Samsun’s Galaxy S24 series is here and it marks the most imporant announcement of the year so far. Samsung purposefully pushed the series’ announcement two weeks earlier than the S23’s and they’ll ship nearly a month earlier than their predecessors. That gives Samsung plenty of time to establish some market dominance and give Apple’s iPhone 15 series a proper fight.
The Galaxy S series has become somewhat of a tame affair in these last few years but that’s the norm when you have a mature market. Still, there are some noteworthy aspects of the Galaxy S24 series – this is our hot take.
This is the most sense the Plus model has made since the S20 Ultra arrived
Without a doubt, this is the most sense the Galaxy S Plus model has made since Samsung added an Ultra to the lineup. That’s the last time we had a 1440p display on the Plus.
Now, the Galaxy S24+ brings back the higher 1440x3120px resolution and it’s an LTPO panel for the first time in the model’s history. It means it can gradually adjust between 1Hz and 120Hz refresh rate.
The Plus also got a 200mAh bump (to 4,900mAh), essentially matching the Galaxy S24 Ultra. And while we’re on that train of thought, the Galaxy S24+ has 12GB of RAM – just like the Ultra.
But the vanilla S24 is hardly looking attractive
Yes, the Plus is finally a worthwhile option on its own, but it’s now getting closer to the Ultra in price. Well, closer, not close per se – a 12/512GB Galaxy S24 Ultra is still €300 more than an equivalent S24+. Many people might just find the price difference is well worth for the better camera setup alone.
We’re not sure how many people would get the Galaxy S24. It adds 0.1-inch to the display, which is an LTPO panel for the first time, adds another 100mAh to the battery and that’s about it. We can’t imagine many S23 owners would upgrade and it’s clear not many people want a smaller phone these days. Yes, we know small phone fans are out there but sales figures don’t lie.
We could easily imagine a world where one of the non-Ultra phones is gone (or perhaps replaced by a smaller Ultra).
The Galaxy S24 Ultra is a measured update
The Galaxy S24 Ultra is a very measured update over the S23 Ultra. Gone are the times when Samsung made huge strides in its yearly updates.
The Galaxy S24 Ultra is a meaningfully better phone with higher quality frame, slimmer (and symmetrical) bezels, a new chipset, and a new camera. It’s all about refinement at this point.
The move to a titanium alloy frame is making a difference
While Apple’s move from a stainless steel frame was about an overdue weight cutting, Samsung’s move from aluminum (armor or not) to titanium brings structural and thermal benefits. Titanium alloy dissipates heat faster than aluminum and is stronger.
We’re guessing the slightly rigid feel will also please a lot of people – the Galaxy S24 Ultra’s frame is now matte and will look subjectively better than the glossy frame it replaces.
The screen upgrade is not to be overlooked!
Samsung gave the Galaxy S24 Ultra a flat display and slimmed down the bezels around it. The panel reaches up to a higher 2,600 nits and is also less reflective thanks to its Corning Gorilla Glass Armor top plate. Those improvements combine into a much better overall experience.
A 3x + 5x camera setup makes more sense than 3x + 10x
Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra, S22 Ultra, and S23 Ultra were almost outliers thanks to their 10x optical zoom camera. Almost no other phones had an above 200mm lens and you can sort of see why – it’s a cool feature but it isn’t something most picture-takers use. 5x (or around 110-120mm) is plenty of zoom and it has the benefit of being easier to accommodate. The new 5x camera on the Galaxy S24 Ultra has a much bigger sensor than the 10x camera on the Galaxy S23 Ultra, and it also has a brighter lens. That means that even if you digitally zoom to 10x it will likely match the older telephoto in good light and surpass it in low light.
It’s a great tradeoff – you get a more conventional telephoto that’s also not worse than the previous one in the longer ranges.
Having two zoom cameras on your phone is a must for a flagship these days and the combination of a 3x and a 5x seems like the best choice (though a 3x and a 6x could be even better…).
Are the AI smarts as big as Samsung makes them out?
Samsung hyped the Galaxy S24 series as the “smartest AI phones ever” and we can see why. Samsung gave AI a huge chunk of the runtime during the presentation, because it seeps into the entire user experience – from the UI to the camera.
But is Galaxy AI all that? We’ll have to test the Galaxy S24 devices thoroughly to give you a definitive answer but at first try it’s looking very promising. Circle to Search seems like a feature should have had for years and we can’t believe it’s just now coming to our phones. And Samsung’s Live Translate and Interpreter seem like hugely useful tools for people traveling the world.
We also want to see Samsung’s ProVisual Engine and photo and video tuning in action, but early tests show it to be more than just a gimmick.
Exynos is back and that’s not bad
The narrative that Samsung’s Exynos is vastly inferior to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon has been going strong for years and it’s once again at the forefront today. That’s because Samsung will ship the Galaxy S24 and S24+ with an Exynos 2400 in markets that are not the US, South Korea, and China. And because certain people on X and YouTube have very strong anti-Exynos feelings, phone buyers are left feeling cheated and even defrauded by Samsung for selling them a clearly inferior product.
But looking at the facts things are clearly not that bad. The new Exynos 2400 has a nearly-identical CPU design as the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, is built on a similar 4nm process, and could have a superior GPU.
CPU-wise the Exynos 2400 has one Cortex-X4 at 3.21GHz, five Cortex-A720 (2x at 2.9GHz, 3x at 2.6GHz), and four 2GHz Cortex-A520 (two more than the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3). The Xclipse 940 GPU has a higher 1GHz clock speed compared to the 770MHz Adreno 750 inside the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3.
Ultimately it may fall down to the 4nm nodes and which one is more efficient. We’ll have to wait for direct battery comparisons between an Exynos 2400-powered Galaxy S24/S24+ and a Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 one to see if there really is any sort of a meaningful difference between the two.