The main reason to choose the standard Galaxy S24 over the larger S24 Plus and S24 Ultra is (besides the price, of course) the size. Especially those who have smaller hands, like to operate their smartphone with one hand or would like to be able to put it in their pocket more easily, will find a screen diagonal of 6.8 inches simply too large. The Galaxy S24 fits comfortably in the hand at 6.2 inches, which is also due to the flattened frame. While the iPhone 15 series has just moved towards rounder edges, we are more fans of flattened edges, which in our opinion offer a better grip. And the Galaxy S24 is a good example of this. Just like with the Galaxy S23, the frame is again made of aluminum and it therefore feels sturdy and of high quality. With a weight of 167 grams, the S24 is not too heavy for its size. We are also fans of the more matte metal finish, which meant we had surprisingly little trouble with greasy fingerprints.
That good look is also well protected, with an IP68 certification (waterproof for 30 minutes up to a depth of 1.5 meters) and improved Gorilla Glass Victus 2 on the front and back. The Corning Gorilla Armor (titanium) appears to be reserved for the S24 Ultra, although you will hardly notice it in practice. Anyone who is concerned about damage will almost always opt for a case for an expensive phone. The color options are not exclusive to the larger phones: they are the same for all three S24 variants. There are even seven options: Onyx Black, Marble Gray, Cobalt Violet, Amber Yellow, Sapphire Blue, Sandstone Orange and the stylish Jade Green of our test sample.
Display & performance
The first small upgrade is the display, which is 0.1 inch larger than that of its predecessor. More importantly, it is now an LTPO AMOLED screen. In concrete terms, this means that a variable refresh rate becomes possible (1-120 Hz) and therefore more efficient energy consumption. In addition, it increases the peak brightness to 2,600 nits and the high brightness mode (HBM) now delivers 1,600 nits. Both are a lot higher than last year’s Samsung Galaxy S23 (1,750 and 1,200 nits respectively). The resolution remains at Full HD+, although it still looks razor sharp for this screen diagonal. Those looking for a QHD+ resolution will have to upgrade to the S24 Plus. With the standard S24, you can also enjoy a full-screen image with the always-on display (AOD) for the first time, and that is nice.
As far as the chipset is concerned, Samsung is returning to its well-known strategy, which is sometimes criticized by the South Koreans: the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 remains reserved for the US, Canada and China, while our ‘international’ version is the Exynos 2400 has under the hood. That was the case until a few years ago. After the Exynos chips clearly underperformed in benchmark tests, Samsung also included the Snapdragon chip in its international versions. Until now. However, we must put that criticism into perspective. Only when you push the Galaxy S24 to the limit with a demanding game can the difference in performance become apparent. According to Samsung, the Exynos 2400 is even a bit more energy efficient, although we might attribute that to the battery, which has grown a fraction (along with the phone), from 3,900 to 4,000 mAh. With light use (social media, email and a few phone calls) we still had more than 60 percent battery left before going to sleep. If you are going to play games during the day, shoot images or edit video for a while, you may need to use the charging cable before dinner. The charging speed has not changed at all compared to the Galaxy S23. The power is still at a maximum of 25 W, which means that (as we were able to determine ourselves) you can go from zero to 50 percent with half an hour in the socket. For those who like wireless charging, this is also possible this year at 4.5 W, via Wireless Power Share (reverse wireless charging). Many Android phones now offer wired charging speeds of 45 W. If you use your smartphone intensively every day, you would like to charge it faster in urgent cases.
Another notable upgrade is UFS 4.0 storage, now also standard for the 128GB model of the Galaxy S24. The RAM remains at 8 GB (compared to 12 GB for the S24 Plus), although in practice you would hardly notice it. Don’t expect him to be able to use the latest applications as smoothly within 5 years.
Software and artificial intelligence
We would almost forget it, but just as Samsung itself advertises, artificial intelligence is the most important addition when it comes to the software and user experience. One UI 6.1, the visual shell around Android 14, actually looks the same as in previous years. That does not have to be a point of criticism, because the launcher and its clear design were already among the top in the Android market. But make no mistake: Galaxy AI, which is currently exclusive to the latest Galaxy line-up, offers a lot of features that you wouldn’t have discovered overnight. The first nice addition is that of generative wallpapers, so that you can generate a truly unique background. This happens directly on your device, via Galaxy AI. In addition, you can use Live Translate in the Phone app to have telephone conversations translated on the spot, and Chat Assist in the Samsung Keyboard helps you rephrase sentences or find the right tone. Those who are often on the road and use their smartphone for notes can have Galaxy AI automatically summarize transcribed text. We doubt whether you will use all those functions. But it is to Samsung’s credit that it can and wants to innovate with its flagship series. For those concerned about privacy: Samsung’s Knox must guarantee that personal data does not leave the device. Furthermore, for the first time, the manufacturer offers Android and security updates for seven years. That can reassure anyone who is unsure about a more expensive phone.
Furthermore, Galaxy AI’s support is in photography. It is also the only notable addition to the camera system, because the hardware setup is the same as that on the Galaxy S23: the main lens is 50 MP and is accompanied by the well-known telephoto lens (10 MP), ultra-wide lens (12 MP) and selfie camera (12 MP). In our experience, Galaxy phones have often produced oversaturated images, resulting in colors that are too bright. The ProVisual Engine and Galaxy AI seem to have solved this problem, because photos have never looked so natural on a Galaxy phone. The artificial intelligence intervenes most noticeably in situations where the lighting is not optimal: either in bright backlight or in dark settings. The new software allows the Galaxy S24 to make improvements in one fell swoop, resulting in a natural, high-quality image.
AI also provides relevant suggestions when post-processing photos. This gives you quick access to removing reflections or calibrating the color palette. And Generative Fill lets you fill a void in an image (usually successfully) using the surrounding content. It’s impressive to see how the AI immediately puts forward relevant options based on your snapshots.
The standard Samsung Galaxy S24 is a beautiful Android phone for those who want top performance in a relatively small size. However, if you have a Galaxy S23 or don’t care much about the AI capabilities for photography, you may not have many reasons to upgrade yet.