Samsung Galaxy S24 vs iPhone 16: which 2024 smartphone might be better?

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra held horizontally in front of a plant with an insect on screen
(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

Apple and Samsung have had a fierce rivalry since the 2010s when they were engaged in a seemingly endless game of sue or be sued. Around the same time, Samsung also aired adverts accusing Apple fans of being sheep, among other things. Thankfully all that is now over, but the rivalry goes on, with Apple recently deposing Samsung as the world's biggest smartphone seller. So it's still very much claws out time.

Samsung's latest is the Galaxy S24. It's a typically big and bold effort that puts AI at its heart with some genuinely useful features powered by machine learning (as we found in our Galaxy S24 Ultra review). It has a bright and punchy picture that makes it a very good portable cinema too.

But Apple's iPhone 16 is shaping up to be quite formidable. Rumours say it could have a slightly larger screen than previous models – these screens could also feature Micro Lens Array (MLA) tech as seen in high-end OLED TVs, making for a brighter picture.

So how could it compare with Samsung's Galaxy S24? Should you buy the S24 now or wait until September for the iPhone 16 launch? Let's see...

Samsung Galaxy S24 vs iPhone 16: price predictions

Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max on a wooden table

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

The S24 is available now, but the iPhone 16 won't be announced until September. So while we know the price of all S24 iterations and capacities, we can only predict those of the iPhone 16.

Here are the S24 prices.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Samsung Galaxy S24, S24 Plus and S24 Ultra pricing
StorageS24S24 PlusS24 Ultra
128GB£799 / $800 / AU$1349N/AN/A
256GB£859 / $859 / AU$1399£999 / $999 / AU$1699£1249 / $1299 / AU$2199
512GBN/A / AU$1599£1099 / $1119 / AU$1899£1349 / $1419 / AU$2399
1TBN/AN/A£1549 / $1659 / AU$2799

Obviously we can't compare these with the iPhone 16 prices, as they haven't been announced yet. But we can see what the iPhone 15 models cost.

  • iPhone 15: £799 / $799 / AU$1499 (128GB); £899 / $899 / AU$1699 (256GB); £1099 / $1099 / AU$2049 (512GB)
  • iPhone 15 Plus: £899 / $899 / AU$1649 (128GB); £999 / $999 / AU$1849 (256GB); £1199 / $1199 / AU$2199 (512GB)
  • iPhone 15 Pro: £999 / $999 / AU$1849 (128GB); £1099 / $1099 / AU$2049 (256GB); £1299 / $1299 / AU$2399 (512GB); £1499 / $1499 / AU$2749 (1TB)
  • iPhone 15 Pro Max: £1199 / $1199 / AU$2199 (256GB); £1399 / $1399 / AU$2549 (512GB); £1599 / $1599 / AU$2899 (1TB)

The Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus are actually slightly cheaper than their S23 equivalents, while the S24 Ultra stays the same price. The iPhone 15 is also cheaper than was rumoured, what with the price of everything rising at the moment.

But if, as is rumoured, the iPhone 16 does have a larger screen, that could put the price up. Even a fraction of an inch will add to Apple's costs. We would imagine the iPhone 16 will stay largely in line with the current model though, so expect this round to be a close one.

Samsung Galaxy S24 vs iPhone 16: design rumours

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra's rear as seen from above

(Image credit: Samsung)

The Samsung Galaxy S24 looks very similar to the S23, but there are some changes. The firm has done away with curved screens after almost a decade, while new materials make some variants slimmer and lighter. 

The S24 Ultra has a titanium frame, while the the standard and Plus use aluminium. There's no gloss here – the shine has been taken off in favour of a matt finish. The S24 Ultra comes in four colours (Titanium Black, Titanium Grey, Titanium Yellow or Titanium Violet), plus another three exclusive to Samsung's online store (Titanium Blue, Titanium Green and Titanium Orange). It really likes titanium.

Not much is known about the iPhone 16 design at this stage, but if the screen does get bigger, as is rumoured, that could affect how the handset looks. Will we see the iPhone get bigger? Or will Apple manage to shrink the bezel even further to keep the phone more or less the same size? Watch this space...

The biggest change for the iPhone 15 Pro models was also the introduction of titanium. This makes them stronger, but also lighter – the lightest Pro iPhones ever, in fact.

Expect plenty more colour options for the iPhone 16, similar to the iPhone 15's. The iPhone 15 Pros come in four colours – white, black, blue or natural – and the non-Pros in pink, yellow, green, blue, and black.

Samsung Galaxy S24 vs iPhone 16: features leaks

Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max on a wooden table with Ted Lasso on screen

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi? / Apple TV+, Ted Lasso)

As expected, the S24 is stacked with features. Its main talking point is AI, which enables neat features such as “Circle to Search with Google” (which lets you draw a ring around anything on screen to perform a web search about it) and the ability to fill in photo backgrounds once you have edited out people or objects from them. Very clever. But seeing as Samsung will bring some of these features to older handsets, on their own they are not really a reason to buy the S24.

Thankfully, the S24 has plenty else going for it, including some very solid specifications. The S24 Ultra boasts a special Galaxy version of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor, alongside 12GB of RAM. The 5000mAh battery (4000mAh on the S24, 4900mAh on the S24+) lasts all day even with heavy use, and can wirelessly charge a friend's phone or pair of Bluetooth earbuds. 

The camera is typically impressive. The S24 Ultra has the same 200MP main sensor, 12MP ultra-wide lens and 10MP telephoto as its predecessor, but the second telephoto has a 50MP, 5x zoom lens, which is an increase in resolution but a halving of the optical zoom length. In practice, it improves the quality of photographs taken between the 5x and 10x zoom lengths, which is much more practical.

Bluetooth 5.3 brings support for A2DP and Bluetooth LE, while the S24 also plays nice with Dolby Atmos for a more spatial soundscape. 

Rumours say that all four models of iPhone 16 could feature the new A18 processor, though the Pro variants would sport a Bionic Pro version with more power. They also say that Apple will follow Samsung in going big on AI, with iOS 18 using the tech to improve "how both Siri and the Messages app can field questions and auto-complete sentences." The customisable Action button is said to come to all four models of iPhone 16 (not just the Pros as at present), and a new kind of flash memory is also mooted either to allow greater capacities or bring down the cost of the current ones.

We're expecting similar camera tech to the iPhone 15 – Apple introduced the 48-megapixel sensors only last year, so is unlikely to change them so soon. And we believe the Dynamic Island will remain on all four iPhone 16 variants (originally, it was only on the iPhone 14 Pro models, but that changed with the iPhone 15 range).

Samsung Galaxy S24 vs iPhone 16: screen hearsay

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra held in portrait with a bridge on screen

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

The S24 has a typically beautiful screen, but in a change of tack it is flat, whereas Samsung has been extolling the virtues of curved screens for nigh-on a decade. The S24 Ultra's is an expansive 6.8-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 1440 x 3120 and a variable refresh rate of 1Hz to 120Hz. Peak brightness is an impressive 2600 nits. There's no Dolby Vision, but it does play nicely with HDR10+ for compatible content on Amazon Prime Video and YouTube (but Netflix and Disney+ favour Dolby Vision).

Impressive, certainly. But in the iPhone 16, it might meet its match. 

Apple's next handset is rumoured to have a larger screen than the current crop of iPhones. The Pro is expected to grow to 6.3 inches (up from 6.1) and the Pro Max to 6.9 inches (from 6.7). This would be the first change in size for the Pros since 2020's iPhone 12 range. 

The non-Pro iPhone 16 models are expected to remain at their current sizes (6.1 inches for the standard model, 6.7 inches for the Plus). 

To minimise battery drain, Apple is thought to be using more power-efficient displays using tech from Samsung Display called M14. By replacing the current blue fluorescent technology with blue phosphorescence, M14 should make the screen more power efficient than the current iPhone Pro models' LTPO displays.

These screens could get brighter too, with the addition of Micro Lens Array (MLA), technology previously seen in high-end OLED TVs. This boosts brightness with the use of tiny internal lenses that redirect reflections. These can either up the on-screen brightness, or maintain it at the current level by using less power, hence extending battery life.

Samsung Galaxy S24 vs iPhone 16: early thoughts

It's early days yet, with the iPhone 16 still seven months away. These predictions aren't set in stone, but when it comes to iPhones, the internet rumour mill has been remarkably accurate in recent years.

The Samsung Galaxy S24 is a very good phone, though the Ultra variant only scored four out of five in our review. With a string of recent five-star reviews under its belt, the iPhone is still the phone to beat. Here's hoping the next instalment lives up to expectations.


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Joe Svetlik

Joe has been writing about tech for 17 years, first on staff at T3 magazine, then in a freelance capacity for Stuff, The Sunday Times Travel Magazine, Men's Health, GQ, The Mirror, Trusted Reviews, TechRadar and many more (including What Hi-Fi?). His specialities include all things mobile, headphones and speakers that he can't justifying spending money on.