As expected, Samsung introduced the new Galaxy S24 phone lineup during its Galaxy Unpacked event on January 17th. The Galaxy S24 and Galaxy S24 Plus start at $799.99 and $999.99, respectively, while the Galaxy S24 Ultra starts at $1,299.99. All of the phones are available starting on January 31st, 2024, though you can preorder them now.
We’ve yet to wrap up our testing, so we can’t comment on how well the phones perform in reality. However, in the limited time we’ve been able to try them out so far, it seems Samsung made mostly minor hardware updates. Along with brighter displays, the new lineup features larger S24 and S24 Plus models, while the S24 Ultra features what should be a more durable titanium frame.
It’s the new AI features that captured our attention more, however; each phone offers several AI-powered features focused on communication and online search, as well as video and photo editing. We were particularly impressed by the new video editing capabilities, which convincingly transformed a 60fps video we shot into a 120fps slow-motion video. We were also happy to hear Samsung now matches Google’s impressive support policy, promising customers at least seven major Android upgrades and security updates.
That’s just a very brief overview of the new phones, however. If you’re interested in picking one up for yourself and can’t wait for the hands-on reviews, you’ll probably want to know at least how the phones stack up against one another on paper. To make doing so easier, we’ve summarized the key differences between each, while highlighting some of the new changes.
In terms of design, the standard Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus models look similar to their S23 counterparts and retain the same aluminum frame. Like the S24 Ultra, they continue to offer IP68 water and dust resistance for greater durability. All of the phones are also again available in black, purple, and yellow, but gray now replaces the S23 lineup’s green colorway. The S24 and S24 Plus don’t come with the Ultra’s built-in S Pen stylus, but they do weigh less at 5.89 ounces (167 grams) and 12.25 ounces (196 grams), respectively.
The S24 Ultra is indeed the heaviest in the lineup, weighing 8.22 ounces (232 grams). That’s partly because of its new iPhone 15 Pro-like titanium frame, which adds some extra heft but also should improve durability. The S24 Ultra also gets rid of the curved edges found on its predecessor and replaces them with a flat screen that should make writing with the S Pen easier. It’s also protected with Corning Gorilla Armor, unlike the S24 and S24 Plus, which come with Corning Gorilla Glass Victus 2 cover glass. The Corning Gorilla Armor should reduce reflections by up to 75 percent, and Samsung claims it is the most scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass yet. We’ll let you know how well the phone lives up to those claims when we finish testing it.
Storage and RAM options
In terms of storage and RAM options, the S24 offers 256GB and 512GB storage options with 8GB of RAM. The Galaxy S24 Plus offers more RAM at 12GB (instead of 8GB like its predecessor) while retaining the same 256GB and 512GB storage options. Meanwhile, the S24 Ultra continues to offer 12GB of RAM along with the storage capacity options of 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB.
The entire Galaxy S24 lineup retains its OLED panels, but this time, they vary a little more in size compared to their predecessors. The standard Galaxy S24 offers a 6.2-inch screen while the S24 Plus goes up to 6.7 inches, which is a 0.1-inch increase over the S23 counterparts for both. The Galaxy S24 Ultra remains the largest at 6.8 inches.
Along with being bigger, the S24 series is also brighter, with peak brightness levels up to 2,600 nits. The Plus and the Ultra also sport high-resolution 1440p screens, which is an improvement for the S24 Plus. However, the S24 only offers a 1080p screen.
In terms of refresh rate, gamers will be happy to know each continues to offer a max 120Hz refresh rate. This allows for smooth scrolling and more immersive graphics. The S24 series also comes with larger vapor chamber cooling systems than their predecessors, with the S24 Ultra offering the largest — nearly double the size of the S23 Ultra’s. That means your phone shouldn’t overheat during long gaming sessions, and it should sustain peak performance longer.
The new S24 lineup comes with all sorts of native AI-powered tools, all of which run on Google’s Gemini foundational models. These AI capabilities will also roll out to the S23 lineup, Z Flip 5, and Z Fold 5 by mid-2024. New options include the Circle to Search feature, which allows you to perform Google searches on anything you circle without switching apps. In our limited time playing with the feature, we found it legitimately useful. It worked well, too; we weren’t able to trick it into confusing a fake plant for a real one, for example.
Samsung also debuted several new communication-related tools, like Live Translate, which translates texts you send and two-way phone calls in real time into 13 different languages. Transcript Assist lets you transcribe, summarize, and translate voice recordings, while “tone tweak” suggests texts so you can make your writing sound, say, more professional or casual. Other notable writing features include the Notes Assist feature, which automatically formats and summarizes your notes with bullet points. Meanwhile, Android Auto summarizes incoming messages and suggests replies via voice commands so you can focus on driving.
On the photo and editing front, Samsung’s introduced a new feature that lets you move, resize, or even totally remove subjects after taking a photo, like Google’s Magic Editor feature. If you accidentally take a crooked photo, you can also adjust the horizon levels and have AI fill in the edges so it looks better. In addition, you can now take HDR photos in third-party social apps and can even upload HDR photos in Instagram.
When it comes to editing videos, Samsung now lets you turn any video into a 120fps slow-motion video no matter the camera used or its original frame rate and mode. As mentioned before, we tested this in person and were impressed by how well it transformed the 60fps video we shot.
Software update policy and Android 14
Samsung is also promising seven generations of OS upgrades and seven years of security updates when you buy any one of its new Galaxy S24 phones. That matches the support period for Google’s Pixel 8 lineup. It’s also better than the S23’s, which comes with four generations of Android version updates and five years of security updates.
Like Google’s Pixel 8 series and the S23 lineup, the new S24 series runs on Android 14. That means you can take advantage of features like customizable lock screens. You can also sign in to third-party apps with your fingerprint and use your phone as a webcam.
When it comes to cameras, the S24 and S24 Plus share the same specs as their predecessors. Their triple-camera array includes a 50-megapixel main camera, a 12-megapixel ultrawide, and a 10-megapixel telephoto with 3x optical zoom, in addition to a 12-megapixel selfie camera.
The S24 Ultra offers the most capable system in the lineup with a 200-megapixel main camera and an upgraded 50MP 5x telephoto. Like the S24 and S24 Plus, it also comes with a 12-megapixel ultrawide and 10-megapixel 3x telephoto, along with a 12-megapixel camera on the front.
In the US, all three phones are powered by a new, specialized version of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for Samsung phones. The new Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset powers the on-device generative AI capabilities while improving performance. The chipset also allows for better ray tracing, so light reflections look more realistic in games.
If you’re not in the US, you can only buy the S24 and S24 Plus with an Exynos chipset. Samsung claims this shouldn’t affect the performance of the on-device AI capabilities. The S24 Ultra, however, comes with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 no matter where in the world you buy it.
Batteries and charging
We’ve yet to test how long each phone in the S24 series lasts in reality, so all we can go on right now is the battery size. According to the spec sheet, the S24 has the smallest battery capacity at 4,000mAh, while the S24 Ultra offers the largest at 5,000mAh. That’s the same battery capacity on the S23 Ultra, which comfortably lasted us a full day. This year, the S24 Plus offers a battery capacity that nearly matches the Ultra’s at 4,900mAh. It could be nearly as long-lasting as the Ultra, but we shall see.
You can also charge all of the phones wirelessly, though there’s a caveat: the phones support Qi wireless charging instead of the newer, MagSafe-like Qi2, which is faster. When it comes to wired charging, Samsung claims the S24 Ultra and the S24 Plus can achieve 65 percent charge in around 30 minutes using a 45W adapter. Meanwhile, the S24 can reach up to 50 percent charge in that same time frame using a 25W adapter.
By the numbers
That’s just a glimpse of how each phone in the new lineup stacks up to each other. There are other differences as well; you can, for instance, only get Wi-Fi 7 support when you buy the S24 Ultra. If you want to dive even deeper, you might want to take a look at all the relevant specs in the table below.