June 19, 2024
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra

AI appears to be acting like the elusive beast that everyone has been talking about but very few people have seen thus far. Samsung has assumed the responsibility of taming this beast, so to speak, and the result of that endeavor is the Galaxy S24 Ultra and its other S24 series siblings, which are billed as the first AI-first phones. As always, Samsung has dubbed its suite of AI capabilities Galaxy AI and stated that 100 million devices will have access to it this year. But for the time being, the Galaxy S24 series—and its torchbearer, the Galaxy S24 Ultra—are the main attractions.

Verdict

The AI capabilities of the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra are the main attraction, and some of them are also very practical. If you take things out, all you have left is a high-end flagship smartphone that performs well in practically every area, including cameras, battery life, and performance, while appearing to be a slight improvement. It’s a powerful tool suitable for professionals, creative people, and power users in general because of the S Pen and additional productivity capabilities. as long as they can understand the cost.

AI features

Galaxy AI is a catch-all term that covers a wide range of AI elements used in different jobs and purposes.

By long pressing the home button or menu bar and then circling the item onscreen, you may use the Circle to Search function to start a visual search for whatever you see on the phone’s screen. It is similar to Google Lens, but faster, easier to use, and on steroids.

When activated, the Galaxy AI on the S24 Ultra provides live language translation during phone calls, delivering an AI voice prompt in the selected language to the person on the other end of the line. If the other person is in front of you, you have access to similar capability, since the interpreter function provides both parties with real-time speech translation for anything said.

Another function that has benefited from Galaxy AI is photo editing. It’s important to note that the Google Pixel 8 Pro also has some of these functions, but Samsung has done a fantastic job implementing them. Eliminating undesired elements from images, scaling or rearranging them for a dramatic or artistic impact, and creating new backdrops to fill in the blanks are all possible. Once more, it’s not flawless and occasionally yields somewhat dubious results, but it gets the job done and occasionally dazzles you with its capabilities. AI also makes it possible to convert standard videos to slow motion, which is a very helpful function.

Design and display

Regarding the design of the Galaxy S24 Ultra, Samsung has essentially adhered to the same style as its predecessor, the Galaxy S23 Ultra (review), without actually breaking any new ground. The S24 Ultra does, however, come with a flat-screen, which is a pleasant addition, and a new titanium frame, making it stronger and lighter. eases the grip of the phone, minimizes false touches, facilitates the usage of the S Pen, and, if you’re like me and want more screen protection, makes applying screen covers simpler. The S24 Ultra and its predecessor are similar in other respects, and you might not be able to distinguish them from a distance.

The 6.8-inch Dynamic LTPO AMOLED display up front is stunning, with a refresh rate of 120 Hz and support for HDR10+. With a peak brightness of 2,600 nits, intense sunlight is no longer a barrier to screen eligibility. Additionally, a new anti-glare coating and a layer of Gorilla Armor—the most advanced and effective Corning technology available at the moment—avoid scratches. As is customary with Samsung AMOLED screens, there are high expectations, and the S24 Ultra’s screen meets those expectations admirably.

Camera

The Galaxy S24 Ultra’s camera setup is essentially the same as that of its predecessor, with a 200MP primary camera, a 10MP 3x telephoto, and a 12MP ultrawide lens. A 50MP 5x camera has taken the position of last year’s 10MP 10x telephoto, giving you better resolution at the expense of higher zoom levels. From what I can tell, there isn’t much of a difference in image quality, and 5x images do, on the whole, produce better results.

All things considered, the Galaxy S24 Ultra delivers excellent results in a range of diverse shooting scenarios, showcasing the characteristic Samsung vividness, sharpness, and clarity. When shooting long-range zoom images, the S24 Ultra performs superbly. Yes, photos taken at 100x can still have a water painting look, but overall, they still outperform similar photographs taken with competing phones that include a hyper zoom feature. It’s important to note that certain apps, like Instagram and Snapchat, support the native camera capabilities of the S24 Ultra, so you can use these features when posting to these social media platforms.

The AI-enabled ability to preview ordinary videos in slow motion is particularly noteworthy. When watching a movie on the Gallery app, one may long-press the screen to see it in slow motion. If the outcome is satisfactory, there is also an option to edit and save the video in slow motion, with generative AI completing the missing frames.

Software and S Pen

On the software front, Samsung has preloaded several apps from Google, Microsoft, and other companies, along with Android 14 with One UI 6.1. You may refer to it as bloatware. A few apps (like the browser and gallery) have redundancy as well, but you can remove some of the ones you don’t need. One of the main advantages only a Samsung flagship can offer, in my opinion, is Samsung’s vast ecosystem of apps and services. From Samsung Notes to Cloud, the features associated with the Samsung account (online backup and restore, find your phone, etc.), Secure Folder, Samsung Pass, Samsung Wallet, and a host of other features, they’re all very helpful to have.

And then there’s the S Pen, a tiny add-on that appears when you want it to and resides in its tiny compartment inside the phone. The S Pen, which was inherited from Samsung’s well-known Note series, is a special tool that, when used properly, increases productivity and creativity. This time, Samsung isn’t making much of a fuss about the S Pen, so its feature set is probably unchanged. Nevertheless, I’m convinced that the S Pen is a key feature that distinguishes the S24 Ultra from other high-end flagships.

Performance and battery

How can performance be a problem when Qualcomm’s most recent and finest Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 is at the wheel? Light and heavy chores are handled with the utmost ease by the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra. There are no jerks or lags during the user experience, which is incredibly smooth. It can play games fairly well, of course, but I doubt that anyone would buy the S24 Ultra just for its ability to play games. The smartphone performs well on the majority of benchmarks, and although the CPU Throttle test indicates slight throttling, this is not noticeable in normal use, and even under extreme use, the phone maintains its cool.

With a 5,000mAh battery, the gadget also performs well in terms of battery life, providing a good amount of life under medium to heavy use. That statement is qualified, as usual, by the fact that mileage may differ and that you may require a topic charge in the evening if you employ features that deplete the battery, such as hotspot, 4K video recording, intense gaming, etc. You’re essentially on your own when it comes to charging because Samsung doesn’t include a charger in the box and the maximum charging power is 45W. In just over two hours, I was able to fully charge the gadget.

Final verdict

Devoid of its artificial intelligence potential, the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra appears to be a minor improvement over its predecessor – a top device featuring a redesigned CPU and a flat screen. Furthermore, it’s not like AI functions are only available on the S24 Ultra. Depending on what you’re searching for, its brothers, the Galaxy S24+ and S24, offer the same features and can be more affordable. In addition, the Google Pixel 8 Pro (review) has a good number of AI functions and, in certain situations, performs better than the Galaxy S24 Ultra.

Other phones that are in the running in addition to the Pixel 8 Pro include the Vivo X100 Pro (review) and the OnePlus 12 (review). It still has to compete, of course, with the storied iPhone 15 Pro Max. Although it lacks a S Pen, the latter can match the performance and cameras of the S24 Ultra.

Then there’s the matter of whether the Galaxy S24 Ultra’s AI functions live up to the hype or not. They are, in my opinion. However, the Galaxy S24 Ultra is primarily a productivity gadget. Power users, professionals, and creative types will find this device appealing when they take into account features like the Secure Folder, the Galaxy ecosystem features, DeX connectivity, a huge screen, and most importantly, the S Pen. Therefore, the question is if the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra is currently the best phone money can purchase.

Since “best” is such a strong word, I’ll leave the decision-making to the knowledgeable members of the jury for our year-end honors. However, at the time of writing, is it the most feature-rich phone? Without a doubt.

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