Can Samsung Stay Android King in the AI Era? Galaxy S24 Ultra Review
Source: TechNode, Images Source: TechNode
If there’s one selling point that summarizes the flagship smartphone market in the past two years, it’s the advancement and competition of imaging systems. As we enter 2024, with the iteration of chips and technological progress, AI-related services and applications are beginning to explode, heralding a new era. The substantial improvement of the phone’s user experience through on-device AI has become a major focus for each new generation of flagship phones. Industry leader Samsung has chosen to launch the Galaxy S24 series to compete. I have had the opportunity to experience the Galaxy S24 Ultra for a while now, and I would like to discuss whether this phone is ready to maintain its position as the Android king in the AI era.
External Features – Timeless Yet Refreshed
Upon first using the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra, I noticed a more angular and flat feel. The S24 Ultra’s screen entirely eliminates the curved edges, with only a slight curvature where the front glass meets the frame. As a result, this 6.8-inch screen displays without any visual distortion caused by the curve, making it more user-friendly for screen protector users. The “chin” at the front of the phone has been further narrowed, offsetting the decrease in screen-to-body ratio caused by the removal of the curved edges. The impact of the S24 Ultra’s front display still stands unmatched within the Android ecosystem.
The frame of the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra has been upgraded from aluminum alloy to titanium alloy, and the edges have become more angular. A flat screen paired with a more angular body naturally implies a sacrifice in terms of ergonomics. However, in this generation, the weight has not increased further, and the thickness has been controlled. For me, single-handed use is still manageable, but I personally recommend using it with both hands, as the sharp corners of the S24 Ultra are not to be taken lightly.
At first glance, apart from the further shift to a “straight-edged” design, the external changes of the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra are not significant. Yet, good design should remain timeless, and a family-style appearance can enhance product recognition. While maintaining the classic design, Samsung has also upgraded to a better telephoto lens and significantly enhanced the structural strength and user experience.
The enhancement of the S24 Ultra’s structural strength does not only come from the titanium alloy frame. Samsung has also exclusively introduced Corning Gorilla Armor reinforced glass, which has increased scratch resistance by four times compared to the previous generation. Through a combination of the new titanium alloy frame, Gorilla Armor reinforced glass, flat screen, and IP68 dust and water resistance, Samsung has assembled the four important “BUFFs” for the phone’s durability. I believe the S24 Ultra will become the best quality Galaxy phone in history.
Moreover, Samsung has left us with a big surprise on the front screen. The Galaxy S24 Ultra’s screen has a special coating that significantly reduces reflections. Whether in a brightly lit office or under direct sunlight outdoors, glare on the S24 Ultra’s screen occurs less frequently.
Internal Features – Maintaining the Lead
Achieving a balance between external and internal features while maintaining the phone’s form, and pushing boundaries internally, is Samsung’s advantage as both a smartphone brand and the world’s largest semiconductor supplier. The Galaxy S24 Ultra further maintains its edge by upgrading the processor, cooling system, and camera, while keeping the phone’s dimensions unchanged.
The S24 Ultra is equipped with the Snapdragon 8 Gen3 for Galaxy mobile platform customized by Qualcomm. The performance of the CPU’s large core has been improved, with the Snapdragon 8 Gen3 for Galaxy showing a performance increase of over 5% compared to the regular version in GeekBench6 tests.
The enhanced performance is also reflected in daily usage, as the app launch speed of the Galaxy S24 Ultra can reach the top tier among Android devices. Moreover, the average frame rate of the game “Genshin Impact” during 20 minutes of battle and exploration exceeds 58 frames per second.
Furthermore, the VC (vapor chamber) heat dissipation plate of the S24 Ultra has been enlarged by 1.9 times compared to the previous generation. After the tests, the device’s temperature remained at 42 degrees Celsius. This means that while performance has increased, the temperature has decreased. The S24 Ultra’s performance enhancement and heat dissipation measures have been significantly improved compared to the previous generation.
In terms of the display, the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra features the second generation of Dynamic AMOLED. The primary upgrade is that the maximum screen brightness can reach 2600 nits, compared to the mainstream 1200 nits of domestic screens. Samsung’s advantage in this area is undeniable. Currently, domestic screen manufacturers have shifted their focus from simply competing in display effects to eye protection. In this release, Samsung has increased the screen’s dimming frequency but it’s clear that they haven’t followed the plans of domestic manufacturers. The question remains: Should one pursue the ultimate display effect, or opt for a more eye-friendly dimming method? Samsung and domestic brands have given two different answers. Which one would you choose?
As for the camera, the primary change in the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra is the transformation of the telephoto lens from the original small sensor 1200W pixel 10x zoom lens to the current large sensor high-quality 5000W pixel 5x zoom lens. I personally approve of this change. The original 10x zoom lens was like a student focusing only on one subject. Although it performed well in specific scenarios, due to the excessively long focal length, it made daily composition for ordinary users more constrained, significantly reducing the frequency of use for the telephoto lens.
On the other hand, the 5x zoom lens effectively fills the gap between the original 3x zoom lens and the 10x zoom lens, making transitions from 3x zoom and beyond more seamless, drastically increasing its practicality. Additionally, the 5000W pixel resolution alleviates the loss of image quality to a certain extent during zooming. The larger aperture and sensor also improve the S24 Ultra’s nighttime photography performance in the telephoto range like never before. With this upgrade, the focal range coverage of the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra has become more comprehensive, and its practicality has been further optimized.
The two telephoto lenses of the S24 Ultra can eliminate clutter from the environment, bringing a delicate close-up effect.
The S24 Ultra camera has excellent anti-distortion effects.
The S24 Ultra camera has a very high picture resolution.
Even when facing backlight, the S24 Ultra can restore the facial colors of the subject.
When facing complex lighting, the S24 Ultra can achieve amazing highlight control and excellent picture purity.
Moreover, thanks to the upgrade in algorithms and platforms, the video recording capability of the S24 Ultra has been further improved. The four cameras of the Galaxy S24 Ultra support free switching while recording 4K 60fps videos, making Samsung one of the few manufacturers in the Android camp that pays close attention to the video recording function.
Benefiting from the upgrade in algorithms and platforms, the HDR algorithm of the S24 Ultra is more aggressive, increasing the overall tolerance of the picture significantly. When reviewing these HDR materials in the photo gallery, there is a sense of Samsung showcasing its strength, demonstrating Samsung’s obvious advantage in display and imaging.
In direct sunlight and backlight scenarios, the exaggerated HDR algorithm of the S24 Ultra can retain shadow details under direct sunlight.
Galaxy AI – Seizing the Moment
The focus of this Samsung upgrade is on software changes. The Galaxy S24 Ultra comes with the One UI 6.1 system and is equipped with Galaxy AI, greatly enhancing the phone’s creativity and intelligence.
Introducing the New Features of Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
In any interface, you can activate the “Instant Circle Search” feature by holding down the home button. You can select any element on the screen, and the system will automatically search for related information. Whether it’s searching for encyclopedia entries or products, it’s very intuitive. This feature allows even someone like me, a “senior netizen,” to easily find out what content or recommended products users are sharing while browsing through Xiaohongshu.
Transcription Assistant and Translation Assistant have greatly improved my work efficiency. The former can transcribe a conversation into text and extract the main points, supporting one-click addition to notes. Worried about not being able to remember the tasks assigned by your boss? With the transcription assistant enabled, the Galaxy S24 Ultra can quickly summarize the work arrangements we need.
The latter, based on the translation function, goes a step further by enabling bidirectional translation and can be directly accessed during calls. Once activated, the system will automatically translate our words into the selected language, and then convey them to the other party using electronic voice, which is extremely useful for users who frequently travel abroad.
The AI functions added to the gallery are the most dazzling to me. Samsung has fully utilized the role of generative AI in content creation. Practical features include generating and expanding images, supporting the removal of elements in images and completing the missing content, and even eliminating glare or shadows.
Although there may be some flaws when carefully observed after enlarging the actual effects, due to the generative AI, each generated result is different, and with proper use, unexpected effects can be achieved. I believe that with subsequent system updates, Galaxy AI will continue to demonstrate more new possibilities for us.
Although we just experienced the successive bombardment of major domestic flagship phones, during this period of use, the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra has still brought us many surprises. Many people feel that there is too little change in appearance, but good design should always be timeless, and Samsung has raised the phone’s protective capability to unprecedented levels. The internal performance and screen upgrades fully demonstrate Samsung’s control as the world’s largest semiconductor supplier.
In terms of imaging, Samsung has increased the amount of light and the number of pixels through a new sensor, further enhancing the practicality of the S24 Ultra camera. The addition of Galaxy AI delivers many distinctive user experiences, improving the efficiency of using the phone. However, in terms of battery life and fast charging, Samsung remains conservative. Thankfully, imperfections do not overshadow its qualities. This time, Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra is still able to maintain its position as the king of Android phones.