Samsung has officially unveiled its latest trio of Galaxy S smartphones during its Unpacked 2024 event in San Jose. The Galaxy S24, S24 Plus and S24 Ultra are set to release at the end of this month, and this year it's all about AI.
Samsung has coined the term 'Galaxy AI' which pertains to a lengthy set of new AI-powered features and tools on these new devices, with other upgrades regarding internal specs, screen brightness and camera performance also coming with this new generation of Galaxy devices.
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
Taking a closer look at the three devices, we'll start with the flagship S24 Ultra. This sits at the top of the new range, featuring the largest screen and most cameras out of all the new handsets. With a 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED QHD+ display, the S24 Ultra is looking to continue its tenure as the most mainstream, big-screen Android smartphone on the market. Featuring a dynamic refresh rate of 1Hz to 120Hz and an upgraded brightness that now peaks at 2600 nits, the S24 Ultra looks to be a modest but meaningful upgrade over the Galaxy S23 Ultra it's replacing.
So what's new with this phone? First of all, Samsung is ditching the curved screen (something it pioneered with the Note Edge and Galaxy S6 Edge nearly 10 years ago) in favour of a flat display, something we're certainly happy to see. It's also got thinner bezels for a more immersive, all-screen experience; considering the S23 Ultra has fairly slender bezels, this is quite impressive.
The S24 Ultra also uses the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for Galaxy processor, which should provide top-notch day-to-day performance, as well handling the new AI features and Ray Tracing support for mobile gaming. Speaking of gaming, the S24 Ultra gets enhanced cooling via an upgraded vapour chamber, which should ensure better gaming performance and less risk of overheating for more graphically demanding titles.
While the camera layout is mostly the same this year, Samsung has swapped one of the 10MP telephoto lenses for a 50MP zoom lens, capable of reaching five times optical zoom, which it claims will result in sharper zoomed-in shots. Nightography, otherwise known as low light photography, gets a boost too, thanks to the 1.6 times bigger pixels that should allow for more light into the sensor.
Finally, Samsung looks to have taken a leaf from Apple's iPhone 15 Pro Max book, as the S24 Ultra features a titanium frame. Paired with Corning's Gorilla Armour glass on the front and rear of the device, this phone is set to be four times as resistant to bumps and scratches as the S23 Ultra.
The Galaxy S24 Ultra will come in four colours, with additional finishes coming exclusively to Samsung's web store. These colours are Titanium Grey, Titanium Black, Titanium Yellow and Titanium Violet. It will also feature 12GB of RAM across the board, with three storage options available. You'll need to pay more for upgraded storage, but the good news is that (at least in the UK) the S24 Ultra will launch at the same price as the S23 Ultra did in 2023. Storage and pricing are as follows:
- 256GB: £1249 / $TBC / AU$TBC
- 512GB: £1349 / $TBC / AU$TBC
- 1TB: £1549 / $TBC / AU$TBC
Samsung Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus
Moving onto the S24 and S24 Plus, these devices also bear a strong resemblance to the models they are replacing.
Both phones feature Dynamic AMOLED displays with variable refresh rates, however, the S24's 6.2-inch display is Full HD+, whereas the S24 Plus' 6.7-inch display is Quad HD+. These phones also differ in internal specifications, with the S24 featuring 8GB of RAM, whereas the S24 Plus receives 12GB. Storage options and pricing are as follows:
|S24 Plus price
|£799 / $TBC / AU$TBC
|£859 / $TBC / AU$TBC
|£999/ $TBC / AU$TBC
|£1099/ $TBC / AU$TBC
The good news here is that both of these models are cheaper than their predecessors in the UK; £100 cheaper for the S24 and £50 cheaper for the S24 Plus. Both phones also feature the same camera arrangements, with a 50MP main lens, 12MP ultra-wide camera and 10MP telephoto lens, as well as a 12MP front-facing shooter, which appears to be the same arrangement as last year's S23 and S23 Plus.
Frustratingly, Samsung has opted to use its own Exynos chipset on the non-Ultra models. While they should be roughly equal in power, and they do support the same features, we often find the Exynos chips don't perform as well in gaming, or age quite as well, as the Snapdragon chips. We are hopeful Samsung may have ironed this out with its latest release but we can't confirm that until we've had more time with the handsets.
The Galaxy S24 and S24 Ultra will come in the same finishes as the S24 Ultra (Grey/Black/Violet/Yellow), although they will feature strengthened aluminium frames instead of the titanium found on the Ultra.
The main draw of these new devices is Galaxy AI, a set of new tools shared across the whole S24 lineup. AI is slowly creeping into the world of TVs (just look at LG's newest models for proof), but it's been used in phones for a while with things like Google's Magic Eraser camera feature.
- Live Translate: translates two-way phone conversations in real-time using AI, with 13 supported languages at launch (more expected to be included in future updates).
- Chat Assist: can translate text conversations much like Live Translate, as well as amend messages with the ability to re-write them based on different tone presets. Some examples include professional, casual and social, with language and format changing with each preset.
- Transcript Assist: allows for smart transcription of voice recordings with the option to identify different speakers, as well as format write-ups and summarise longer voice notes to important bullet points. This also works for written notes as Galaxy AI will intelligently format and summarise them as requested.
- Circle to Search with Google; holding down the home button will allow you to draw a ring around a subject on the screen. This can be a person, an item, a building or even an animal. From there, Galaxy AI will conduct a Google search to bring up relevant information, directions and shopping suggestions based on what you have searched for.
- Photo editing: Galaxy AI can create generative fill backgrounds to fill blank space when straightening an image, or empty space when moving a subject within an image. You can also add instant slow-motion playback to videos with additional frames created by AI for smoother slow-motion playback. Finally, you can view a full HDR image from within the camera viewfinder for a more accurate representation of how your image will turn out.
Samsung says its mission is to "democratise AI" by creating an accessible and user-friendly set of tools that anyone with a Galaxy S24 device can take advantage of, and while we're still apprehensive about AI, we can't deny that these features do look quite appealing.
Pre-orders for the Galaxy S24, S24 Plus and S24 Ultra start today (17th January), with devices shipping on the 31st of January. If you pre-order through Samsung's web store you can receive double the storage at no extra cost.
Read our Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra hands-on review
As well as our full Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra review
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