A new contender for 2024’s best smartphone has arrived. The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra pulls out all the stops with a a titanium build to rival the best Apple can muster, updated cameras with superior low light abilities, and some seriously clever on-device AI meant to take the faff out of photo editing and note taking.
The Galaxy S24 Ultra is slightly wider yet a little shorter than last year’s S23 Ultra, thanks largely to some of the skinniest screen bezels I’ve seen on a non-curved phone. The screen is set into a titanium frame with a satin matte finish, putting it on par with the iPhone 15 Pro Max for luxurious materials. Naturally there’s still a slot in the base to hold an S Pen Stylus.
Samsung’s latest flagship is the first with Corning Gorilla Armor, a new ultra-tough glass that’s four times as scratch-resistant as regular Gorilla Glass. It also lowers reflectivity by a whopping 75%. More importantly, the curved-edge glass seen on last year’s model has been ditched in favour of a flat panel. The underlying AMOLED has a 1-120Hz adaptive refresh rate and can hit a peak 2600 nits brightness for clear outdoor visibility.
On the photography front, the Galaxy S24 Ultra keeps the same 200MP main camera sensor, 3x optical zoom telephoto and 12MP ultrawide as the outgoing model. The major upgrade is to the secondary zoom: the 10MP, 10x lens is out in favour of a 50MP periscope good for 5x magnification. The sensor has 1.6x larger pixels and is good for significantly better low-light performance, thanks in part to an enhanced OIS gyro sensor. Computational cleverness should ensure 10x zoom shots are just as clean as last year, despite the lack of dedicated hardware.
The Galaxy S24 Ultra can handle 4K video recording at 120fps, with generative AI stepping in to double the number of frames when watching back through the gallery app. Artificial intelligence is also on hand for moving or removing objects within a photo, or generationally expanding a picture that’s cropped too tightly.
On-device AI is scattered throughout OneUI 6.1, Samsung’s take on Android 14. At launch the phone will be able to live translate 13 different languages directly within the default dialler app, and transcribe conversations in real time within the voice recorder app. The latter can be summarised and neatly formatted automatically, as can any notes or S Pen scribbles saved inside the stock Notes app. A long-press on the home button and then a quick circle around any onscreen object will also perform a smart web search, recognising the picture and providing relevant info via Google.
Power comes from a Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for Galaxy, giving the Galaxy S24 Ultra a leg up over rivals using off-the-shelf versions of Qualcomm’s CPU. It’s paired with 12GB of RAM and is cooled by a vapor chamber 1.9x larger than the one inside last year’s phone. That should guarantee speedy performance in apps and games, even when multitasking. A 5000mAh battery with 45W wired and 15W wireless charging promises all-day use between top-ups.
The Galaxy S24 Ultra is up for pre-order now, and goes on general sale on the 31st of January, in Titanium Gray, Titanium Black, Titanium Violet and Titanium Yellow colours. Samsung also has a few more colours available exclusively through its web store.
Prices start at £1249 for a 256GB handset, rising to £1349 for 512GB and £1549 for 1TB.