Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra review in 5 points

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra review in 5 points

Samsung recently launched the Galaxy S24 series, headlined by the premium (and costly) Galaxy S24 Ultra. Compared to the 2023 S23 series, this year's lineup, including the S24 Ultra, comes at a higher price point, a topic we'll delve into shortly. After a week of using the phone, and with embargoes lifted, we can openly discuss our experience. 

Despite minimal hardware upgrades from the S23 Ultra, the S24 Ultra stands out with its focus on Galaxy AI, a notable shift in Samsung's flagship features. In our detailed review, we evaluate whether the Galaxy S24 Ultra is a worthwhile investment for end-consumers.

The Galaxy S24 Ultra boasts an array of AI functionalities such as Live Translate, Chat Assist, Magic Compose, Transcript Assist, Circle to Search, and Generative Edit, enhancing its capabilities significantly. Noteworthy features include real-time translation, call transcription, and advanced photo/video editing, addressing nuances like unwanted shadows.

While not extensively exploring every AI feature, Circle to Search and Generative Edit emerged as standout features, seamlessly integrated into both software and hardware. Circle to Search streamlines web searches with intuitive taps or doodles, while Generative Edit facilitates effortless image manipulation.

Despite the impressive integration of Galaxy AI, the subjective nature of the smart features raises questions about their value proposition for a premium-priced device, making it challenging to gauge their significance for diverse users.

The Galaxy AI features are well-integrated, enhancing the user experience of the Galaxy S24 Ultra. However, the subjective nature of these features poses a challenge in quantifying their value, with some users viewing them as a way to make phones smarter while others may perceive them as mere gimmicks.

Camera Performance

The camera on the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra, while proficient, falls short of significant upgrades compared to its predecessor, the Galaxy S23 Ultra. The camera setup remains largely unchanged, with identical primary, ultrawide, 3x telephoto, and selfie cameras. 

Software enhancements like Super HDR and improved low-light photography have minimal impact in real-world testing. The only noticeable change is the addition of a 50-megapixel sensor to the second telephoto camera, though improvements in zoom performance are subjective.

On a positive note, shots at 30X and 100X proved surprisingly detailed, with 30X zoom outperforming due to increased stability. Portrait mode exhibited inconsistent performance, struggling with background separation in low light but excelling in well-lit environments. Selfies presented challenges, with the S24 Ultra struggling to identify faces accurately.

Despite overall camera competence, the lack of substantial upgrades and potential for fine-tuning through software updates leave room for improvement.

Design and Display

The Galaxy S24 Ultra introduces subtle design changes, featuring a titanium body for enhanced durability and reduced weight. Departing from curved edges, Samsung opted for a flat display, aligning well with S-Pen functionality and minimizing mistouches for gamers. 

The 6.8-inch AMOLED screen, maintaining a 1440p resolution, offers vibrant visuals, now even brighter at 2,600 nits. The display features a special coating to reduce reflections even in bright sunlight.

Despite its premium feel, the larger form factor may pose challenges for one-handed use, requiring both hands. However, the device's appeal lies in its premium aesthetics, making it attractive for users prioritizing video watching or gaming over one-handed convenience.

Performance and Battery

While not marketed explicitly as a gaming phone, the Galaxy S24 Ultra proves highly capable for mobile gaming enthusiasts. Enhanced vapor cooling and a titanium build contribute to superior heat dissipation during gaming sessions. 

The device's gaming performance surpasses its predecessor, the Galaxy S23 Ultra, thanks to a combination of a 2,600 nits display, Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset, and ray tracing.

Titles like Harry Potter Awakened and Asphalt 9 demonstrated seamless gameplay without frame drops or lags. Beyond gaming, the S24 Ultra excels in everyday tasks, responding swiftly to commands while navigating apps or social media. Benchmark tests, including stress tests and display capabilities, confirm the device's resilience under prolonged heavy usage.

As for battery performance, the S24 Ultra's 45W charging allows a full charge in approximately an hour, despite not matching the rapid charging speeds of some competitors.

Verdict: The Galaxy AI Experience is Expensive

The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra stands as a powerful standalone phone with solid performance and an enhanced gaming experience. The device features a brighter display, a more premium-looking and durable design with its new titanium build. Camera, battery, and S-Pen upgrades are limited, but the spotlight is on Galaxy AI, minimizing the impact of these limitations.

For those seeking a premium device or exploring the Samsung Ultra series, the S24 Ultra is a great choice. The hardware integration of AI is a standout feature. 

However, cost-conscious buyers may find better value in the S23 Ultra, with similar specifications and potential price cuts. The Galaxy AI features, while enhancing user experience, may be perceived as an expensive addition.

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