Samsung Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus hands-on: Design change, new experience with Galaxy AI

Being a user of the Galaxy S23, my expectations for the Samsung Galaxy S24 series revolve around a refreshing change in design, especially considering the lack of significant alterations over the past two generations. While I appreciate the Galaxy S23, its somewhat sharp edges and glossy frame have made holding the phone a bit challenging, lacking the premium aesthetic I desire. The new Galaxy S24 series, however, fulfills these expectations.

Samsung Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus Hands-On review

Samsung Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus hands-on: first impression

The Samsung S24 and S24 Plus boast a complete redesign, offering improvements in design, ergonomics, display, camera capabilities, overall performance, and, notably, an extensive integration of AI features. While the Google Pixel may be considered an intelligent smartphone in the literal sense, its smart features are limited in language support. In contrast, Samsung’s Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus come equipped with smart features supporting multiple languages.

Surprised with Galaxy AI

The AI features showcased during my brief 30-minute exploration left me genuinely excited. It’s been a while since AI concepts on phones became not only useful but also had a tangible impact on our daily lives.

Samsung Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus Hands-On review

On the Samsung Galaxy S24, AI is seamlessly integrated into fundamental phone operations, extending from making calls to typing, entertainment, and work. A noteworthy aspect of this year’s Galaxy S24 series is the inclusion of “on-device” AI features, allowing them to function offline without requiring an internet connection.

From the call interface, users of the Samsung Galaxy S24 mobile can experience live AI translation in real-time, facilitating communication between individuals using Android or iOS smartphones, even if they don’t share a common language. This feature proves to be extremely practical and vital in overcoming language barriers.

Another notable AI addition is in the Samsung Keyboard, now equipped to generate responses in five different contexts, ranging from simple sentences to entire compositions.

Samsung Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus Hands-On review

The third AI feature caters to entertainment and content creation. The default Gallery application incorporates AI tools for swift and efficient photo editing, such as cropping and rotating, with AI automatically compensating for missing parts. Additionally, object deletion is now more straightforward and precise.

A feature particularly relevant to my work is the ability to record and summarize audio content into text, followed by translation into various languages. This feature eliminates the need for extensive typing, as AI automatically condenses and captures the core ideas.

Beyond that, the Galaxy S24 series can convert handwritten text into digital form, create covers, and execute lightning-fast searches through a collaboration between Google and Samsung. By pressing and holding the Home key, users can select an object to search for, and Google returns results in just a split second.

These represent only a few of the AI features I explored in about 30 minutes. In my perspective, these features stand out as the most practical, specific, and helpful compared to generic Android features that may lack robust language support.

Redesigned for Enhanced Comfort

As noted, the Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus boast a redesigned approach, addressing lingering issues from their two predecessors.

Samsung Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus Hands-On review

The once glossy metal frame has transformed, adopting a matte finish that eradicates any tightness or sharpness when held. This alteration results in an exceptionally comfortable grip, showcasing the devices’ commitment to user satisfaction—a quality that anyone can appreciate.

Samsung has retained the vertically aligned camera clusters from the Galaxy S23, maintaining the rough texture on the glass back. However, the frame adjacent to the glass now features a subtle curvature, contributing to the overall comfort of holding the Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus.

Having used the Galaxy S23 Plus with its considerable screen size, I found it uncomfortable due to the pressure applied. Now, with the Galaxy S24 Plus, the experience is entirely different and more agreeable.

The simplification of the bottom edge of the frame, upon reflection of the Galaxy S23, is another noteworthy adjustment. A closer examination reveals the removal of a microphone to the right of the USB-C charging port on the Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus.

Furthermore, Samsung demonstrates a heightened commitment to environmental responsibility by incorporating more recycled materials than ever before in its phones. This extends from the frame, glass, and camera bezel to the physical buttons, showcasing the brand’s dedication to eco-friendly practices in its new product lines.

Significant Screen Enhancement

This year marks a notable improvement in the Galaxy S24 Ultra’s display, no longer facing criticism for uneven edges compared to the Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus. Equally thin bezels across all Galaxy S24 models, particularly in the base and Plus versions, have become a consistent and commendable feature from Samsung for at least two years.

Samsung Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus Hands-On review

According to Samsung, the bezel thickness is approximately 1.52mm. More significantly, both the base version and the Plus version feature an LTPO screen with a variable refresh rate of 1-120Hz, a feature previously exclusive to Ultra models.

Furthermore, the brightness of the Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus exceeds 2500 nits—a remarkably high figure in the current smartphone landscape. The enhanced viewing experience, particularly when watching videos on the Galaxy S23, Galaxy S22, and now the Galaxy S24, underscores the value of the uniformly thin bezels.

While the screen sizes of the Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus have increased by 0.1 inches compared to the previous generation, measuring 6.2 inches and 6.7 inches, respectively, the perceptible difference in size when holding the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S24 is minimal. However, the display space appears to have seen a substantial increase.

Specifications

Empowered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 (SM8650 Pro) processor, the Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus models showcase notable improvements. A positive shift this year is the absence of the 128GB storage option, a departure from the Galaxy S23, which offered 128GB storage with UFS 3.1 standard, reserving UFS 4.0 exclusively for the 256GB or higher capacity. This year, however, the Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus present two storage options: 256GB and 512GB, eliminating the 128GB choice.

Samsung Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus Hands-On review

Notably, the Samsung S24 Ultra and Plus versions will no longer offer the 8GB RAM option, defaulting to 12GB. The Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus boast 2 storage alternatives: 256GB and 512GB.

In terms of battery capacity, the Galaxy S24 features a 4000mAh battery, while the Galaxy S24 Plus houses a 4900mAh battery, only 100mAh less than the Ultra version. The S24 supports 25W fast charging, while the Plus version, akin to the Ultra model, facilitates 45W fast charging.

Camera with minimal changes, upgrade revolving around software algorithms

Except for the Ultra version, which features a modified telephoto sensor, the other two models maintain their existing hardware setup—a 50MP primary sensor, 12MP ultra-wide, and a 10MP telephoto lens with 2x optical zoom.

Samsung Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus Hands-On review

The noteworthy transformation occurs in the software domain, as Samsung enhances the algorithm to improve low-light photography and streamline post-production processes.

One UI 6.1 with AI

The debut of One UI 6.1 accompanies the release of Samsung’s three new phone models. This latest software iteration introduces a slew of intelligent features. Fortunately, users of preceding models like Z Fold5, Z Flip5, or the Galaxy S23 series can promptly anticipate an upgrade to One UI 6.1.

Samsung Galaxy S24 & Plus price and release date

Regrettably, Samsung’s pre-order incentives seem somewhat lackluster. Gone are the days of complimentary watches or earbuds. Instead, 2024 heralds a doubling of storage, along with potentially enticing trade-in deals. Priced at $799.99 for the 128GB variant, the Galaxy S24 offers a limited-time opportunity to acquire the 512GB version at the same cost until January 30th on both Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk online stores.

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