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Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra review

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Introduction

You look at the Galaxy S24 and S24+ and can’t help but wonder if they really are the new models, or Samsung just went and reissued the old ones. The Ultra, on the other hand, is a different beast. The Galaxy S24 Ultra does make some significant strides towards improving on what was already the ultimate smartphone package.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra review

Some of the changes are immediately visible and start with the even blockier design with a fully flat face and the less reflective display glass. You won’t immediately tell, but that glass should also be tougher, and as months go by, you’ll perhaps appreciate the switch to titanium for the exposed frame, too.

An even less obvious development, but one that has potential to be a major step in solidifying the Galaxy Ultra’s position as a top cameraphone, is the new 5x zoom telephoto. Undoubtedly better at 5x than the old model, can it be as good at 10x?

The Ultra won’t partake in the chipset divide that’s now returned to the lesser models, and all of the ultimate Galaxies will feature a Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 – no Exynos here if that makes any difference. Sure enough, the S24 Ultra will have all the AI smarts Samsung and Google came up with to fill an hour of Unpacked 2024.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra review

Unchanged is the battery capacity on this year’s model, and so too is the maximum charging rating, for better or for worse. No change can be a good thing too, and the S Pen remains another differentiator that elevates the Galaxy Ultra above all others when it comes to productivity and just general usefulness (it’s the best camera remote is what it is).

You can have another look at the key specs below, before we proceed to get our hands on the Ultra, at long last.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra specs at a glance:

  • Body: 162.3×79.0x8.6mm, 232g; Glass front (Gorilla Glass Armor), glass back (Gorilla Glass), titanium frame; IP68 dust/water resistant (up to 1.5m for 30 min).
  • Display: 6.8″ Dynamic LTPO AMOLED 2X, 120Hz, HDR10+, 2600 nits (peak), 1440x3120px resolution, 19.5:9 aspect ratio, 505ppi; Always-on display.
  • Chipset: Qualcomm SM8650-AC Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 (4 nm): 8-core (1×3.39GHz Cortex-X4 & 3×3.1GHz Cortex-A720 & 2×2.9GHz Cortex-A720 & 2×2.2GHz Cortex-A520); Adreno 750 (1 GHz).
  • Memory: 256GB 12GB RAM, 512GB 12GB RAM, 1TB 12GB RAM; UFS 4.0.
  • OS/Software: Android 14, One UI 6.1.
  • Rear camera: Wide (main): 200 MP, f/1.7, 24mm, 1/1.3″, 0.6µm, multi-directional PDAF, Laser AF, OIS; Ultra wide angle: 12 MP, f/2.2, 13mm, 120˚, 1/2.55″, 1.4µm, Dual Pixel PDAF, Super Steady video; Telephoto: 10 MP, f/2.4, 67mm, 1/3.52″, 1.12µm, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS, 3x optical zoom; Telephoto: 50 MP, f/3.4, 111mm, PDAF, OIS, 5x optical zoom.
  • Front camera: 12 MP, f/2.2, 26mm (wide), Dual Pixel PDAF.
  • Video capture: Rear camera: 8K@24/30fps, 4K@30/60/120fps, 1080p@30/60/240fps, 1080p@960fps, HDR10+, stereo sound rec., gyro-EIS; Front camera: 4K@30/60fps, 1080p@30fps.
  • Battery: 5000mAh; 45W wired, PD3.0, 65% in 30 min (advertised), 15W wireless (Qi/PMA), 4.5W reverse wireless.
  • Connectivity: 5G; eSIM; Dual SIM; Wi-Fi 7; BT 5.3; NFC.
  • Misc: Fingerprint reader (under display, ultrasonic); stereo speakers; Samsung DeX, Samsung Wireless DeX; Ultra Wideband (UWB) support; S Pen stylus (Bluetooth integration, accelerometer, gyro).

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra unboxing

Another uneventful unboxing experience awaits, but it’s not like the slimline box is making any promises. A SIM eject pin is still included, though a line in the instructions that says ‘use a paper clip or an earring’ could be replacing that in the near future. That, or eSIMs.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra review

The other thing of any practical use inside the box is a USB-C cable, but it’s only good for 3A of current, and that may not be enough to get the promised 45W of charging. We might have a rant on that subject later on in the review.

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