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Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra - Worth the upgrade?

The annual tech upgrade cycle is upon us, and the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra has arrived, flashing its shiny new features and tempting phone enthusiasts to upgrade. But is it genuinely worth ditching your trusty S23 Ultra for its successor?


This blog discusses the key differences between the two phones, from processing power and camera upgrades to design tweaks and software updates. We'll explore if the S24 Ultra's advancements justify the cost or if the S23 Ultra remains a powerful and satisfying choice.


So,  join us as we look into the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra – is it a worthwhile upgrade or an iterative step?

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra - Worth The Upgrade?

Key Takeaways

  • S24 Ultra offers notable upgrades in performance, camera capabilities, and software features, making it ideal for power users seeking the latest technology.
  • However, for casual users and budget-conscious individuals, S23 Ultra remains a viable option, offering excellent performance and camera quality at a lower cost.
  • Ultimately, the choice between the two models depends on individual needs and budget considerations, with both devices providing a premium user experience.

Processor and Performance

Galaxy S24 Ultra Predecessor

The primary distinction between the Galaxy S24 Ultra and its processor, the S23 Ultra, lies in its hardware capabilities. Powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3’s chipset, which debuted in October 2023, the Galaxy S24 Ultra is the first globally launched phone to feature this advanced chip.


Qualcomm's revisions to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset are notable, particularly in reconfiguring CPU cores to maximize performance. This redesign purportedly yields an increase in performance compared to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, with a claimed enhancement in graphics performance, promising a superior gaming experience. Samsung collaborates with select game studios to mainstream ray tracing in Android games.


Further enhancements contribute to the Galaxy S24 Ultra's superior performance, including a vapor cooling chamber that is 90% larger than that of the S23 Ultra, facilitating more efficient heat dissipation during resource-intensive tasks.


Additionally, all storage variants from 256GB to 1TB now come with 12GB of RAM as standard, ensuring smooth operation even during demanding activities such as gaming or running benchmark tests.


In addition to increased computational power, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset significantly improves neural processing capabilities. Samsung capitalizes on this advancement by introducing various AI features in the Galaxy S24 series:

  • Live Translate enables real-time translation and transcription during calls, all processed locally on the device without the need for third-party services.
  • Chat Assist assists in generating text for third-party messaging apps, adapting the tone to match the conversation, and providing real-time translation of messages, contingent upon using a Samsung Keyboard.
  • Note Assist in the Samsung Notes app utilizes AI to summarize notes and draw meaningful conclusions.
  • Transcript Assist automatically transcribes voice notes or recordings.
  • Circle to Search allows users to select and search specific content on Google by circling it on the screen, offering a streamlined search experience.

Camera Comparison

Camera Comparison

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra's is undoubtedly one of the premier camera phones of the previous year. With the introduction of the Galaxy S24 Ultra, Samsung appears poised to reclaim that accolade, thanks mainly to an upgraded 200MP sensor compared to its predecessor.


While Samsung's keynote did not go into specifics, the company asserts that the new sensor boasts a 60% increase in size compared to the ISOCELL HP2 found in the Galaxy S23 Ultra. This enhancement is expected to significantly improve light capture, particularly in low-light conditions, thereby enhancing nighttime photography. Moreover, Samsung claims to have refined the optical image stabilization (OIS) on the Galaxy S24 Ultra, aiming to mitigate shakes and motion-induced blurs.


Another noteworthy alteration to the camera setup is the introduction of a new 5x periscopic telephoto sensor. Although, on paper, this may seem like a step down from the 10x periscope on the Galaxy S23 Ultra, Samsung relies heavily on AI to optimize zoomed images and ensure a seamless transition from 2x to 10x magnification.


Rather than simply magnifying the image, the Galaxy S24 Ultra employs a cropping technique, delivering image quality akin to optical zoom. Capable of up to 100x zoom, Samsung asserts that these images will exhibit remarkable clarity, likely aided by generative AI to refine blurry areas.


This approach generally yields favorable results, as demonstrated in comparisons between the telephoto cameras of the Galaxy S24 Ultra and its predecessor. While there may be a slight reduction in detail at 10x zoom due to pixel cropping, the overall improvement in image quality renders this negligible for most users, especially given the telephoto camera's marked enhancement over its precursor.


The two sensors—the 12MP ultrawide and the 10MP telephoto with 3x zoom—remain unchanged. However, Samsung harnesses the AI capabilities of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 to elevate overall camera performance.


Under the "ProVisual Engine," the Galaxy S24 series capitalizes on the on-device AI processing prowess of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 to refine images in real-time. These AI features play a multifaceted role, from enhancing image sharpness to reducing shutter lag. Additionally, AI suggests edits and enables users to manipulate or replace elements within photos through "Generative Edit," reminiscent of features seen in the Google Pixel 8 series.


Given that many of these camera enhancements are tied to improved hardware—whether at the sensor or chipset level—it's unlikely that they will be retroactively applied to older models, notably the Galaxy S23 Ultra.

Design and Build

Design And Build

The Galaxy S23 Ultra saw only subtle revisions from the S22 Ultra, itself inheriting design cues from the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra when Samsung merged the two series.

Similarly, the latest Galaxy S24 Ultra's design differs little from its predecessor, featuring only minor changes. The most notable adjustment in the Galaxy S24 Ultra lies in its frame, which is now crafted from titanium rather than the previously employed hardened aluminum alloy.


Visually, the updated frame exhibits a warmer texture and a more tactile feel compared to the shiny chrome finish of the Galaxy S23 Ultra. It is also anticipated to offer increased resistance to scratches. The less pronounced curvature of the edges, coupled with the titanium frame, enhances the grip and stability of the S24 Ultra.


Another noticeable departure from the Galaxy S23 Ultra is the adoption of a flatter display in the Galaxy S24 Ultra. While the display remains slightly curved, the curvature has been notably reduced, with the curved section now mostly overlapping the screen's bezels. 


To bolster durability, the Galaxy S24 Ultra incorporates Corning's latest Gorilla Glass iteration—Gorilla Glass Armor—which claims to offer four times more scratch resistance and reduce reflections by up to 75%.


The transition from curved to flatter display edges does not noticeably affect the viewing area, although minor adjustments to the phone's dimensions have been made. The Galaxy S24 Ultra is slightly taller and narrower than its predecessor, with a marginal increase in thickness. Despite the shift to titanium, the phone weighs just one gram less than last year's model. 


In addition to the new frame, Samsung introduces fresh color options, including yellow, gray, and violet, to complement the existing black variant. Exclusive colors are also available via Samsung's website.


Beyond the frame and display, the overall design of the Galaxy S24 Ultra remains essentially unchanged from its predecessor. Familiar features include distinct circular rings housing the rear cameras and laser autofocus module, a flattened frame for improved grip, and provision for the S Pen.


While button placement remains unaltered, Samsung claims to incorporate 10% recycled thermoplastics in its construction. The camera configuration has undergone slight modifications, alongside other internal components detailed in subsequent sections.

Software and Updates

Software And Updates

Samsung has commenced the rollout of its latest One UI 6 update, based on Android 14, featuring significant design overhauls across a range of Galaxy S and A series devices. This update represents one of the most notable visual enhancements to Samsung's proprietary Android interface, introducing improvements to the quick settings panel, enhanced theming capabilities tied to wallpapers, a fresh font, and various other refinements.


The One UI 6 update, including the Ultra variant, has already been deployed to the Galaxy S23 series. Consequently, there is no justification for the Galaxy S24 Ultra to operate on an outdated software version. Samsung is set to introduce additional functionalities as part of the updated One UI 6.1, which is pre-installed on the Galaxy S24 Ultra and other S24 models.


Following Google's announcement of seven years of firmware support for the Pixel 8 series, Samsung is making similar commitments by pledging seven years of Android version updates and security patches for the Galaxy S24 series. This longevity aspect positions the Galaxy S24 Ultra to outlast the S23 Ultra by several additional years despite being only one generation apart. This is particularly significant considering that the Galaxy S23 Ultra is slated to receive only three more Android version updates following Android 14.

Battery Life

Battery Life

The Galaxy S24 Ultra retains its 5,000mAh battery capacity, identical to that of the S23 Ultra. It may be reassuring for environmentally-conscious users to learn that Samsung has incorporated recycled cobalt, accounting for 50% of the material used in the Galaxy S24 Ultra's battery. While this change is touted for its environmental benefits, it may not necessarily translate into tangible improvements in the phone's battery performance.


Regarding charging capabilities, the Galaxy S24 Ultra supports wired charging speeds of up to 45 watts. Additionally, wireless charging is available at speeds of 15W with Samsung-branded or certified chargers or 5W with any Qi-certified accessories. Furthermore, the device supports reverse power sharing, allowing for charging accessories such as Galaxy Buds or Galaxy Watch at a rate of up to 3W.


It's worth noting that there may be an initial adjustment period during which the phone optimizes its battery performance. Therefore, if battery life appears subpar initially, it will likely improve significantly after several charging cycles. In our testing, we achieved up to five hours of heavy usage—including gaming and video streaming—with approximately 50% battery remaining by the end of the day.

Specs

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

Screen and Display

6.8" Dynamic AMOLED 2X Display

6.8“Dynamic AMOLED 2X Infinity-O QHD+ Edge Screen Display

Storage

12GB RAM / 256GB, 512GB, 1TB

8GB RAM / 256GB, 12GB RAM / 512GB, 1TB

Processor

Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 Mobile Platform for Galaxy

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2

Mobile Platform for Galaxy

OS

One UI 6.1 based on Android 14

Android 13, upgradable to Android 14, One UI 6

Battery

5,000 mAh

Power to last through your day

5,000 mAh

Power to last through your day

Camera

Rear: 200MP Wide, 12MP Ultra Wide, 10MP Tele 3x Zoom, 50MP Tele 5x Zoom. Front: 12MP

Rear: 200MP Wide, 12MP Ultra Wide, 10MP Tele 3x Optical Zoom, 10MP Tele 10x Optical Zoom

Front: 12MP

The Result: Final Thoughts

The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra is an impressive phone, boasting upgrades in processing power, camera capabilities, and software features. However, upgrading from the S23 Ultra depends on your needs and priorities.


For power users and early adopters who crave the latest technology and the absolute best performance, the S24 Ultra might be worth the investment. However, the S23 Ultra remains a powerful and cost-effective option for casual users and those on a budget. It will still receive software updates for several years and offer excellent performance and camera quality.


Remember, the best phone is the one that best suits your specific needs and budget. If unsure, consider waiting for reviews and real-world user experiences before deciding. Before taking the plunge, you can wait for potential price drops or deals on the S24 Ultra.


No matter your choice, the S23 Ultra and S24 Ultra are top-tier smartphones offering a premium user experience.

FAQ's

Q: Is the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra worth upgrading from the S23 Ultra?

A: It depends on your needs and budget. The S24 Ultra boasts some improvements in camera, performance, and design, but the S23 Ultra is still a powerful device.


Q: What are the price and availability differences between the Galaxy S24 and S23 Ultra?

A: The pricing and availability of the S24 Ultra may vary depending on your region and carrier. Checking with official Samsung channels for the most accurate information is recommended.


Q: What are the main camera improvements in the Galaxy S24 Ultra compared to the S23 Ultra?

A: The S24 Ultra features enhanced camera capabilities, including improved low-light performance, better image processing, and new shooting modes for a more versatile photography experience.


Q: Are there any significant design changes between the Galaxy S24 Ultra and S23 Ultra?

A: The S24 Ultra introduces subtle design refinements, such as new color options like Titanium Violet and Titanium Yellow, and improvements in build quality and ergonomics for a more premium feel.


Q: How is the software support for the Galaxy S24 Ultra compared to the S23 Ultra?

A: Samsung typically provides software updates for flagship devices like the S24 Ultra and S23 Ultra for several years, ensuring both models receive security patches, new features, and performance enhancements over time.

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Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra, Galaxy S24 Ultra


About the author

Ravi Shah


Ravi is the head of Content Strategy at iFixScreens Corporate. With over a decade of experience writing technical content for his readers, Ravi has helped thousands of readers with helpful content, tips, and tricks. He mainly writes content related to gadget repairs, such as iPhones, Smartphones, tablets, and laptops.

Question? Send me an email info@ifixscreens.com

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