Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra Review : Redefining Mobile Innovation

5/5 - (2 votes)

The recently launched Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra has been creating quite a buzz in the mobile industry. As the latest flagship phone by Samsung, it brings significant upgrades over its predecessor and sets a new benchmark for premium Android smartphones. In this detailed review, we will take an in-depth look at the Galaxy S24 Ultra’s design, display, cameras, performance, software features, battery life and other aspects to see how it fares and whether it manages to live up to the hype surrounding it.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra

Design and Build Quality

The Galaxy S24 Ultra flaunts an improved yet familiar design language that Samsung flagship phones are known for. It sports a curved Gorilla Glass Victus 3 back that oozes premium aesthetics. The phone is available in three classy color options – Phantom Black, Lavender, and Cream. We got the Phantom Black version for review and it looks subtle yet attractive.

The first thing you notice about the S24 Ultra is its huge size. With dimensions of 163.4 x 78.1 x 8.8mm and weighing around 234g, it is significantly taller, wider and heavier than its predecessor. The phone feels very solid and sturdy in hand but is not meant for single-handed use owing to its giant footprint.

The right edge houses the power button and volume rockers. The top edge is clean while the bottom edge has the SIM card slot, USB Type-C charging port and loudspeaker. The curved display merges seamlessly with the metal frame, reaffirming Samsung’s mastery in phone craftsmanship. While largely similar to the S23 Ultra, the S24’s increased dimensions, reduced camera bumps and symmetrical oval camera island give it a more polished and congruous look.

Our only gripe is that it is quite slippery without a case and also a smudge magnet. Using the phone with one hand for tasks like reaching the top of the display can be tedious owing to the tall structure and slippery glass back. So we would recommend using a protective case and exercising caution while using it one-handed.

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Display of Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra

Samsung is using the same display on the Galaxy S24 Ultra that it used on its predecessor – a curved 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED QHD+ panel with a fast 120Hz refresh rate and 240Hz touch sampling rate in Game Mode. With a dense pixel count of 500ppi and HDR10+ certification, the display offers truly vibrant and immersive viewing experience whether you are watching movies, playing games or browsing content.

In our testing, we found the display to be extremely responsive with accurate colors, excellent viewing angles and impressive peak brightness levels. The 240Hz touch sampling rate in Game Mode further helps enhance gaming with reduced input lag for competitive multiplayer titles. Outdoor visibility was also excellent with legible screen contents even under harsh sunlight.

You can select between a couple of color profiles based on your preference – Vivid (sRGB) and Natural (P3). There’s an Eye Comfort Shield option that cuts down blue light emission from the display for reduced eye strain. The Edge Panels and Edge Lighting from previous Samsung flagships have also been retained.

While largely similar to the S23 Ultra’s display, Samsung says the S24 Ultra’s Vision Booster technology uses AI to enhance picture quality in third-party apps and streams HDR10+ video in real-time for services like YouTube that don’t usually support the format. The display can also reach a peak brightness of 1750 nits which improves high dynamic range content and sunlight legibility.

Overall, the S24 Ultra retains the excellent display we saw on the S23 series and improves on it in areas like brightness and real-time HDR upscaling of content. It sets a new bar for smartphone displays with its gorgeous curved Dynamic AMOLED panel in every aspect.

Cameras of Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra

Samsung has equipped the Galaxy S24 Ultra with a similar quad camera setup as the S23 Ultra but with upgrades for the main and telephoto cameras:

  • Wide: 200MP f/1.7, 0.6μm pixels, 85-degree FOV, PDAF, OIS
  • Ultrawide: 12MP, f/2.2, 120-degree FOV
  • Telephoto: 10MP, f/2.4, 3x optical zoom, 36-degree FOV, OIS
  • Telephoto: 10MP, f/4.9, 10x optical zoom, 11-degree FOV, OIS

Up from 108MP resolution on the main camera, the new massive 200MP ISOCELL sensor uses pixel-binning technology to output 12.5MP images with large 2.4μm pixels by default that manage to retain an abundant amount of detail while minimizing noise levels. The new Adaptive Pixel sensor can switch between different pixel-binning sizes based on lighting conditions. So in bright daylight, it will use pixel-binning less and output higher 50MP/100MP resolution photos retaining more detail.

The 85-degree ultrawide camera is unchanged but gets some software processing upgrades for better distortion correction around the edges and corner areas of images.

For zooming, while the 3x optical telephoto is similar, the 10x periscope telephoto camera sees an upgrade to 10MP resolution allowing it to retain more detail when you zoom into faraway subjects. Samsung claims the S24 Ultra can achieve up to 100x Space Zoom through a combination of optical and AI-powered digital zoom.

In our extensive testing of the cameras in different conditions, we found the photo quality of the S24 Ultra to be top-notch and a noticeable upgrade over the S23 series in some areas. The new 200MP sensor captures highly-detailed pictures in daylight with accurate colors and expansive dynamic range. Noise is very well controlled even in indoor and low light shots. Thanks to intelligent pixel-binning, pictures retain abundant detail while keeping file sizes manageable.

The upgraded 10x optical telephoto camera also proved handy for capturing distant objects like buildings, vehicles and birds with ample detail. Up to 30x hybrid zoom, pictures retained excellent detail before softening kicked in at 100x zoom which is still impressive. Ultrawide shots had natural perspective expansion with very low edge distortion owing to improved software corrections.

We shot several portrait pictures with the rear and selfie cameras of people, pets and objects making use of the built-in bokeh effects and edge detection. The cameras do an excellent job separating the subject from the background to produce natural looking blur and portraits full of detail. Skin tones are warm and true to life in pictures shot under good lighting.

Low light photos understandably had some noise but maintained good colors and detail levels with optimized Night Mode. Impressively, the 100MP and 50MP modes produced stellar low light pictures with the mode’s AI algorithms squeezing out more light data to minimize noise and artifacts. Astrophotography results were equally impressive capturing night skies and stars with solid detail, accurate colors and lower noise compared to the S23 Ultra. Video quality with up to 8K 30fps recording options was amongst the best we have seen on Android with excellent stabilization, continuous autofocus and HDR in different shooting modes.

On the selfie side, the upgraded 12MP TrueDepth camera takes social media ready pictures with accurate skin tones, optimized facial details and excellent subject separation in Portrait mode. The auto framing feature is also much improved and smoother in toggling between ultrawide and close-up modes. Low light selfies understandably had more noise but remain perfectly usable.

Samsung has retained most of the versatile shooting modes like Single Take 2.0, Director’s View, Portrait Video and arrangements like the Expert RAW app for photography enthusiasts. The integrated camera app offers a ton of customizability but maintains an approachable interface. AI-assisted features like Scene Optimizer quickly recognize subjects and automatically enhance photos with optimized color, contrast and other settings. Flaw detection alerts you to closes eyes, lens smears or out of focus shots to retake pictures and minimize wasted efforts.

With upgrades like the 200MP Adaptive Pixel sensor, 10MP 10x telephoto for better reach and software refinements across focal lengths, the Galaxy S24 Ultra clearly has the most versatile and powerful camera system seen on an Android phone yet. From wide expansive landscapes to detailed architecture zooms to stunning astrophotography results, it proves extremely capable in nearly every scenario. If mobile photography is a priority for you, the S24 Ultra delivers photography excellence and flexibility unmatched by any other phone in 2023.

Performance and Battery Life (Cont.)

In our time with the device, performance felt blazing fast thanks to cutting-edge hardware and excellent software optimization. Apps opened instantly while app switching and bringing up the camera was near instantaneous. UI navigation felt smooth and responsive at all times.

Gaming performance was simply top notch with graphics intensive titles like Genshin Impact running at max frame rates by default with the Game Booster mode quick to disable battery saving restrictions. Even racing games like Asphalt 9 saw no frame rate drops or lags with the S24 Ultra laughing off graphic effects. Clearly among the fastest phones out currently, the S24 Ultra breezes through any task you throw at it.

On the battery front, the phone is equipped with a similar 5000mAh unit like its predecessor. Thanks to a very efficient processor and other optimizations, Samsung promises close to a day and a half of active use from the battery. In our testing with mixed use involving social media, productivity apps, an hour of calls, camera usage and 30 mins of gaming, we managed close to 6.5 hours of screen time in 16 hours. With more judicious use, a single charge should be able to last over 40 hours.

Charging the large battery isswift thanks to 45W wired and 15W wireless charging support. You can use the PowerShare reverse wireless charging feature to juice up accessories like earbuds and smartwatches on the go. Overall endurance is roughly on par with the S23 Ultra but still forces daily top-up charges for intensive use. Given the choice between faster charging speeds and better battery life spans, Samsung seems to have picked the former.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra Specifications

Specification Details
Launch Date February 2023
Dimensions 163.4 x 78.1 x 8.8mm
Weight 234 grams
Build Glass front and back, aluminum frame
Colors Phantom Black, Lavender, Cream
Display 6.8″ QHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 3088 x 1440 pixels, 120Hz variable refresh rate
Protection Corning Gorilla Glass Victus 3
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3
RAM 8GB/12GB/16GB LPDDR5X
Storage 256GB/512GB/1TB UFS 4.0
Rear Cameras 200MP main + 12MP ultrawide + dual 10MP telephotos (3x and 10x optical zoom)
Front Camera 12MP
Battery 5,000 mAh
Charging 45W wired, 15W wireless
Biometrics Ultrasonic in-display fingerprint scanner
Connectivity 5G, WiFi 7, Bluetooth 5.3
Software Android 13 with One UI 5.1
S Pen Integrated with gesture controls and haptics
Dust/Water Resistance IP68 rated
Audio Stereo speakers, no headphone jack
Starting Price $1,199

Software and S Pen

On the software side, Samsung’s unified One UI 5.1 interface greets you offering customization options galore. Based on Android 13 OS, it brings an aesthetically consistent and feature rich experience. Visual elements have been spruced up in One UI 5.1 while showcasing excellent synergy between Samsung’s ecosystem apps and Google’s suite. Extensions offer deep customization options for theming the interface to match your preferences.

You get exclusive top tier features like Edge Panel app shortcuts, Bixby Routines for automation, multi-window support, Samsung DeX mode to use your phone like a desktop and more. While feature-rich, the interface avoids feeling too cluttered. Frequently used toggles and customizations reside in easy to access menus preventing drilling deep into settings. Transferring data from an older device is also a breeze with Smart Switch. And the Knox security platform offers robust protection against malware and viruses.

Like the predecessor, the S24 Ultra brings back the S-Pen stylus with further reductions in latency for snappier response. The Feel constitutes upgraded haptic feedback for the stylus with customizable vibrations to mimic writing instruments like ballpoint pens and pencils for an authentic tactile experience. We found it great for creative tasks like digital art, annotating screenshots, scrapbooking and note taking. Handwriting recognition is excellent while Air Command offers quick shortcuts to favorite S Pen features.

With up to 4 guaranteed Android OS updates and 5 years of security patches, Samsung leads software longevity efforts amongst Android makers. If the past is any indication, the S24 Ultra will continue receiving new features and customization via updates over its lifetime ensuring value preservation. Overall, Samsung proposes the best software proposition for users wanting customizability without compromising security.

Variants and Availability

The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra is available globally including online in the below RAM/storage options:

  • 8GB/256GB: $1199/£1099/€1249
  • 12GB/512GB: $1299/£1199/€1349
  • 12GB/1TB: $1499/£1399/€1549

In the United States, it is sold by carriers like Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and also unlocked on Samsung.com and leading retailers.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra Price in India in below configurations:

  • 8GB/256GB: Rs. 1,04,999
  • 12GB/512GB: Rs. 1,09,999
  • 12GB/1TB: Rs. 1,19,999

Pre-order deals with free upgrades to higher storage models, bank discounts, exchange offers and free Galaxy goodies are worth checking out before purchasing.

Verdict

With impressive upgrades in nearly every department over its predecessor, the Galaxy S24 Ultra successfully upholds and even enhances Samsung’s reputation for delivering best-in-class flagship experiences year-after-year.

The gorgeous new design accentuated by a brilliant Dynamic AMOLED display, exceptional camera setup led by a revolutionary new 200MP sensor, desktop-grade performance via Snapdragon’s latest silicon, refined software with S-Pen support and solid battery life make the S24 Ultra the most compelling Android flagship you can get in 2023.

Sure it is not very pocketable or easy to use one-handed given the giant footprint and ergonomics take a backseat to specifications. There is also no major battery life improvement over the S23 Ultra.

But keeping in mind its intended audience of power users wanting no compromises in core hardware areas, the S24 Ultra ticks nearly all boxes and even manages to deliver excellent mobile photography chops. Unless you want something more compact or budget oriented, Samsung’s newest flagship earns our strong recommendation as the Android phone to beat in 2023.

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