Galaxy S24 Plus hands-on: Samsung's Ultra may not be the product to buy


You can forget that when Samsung announced the Galaxy S24 Ultra at its Unpacked event earlier this month, it also announced two other phones: the Galaxy S24 and the S24 Plus. The hype around Ultra (and the Galaxy Ring) almost overshadowed his other two products. This is a shame, because after using the S24 and S24 Plus for the past two days, I'm starting to think the Ultra may not be the best Samsung smartphone to get in 2024.

This story is part of samsung eventsCNET's collection of news, tips, and advice about Samsung's most popular products.

Most of my time was spent testing the Galaxy S24 Plus, which I really enjoyed. If you were to diagram the S24 Plus, it would basically be a Venn diagram of the regular S24 and S24 Ultra overlapping each other. But this year, the S24 Plus leans a little more toward the Ultra, and the Ultra is a little more expensive thanks to a $100 price increase. All of this became a bit of a conundrum for me as I learned more about the S24 Plus. Is the $1,000 (£999, AU$1,699) Galaxy S24 Plus a poor man's Ultra?

read more: Best Android Smartphones of 2024

The aluminum design, squared sides, and iPhone-like rounded corners are just a larger version of the regular S24, but the Galaxy S24 Plus features a new screen with the same resolution as the S24 Ultra. In fact, the S24 Plus's display is smaller at 6.7 inches compared to the Ultra's 6.8 inches, so the Plus actually has higher pixel density. I know it's only an 8 pixel difference and most people won't see it. I can't see it, but in my heart I know it's more than that and it's something.

Plus and Ultra feature the same Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip, screen brightness and resolution, RAM, Galaxy AI features, and storage options (except 1TB is reserved for Ultra only). The Ultra is made of titanium instead of aluminum, has a slightly larger battery, a built-in S Pen, and, of course, a better camera (in theory).

But now the Ultra is $1,300, which makes it $300 more expensive than the S24 Plus. I'll have to test the S24 Plus further to see if this $300 difference is worth it, but the Plus has already impressed me in just a few days.

Samsung Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus colors are yellow, violet, gray, and black

See all photos

During my testing, the S24 Plus lasted two days on a single charge, ending the second day with 11% battery remaining at 11pm. The S24 Plus is powered by his 4,900 mAh battery, which is larger than last year's S23 Plus, which had a 4,700 mAh battery. The first day of use required a lot of downloading, and I turned the screen on at full brightness in the morning for taking photos, and kept it at full brightness for video shooting in the afternoon. All day long, he was experimenting with new features like Circle to Search. The Plus battery ended the first day at 38%.

Day 2 was a little more normal in terms of workflow. We also tried out new AI features. This phone can enlarge the photo frame to show cropped parts or erase objects from the image. I'm a sucker for preserving the horizon at a photo level (sorry, my dad was an architect), so I straighten out the photo and then use the S24 Plus's onboard AI called Generative Editing to create new Being able to create an edge seemed too good to be true. Is true. The results weren't great, but they weren't terrible either.

I had a similar experience using the same generative editing tools on photos. The raw photo below is of my CNET colleague Marielle Myers.

woman sitting on the sofa

Mariel's original photo.

Patrick Holland/CNET

See another version of the photo below. Using the editing tools, I moved the striped pillow, enlarged it, and repositioned it over Mariel's head. I also corrected the photos and let the AI ​​do the rest. result? It's clear that something has changed, for better or worse, but it's still fun. Filling around the edges of the photo and filling in the background where the couch pillows are no longer visible. A small AI watermark will now appear in the bottom left corner to indicate that the photo has been modified. Her EXIF ​​data for the photo also includes a “Modified with Generative Editing” label.

Woman sitting on a sofa with a giant pillow floating above Woman sitting on a sofa with a giant pillow floating above

Can you see something different? And I'm not talking about giant floating pillows.

Patrick Holland/CNET

I've created another version. You can see it below. This time I moved the coffee cup from the table, enlarged it, and placed it above Mariel's head. The S24 Plus fills this gap nicely. The part of the table that the phone's AI generated to fill the spot where the cup of coffee used to be placed looks decent at first glance. But if you look closely, you'll see that something has changed in that corner.

Woman sitting on a sofa with a giant coffee cup floating above Woman sitting on a sofa with a giant coffee cup floating above

AI photo editing becomes more fun.

Patrick Holland/CNET

Let's go back to the Circle To Search feature. Actually, it should be called “Circle To Buy.” It's like having Google Lens built into your screen. If you see an image on a website, app, or social feed, circle the image or part of it to start an instant Google search.

I was browsing Instagram and came across a photo of a dog wearing sunglasses (which I immediately liked, of course). I held down the home button for a moment and circled the dog in the image. Search results for Bulldog were displayed at the bottom of the screen. I tried this feature again with the same photo. This time I surrounded dog sunglasses. The search results showed that the glasses were made by his Prada (this was clearly a luxury dog) and included several different options for purchasing the glasses. No, although I was tempted, I didn't.

The S24 Plus has the same camera on the back as the S23 Plus, with three lenses: wide-angle, ultra-wide-angle, and telephoto. The main camera is equipped with a 50 million pixel sensor. Below are photos taken with the main camera. As you can see, the image looks great if the lighting is right. No surprises there.

Top view of a brick building Top view of a brick building

Shot with Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus main camera.

Patrick Holland/CNET

cat sleeping on a chair cat sleeping on a chair

Shot with Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus main camera.

Patrick Holland/CNET

san francisco skyline san francisco skyline

Shot with Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus main camera.

Patrick Holland/CNET

So after two days, there's only one conclusion I can come to regarding the Galaxy S24 Plus. “We still need to test it.” I will share my full thoughts in a future review soon. I hope that the problem with Ultra and Plus can also be resolved.

Editor's note: CNET uses an AI engine to create some stories. See this post for more information.

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Look at this: Samsung unveils new S24 series phones and their AI chops

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra specs and Galaxy S24 Plus, Galaxy S24

samsung galaxy s24 ultra samsung galaxy s24 plus samsung galaxy s24
Display size, technology, resolution, and refresh rate 6.8 inch AMOLED. 3,120×1,440 pixels. Adaptive refresh rate from 1 to 120Hz 6.7 inch AMOLED. 3,120×1,440 pixels. Adaptive refresh rate from 1 to 120Hz 6.2 inch AMOLED. 2,340×1,080 pixels. Adaptive refresh rate from 1 to 120Hz
pixel density 501ppi 509ppi 416 ppi
Dimensions (inch) 6.40×3.11×0.34 inch 6.24×3×0.3 inch 5.79 x 2.78 x 0.3 inch
Dimensions (mm) 163×79×8.6mm 158×76×7.6mm 147×71×7.6mm
Weight (grams, ounces) 233 g (8.22 oz) 197g (6.95oz) 168g (5.93oz)
mobile software android 14 android 14 android 14
camera 200 megapixels (wide), 12 megapixels (ultrawide), 10 megapixels (3x telephoto), 50 megapixels (5x telephoto) 50 million pixels (wide angle), 12 million pixels (ultra wide angle), 10 million pixels (telephoto) 50 million pixels (wide angle), 12 million pixels (ultra wide angle), 10 million pixels (telephoto)
front camera 12 megapixel 12 megapixel 12 megapixel
video capture 8K 8K 8K
processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 3rd generation Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 3rd generation Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 3rd generation
RAM/Storage 12GB RAM + 256GB, 512GB, 1TB 12GB RAM + 256GB, 512GB 8GB RAM + 128GB, 256GB
expandable storage none none none
battery 5,000mAh 4,900mAh 4,000mAh
fingerprint sensor On display On display On display
connector USB-C USB-C USB-C
headphone jack none none none
special features Titanium frame, 2,600 nits peak brightness. 7 years of OS and security updates. 5G (millimeter wave); IP68 waterproof and dustproof performance. Wireless PowerShare for charging other devices. Integrated S Pen. UWB to find other devices. 45W wired charging (charger not included).Galaxy AI; Wi-Fi 7; Gorilla Glass Armor cover glass 2,600 nits peak brightness. 7 years of OS and security updates. 5G (millimeter wave); IP68 waterproof and dustproof performance. Wireless PowerShare for charging other devices. 45W wired charging (charger not included). Galaxy AI; Wi-Fi 6E 2,600 nits peak brightness. 7 years of OS and security updates. 5G (millimeter wave); IP68 waterproof and dustproof performance. Wireless PowerShare for charging other devices. 25W wired charging (charger not included). Galaxy AI; Wi-Fi 6E
US prices start at $1,300 (256GB) $1,000 (256GB) $800 (128GB)
UK prices start from £1,249 (256GB) £999 (256GB) £799 (128GB)
Australian prices start from AUD 2,199 (256GB) AUD 1,699 (256GB) AU$1,399 (256GB)



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