Image Credit: Sam Rutherford
In the ever-evolving landscape of smartphones, the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra emerges as a flagship contender, boasting an array of advancements that aim to redefine the user experience. Priced at $1,300, this device not only elevates the benchmark set by its predecessor but also introduces a suite of artificial intelligence (AI) features, signaling a strategic move by Samsung to stay ahead in the Android arena.
Design and Display
The S24 Ultra embarks on a visual journey with a significant redesign, marked by the adoption of a titanium frame – a page borrowed from Apple’s playbook. While not groundbreaking in originality, this shift brings structural robustness without adding to the device’s weight. A subtle matte finish, coupled with Corning’s Gorilla Armor, replaces the earlier Gorilla Glass Victus 2, enhancing durability. Notably, the display borders have been reduced by 42%, a meticulous touch that enhances the overall visual appeal.
Samsung‘s prowess in display technology remains unrivaled, and the S24 Ultra upholds this legacy. The 6.8-inch OLED panel, featuring a variable 120Hz rate, dazzles users with increased brightness peaking at 2,600 nits (a significant boost from the previous 1,750 nits). The introduction of the Vision Booster further enhances perceived brightness by an additional 300 nits, ensuring an immersive visual experience across various content genres.
Beneath its sleek exterior, the S24 Ultra houses the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 System on a Chip (SoC) from Qualcomm, a powerhouse that redefines speed and responsiveness. Benchmark tests reveal multi-core scores surpassing the previous chip by an impressive 30 to 35%, catapulting the device into a new echelon of performance. The inclusion of a 92% larger vapor chamber ensures optimal thermal management, preventing overheating even under sustained loads.
Complementing the performance upgrades is an increase in RAM to 12GB across all configurations, a departure from the S23 Ultra’s 8GB base. Storage options remain consistent, offering 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB variants, catering to diverse user needs.
The S24 Ultra’s camera system, a critical element for modern smartphones, undergoes strategic enhancements. While three out of the four cameras retain their configurations from the predecessor – featuring a 200-MP main sensor, a 10-MP ultra-wide lens, and a 12-MP telephoto shooter with a 3x optical zoom – the highlight lies in the introduction of a 5x optical zoom with a higher-resolution 50-MP sensor.
This alteration aims not only to provide a more usable 5x optical zoom but also leverages the increased sensor resolution to deliver what Samsung terms a “10x optical quality zoom.” The result is surprisingly sharp images, evidenced in captures of iconic landmarks such as the World Trade Center and the Statue of Liberty. While the 10x images display a slight softness compared to the S23 Ultra, the difference is marginal.
The S24 Ultra introduces a paradigm shift in its software realm with the integration of Samsung’s Galaxy AI features, a comprehensive suite categorized into three primary domains: text and translation, photography and editing, and search functionalities.
An interpreter mode facilitates in-person conversations, while live translation during calls adds a dynamic layer to communication. Chat Assist, a notable addition, offers spelling and grammar checks along with tone adjustment, providing a polished touch to textual communication. While some features, such as social and emojify options, may be deemed gimmicky, the professional choices contribute to effective communication.
In the Notes app, the S24 Ultra showcases its AI prowess by summarizing, auto-formatting, spell-checking, and translating files – incremental improvements that enhance user convenience. The transcription feature in the Voice Recorder app stands out, simplifying tasks like extracting quotes from interviews.
Despite these advancements, some AI interactions, especially during live translation calls, may feel clunky, requiring moments of pause for the technology to catch up. However, these minor inconveniences do not overshadow the utility that AI brings to various aspects of user interaction.
The fusion of a new processor, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, and a capacious 5,000 mAh battery propels the S24 Ultra into a realm of unparalleled battery life. In a local video rundown test, the device remarkably sustains for 24 hours and 19 minutes, a notable four-hour improvement from its predecessor. Real-world usage mirrors these impressive figures, with the S24 Ultra often boasting over 50% battery life after 24 hours of typical usage.
This exceptional longevity positions the device as a frontrunner for users seeking a smartphone that can effortlessly last two days without the need for a recharge. The strategic combination of power efficiency and robust battery capacity sets a new standard in the competitive landscape.
The Bottom Line
As the industry grapples with the omnipresence of AI in various facets of technology, Samsung’s approach with the S24 Ultra serves as a testament to the brand’s commitment to infuse practical utility into its devices. Beyond the skepticism surrounding AI integration, the device’s tangible enhancements, from a fortified titanium frame to a faster chip and an extended battery life, reinforce its status as a formidable contender.
While the $1,300 price tag may raise eyebrows, the S24 Ultra delivers an amalgamation of aesthetics, performance, and AI features that cater to a discerning audience. Samsung has not only refined the hardware but also strategically embraced AI to augment the user experience. The S24 Ultra, in its entirety, stands as a technological masterpiece, representing a harmonious blend of innovation and user-centric design in the ever-evolving smartphone landscape.