The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is the first phone to feature Samsung Display’s new, more power-efficient OLED panels.
As spotted by The Verge, a Samsung Display release explains that the S21 Ultra sports a display that consumes 16 percent less power. The company says it uses a “just-developed organic material” that allows “electrons [to] flow faster and more easily across the display’s organic layer.”
“Thanks to this process, OLED panels can create brighter light while consuming less power, which improves the battery lifetime,” Samsung explained in the release.
MobileSyrup’s Patrick O’Rourke noted in his S21 Ultra review that it had excellent battery life that easily lasted a day and a half with “moderate use.” Further, the S21 Ultra achieves better battery life than last year’s S20 Ultra, despite sporting the same size battery. While some of that can likely be attributed to the improved adaptive refresh rate, the new OLED tech may also have a significant impact.
Samsung confirmed to The Verge that the S21 Ultra uses a low-temperature polycrystalline oxide (LTPO) display. Interestingly, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra also used an LTPO display, according to The Verge, but Samsung branded it as a hybrid oxide and polycrystalline silicon (HOP) screen. It’s not entirely clear what the difference between the LTPO panels is, but Samsung Display’s assertion that the S21 Ultra is the first phone to use it suggests there is a significant difference between the two.
Also of note, recent rumours suggest Samsung will be the sole supplier of LTPO OLED panels to Apple for the 2021 iPhones. Apple will allegedly use 120Hz LTPO OLED panels in two of the four iPhones it launches this year (likely the ‘Pro’ models).
Before making the leap to smartphones, LTPO displays were popular in smartwatches, likely in part because of their efficiency. The Verge says the Apple Watch Series 4 used an LTPO display from LG, while Samsung’s Galaxy Watch Active 2 used an LTPO screen from Samsung Display.