Samsung has a chequered past when it comes to the charging of their devices and we do not need to remind you of them. For this reason they can be excused for being more conservative than anyone else when it comes to charging speeds.

This year they are giving users the option to charge their devices at a level that is one of the highest levels available today — they are just not offering it for free. Instead they have taken a page from Apple’s playbook, and not a good page. A page that says support faster speeds but charge customers even more if they want this faster speed.

In the box of the Galaxy S20 Ultra is a 25W charger (the international version has a 15W charger) and not a 45W charger which the device currently supports. But is that good enough? Apparently it is. Sure a 45W charging *should* result in charging speed that fills the battery in a very short time but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Smartphone batteries tend to charge faster in the beginning and slow down as the battery becomes fuller — it is based on the charging algorithm the manufacturer inserts to help protect the phone and the battery’s health.

Battery life

Batteries in smartphones can rarely keep up with the demands placed on them in modern smartphones. Rarely does a battery last more than 24 hours with many lasting much less.

The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra undoubtedly looks best when using 120Hz refresh rate. That smoothness needs to be seen to believe. The problem is that using a phone at that refresh rate can cause a battery to drain far too fast. Samsung have included an imposition that it will only use a 1080P display resolution while at this refresh rate in a bid to limit battery drainage rates.

Even with this 1080P limitation the battery life is not great. Sure it’s a darn sight better than the Pixel 4 XL but that’s not hard. The battery, and I consider myself a heavy use with wireless Android Auto being used along with YouTube and streaming of sports throughout most days, would barely last to 5pm most of the day — that is with coming off the charger at around 5am.

Screen on time is a contentious issue though with Samsung apparently seemingly overestimating the display on time. It is possible it somehow includes the lock screen as well but the number it gave me did not match the number Google’s digital wellbeing wallpaper gave me. I trust Google to report an honest reading……

As you can see in the images above the readings for screen on time Samsung gave me were different to what Google gave me. Google’s average reading for a day of battery life before it needed charging was consistently between five and six hours at 120Hz refresh rate.

With the refresh rate at just 60Hz the battery life extended a few hours and was lasting closer to around 8pm, instead of barely, if at all, making it to just 5pm.

Wired charging

For me charging the battery was fast enough using the charger in the box. Starting at about 2 percent the battery charged up to around 70 percent in just over 36 minutes. That 70 percent you would expect to be enough to get you through close to an entire day. That is the point of fast charging — not to charge your device entirely in a short amount of time but allow you to perform a top up of as much as possible in a short period of time — eg. 10% to 50% in 20 minutes to get you through the day.

After hitting 70 percent in just 36 minutes it took another 19 minutes to reach 90 percent. Seems if you are quickly charging to give you a top up to last out the day around 30 minutes would be the most effective and efficient use of time.

Phone Arena got their hands on all three Galaxy S20 variants as well as a 45W charger and put it through its paces. As you can see from the table below the 45W charger made very little difference to the charging speeds of the devices.

Galaxy S20 Ultra Charging Speed Comparison

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I believe the s20 ultra has 15w wireless charging and 9w reverse wireless charging.