[REVIEW] Samsung Galaxy S24 UItra: Flagship Redefined with Galaxy AI

Slight improvement buffed by artificial intelligence.

Cover image via Calvin Khor/SAYS

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Samsung is a leading innovator in the Android space

The smartphone landscape is a competitive arena, where each year's flagships vie for dominance with incremental upgrades and flashy specs. But, Samsung hopes to break the mold this year.

Sure, the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra, the crown jewel of the S24 series, boasts the expected top-tier processor, a dazzling display, and a camera system fit for any enthusiast photographer. Yet, the true story of the S24 Ultra lies elsewhere: in its embrace of artificial intelligence.

Is this AI revolution a game-changer or a marketing gimmick? Here's our honest review:

Samsung ditches the glass back this year, opting for a sleek and ultra-durable titanium frame

The titanium build elevates the S24 Ultra to a new level of premium. It's incredibly strong, scratch-resistant, and lightweight, offering both aesthetic appeal and practical advantages.

However, it is worth noting that the corners of the phone can be pointy, especially if not gripped just right. The corners can dig into your palm, particularly during extended use.

A powerhouse of a display on the S24 Ultra offers exceptional clarity, vibrant colors, and a smooth user experience.

The massive 6.8-inch display boasts a Quad HD+ (3120 x 1440) resolution, offering sharp visuals and ample screen real estate for multimedia, gaming, and productivity. Plus, its 120Hz refresh rate gives butter-smooth scrolling and animations enhance responsiveness, especially in gaming and fast-paced content.

With a peak brightness of 2,600 nits, it makes a significant difference when viewing the phone outside. Taking the display a step further, the S24 Ultra incorporates an anti-reflective coating that significantly reduces unwanted glare.

Samsung also opted for a flat-screen design this year, bucking its own trend of curved displays for their previous Ultra devices, and we are all for it. 

Packing the latest and greatest Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor, the S24 Ultra promises blazing-fast performance and unmatched power

This processor offers a significant performance leap over its predecessors. You can expect faster app launch times, smoother multitasking, and effortless handling of demanding tasks like gaming and video editing.

With this top-tier processor, the S24 Ultra is well-equipped to handle even the most demanding future apps and games. You know that it won't become obsolete anytime soon. This future-proofing is not just hardware, as Samsung has also promised seven years of security and software updates. 

As for the battery, it is a 5,000mAh battery, same as last year's

The S24 Ultra retains the same 45W wired and 15W wireless charging speeds as its predecessor, but should be more than sufficient for most people. While there isn't an upgrade, power-users can still expect a full-day's use with the S24 Ultra. You can comfortably stretch the battery life to two days even on moderate usage. 

The S24 Ultra provide the trifecta of camera arrays: an expansive Ultrawide, high-res Main camera, and dual 3x and 5x Telephoto lenses

Needless to say, Samsung phones and their image processing are incredibly capable of producing stunning images. So, speaking in terms of pure utility, the S24 Ultra offers a comprehensive camera system equipped for peak image quality at any focal length.

While the S24 Ultra builds upon Samsung's legacy of powerful camera hardware, it's the integration of intelligent AI features that sets it apart this year.   

The Galaxy AI suite is the pièce de résistance for the S24 series, integrating intelligence across various aspects of the phone to enhance usability

Original photo (Left) and AI-edited photo (Right)

Image via Calvin Khor/SAYS

The S24 series takes a bold step towards an AI-powered future with its collection of innovative features. While some require further refinement, each offers a glimpse into the potential for smarter interactions and a more personalised phone experience.

Starting with revamped photo editor, Samsung's Gallery app now comes with a slew of AI-powered features. Generative Edit analyses your image and allows you to resize, remove, or reposition objects, seamlessly filling the background with AI-generated content.

If you take a look at the sample above, you can see that the AI does a pretty decent job filling in the gap after we removed the people in the background. This was done on the first try and we weren't being very careful with the selection for removal.

There are more features like Object Extraction where you can isolate objects from your photos with impressive precision, perfect for creating collages, adding them to other images, or simply turn them into stickers.

Impressive text-based AI features designed to streamline tasks and enhance communication

The Galaxy AI's text-based features are just as promising, however, some features are still rough around the edges, and their effectiveness relies heavily on specific use cases and individual needs.

Call Assist, a feature that facilitates real-time, two-way language translation during phone calls, had struggled to interpret our English for some reason, despite its translation capabilities. Additionally, accurate transcription seemed to require us to speak so quickly and precisely that it felt unnatural.

While accuracy varied, successful translations demonstrated a level of faithfulness to the original content, albeit judged within the constraints of our limited Chinese proficiency.

We definitely used Writing Assist in the Samsung Keyboard more and it is a total game-changer! Now it's built right in, ready to polish your writing like a pro. This embedded functionality eliminates the need for separate browser apps, streamlining AI-powered writing assistance.

The S24's Writing Assist goes beyond basic grammar and spell check. It also offers a fun feature called "Writing Styles" that lets you add flair and personality to your writing with five styles, such as Professional, Casual, Polite, #social, and Emojify.

The Samsung Keyboard further integrates translation functionality with the inclusion of Chat Translation. Similar to the previously introduced Call Assist feature, the accuracy of these translations is generally satisfactory.

Stumbles and all, the S24 Ultra, and the S24 series, is paving the way for smarter phones

While the S24 Ultra might not be a flawless AI revolution, it embodies the spirit of a true flagship, pushing boundaries and showcasing the potential of what's to come. The AI features, despite their occasional stumbles, offer a glimpse into a future where our phones become intuitive assistants, streamlining communication, boosting productivity, and even adding a dash of creative flair.

As AI technology continues to evolve, the S24 Ultra stands as a testament to its potential, leaving us eager to see what the next generation holds. It may not be magic just yet, but it's certainly a glimpse into a future where our phones understand us better than ever before.

Starting at RM6,299, the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra is the flagship of flagships with the potential to grow with Galaxy AI

Whether you're a tech enthusiast, a creative professional, or simply someone who wants a phone that can keep up with your busy life, the S24 Ultra is a compelling option. It's an investment in the future, a chance to experience the cutting edge of what smartphones can do.

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