Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
The titanium pulls everything together. And it turns out that Galaxy AI’s tricks are a treat, after all.
The massive Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra so far doesn’t disappoint; however, we still need to dive deeper into its AI features as well as its updated camera.
Pre-orders Starting at $1,299.99
Galaxy AI doesn’t feel like a total gimmick
It takes time to review a smartphone, especially one as beefed up and feature-filled as the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra purports to be. Instead of keeping you waiting for weeks as I test out the hardware and explore its offerings, I’m taking a gradual approach. Journey with me as I learn all about Samsung’s new Galaxy S24 Ultra.
I’m only two days into the Galaxy S24 Ultra. I’m already so much more impressed with the design than I was with the previous two generations. It’s the titanium frame that Samsung adopted this time around. It pulls together the whole look of the phone, making the S24 Ultra feel like the ultimate model you can get. It also helps that the Galaxy AI features they packed into this device don’t feel like
Galaxy S24 Ultra Features
It’s titanium, baby!
I’m digging the titanium aesthetic that’s taking over premium smartphones. Apple started the trend with the iPhone 15 Pro/Pro Max, and now Samsung is carrying the torch for the Android-wielders of the world. As a result, the Galaxy S24 Ultra is in a class of its own. It even has unique colorways, including Titanium Gray, which Samsung offered Gizmodo for review. The only parts of the frame that aren’t titanium include the volume rocker and power button.
There isn’t much difference in heft or weight distribution from last year’s Galaxy S23 Ultra. Still, compared to the iPhone 15 Pro Max and the Google Pixel 8 Pro, it’s about an ounce more dense. The Ultra is a massive phone—the ultimate in everything Samsung offers. I am calling in a couple of cases to see if adding a case to the mix makes it cumbersome as an everyday carry.
At the very least, the S24 Ultra feels easier to cradle because of its angular edges. I’m happy to see that Samsung has finally ditched the curves. I didn’t care for them on the Edge variants from the 2010s. Those same curves made the Galaxy S22 Ultra feel like an unfinished device.
Samsung continues to offer IP68-rated water and dust resistance for its flagship devices. Yes, I do take the smartphone into the shower. Isn’t it nice that I don’t have to bathe with my intrusive thoughts?
Samsung made two minor improvements to the Galaxy S24 Ultra’s screen this year. Like last year’s S23 Ultra, it’s a 6.8-inch Quad HD+ Dynamic AMOLED display with a refresh rate of up to 120Hz. But the screen is now matte-like compared to the shiny exterior of the past two generations of Ultras—no more mirror effect for checking your lipstick.
The S24 Ultra’s display also has a peak brightness of 2600 nits, up from last year’s 1750 nits, surpassing the iPhone 15 Pro and the Pixel 8 Pro’s peak brightness offerings. For some reason, all these smartphone manufacturers began competing for the screen with the most clarity in direct sunlight. No one has commented yet on whether this is an immediate move to respond to the onset of global warming, but I’m assuming that this is why these phones are getting so bright until I confirm otherwise.
I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum regarding smartphone displays. I want to know how low it goes because I have headaches and other ailments brought on by too-bright screens. Samsung has been the leader in this, particularly with its AMOLED displays. Once I get my display calibrator hooked up and running, I hope to have numbers on exactly how low the Galaxy S24 Ultra’s vivid display can go.
Galaxy S24 Ultra Specs
Every new flagship includes enhanced specifications across the board. This year, the Galaxy S24 Ultra has been updated to the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip, which will power most of the year’s top-tier Android phones.
You can only buy the Ultra with 12 GB of RAM, which is how much memory every high-performance smartphone should have—especially those pushing AI capabilities like Samsung with Galaxy AI. Samsung also boasts improved ray tracing with this year’s release.
Galaxy S24 Ultra Camera
Further and sharper
The camera system on this year’s switched-up sensors from the last two releases. The S24 Ultra starts with a 200-MP primary camera with a maximum aperture of f/1.7, which helps easily take those late-night shots. A higher resolution sensor in the S24 Ultra replaces the 10-MP telephoto camera in the S23 Ultra. It’s now a 50-MP sensor with up to 5x optical telephoto zoom, versus the lower resolution 10x optical capabilities offered before. The idea is that shots from far away will be sharper this time around. We’ll see.
I’m still working out the samples for the camera comparison. Here are the devices I plan to test against the Galaxy S24 Ultra:
Galaxy S24 Ultra Galaxy AI
What’s with all the AI tricks?
If I learned anything at CES, it was that AI has been weaponized for mass marketing. I was half expecting that to happen with Samsung’s Galaxy AI. But while it’s mostly Google’s large language models running underneath the polished One UI veneer of features like Circle to Search, Galaxy AI proves it will be a worthy tool to have on hand. The only bummer is that you’ll have to pay for some of the features after 2025.
The Instant Slow-mo capability is already one of my favorites. It’s because no one uses slow-motion mode to shoot video, especially when I’m recording my kid on the swings. You can’t predict when the moment will happen. On the Galaxy S24 series, you can add the slow-motion effect after the fact and share that snippet with social media. It’s so much better than recording everything in slow-motion video mode.
Like Google’s Pixel devices, Samsung also offers a variety of photo editing tricks. One of them is called Generative Edit, and it works to help fill in space if you ask it to move or delete a selected area. So far, I am getting the same results I would with Google Photos and its Magic Editor. It works most of the time. The photo samples above clearly show where the AI removed the smartphone from the bed behind me. But there were other instances, in much brighter lighting, where the Generative Edit excelled at the deed.
Galaxy S24 Ultra Thoughts So Far
So much more to come
There is so much more to say about the Galaxy S24 Ultra. We’ve yet to test its 5,000mAh battery capacity and its charging speeds. And there are still a handful of translation features to check out. So far, the Galaxy S24 Ultra is proving to be a capable package, which is to be expected from Samsung’s ultimate smartphone. The device will officially be on sale starting Jan. 31. Check back here soon for the full review.