I tried Samsung’s brand new Android phone and it beats iPhone in three ways – especially the killer camera

AI is a buzzword that’s thrown around quite a lot these days and Samsung certainly hasn’t shied away from it on the new Galaxy S24 series.

In fact, the smartphone maker is making a big fuss calling it the “era of AI”.

The titanium looks and feels stunning

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The titanium looks and feels stunning
The camera is one of the Galaxy S24 Ultra's highlights (example photo taken with it)

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The camera is one of the Galaxy S24 Ultra’s highlights (example photo taken with it)

And having tested the Galaxy S24 Ultra for the last couple of weeks its easy to see why, there’s a lot to shout about.

The S24 series isn’t cheap – especially the top tier Ultra we tested – and some of the major AI features won’t be exclusive to it forever either, so is it all worth it? Read on to find out our full verdict.

Gorgeous looks

The Ultra screams premium with its titanium body – a first for the Galaxy S series, following in the footsteps of the iPhone 15 Pro Max.

Titanium is stronger than the usual aluminium so your handset is less likely to suffer nasty damage – especially as the screen has a new Corning Gorilla Armor glass that Samsung claims is the “most scratch-resistant yet”.

While I haven’t dared to scuff up the S24 Ultra, this YouTube video suggests it survives very well.

I’m using a grey model which is a pretty safe colour but it looks slick – other options include Black, Violet, Yellow, Blue, Green and Orange.

If you’re an Android fan it really is the best of the bunch

At 232 grams – just two grams lighter than the S23 Ultra – the smartphone sits comfortable in my hand and doesn’t feel terribly weighty.

The 6.8 inch display is gorgeous but doesn’t change much from its predecessor, except for being a lot brighter.

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AI don’t believe it

Samsung has gone big on features this year and of course it’s all in the name of AI.

As a bit of a language fan and a French speaker (albeit slightly rusty) I was très keen to try out the new live translation tool.

It basically translates what you hear and vice versa – so even if the other person doesn’t have an S24 they’ll gain from the feature, which is pretty nifty.

However, you need to be prepared and have the language downloaded before – an out of the blue call from Spain without Spanish installed prior and you’ll be out of help.

Sure enough, the AI translation works reasonably considering it’s in real-time but there were some slight errors in detecting the correct word.

All these new perks will surely have a strain on the battery but I was pleasantly surprised

You do have to speak pretty clearly and for some reason it did not like my name… sigh.

That aside, I can see it being some help on holiday, so long as there are not loads of voices talking. Only 13 languages are supported at the moment but more are coming.

Then there’s Chat Assist, which works across all apps as long as you’re using the Samsung keyboard.

It too allows you to translate text but you can also change the writing style, so it’ll adjust the tone to make it more formal or less, for example.

I can’t really see myself using something like this much – I don’t tend to think informal when writing an email to my editor so won’t need AI to make it more appropriate, but it might be something useful for others.

I do love the AI Note Assist summaries that can break down lengthy text into a nice quick read for me.

Then there’s Circle to Search, which allows you to draw around literally anything you see on screen or through your camera and it’ll instantly search what it sees for you on Google. I used it to identify a cushion I saw and wanted – and it worked.

Circle to Search is useful - but not exclusive

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Circle to Search is useful – but not exclusive

However, Circle to Search isn’t exclusive to the S24 and not even Samsung, it’s actually a new Google feature which has just rolled out to the Pixel 8.

As for the other AI features, Samsung is planning to roll these out to some more recent previous Galaxy S models sometime this year.

Samsung is also mulling over charging people for the privilege of using its collection of AI tools though a boss from the company told The Sun they will remain free until at least the end of 2025.

Picture perfect

The place everyone is most likely to use AI features is in their photography.

There’s a tonne of high quality cameras on the back but the specs haven’t changed a great deal from the S23 Ultra.

The real changes are behind the scenes where AI and software boosts the results, especially for things like low lighting.

I decided to test it out at the Gravesham Light Festival where there were plenty of low light environments surrounding the illuminations.

Detail from this late night amusement snap is top notch

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Detail from this late night amusement snap is top notch

One eerie area with dry ice and amusements picked up on the vibrant colours and objects with extreme detail.

It also impressed with low-lighting video too.

Then there are the AI editing features where you can remove objects and generate what might be behind.

In a concert photo I was able to remove the head of the person in front and replace it with the singer’s shoes – they were nothing like the actual footwear I know she wore but no-one else would know any better and it certainly improved the image.

AI magically removes heads and replaces with shoes and stage lights (left: before, right: after)

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AI magically removes heads and replaces with shoes and stage lights (left: before, right: after)

AI’ve got the power

The S24 Ultra is packing some serious tech upgrades under the hood too with a mighty new Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip and generous 12GB of RAM that kept things super smooth and speedy.

All these new perks will surely have a strain on the battery but I was pleasantly surprised.

The efficiencies from the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip and the bigger 5,000-mAh battery meant it lasted well into the second day with moderate use.

It’s also worth noting that Samsung has committed to providing seven years of software upgrades to the S24 series, so you can be safe in the knowledge that your investment will last longer.

Galaxy S24 Ultra: The Sun’s quick lowdown

Pros:

  • Fantastic camera, especially with low lighting
  • Long lasting battery
  • 7 years of Android software upgrades
  • Smooth performance

Cons:

  • Not all the AI features are exclusive – and there may be a charge to keep them in future
  • It’s expensive

Verdict

It all comes at a very hefty price, starting from £1,249 which is a big ask for most – though Samsung’s trade-in programme where you hand in your old handset could trim a few hundred off.

The AI tools are great but I don’t think I’d be prepared to pay extra for them.

That said, the Galaxy S24 Ultra’s stunning night-defying camera, hefty battery and solid premium style beat the iPhone for me.

And if you’re an Android fan it really is the best of the bunch.

  • Buy the Galaxy S24 Ultra now from Samsung.com

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All prices in this article were correct at the time of writing, but may have since changed.

Always do your own research before making any purchase.

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