The Galaxy S24 Ultra is dead to me, mostly

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra with Battery Dying wallpaper
(Image credit: Nick Sutrich / Android Central)
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(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

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It's nice being able to pick and choose what phone I want to use on a daily basis. Usually, whenever I get a new phone, that becomes the "standard" for a while. That was the case with the OnePlus Open until the Galaxy S24 Ultra arrived, giving me a reason to go back to a "slab" phone.

Leading up to that point, I had already gotten a little bored of the Open, but not because of the phone itself. That's just the nature of the beast when it comes to someone who plays around with new phones and technology for a living. Boredom is probably the best way to describe it. So, honestly, the Galaxy S24 Ultra arrived at the perfect time.

Fast forward to now, and the Galaxy S24 Ultra lasted a little less than two months before I decided that enough was enough and that slab phones no longer interested me.

For a little bit of context, I have been using the OnePlus Open in tandem with my iPhone 15 Pro Max ever since it was announced. That's a little over three months, squeaking past the two-and-a-half months I spent with the Galaxy Z Fold 5.

The back of the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra in the Titanium Grey colorway

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

Over the past few years, I've learned that the majority of the time spent using foldable phones is from the cover screen. So why would I want to go back to a foldable phone when the Galaxy S24 Ultra's display is way better than that of the OnePlus Open or Z Fold 5? Well, it's a simple and obvious answer — it doubles as a pocketable tablet.

This has been the thing that keeps drawing me back to foldable phones, even as I've grown tired of Samsung refusing to upgrade anything but the processor on the Z Fold lineup. I can go from scrolling Reddit or logging the latest poopy diaper on the outer screen to trying to get some work done in just moments. 

Not to mention the multitasking capabilities of having multiple app windows open at the same time without feeling overly cramped. This is somewhat of a testament to OnePlus' unique Open Canvas feature, letting you use three apps in full-screen and switching between them. But, it's also still quite nice being able to just open more than just two apps and actually use them. 

OnePlus Open review

(Image credit: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)

While the OnePlus Open kind of saved me, it's not without flaws of its own. OxygenOS continues to be janky from time to time, such as the taskbar getting in the way of me tapping into the text field within Telegram. Not to mention that Android 14 for the Open just arrived here in the U.S. after only being available in India for some time. Meanwhile, the Galaxy S24 Ultra launched with Android 14 out of the box, and the Galaxy Z Fold 5 received its update in November of last year.

There's still too much jankiness in OxygenOS on the OnePlus Open.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that outside of the foldable form factor, the Galaxy S24 Ultra is a better phone in pretty much every way. The cameras alone are enough of a reason why this is the case, not to mention the new and improved display that looks so darn impressive.

I don't even have a ton of complaints when it comes to One UI, although a few things are missing that I still don't understand. One such example is that there's no Conversation Widget available on the Galaxy S24 Ultra, despite being made available when Google released Android 12. Surprisingly, it's there on the OnePlus Open, and I've been grateful for that.

But it doesn't fold.

After coming home from the hospital with a newborn in tow, I quickly realized how cumbersome and awkward it was to play finger gymnastics with only one free hand. Yes, I have a MagSafe case with a PopSocket on the S24 Ultra, but that doesn't quite solve the problem in most instances. So, I decided to give the OnePlus Open another shake, and while it's almost the same size, the differences are such that it's simply more comfortable to use.

While the Open is definitely a hefty device to use while closed, it's a half-inch smaller than the Galaxy S24 Ultra. That makes one-handed use much easier, as I don't have to try and strain my fingers trying to reach one of the corners. Which is quite important when the little one wants to take a nap on your chest. Most of the time, I just have to give up doing what I was trying to do on the S24 Ultra until I can use my other hand.

Using Google Circle to Search on a Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

I've even been thinking about giving the Galaxy Z Fold 5 another go, as the narrow cover screen, which I like to complain about, is practically perfect. At this point, I might just go back to the Fold 5 to see whether much has changed. I know it really hasn't, but in my head, there's a chance that I might fall back in love with the Fold 5.

I'm also in this weird space of wanting to pay super-close attention to the Galaxy Z Fold 6 rumor mill. This might finally be the year that Samsung revamps the hardware, giving us proper cameras and an inner display crease that doesn't do its best Grand Canyon impersonation. At this point, I couldn't even tell you what the rumors are suggesting. It's been a practice of tempering my expectations, which is quite a difficult task for me.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 next to OnePlus Open

(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

There's really nothing wrong with the Galaxy S24 Ultra. It's the best Android phone that money can buy, at least if you're in North America and don't want a foldable. Even with the camera "side-grades" and the exorbitant price tag, you'd have a tough time finding a more complete package.

While we might not have as many options as those living abroad, I'm still thankful that there are at least some options to choose from. And before we know it, the Galaxy Z Fold 6 will be here, potentially complicating my decision. For now, I'll be sticking with the OnePlus Open and maybe giving the Z Fold 5 another chance.

Andrew Myrick
Senior Editor - Chromebooks and tablets

Andrew Myrick is a Senior Editor at Android Central. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is collecting different headphones, even if they all end up in the same drawer.

  • zdanee
    Must be nice to have all the $1000+ phones handed to you every few months, but those are expensive even with an US salary, and at most parts of the world they cost several months of your salary, so if someone buys one they want to use it for at least 3-4 years and then sell it. Foldables do not live that long and they lose most of their resale value after one year. Tech-reviewers are inherently biased by their position which ironically makes their opinion not very representative for most people. Think of each device you review as if it was gonna be your only phone for the next 4 years and you had to save up for months to get it. Otherwise this opinion piece can be read as rich boy bragging with his toys. I shudder to think what car-reviewers must be like. Oh wait, I know, Jeremy Clarckson!
  • Village_Idiot
    It's click-bate and nothing more.