On paper, it’s clearly much more powerful and impressive than its predecessors, but just because it comes loaded with all these features, that doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily better in practice. As one might put it…
Is more always more?
While the customisability of Samsung phones is a plus point to many users, there might come a point where it gets too much.
For me, that point is now. With the new AI tools, the phone has more settings and buttons than ever.
There’s now a button for AI features such as the “writing style” and “spelling and grammar” checker, as well as a built-in translator app. Of course, there are even more options hidden away in the three dots off to the side.
The advanced intelligence features are also hidden away in the Advanced features tab, which doesn’t feel quite intuitive to me.
Something else that doesn’t feel very intuitive is the photo editor. Once again, the new AI tools such as the generative fill and object eraser make for more buttons and tabs than ever.
As an iPhone user who is used to a very streamlined experience, the S24 Ultra honestly feels quite overwhelming to use at first. Like anything else though, it gets easier the more time you spend with it.
High-spec cameras meet AI photo editing
One major camera upgrade on the Galaxy S24 Ultra compared to the S23 Ultra is its 5x telephoto camera, which now sports a 50MP sensor. There’s a secondary telephoto camera for 3x zoom that’s 10MP.
This means the Galaxy S24 Ultra supports optical zoom in 3x and 5x, as well as optical quality zoom on 2x and 10x.
Note that Samsung uses the language optical quality, not actually optical zoom, as it’s essentially a digital zoom that’s enhanced by Samsung’s Adaptive Pixel sensor.
So, what does any of that mean? Well basically, 5x and 10x zoom images are supposed to be better than ever. Check out these zoomed-in images we took of the KL city skyline and decide for yourself.
Here’s another example.
Digital zoom is supported up to 100x on the phone, so if you’re trying for a moon shot, you still can.
While these cameras are fantastic, I find that they pair even better with the new AI technology. I personally have been enjoying the object eraser tools.
The erase reflections tool is certainly not perfect, but it’s a good start. Here are some examples so you can judge for yourself. This one is edited to remove the reflection of the phone in the window.
Here’s an example using the object eraser tool manually. It’s like a game of spot the difference.
While I like the object eraser for what it is, the generative fill technology is not my favourite so far. For one, it’s not very reliable as of now. The AI often tries to fill in the missing data with random artefacts or details that I never wanted in the first place.
Something on my wishlist is that there’ll be an “expand” tool using generative fill as well so you can extend the sides of an image.
But AI tools aside, I must say, the new and improved 50MP telephoto camera makes for some very crisp and satisfying zoomed-in imagery.
Overall, I don’t have any harsh critiques about the S24 Ultra’s photography capabilities. The images are crisp, beautiful, bright, and vibrant. From ultra-wide images to close-up pics, this phone is an extremely reliable mobile camera.
Time for a performance assessment
The S24 Ultra is Samsung’s brightest phone yet, supporting a peak brightness of 2,600 nits. This means under our radiant Malaysian sun, you’ll still be able to use your phone with no issues.
But honestly, I don’t have trouble with most phones nowadays when it comes to using them under the sun. The real question may be, how does the 6.7-inch AMOLED display hold up for gaming and entertainment?
The phone supports ray tracing, so it’s supposed to enable some ultra-realistic graphics to enhance gameplay and experience.
But ray tracing isn’t really supported by a lot of mobile games yet. So, unless you play the select number of games that currently support ray tracing, it’s not something that might make or break the S24 Ultra for you.
In any case, the display supports an adaptive 1 to 120Hz refresh rate for buttery smooth graphics or to save battery.
As for audio, the phone speakers can go very loud. Under the hood of the phone is a Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset, which means it supports Qualcomm’s latest innovative audio technologies, the S7 and S7 Pro audio platforms.
These platforms supposedly bring more intelligent and powerful features, but the catch, according to tech publication ZDNET, is that no earphones support the technology just yet.
At 233g, the phone is notably heavier than my usual iPhone (189g), but rather than its heft, it’s more the size that has been my concern.
Its sharper corners and width (3.11 inches) have led to some twinges in the wrist, but it could be a worthy trade-off for those who believe bigger is better.
For those who value AI software, the Galaxy S24 Ultra may come across as a no brainer. The notable upgrades to the telephoto camera are also a big plus to mobile photographers.
All this is made even better with the phone’s 5,000 mAh battery, a step up from the 4,855mAh of the S23 Ultra.
That said, with these upgrades also comes an increased price point. With a 512GB storage option (the 256GB is “coming soon”), this new phone is priced at RM6,799, which is a pretty big jump from the S23 Ultra’s debut price of RM5,699.
At the time of writing there is a RM500 discount for the S24 Ultra (making it RM6,299), but it’s still a very, very pretty penny to pay for a phone.
If you want to invest in a top-of-the-line device though, this might be your chance. Samsung has promised seven years of OS upgrades and security updates for the S24 Series, after all.
Overall, the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra is a reliable phone with very nifty tools, and it feels like it’s only uphill from here, especially when it comes to the all the new AI features.
|New AI features, especially in the photo editor, are fun and practical
|New AI features may make the screen feel more cluttered
|Improved telephoto camera makes for higher quality zoomed-in images
|Improved battery life for longer usage
- Read other articles we’ve written about Samsung here.
- Learn more about Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra here.
VP Verdict is a series where we personally try and test out products, services, fads, and apps. Want to suggest something else for us to try? Leave a comment here or send the suggestion to our Facebook page.