A step-up with AI
The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra is a step-up from the Galaxy S23 Ultra in many ways. It has a faster, more efficient processor, a sleeker, more durable design, and tons of AI features. If you think you’ll leverage all the benefits AI has to offer for everything from communications to translations and photo and video editing and capture, the Galaxy S24 Ultra might be worth the upgrade, or buying instead of the cheaper S23 Ultra.
- Includes tons of AI features
- Faster, newer processor
- Durable titanium finish and better glass material
- S Pen comes included
- Very expensive
- Camera resolution isn't a huge step up
- No expandable storage
Still worth considering
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra might not have all the bells and whistles of the Galaxy S24 Ultra when it comes to the integration of AI. But it’s still a powerful, feature-rich, premium device worth considering. With seven years of OS updates, it will be relevant for many years to come. You can grab one for less now that it’s a previous-gen device. Whether or not to upgrade will depend on what new features you think you’ll use.
- S Pen comes included
- Incredible cameras
- No expandable storage
- Limited photo editing features
Choosing between the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs. S23 Ultra is a tough decision, as is deciding if it’s worth upgrading to the AI-centric new phone. We’re here to help with this comprehensive comparison that drills down to all the features and functions. Have a read to decide which phone is better for you, whether you’re buying new or considering an upgrade.
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs. S23 Ultra: The look and feel
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There’s a big upgrade in terms of the look and feel of the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra compared to the Galaxy S23 Ultra. The former is the first Galaxy device to employ a titanium frame, which is nicer looking and more durable. It also features Corning Gorilla Armor for the screen, which is more durable and four times more scratch-resistant than the screen on the S23 Ultra, as well as more glare-resistant.
By comparison, The Galaxy S23 Ultra, which is made from aluminum, has a screen made of Corning Gorilla Glass Victus 2. If you tend to use the phone outdoors and in the field a lot, where it gets knocked around, this could be a deciding factor that convinces you to go with the Galaxy S24 Ultra.
The titanium finishes include Gray, Black, Violet, and Yellow, as well as colors you can get exclusively from Samsung, including Green, Blue, and a bright and bold Orange. The Galaxy S23 Ultra comes in different but similar color choices: Green, Phantom Black, Lavender, and Cream, as well as Samsung-exclusive colors Graphite, Sky Blue, Red, and Lime.
Size-wise, the phones are almost identical, though the Galaxy S24 Ultra is a hair wider but also a teensy bit slimmer and a kilogram lighter. None of these will be noticeable: effectively, the phones are the same size. The Galaxy S24 Ultra is flatter in design, though, which Samsung says contributes to a better view and productivity. They both also ship with an S-Pen.
With a 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X QHD+ display, the same as the Galaxy S23 Ultra, the Galaxy S24 Ultra screen also sports the same resolution. Both also feature Vision Booster technology for improving the view outdoors and in bright light. In his review of the Galaxy S23 Ultra, Android Central’s Nicholas Sutrich regales the benefits of Vision Booster, noting that it provides the “best clarity any mobile phone will deliver.” Both also offer a 120Hz refresh rate for a smooth experience.
The Galaxy S23 Ultra supports lower peak brightness at 1,750 nits versus 2,600 nits with the Galaxy S24 Ultra: if the S23 Ultra was bright and bold, the S24 Ultra really kicks this up a few notches.
Both phones come with the same storage options of 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB, but neither is expandable via a microSD memory card. This is a growing trend with premium devices, which makes opting for the highest storage option you think you’ll need crucial. There’s also, of course, cloud storage as a backup as needed.
The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra comes with the latest Android 14 out of the box alongside Samsung One UI 6.1. This allows you to enjoy the familiar Android experience alongside leveraging Samsung-specific features to customize features, functions, and the look of the phone. The Galaxy S23 Ultra comes with Android 13 out of the box along with Samsung One UI 5.1, but you can upgrade.
The Galaxy S24 Ultra supports up to 7 years of software and security updates, and the Galaxy S23 Ultra only supports up to four major Android OS updates and five years of security updates. That’s still pretty great, but considering the Galaxy S23 Ultra is already a year old, it’s something to consider.
Both phones sport a 5,000 mAh battery and support fast charging and Wireless PowerShare for recharging other compatible Galaxy devices. They’re both IP68 water-resistant and feature 5G, LTE, Wi-Fi Direct, and Bluetooth 5.3, and come with stereo speakers. Neither has a headphone jack.
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs. S23 Ultra: Spec comparison
Let’s see how these two phones compare based on specs alone.
|Header Cell - Column 0
|Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
|Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
|Android 14 (One UI 6.1)
|Android 13 (One UI 5.1)
|Titanium Gray, Titanium Black, Titanium Violet, Titanium Yellow (Samsung-exclusive Titanium Green, Titanium Blue, Titanium Orange)
|Phantom Black, Green, Cream, Lavender, Graphite, Sky Blue, Lime, Red
|3,088 x 1,440
|3,088 x 1,440
|Dynamic AMOLED 2x QHD+
|Dynamic AMOLED 2x QHD+
|Snapdragon 8 Gen 3
|Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
|256GB, 512GB, 1TB (not expandable)
|256GB, 512GB, 1TB (not expandable)
|200MP wide, 12MP ultra-wide, 50MP telephoto, 10MP telephoto, 12MP front
|200MP main, 12MP ultra-wide, 10MP periscope telephoto, 10MP telephoto, 12MP front
|Stereo Speakers, Spatial Audio
|Stereo Speakers, Spatial Audio
|6.4 x 3.11 x 0.34 inches
|6.43 x 3.07 x .035 inches
There are some specs that are identical for these two phones, but it’s in the feature set where the differences really lie.
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs. S23 Ultra: Power, performance, and AI
Beyond the specs and the look and feel, how do these two phones compare when it comes to processing power and productivity?
The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra is powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor and has 12GB RAM. AI is at the heart of the experience with advanced features like Live Translate, which works within a native app, an interpreter feature that works without an active connection with a split screen view, and AI Chat Assist for assistance when composing and even translating messages. This extends to the vehicle experience, too, through integration with Android Auto, which can summarize incoming messages and offer suggestions for how to reply.
In Samsung Notes, you can use Note Assist to receive AI-generated summaries, templates, and cover creations. With voice recordings, they can be intelligently transcribed, summarized, and translated using the Transcript Assist feature with AI and speech-to-text.
One of the coolest new features of the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra is called Circle to Search. Call up just about anything on your phone, from a video to a website or an image, and use various gestures to call up Google search results about it. Gestures include circle, highlight, scribble, and tap. Depending on the type of content, you may also be able to see AI-powered overviews and interact further by asking additional questions.
The Circle to Search feature, it should be noted, will be made available for some other premium Android phones as well, like the Google Pixel 8 Pro. In his early hands-on with the Galaxy S24 Ultra, Android Central’s Nicholas Sutrich calls Circle to Search his “new favorite feature.”
For gamers, there’s a larger vapor chamber that ensures an effective thermal control system, no matter what games you’re playing. Combined with the upgraded processor, RAM, and refresh rate, this phone will be a gamer’s delight.
When it comes to security, the Galaxy S24 Ultra has all the usual features you’d expect from Samsung through Samsung Knox. There are also Advanced Intelligence settings you can use to disable the AI features if you so choose. If you’re going to do this, however, there’s little reason to upgrade to the S24 Ultra from the S23 Ultra. AI is really what makes this phone stand out from others.
Comparatively, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is powered by the step-down but still solid Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, and you have the choice of either 8GB RAM or 12GB RAM, the former of which is only available with the 256GB version. You’ll want to opt for the 12GB RAM version, however, to get the best out of this phone. Sutrich reviewed the Galaxy S23 Ultra and found that performance and generous battery life make it an ideal option for multitaskers, gamers, and other intensive applications.
Like the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra, the Galaxy S23 Ultra comes with an S Pen and works with Samsung DeX to sync it with a PC. They both also include the Samsung Bixby voice assistant, Samsung Pay, and more.
Bottom line: the real upgrade when it comes to processing and power with the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra is in the improved processor, along with all the AI goodies packed inside.
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs. S23 Ultra: Photo capture and editing
Samsung is one of many phone brands focusing on helping you take better photos and videos with your devices, as well as offering creative tools for post-capture editing. There are some marked differences between these two devices in this respect.
The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra has a 200MP wide camera, a 50MP telephoto camera, a 10MP telephoto camera, a 12MP ultra-wide camera, and a 12MP front camera. But what really sets it apart is the AI features these cameras can leverage. Much of this is powered by the ProVisual Engine and Quad Tele System with a 5x optical zoom lens that works with the 50MP sensor to offer up to 10x magnification and 100x enhanced digital zoom.
Using the new Space Zoom feature and the larger pixel size, you can improve Nightography photos and videos. These features help you capture more light in dim conditions and reduce blue through a wider optical image stabilizer (OIS). Sutrich says this is a game-changing upgrade for the Galaxy S24 Ultra, which helps bring it closer in line with Pixel phones that are wonderful at reducing motion blur.
There are improvements with videos specifically via the Dedicated ISP Block, which analyzes gyro information to distinguish between your movement and the subject. This helps reduce noise and results in clearer videos, regardless of how far away you might be. Another feature with videos is called Instant Slo-mo, which can add frames based on movements so you can really hone in on areas of the video where you want more detailed footage.
Before you take a photo, use Super HDR to see a lifelike preview. After taking the photo, use the many Galaxy AI editing tools to tweak them to your liking. This includes erasing elements, re-composing, and even remastering them. AI comes into play with features like Edit Suggestion, which suggests ways you can alter the photo. There’s also Generative Edit that can fill parts of a background using generative AI. If you have crooked photos, AI can even fill in parts of the borders or move a person’s position and then blend the background. Sutrich says these features work much the same way as ones found in the Google Pixel 8 Pro, like Magic Editor.
Don’t worry about ethical concerns: Samsung says any photos manipulated using the built-in AI tools will contain a watermark as well as details in the metadata. These photos can be seamlessly shared in third-party social apps like Instagram.
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra cameras are equally as impressive, though you won’t get as much AI for post-capture editing. This phone does has a 200MP main wide-angle camera, a 12MP ultra-wide camera, a 10MP periscope telephoto camera with 10x optical zoom, a 10MP telephoto with 3x optical zoom, and a 12MP front “selfie” camera.
There are advantages like the expert RAW mode, multi-exposure mode for taking nine frames to layer together for a cool effect, Nightography, astrophotography, and scene optimizer. With that said, Sutrich found in his review that the cameras took inconsistent photos. He would get amazing photos at times, then subpar ones at others. He doesn’t like the raised camera lenses either, which tend to attract a lot of dust. He does, however, love the front-facing camera, portrait mode, and macro photography.
You’ll get great cameras with both phones, but the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra really shines when it comes to the use of AI tools to help improve photo and video capture, both while taking the shot or video as well as when editing it after the fact.
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs. S23 Ultra: Which should you buy?
Now, it’s decision time. Between the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs. Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, which should you choose? I would always recommend buying the newest phone available if you’re upgrading from an older model or buying your first device, especially if you’re looking for something in the premium phone space. While it’s more expensive, you can often get a good deal with a trade-in or a carrier plan. And you get the best and newest features.
But what if you recently upgraded to the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra? You’re probably wondering if you need to upgrade again to the Galaxy S24 Ultra. I’d say hang on to the Galaxy S23 Ultra for now. It’s a powerful phone with tons of robust features. It’s still relatively new, and with years of software and security updates, chances are there will be new features coming soon to improve the experience.
Yes, you’re missing out on all the AI fun if you don’t upgrade to the Galaxy S24 Ultra. But realistically, we’re still in the early days of AI. These features are still somewhat experimental. They are cool, fun to use, and will help you take better photos. But if you’re happy with what you have, they aren’t a reason to upgrade. Now, if your carrier offers a killer trade-in deal, however, that won’t cost you a ton out of pocket, go for it! You’ll find tons of pre-order deals for the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra right now through top retailers and carriers.
Beyond the AI integration, these two phones are similar. The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra is much sleeker looking thanks to the titanium finish, and it is more rugged. If you have slippery fingers or work outdoors, this might be a reason alone to upgrade. But chances are you have the phone in a protective case anyway (if you don’t, make sure to get one, stat!).
If you are hellbent on using the AI features and don’t have the budget for the S24 Ultra, you can also consider the step-down Samsung Galaxy S24 or S24 Plus devices as well.
Your AI assistant
Whether it’s help composing e-mails, translating conversations, or editing photos, the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra is your powerful AI assistant. The real value with this device over the previous generation phone is the integration of AI across the board. It also has a nicer and more durable titanium finish along with a better processor. For these reasons, it’s worth getting instead if you want the best of the best and the latest and greatest.
Keep it for now
Don’t rush to upgrade to the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra just yet. The upgrades aren’t astronomical unless you’re all-in with AI. If you’re buying new, save up for this one. If you have the Galaxy S23 Ultra, hang onto it. With some features like Circle to Search, offered through Google’s Gemini AI (which powers the AI features in the Galaxy S24 Ultra), coming to other premium phones, you might eventually be able to use them on the Galaxy S23 Ultra, too.
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Christine Persaud has been writing about tech since long before the smartphone was even a "thing." When she isn't writing, she's working on her latest fitness program, binging a new TV series, tinkering with tech gadgets she's reviewing, or spending time with family and friends. A self-professed TV nerd, lover of red wine, and passionate home cook, she's immersed in tech in every facet of her life. Follow her at @christineTechCA.
Well, so far the AOD on the S24 Ultra sucks compared to the S23 Ultra. I can't understand for the life of me why they changed the icons and text size. It's a lot smaller now and you can't change the size. You also can't change the brightness. They even melded lock screen and AOD together....again, why? Why can't you customize AOD? Anyone else have issues?Reply
Yeah, what they did to the AOD is quite confusing, I think we'll see a lot of complaints when the Americans start getting their phones. I haven't checked if we can still mess with the AOD in goodlock yet.phillthedrill said:Well, so far the AOD on the S24 Ultra sucks compared to the S23 Ultra. I can't understand for the life of me why they changed the icons and text size. It's a lot smaller now and you can't change the size. You also can't change the brightness. They even melded lock screen and AOD together....again, why? Why can't you customize AOD? Anyone else have issues?
Not to mention, using Goodlock to scale back the icons to make them smaller on the home screen folders, all different sizes. It fills up 1 folder, then you swipe to the left and the icons are bigger. I feel like I'm running a beta version of UI 6.1 or something.fuzzylumpkin said:Yeah, what they did to the AOD is quite confusing, I think we'll see a lot of complaints when the Americans start getting their phones. I haven't checked if we can still mess with the AOD in goodlock yet.
I've actually seen an issue I've only ever seen before in betas, light coloured popup boxes ocasionally even though I'm in dark theme.phillthedrill said:Not to mention, using Goodlock to scale back the icons to make them smaller on the home screen folders, all different sizes. It fills up 1 folder, then you swipe to the left and the icons are bigger. I feel like I'm running a beta version of UI 6.1 or something.