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Samsung Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus overview: good selections

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The Galaxy S24 Plus and S24 borrow among the finest concepts from Apple and Google, taking a operating bounce with them into the AI period.

The flat-edge design is undeniably iPhone, and the AI tech is basically Google. The software program, for higher and worse, is all Samsung. However I wouldn’t name both telephone the perfect of all worlds. And though it’s tempting to name them higher Google telephones than the Pixel, I don’t assume that’s all the best way true.

The usual Galaxy S24 nonetheless begins at $799 and the Galaxy S24 Plus begins at $999 — it’s solely the Extremely that went up in worth this 12 months, to $1,299. Except for display screen dimension, the non-Extremely fashions share a lot of the similar options, so I’ll check with them interchangeably all through this overview except in any other case specified.

The hole between the common fashions and the Extremely is wider than earlier than, however the advantages of stepping as much as the Extremely don’t really feel extra compelling. Positive, you get a much bigger, higher display screen, extra zoom, and an S Pen, such as you at all times do. However lots of what makes the Extremely good are options it shares with the cheaper fashions. 

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That features the entire extremely touted Galaxy AI options, like generative picture enhancing, reside language translation on telephone calls, and computerized recording summaries. Like most issues AI proper now, they’re sometimes nice and generally bizarre. However on the entire, they do extra good than hurt, and it’s sort of cool figuring out my telephone can translate a name with somebody talking Spanish if I want it to. For all of the quirks in Samsung’s software program, that’s one thing that the Pixel 8 Professional — or every other telephone, for that matter — can’t do proper now.

Large display screen or barely much less massive display screen?

Shows and design

Samsung managed to cram some additional display screen into the Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus with out making the telephones meaningfully greater — the S24 Plus went from a 6.6-inch to six.7-inch panel, and the S24 has a 6.2-inch versus a 6.1-inch display screen. How did Samsung handle this? Each telephones are barely taller now, and the bezels are only a hair slimmer on the brand new fashions.

Additionally they get just a bit brighter in direct daylight, as much as 2600 nits. It’s not an enormous distinction and also you don’t get the superb glare-reduction on the S24 Extremely’s panel, which actually does make a distinction, but it surely’s one thing. Oh, and the S24 Plus’ panel is now 1440p, and it’s about time Samsung upgraded it from 1080p.

That’s a damned iPhone if I ever noticed one.
Picture by Allison Johnson / The Verge

There’s one year-over-year design distinction that I’m significantly grateful for: the slight curve on the perimeters is gone instead of gloriously flat sides. It’s very a lot giving iPhone vibes, and I believe that’s simply effective. I discover a flat-edge telephone a lot simpler to select up with out it flying out of my fingers, and I don’t discover it any much less snug to carry in a single hand. 

That design language isn’t the one cue Samsung’s taking from Apple — One UI 6.1 provides wallpaper dimming for the always-on show, within the method of current Professional iPhones, although just for the S24 telephones. Higher but, there are widgets! You’ll be able to organize a handful of them in a bar beneath the clock to indicate you your telephone’s battery life or your subsequent calendar occasion at a look, hands-free. We’re in an period of telephones doing extra for you while you’re not actively utilizing them, and I’m right here for it.

The Galaxy S24 is about as small as Android flagships get.

Efficiency, battery, and software program

For those who purchase the Galaxy S24 or S24 Plus within the US, it’ll include a Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset, identical to the Extremely. However in contrast to the Extremely, fashions offered outdoors the US will hold with one in all Samsung’s personal Exynos chips. I examined the Snapdragon variations of the S24 and S24 Plus and actually can’t discover a fault with them, performance-wise. The S24 Plus comes with 12GB of RAM, whereas the bottom mannequin S24 (together with my overview unit) comes with 8GB of RAM. I didn’t discover any important variations between the 2 in day-to-day efficiency.

Now that I’ve used all three S24 collection telephones, battery efficiency appears roughly the identical on all of them — the larger the telephone is, the extra power-hungry it’s, however the distinction is offset by a much bigger battery. On earlier generations, the smaller telephone was noticeably worse, however I believe that downside has been principally solved at this level with extra power-efficient chipsets and barely greater batteries. One factor I do want Samsung had included? Qi2. There’s no help for the MagSafe-esque commonplace, and that’s a disgrace.

On this, the 12 months 2024, Samsung nonetheless ships its high-end telephones with three-button navigation because the default. I normally plan to spend a bit of additional time untangling a few of Samsung’s weirder default settings every time I exploit a brand new Galaxy telephone, and the S24 units have been no exception. No, I don’t need to discuss to Bixby after I long-press the facility button. No, I don’t need my app drawer organized in a nonsensical order the place I can by no means discover something. As standard, placing in a bit of work upfront to de-Samsung your telephone is a fundamental requirement.

Placing in a bit of work up entrance to de-Samsung your telephone is a fundamental requirement

That’s the place I’ve a tough time calling the S24 an outright winner over the Pixel. After getting all the pieces the place you need it, the S24 is a triumph. However Samsung actually makes you’re employed for it, and Pixel telephones simply run higher software program proper out of the field. Living proof: the Pixel 8 Professional doesn’t help widgets on the always-on show just like the S24 does, however At a Look will floor helpful info there with out you lifting a finger. All of it simply feels a bit of extra turnkey.

Samsung goes toe to toe with Google’s new coverage of supporting its flagship telephones with seven years of software program updates — OS upgrades and safety updates included. That feels extra necessary within the S24 and S24 Plus, which I think individuals are extra prone to maintain onto for longer than an Extremely proprietor who needs to chase the most recent tech. 

The Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus is simply full of AI.

The S24 units have the identical AI options throughout all the collection, which is not the case on the Pixel 8 collection — some options are reserved for the larger, pricier Pixel 8 Professional, regardless of it utilizing the exact same processor because the Pixel 8. I lined most of the S24 AI options in depth in my Galaxy S24 Ultra review, so you may verify that out for an in depth take a look at voice transcription and summaries, phone call translation, and among the generative AI photo editing features

The quick model is that none of those options really feel indispensable, however a lot of them are genuinely useful even once they’re not excellent. Having a real-time translator on a name with somebody who speaks one other language is on no account worse than not having one. Generative AI picture edits are actually uneven in high quality, however there’s no hurt completed if you wish to merely reside your life with out utilizing them. Samsung may begin charging for these options after 2025, so it’s correctly giving itself some runway to get AI off the bottom. Proper now, there’s nothing value paying for.

One factor I’ll add now that I’ve been taking part in with AI on the S24 for a few weeks is that Samsung’s generative picture editor appears far more vulnerable to including bizarre shit into your images than the Pixel. I attempted erasing my husband’s arm out of the identical picture on each the Galaxy S24 and the Pixel 8 Professional. The Pixel did its finest to simply replicate the sofa within the background the place his arm was — the S24 as an alternative changed it with a brand new arm made out of pillows. Samsung! Why?

Digital camera and picture high quality

The enhancing software program could also be radically totally different, however the digital camera {hardware} on the S24 and S24 Plus hasn’t modified from the earlier era. You continue to get a 50-megapixel predominant digital camera, 12-megapixel ultrawide, and an precise 3x telephoto zoom regardless of which of those two telephone sizes you select — and that’s darn good of them. 

There are a number of processing updates underneath the hood, even within the absence of latest {hardware}. Low-light pictures taken at 2x zoom now use a lossless crop from the center of the sensor; on the S23 collection, the digital camera reverted to digital zoom in dim mild.

Samsung has additionally added foreground blur in portrait mode, which feels like a small factor, but it surely makes a giant distinction in your images wanting much less like cardboard cutouts. These little tweaks construct on what was already a darn good digital camera system. Samsung’s coloration processing leans laborious into vibrant reds and blues, per standard, which isn’t at all times my favourite. However when it’s good, it’s good.

Samsung is definitely one step forward of Google in adopting Extremely HDR, the brand new picture format supported by Android 14. It’s the good HDR, not the unhealthy stuff, and it permits your images to pop in a manner that’s not doable with the usual dynamic vary pictures we’re used to seeing. Samsung not solely helps Extremely HDR picture seize, you may as well edit your images and share them to Instagram with out dropping the HDR info. The Pixel 8 collection shoots Extremely HDR, however doesn’t but help HDR enhancing in its personal Photographs app or sharing to social media.

A few of the finest elements of the Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus aren’t totally unique to Samsung, and I believe that’s effective. Adopting a popular, purposeful design and leaning on Google for AI is simply good — why reinvent the little black rectangle?

And in contrast to flat gadget edges, AI options have so much to show. The S24 is a lower-stakes strategy to get in on the AI future than the $1,300 Extremely, or some other extra radical concepts floating round on the market. 

Most significantly, it’s only a good, dependable telephone. The screens on each units are wonderful, and the smaller Galaxy S24 stays probably the greatest fairly small telephones you should buy proper now. For those who’re a small telephone fan like me, then it’s the one to select. 

The Galaxy S24 Plus strikes me as the final word crowd-pleaser

So far as massive Android telephones go, you actually can’t do higher than the Galaxy S24 Plus proper now when it comes to efficiency and worth. Positive, you may go Extremely and get absolutely the most telephone, with a giant, unbelievable display screen, higher zoom, and a built-in S Pen. However I believe the Extremely demographic is a bit more self-selecting, and the S24 Plus strikes me as the final word crowd-pleaser for somebody who simply needs a terrific Android telephone.

That stated, there are some good causes to contemplate the Pixel 8 Professional as an alternative. Its 5x telephoto has only a bit extra attain for these distant topics in comparison with the S24’s 3x zoom, and Pixel software program is much less fussy than One UI. However the Pixel’s Tensor G3 processor can run a bit hotter than the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 when you push it, and Google caught with the curved edge design, for now at least. Generally, the neatest transfer is to acknowledge a good suggestion and embrace it — even when another person considered it first.

Images by Allison Johnson / The Verge

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