It’s a new year, which means new phones from Samsung, Android’s number one phone seller. The company has officially revealed its flagship lineup for the Galaxy S24 series of smartphones. The Galaxy S24, S24+, and S24 Ultra all promise to come equipped with various features you’d expect from your daily carry, including multiple camera lenses, a bright AMOLED display, long battery life, and durability.
Will Samsung keep its reign as the most expensive Android device worth owning? We’ll know once we put it through its paces.
Until then, here’s a look at each model of the Galaxy S24 and what they offer, including the Galaxy S24 Ultra, which comes in a titanium casing just like the Apple iPhone 15 Pro/Pro Max. All three of the new devices also introduce Samsung’s Galaxy AI. For the most part, the AI capabilities are a reprise of what Google’s been doing with the Pixel lineup, though it’s clear the two companies are working in tandem to make AI the star of the show across the entire Android platform.
Galaxy S24 Ultra: Features
The rumors circulated, and that somehow manifested the titanium casing of the Galaxy S24 Ultra into a real-life offering. Just kidding, this wasn’t an act of faith; it was an act of Samsung competing directly with the same people buying the iPhone 15 Pro Max. The Galaxy S24 Ultra is the ultimate offering of the Galaxy S24 devices. It features a 6.8-inch QuadHD+ AMOLED display with up to 120Hz refresh rate. The screen is brighter than the Galaxy S23 Ultra. It’s now capable of up to 2,600nit peak brightness in direct sunlight—but only if you need it.
Some of the best specs you can get in a smartphone, without being a gaming phone, are stuffed inside the Galaxy S24 Ultra’s titanium body: a Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, 12GB of RAM, and up to 1TB of storage. And like the last few generations of Galaxy Ultras, there are four cameras on the back to enjoy:
- A 12-MP ultra-wide camera with an f/2.2 aperture and 120-degree field of view
- A 200-MP wide camera with OIS, an f/1.7 aperture, and an 85-degree field of view
- A 50-MP telephoto camera with OIS and 5x optical zoom—as much as the iPhone 15 Pro Max
- A 10-MP telephoto camera with 3x zoom
The Ultra can still manage Space Zoom through its 100x digital zoom capabilities. The new Galaxy S24 series features Samsung’s ProVisual Engine, which the company bills as “a comprehensive suite of AI-powered tools.” AI helps eliminate shakiness when you zoom in from far away, and it helps remove noise in the updated Nightography capabilities.
I look forward to testing it against the iPhone 15 Pro Max and the Google Pixel 8 Pro. Also, great news for TikTok and Instagram users: third-party social networks can finally take advantage of Samsung’s built-in camera system, so you’ll get full resolution within those apps.
The Galaxy S24 Ultra still boasts a 5,000 mAh battery life. That’s plenty for the Ultra, though it’ll have to beat out last year’s battery tests, which still weren’t enough to outlast the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s whopping 24-hour battery life.
Galaxy S24/S24+: Infused with Galaxy AI
Samsung didn’t limit its AI offerings to specific phone models. Instead, all three Galaxy S24 devices will offer Galaxy AI capabilities. But first, the specs: The Galaxy S24 and Galaxy S24+ run on the same Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor. The smaller Galaxy S24 features a 6.2-inch display, 8GB of RAM, up to 256GB of storage, and a 4,000 mAh battery. The larger 6.7-inch Galaxy S24+ will ship with 12GB of memory, up to 512GB of storage, and a 4,900 mAh battery.
Overall, the Galaxy S24’s hardware design remains relatively unchanged from 2023’s Galaxy S23 series. The new models are slightly more flush and a tad lighter for this iteration, but it’s not a go-out-and-update improvement. All three phones have 5G, LTE, Wi-Fi 6E, and Bluetooth 5.3 connectivity.
All three models also come in the rich lavender colorway called Titanium Violet on the Ultra and Cobalt Violet on the other variants. They’re all seriously stunning in person. The Titanium Yellow on the Ultra or Amber Yellow on the Galaxy S24/S24+ also delivers if you’re looking for something light that’s not plain white.
What is Galaxy AI?
While Galaxy AI might sound like mere marketing jargon—and it is, let’s be clear—it refers to AI-infused tools specific to the new Galaxy S24 series. The most prominent one, and the one that Google is heralding, is Circle to Search. You hold down the Home button, and then the screen freezes. From there, draw a circle around the part of the interface you’re inquiring about; it could be a photo on social media, a line of text, or even a video still. Galaxy S24 Ultra users can also utilize the S Pen for this feature.
However, it won’t be exclusive to Galaxy devices, as Google plans to roll it out to the Pixel 8/8 Pro later this month.
I tried out a Samsung-led demonstration of its Live Translation on a live call with a Spanish speaker to make dinner reservations and ask if they had vegetarian options. It worked, even after I accidentally set myself up as a French-speaking person rather than an English-speaking one. At least French is a Romance language!
Samsung will also help you write and get organized. Note Assist will provide a summary of your notes, plus auto format it with titles, headers, and paragraphs to make it neat and shareable. As you’re typing, you can call on Chat Assist from within the Samsung keyboard, which offers a Grammarly-like check of your words to see if you sound approachable or aggressive.
Samsung’s Galaxy S24 series has AI-enabled photo editing tools that may remind you of something Google’s done already. For instance, you can circle an area to remove an object like Google Photos’ Magic Editor and Magic Eraser. There’s an Edit Suggestion mode, which offers tips on improving a photo, and a Generative Edit capability for filling in empty scenes. I also tried out the Instant Slo-mo capabilities, and it was handy to introduce the slow-motion effect after shooting a video.
In Samsung’s controlled demonstrations, all the AI-infused capabilities worked seamlessly. However, I noticed that if I went in and edited the photo offerings off script, I wouldn’t get the same results as the attendants showing us the phones during the closed hands-on session. Just like Google’s Pixel offerings, which I’ve previewed time and time again and attempted to use in daily life, your mileage may vary with AI-infused photo editing. I’m eager to spend more time with it.
Seven years of software updates
The last bit of great news about the Samsung Galaxy S24 series is that it will continue its seven-year software update promise, which includes seven generations of Android upgrades plus seven years of security updates.
The Galaxy S24 series will be on sale starting Jan. 31 at Samsung’s online store and wherever phones are sold. The pricing remains relatively unchanged. The Galaxy S24 Ultra will begin at $1,300 for 256GB of storage, the Galaxy S24+ will start at $1,000 for 256GB, and the Galaxy s24 will begin at $800 with 128 GB. Pre-orders are available now, and our full review is coming soon.