OnePlus 9 Pro vs Xiaomi Mi 11 & Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Benchmarks & Performance – Does the Snapdragon 888 still have throttling & battery issues?

When I reviewed the Xiaomi Mi 11 at the start of the year, I had some concerns over sustained performance with high loads and battery life. This issue was then reflected with the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra and its Exynos 2100 chipset.

While both chipsets are incredibly powerful, it seemed like the introduction of the new powerful Arm Cortex X1 came at the cost of efficiency.

Now that the OnePlus 9 Pro is out, how does that compare with overall performance and does it suffer from the same issues with performance drops and quick battery drain?

OnePlus 9 Pro vs Xiaomi Mi 11 & Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Antutu Benchmarks

 TotalCPUGPUMEMUXTemp Increase Battery Decrease
Xiaomi Mi 11
Snapdragon 888
Retested 22/01/2021
7040192014403065989994396038125
Xiaomi Mi 11
Snapdragon 888
6909851942032998011003999658296
OnePlus 9 Pro
SD888
6900301824742998381044371032818.9%5
Huawei Mate 40 Pro
Kirin 9000
65778418069227520811633685542
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
Exynos 2100 test 2
638941177801269430108391833197.64
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
Exynos 2100
620524174258255138107257838719.83
Realme X50 Pro
Snapdragon 865
590914183192104222104222848774.24
Samsung Galaxy S20+ 5G
Exynos 990
5534791626032210898787681905
Redmi K30 Pro
Dimensity 1000+
48225713482219756873916759518.64

Annoyingly Antutu is now on its 9th version, and any v9 result is not comparable to v8.

This scores considerably higher than the Xiaomi Mi 11 & Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra in v9, which were tested using V8.

In version 9, the OnePlus scores 774992, in V8 it achieves 684085, a 13% difference.

The V8 results put the OnePlus 9 Pro behind the Xiaomi Mi 11 by between 1% and 3%. The warming temperatures during testing could attribute to this.

OnePlus 9 Pro vs Xiaomi Mi 11 & Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Geekbench

 ChipsetSingle CoreMulti Core
Xiaomi Mi 11Snapdragon 88811393693
OnePlus 9 ProSnapdragon 88811093487
Samsung Galaxy S21 UltraExynos 210010793381
Huawei Mate 40 ProKirin 900010203275
Asus ROG Phone 3
S
Snapdragon 865+9753357
Realme X50 ProSnapdragon 8659103205
Black Shark 3 Snapdragon 8659033338
Redmi K30 Ultra Dimensity 1000+7822890
Samsung Galaxy S20Exynos 9907722590
OnePlus 7TSnapdragon 855+7062660
Black Shark 2Snapdragon 855670 2370
Huawei P40 Lite 5GKirin 8206062304
Realme X50Snapdragon 765G6121899

Geekbench offers predictable results, which is very similar to the Mi 11, which the S21 sits a little behind.

OnePlus 9 Pro vs Xiaomi Mi 11 & Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra PCMark

 Performance ScoreWork 2.0 Battery
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
Exynos 2100
1363812h 46min
OnePlus 9 Pro
SD888
119248h 29min
Xiaomi Mi 11101759h 35min
Huawei Mate 40 Pro
Kirin 9000
9149
Huawei P40 Pro
Kirin 990 5G
948015h 0min
Redmi K30 Ultra
Dimensity 1000
9431
Realme X50 Pro
SD865
13307 / 88399h 3min
BlackShark 3
SD865
998116h 49min

The PCMark performance score is excellent, sitting 17% higher than the Xiaomi Mi 11, but well below the S21. I wouldn’t worry about the exact score, any of these phones offers above and beyond any needs for performance.

OnePlus 9 Pro vs Xiaomi Mi 11 & Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra PCMark Battery Test

The PCMark Battery Test was not good for the OnePlus 9 Pro, with one of the lowest results I have seen in the past year and lower than both the S21 and Mi 11.

It is too early to give a definitive opinion about the battery, since using the phone it last OK, it is not like phones used to be years ago where I am charging it mid-day, but it is certainly not as good as I am used to.

The higher score per run vs the Xiaomi Mi 11 is likely to blame for the lower battery performance. Each company will optimise the OS for different usage scenarios, so the OP9Pro seems to be favouring performance during general use.

OnePlus 9 Pro vs Xiaomi Mi 11 & Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 3D Mark

 ChipsetSling Shot Extreme OpenGLSling Shot Extreme VulcanWild Life
OnePlus 9 Pro Snapdragon 888Maxed OutMaxed Out5775
Samsung Galaxy S21 UltraExynos 2100773664675741
Xiaomi Mi 11Snapdragon 888827481825663
Huawei Mate 40 ProKirin 9000916884015976
Asus ROG Phone 3Snapdragon 865+764570024127
Realme X50 ProSnapdragon 8653791
Black Shark 3 Snapdragon 86572156606
Redmi K30 Ultra Dimensity 1000+66146143
OnePlus 7TSnapdragon 855+62785504
Black SharkSnapdragon 85557915030

The normal 3DMark tests also have some issues; using Sling Shot Extreme, the OP9Pro gets a result of maxed out. I am unsure if this is a result that has always been possible or if 3Dmark have updated the app so that it actively pushes people to use Wild Life.

In Wild Life, the OnePlus 9 Pro scores the highest result of the three phones, with 5775, that’s 0.59% and 1.98% higher than the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra and Xiaomi Mi 11, respectively. This isn’t quite as high as the reported scores of the Huawei Mate 40 Pro.

These scores show just how much more power the Snapdragon 888 has compared to last years SD865 and is a good clue as to why the SD888 has an issue with battery and throttling.

The OP9Pro scores 52.33% higher than the Realme X50 Pro (SD865) in Wild Life.

OnePlus 9 Pro vs Xiaomi Mi 11 & Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 3DMark Stress Test

This is the main test that showed the issues faced with these two new powerful chipsets, and as expected, the OnePlus 9 Pro suffers the same problem.

At the start of the stress test, the OnePlus achieves a score of 5782, but this drops down to just 3489, giving it a stability score of 60.3%. Even performing at its worst with full throttling, the SD888 offers similar performance to the SD865.

The battery on the OnePlus dropped the least out of the three phones going from 98% to 88%..

This is considerably worse than the stability of the Xiaomi Mi 11, which started at 5550 and dropped to 5045, giving 90.9% stability. This suffered from a 15 digit drop in the battery.

However, that was tested in January when my office was very cold. The phone started off at 24°C and increased to 46°C.

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra had the same poor stability levels as the OP9Pro at just 62%, with its score going from 5466 to 3404 over the tests. It’s temperature went from 25°C to 43°C with a 12 digit drop in the battery

Overall

The results are certainly not what I would call ideal. However, it would seem that the OEMs are not to blame here. The performance drops, battery drain and high temperatures are almost certainly chipset related.

It could be the Samsung 5nm fabrication process, but it is more likely the new ARM Cortex-X1. This new CPU design is literally marketed as a “performance first design” implying it sacrifices power management in favour of performance.

So, the takeaway from this is that you can expect every single Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 (and Exynos 2100) based phone to suffer from higher than normal battery drain and throttling under load.

65W charging somewhat makes up for a poor battery

It is not the end of the world though, all three phones comfortable make it through to the end of the day as long as you don’t spend a significant time gaming. They all offer fast charging too, in particular, the Mi 11 has 55W/50W wired/wireless, and the OP9Pro has 65W/50W, so topping them up on high use days takes just a few minutes.

Alternative options to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 & Exynos 2100

If that is not acceptable to you, it means you may have to look at none premium flagship devices this year. There are going to be plenty of options, the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 780G looks like it could be the perfect chipset for someone looking for high performance and efficiency, and the new MediaTek Dimensity 1200 chipset should also compare well. Then you have the SD870, which is a supped up SD865+.

One issue with opting for a lower specced chipset is that the camera spec may also reduce; having a high-quality camera is the main reason why I opted for the OnePlus 9 Pro.

We will have to wait and see what other brands offer over the next few months. The Google Pixel 6 seems like a good candidate to use the SD780G while offering incredible camera performance. OPPO also offer superb camera performance with lower specced chipsets with the Reno series, e.g. Reno4 Pro). We have also seen Realme and Xiaomi use the Samsung 108 HM2 on their sub-£300 phones.

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