Samsung's Galaxy S24 is coming for Google and Apple's crown with killer AI features

An official Samsung Galaxy S24, S24 Plus, S24 Ultra promo image
(Image credit: Samsung)

What you need to know

  • Samsung launched its new Galaxy S24 smartphone lineup, which will go head-to-head with Google's Pixel 8 lineup and Apple’s iPhone 15 series.
  • The Galaxy S23 Ultra features a 200MP main sensor, but the most noticeable change is the new 50MP periscope telephoto camera sporting 5x optical zoom.
  • All three models look exactly like their predecessors, ditching the contour camera bump for a sleek, minimalist look, taking a page from the Ultra's style.

Samsung officially unveiled the Galaxy S24 series at today's 2024 Unpacked event, aiming to snatch the crown from Google and Apple by bringing in AI and offering extended software support.

As usual, the latest Galaxy flagship lineup includes three new models: the standard S24, a bit fancier S24 Plus, and the top-dog S24 Ultra. The price tags are holding steady: the Galaxy S24 starts at $799 and the S24 Plus at $999.

Meanwhile, the S24 Ultra is a bit more expensive than its predecessor, coming in at $1,299 (compared to the S23 Ultra's $1,199). All models are available for preorder today and will ship on January 31.

Under the hood, the new handsets pack in all the expected tweaks. The Galaxy S24 series draws its power from Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 Mobile Platform for Galaxy. Designed and fine-tuned exclusively for Samsung, this powerhouse is here to amp up your AI experiences.

Doubling down on AI

Like Google's Pixel 8 series, Samsung's latest flagship lineup is going all in on AI, backed by new AI capabilities on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor. Expect features like "Live Translate," which translates voice and text of phone calls in real time within the native app.

There's also an "Interpreter" feature that translates live conversations instantly on a split-screen. You can read a text transcription of what the other person is saying, and it works even without cellular data or Wi-Fi.

AI is all over the place in the Galaxy S24 with Samsung's Galaxy AI. For instance, Chat Assist fine-tunes your messages for the right tone, and the Samsung Keyboard AI translates messages in real-time in 13 languages. Plus, when you're on the road with Android Auto, it summarizes incoming messages and suggests voice-controlled replies and actions, like sharing your ETA.

The Galaxy S24 also boasts AI-powered editing tools to help you do simple tweaks like erase, re-compose, and remaster. And if you're feeling lazy, "Edit Suggestion" uses Galaxy AI to recommend edits for each photo, while "Generative Edit" can magically fill in backgrounds or adjust subject positions, making your pictures look spot-on.

An official Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra promo image

(Image credit: Samsung)

Iterative upgrade

Speaking of photos, the standard and Plus models are still rocking the floating camera design that made the Ultra stand out. Samsung didn't go for a major camera overhaul this time; instead, it opted for subtle upgrades.

Specifically, the S24 Ultra features a 200MP main camera, merging 16 pixels into a bigger one for killer low-light shots. The top-tier model also ditches last year's 10MP periscope lens (10x optical zoom) for a 50MP telephoto shooter with 5x optical zoom. Other lenses stay the same.

On the other hand, there’s no spec change to the rear cameras of the regular and Plus models. The selfie camera is also the same across all three models: a 12MP sensor.

The S24 Ultra houses a massive 5,000mAh battery, like its predecessor. Meanwhile, the S24 Plus and S24 come with 4,900mAh and 4,000mAh batteries, respectively, a smidge bigger than the previous models.

The screen size is a little bigger than last year, too. The S24 Plus sports a 6.7-inch display, while the S24 isn't far behind with a 6.2-inch screen. Both are still slinging that 1080p OLED goodness with a 120Hz refresh rate. As for the S24 Ultra, it retains the 6.8-inch screen from last year.

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CategorySamsung Galaxy S24Samsung Galaxy S24 PlusSamsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
Display6.2-inch FHD+, Dynamic AMOLED 2x, 120Hz6.7-inch QHD+, Dynamic AMOLED 2x, 120Hz6.8-inch QHD+, Dynamic AMOLED 2x, 120Hz
Operating SystemOne UI 6.1 (Android 14)One UI 6.1 (Android 14)One UI 6.1 (Android 14)
Dimensions & Weight5.79 x 2.78 x 0.30 in, 5.93oz6.24 x 3.00 x 0.30 in, 6.95oz6.40 x 3.11 x 0.34 in, 8.22oz
ProcessorSnapdragon 8 Gen 3 for GalaxySnapdragon 8 Gen 3 for GalaxySnapdragon 8 Gen 3 for Galaxy
Camera 150MP (wide), OIS, f/1.850MP (wide), OIS, f/1.8200MP (wide), OIS, f/1.7
Camera 212MP (ultrawide), f/2.2, FOV 120˚12MP (ultrawide), f/2.2, FOV 120˚12MP, ultra-wide, f/2.2
Camera 310MP telephoto, 3x Optical Zoom, f/2.410MP telephoto, 3x Optical Zoom, f/2.450MP telephoto (periscope), OIS, f/3.4, 5x Optical Zoom
Camera 4Row 7 - Cell 1 Row 7 - Cell 2 10MP telephoto, OIS, f/2.4, 3x Optical Zoom
Front Camera12MP, f/2.212MP, f/2.212MP, f/2.2
Memory & Storage8 + 256GB; 8 + 128GB12 + 512GB; 12 + 256GB12GB + 1TB; 12 + 512GB; 12 + 256GB
Battery4,000 mAh4,900 mAh5,000mAh
Charging25W wired, Fast Wireless Charging 2.0, Wireless PowerShare45W wired, Fast Wireless Charging 2.0, Wireless PowerShare45W wired, Fast Wireless Charging 2.0, Wireless PowerShare
Network and Connectivity5G, LTE, Wi-Fi 6E, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth 5.35G, LTE, Wi-Fi 6E, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth 5.35G, LTE, Wi-Fi 7, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth 5.3
Water ResistanceIP68IP68IP68

The three phones run Samsung's new OneUI 6.1 skin based on Android 14. Following in the footsteps of Google, the company will also offer seven generations of OS upgrades and seven years of security updates, up from the previous five years of support.

When it comes to design features, the Galaxy S23 and S24 lines do not have much of a noticeable difference. The display edges are less curvy, giving users a bit more real estate to tap and swipe.

Sure, the S24 series is a minor update over last year’s models, but that seems to be the trend with Apple and Google's latest handsets too. However, according to IDC's latest report, Apple has swooped in and snatched the title of the world's biggest smartphone maker from the Korean tech giant.

It might be time for Samsung to reconsider its playbook for future releases if it's aiming for a comeback to the top spot. The status quo just isn't cutting it anymore for Samsung in this smartphone showdown.

Jay Bonggolto
News Writer & Reviewer

Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.