger batteries, ….) are on the market so you can get them immediately.

        I’m on the S4 (and still loving it). I’ll update when the 2GB of RAM becomes tight, which shouldn’t be any time soon.

    • applebrainwashespeople

      and you felt you needed to post that for the world to see? i don’t understand people taking the time to post shit like “I’m gonna keep my current phone” or “I’m poor so i will buy an older device”.

      no one cares.

      • Adam Beňko

        “I’m poor so i will buy an older device”
        Looks like brain damage is strong with you. Let me tell you something. Note 3 is still better than 99% phones out there and that is a fact. It doesnt matter how old it is , if its still on top. I can get this phone off the contract for 500 dollars and i can get it tax free , making it 400 dollars. Now , if you look at better current phones , only one on my mind is Note 4 . It has slightly better screen , camera and some new features. Are they worth 400 hundred dollars ? No fucking way. And phones are not gonna make huge leaps in terms of hardware in next few years , so note 3 wont get old in next 3 years by any chance possible. Peace

  • Abbas Mustafa Bhaiji

    I thought Xperia Z3 was highest at 9.5 hours

    • Itamar Baum

      Same here, can a anyone confirm that the note 4 has a better battery life?

  • monkey god

    ” Due to the Note 4’s QHD display, the GPU is working extra hard to render those extra pixels. ” Doesn’t this statement assume that the GPU is running the game at the native resolution? I don’t think the GPU really works much harder if something is rendered at a lower resolution and the GPU just scales it up for QHD.

  • BP

    They didn’t include the Note’s main competitor, the iPhone 6 Plus?

    • David Vargas

      No, they didn’t. This test was performed in Korea, and the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus are not available there.

    • Aris Routis

      The iPhone 6+ compares to say HTC One Max or Samsung Galaxy Mega..

  • Vuyo Ncube

    Xperia Z3 Compact vs. Galaxy Note 4 comparison would be the smartphone battle of the year. They stomped on iPhones, half-baked oversized smartphones disguised as phablets and ‘mini’ flagships with ease.

  • krym73

    Samsung Galaxy Note 4 &Note Edge Fanatics, The Note 4 is available for display at your local Best Buy store, and the Note Edge is in display only in select Best Buy stores and if you have any doubts call your local Best Buy store to confirm. PreOrder and get a $200 Best Buy Gift card

  • jokky

    The note 2 is still overkill 3100mAh on a 720p screen :)

    • Discuss

      lol,as a n2 user, can’t wait to upgrade.

  • Joe J

    The qualcomm 800s are old tech 24nm. The new exynos 5433 is 20nm. People don’t realize that the new exynos are in the lead as the best SoCs. Its like comparing a core 2 quad to a haswell. You get better battery life and more processing power. The future roadmap for exynos looks like it has a 6 month to 1 year lead over qualcomm. This is a guess but samsung probably wanted to divert apple soc production to exynos. So in the future we could see more exynos in more markets.

  • Christian

    How does it compare to the Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact in Battery LIfe? Why is the Z3 and Z3C not included in the comparison photo. When the title says “outlast the competition in battery life”, does that include the Z3 / Z3C?

    • David Vargas

      No, they didn’t. This test was performed in Korea, and the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus are not available there. It would be interesting if they could make the comparison with those Xperias.

  • Guest

    So the Exynos core is only available core is only available in Korea? Well at least my father will get me it… hopefully.

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  • O GEE

    Still not as good as the z2, z3 and z3 compact. There’s nothing ground breaking with these stats, just better than previous Samsung n Lg and it’s down to the newer snapdragon 805 chip obviously.

  • vgergo

    Rob writes: “Although we could probably put some of this down to Samsung’s AMOLED display technology too.” Actually the white screen doesn’t even give that much advantage for AMOLED. It should even be better with average screen contents or dark backgrounds. I set my note-taking app to white text on black background, I can take a straight 8-9 hours of handwritten notes with my Note3 on one charge!

  • Elior Machlev

    In Israel we will get the Exynos 5433 by default :)

  • MajesticBird

    So the Samsung Note 4 Exynos core variant is only available in Korea?

    • FuzzimcFuzz

      we get the Exynos in NZ

      • MajesticBird

        u suck :)

  • Joe

    Still Note 2 showed better results, so I still keep it for a next year.

  • EP_2012

    I have the Exynos model and the battery life is crap. I get 4-5 hours max and I’m very conservative with settings, brightness, etc.