Review of the Samsung Galaxy S24: A Small but Mighty Phone Enhanced with AI Technology

Samsung Galaxy S24 Introduction

In search of a good compact phone? Samsung is one of the few companies that produce a compact phone, and not just any compact phone: a flagship grade one. Introducing the Galaxy S24! It merges a small size with an enhanced design, it boasts quicker performance, improved cameras, and a touch of enchanting “Galaxy AI” throughout.

“Compact” in this context is a relative term: at 6.2 inches, the Galaxy S24 isn’t quite as diminutive as miniature phones of the recent past, but in 2024 when most phones come with substantial 6.7-inch+ screens, it fits the bill. So, let’s explore all the new features and perceive why the Galaxy S24 may very well be the finest compact phone of the year.

What’s fresh about the Galaxy S24
Evolved design with flat sides
Slimmer screen borders, uniform bezel
Compact 6.2″ size
Rapid Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor (in the US)
But still only 8GB of RAM
New “Galaxy AI” features
Same triple camera hardware, but new camera processing
Marginally bigger, 4000mAh battery
Unchanged charging speeds
$800 starting price
Table of Contents:
Galaxy S24 Specs
Same price, lots of smaller refinements
Specs
Galaxy S24
Size and Weight
147 x 70.6 x 7.6mm
168 grams
Display
6.17″ OLED
1-120Hz
2,600 nits peak brightness
Processor
Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 (in the US)
Software
Samsung One UI 6.1 on top of Android 14
Cameras
50MP main, f/1.8
10MP 3X zoom, f/2.4
12MP ultra-wide, f/2.2
12MP front
Battery Size
4,000 mAh
Charging Speeds
25W via cable
15W wireless
Prices
8/128GB for $800
8/256GB for $900
Galaxy S24 Design & Colors
Flat sides and thinner, perfectly uniform bezels!

The Galaxy S24 preserves the look that Samsung phones are known for, with the three separate camera lenses on the back, but there are some improvements. Firstly, the sides of the phone are now flat, just like on recent iPhones. Phones with flat sides are becoming the new norm and among some of their benefits is that it’s just easier to grab the device from a table.

The Galaxy S24 size is extremely similar to the previous model, so still quite small, even if not “mini” sized. As for materials, you have a tougher new Armor Aluminum frame and we like that the sides have a matte finish now, so they don’t attract fingerprints. Look closer and you’d also notice how the connection between the rear panel and the frame is practically seamless, which is nice.

Up front, borders around the screen are a bit smaller for a more immersive look. The rest is the same as before: IP68 rating, USB-C port on the bottom, and power and volume keys on the right-hand side. The phone feels pretty durable with this new design, but in case you are looking we have a round-up of the best Galaxy S24 cases.

Marble Gray
Cobalt Violet
Onyx Black
Amber Yellow
Which one is your favorite?
Galaxy S24 Display
A bright and beautiful screen, but unfortunately it does not get the reflection-killing technology of the S24 Ultra

The Galaxy S24 also receives a slightly bigger 6.17-inch screen this year, and this screen can get super bright too. It can reach 2,600 nits of peak brightness, a significant improvement from the 1,750 nits of the previous model, and this makes using the phone outdoors much easier. Also, for the first time on the vanilla model you now have 1Hz-120Hz refresh rate, a feature previously exclusive to the Ultra model. With a 1Hz refresh rate for static content, the phone is more frugal and its battery can last a bit longer.

Borders around the screen have gotten slimmer too for a more immersive look. The resolution remains 1080p, but we don’t really mind. That is already sharp enough for the vast majority of people. As for biometrics, you have an ultrasonic in-screen fingerprint reader, and this time Samsung uses a newer and faster sensor. It’s not a massive change, but it is noticeable and considering that you unlock your phone dozens of times each day, we found this one of the more profound improvements in the Galaxy S24.

Galaxy S24 Camera
Same camera hardware, but big changes to the way images look

And the hardware is indeed the same. Samsung is using the same main camera sensor for a third year in a row, and there are no changes to the ultra-wide and 3X zoom cameras either. Yet still, photos and videos from the S24 camera look noticeably different. It all starts with the viewfinder which now gets HDR preview, so you can see exactly how the photo will look when you take it (that was not the case on the S23 series).

Samsung is also bringing a new look to images. Photos get rid of the horrific oversharpening we had on previous generations and colors are a bit more toned down and more balanced. The tonality is still a bit on the warmer side, but it’s a massive improvement. And this is true for all cameras: the wide, the ultra-wide and even zoomed in photos benefit. Photos now have a much more natural look and we have got to say we love that. This might just be the biggest upgrade for the Samsung camera in years, despite the phone not having new camera hardware.

You also have a few new AI photo editing features (hiding behind the blue icon with the three stars):
erase shadows and reflections
erase a whole object
move and resize an object in a photo.
In the above example, you can see that the phone does a good job for relatively simple edits, but if you have busier backgrounds or a more complex selection, it struggles. The move and resize feature, in particular, I found to be both impressive and also the one I was least likely to use, because of the hit-or-miss results (reality is tough to change!).

Video Quality

Video is also improved. One cool new feature is Instant Slow-mo. Just long press a video and that particular moment will slow down and AI will generate the missing frames, so you can replay that one special moment in smooth slow motion. And if you are worried about all of this trickery, it’s good to know that a label is added to the metadata to all AI-augmented images and videos.

Galaxy S24 Performance & Benchmarks
First phone to take AI seriously

The Galaxy S24 runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset in the United States, but other markets get a version powered by a Samsung Exynos 2400 chipset. Performance indeed gets a nice boost with these new chips, but Samsung seems to be focusing just as much on the “Galaxy AI” element of performance rather than raw speed. We have the Exynos version for this review and while running the GeekBench 6 CPU-focused benchmark, we saw a big improvement in multi-core speeds. Gaming performance is improved even more falling only very slightly short of the industry-leading iPhone 15 Pro. In pure specs, the Galaxy S24 comes with 8GB of RAM on board, less than the 12GB in the larger models. That is a bit of a letdown as less RAM means apps in the background will have to reload more often and multitasking might not be as smooth for power users. You have two available configurations:
8/128GB base model for $800
8/256GB option for $900
Those who order early would benefit from a free storage upgrade, so that’s nice.

Galaxy S24 Software
The Galaxy S24 arrives with Android 14 and Samsung’s latest One UI 6.1 on top of that. The new One UI 6.1 has the same visuals as the 6.0 version but adds a few new AI-powered features. The native Phone app now supports real-time translation of phone calls within, supporting 13 languages at start. It uses on-device AI so that your privacy is protected and you also get voice and text translation built-in. The Samsung keyboard also gets augmented with a feature called Chat Assist where with a press of a button, you can translate messages. You will also see suggestions for tweaking the tone of your messages, and the Galaxy will suggest emojis to enhance the tone of your message. When using Android Auto, Galaxy AI summarizes your messages so you can know what’s up with just a glance, and it will suggest quick replies too. For meetings with multiple people or when just recording your thoughts via voice, Transcript Assist will give you a summary and even translations if needed. One other cool new feature is Circle to Search with Google, which makes its debut on the Galaxy S24. Just long press the home button at any time and circle anything on any screen (for example a cool landmark) to search for it. Finally, Samsung promises an impressive SEVEN years of OS upgrades and security patches for the Galaxy S24. This is the first Galaxy to get such long software support (the S23 series only supported 4 years of OS upgrades), which is great news.

Galaxy S24 Battery
Slightly bigger battery size, but no change in charging speeds

The Galaxy S24 battery gets a slightly bigger 4,000mAh battery, up from 3,900mAh on the last year’s model. This is just 2.5% bigger, so don’t expect big changes in battery life. PhoneArena Battery Test Results: We perform three separate battery tests here at PhoneArena, and the Galaxy S24 scores a slight improvement on our web browsing test. For this test, we run a script which loads up the same set of webpages and scrolls around. Next up, we have our YouTube video playback test and the score here has barely changed compared to the last year’s model. And finally, we have our 3D gaming test where we even scored a tiny bit of a regression. So overall, battery life is for what it’s worth roughly the same, compared to last year’s version. Charging speeds have also remained unchanged. PhoneArena Charging Test Results: For years, Galaxy phones have used 25W charging via a wire, and roughly 15W wireless charging speeds, and that’s exactly what we have on the S24.

Galaxy S24 Audio Quality and Haptics

Samsung tweaks the speakers on its phones ever so slightly every year, and the Galaxy S24 is not a huge leap forward when it comes to loudspeaker quality. It gets decently loud (but not nearly as loud as bigger phones) and it does well when you play music with very little bass. The lower frequencies are definitely not handled well here and while that is the case on most phones, you do get a bit more bass on rivals like iPhones. For talking head videos, however, the Galaxy does a great job. There don’t seem to be any changes to the vibration motor. You get a nice and pleasant vibration feedback when typing, but this is not quite as refined a haptic feedback as on devices like the OnePlus 12 and the latest iPhones which seem to be in a different league.

Galaxy S24 Competitors
The good news is the Galaxy S24 price is not going up. The base 8/128GB model costs $800, and there are some great Galaxy S24 deals around too. If you are looking at the Galaxy S24, chances are you want a compact phone. This means, you basically have only two good alternatives: Google’s vanilla Pixel 8 model, and the Apple iPhone 15 Pro. Here is briefly how these two phones compare to the new Galaxy S24:  Galaxy S24 Rivals Advantages (over Galaxy S24) Disadvantages (vs Galaxy S24)

Google Pixel 8(MSRP $700)
More affordable
7 years of software updates
Bigger battery size
Slower processor
Lacks zoom camera
Apple iPhone 15 Pro(MSRP $1,000)
Bigger iOS ecosystem (Mac, Apple Watch, Airdpods, etc)
Runs iOS (with its pros and cons)
Smoother gesture navigation
Costs more Runs iOS
No built-in AI features yet
Learn more here:
Galaxy S24 Summary and Final Verdict

The Galaxy S24 is clearly not a huge upgrade and its most advertised new features – Galaxy AI – is coming to older Galaxy models via a software update soon. But there are new features to be excited about. We prefer the new design, we like the faster fingerprint scanner, we can appreciate the changes in image quality this year, and the aforementioned AI is really cool. The Galaxy also now has a better screen and we love that it gets both bright and dim at night, so it’s easier on the eyes. If we had one wish, that would be for Samsung to bring the reflection-free screen from the S24 Ultra to this smaller model. But overall, the improvements made here are welcome. Galaxy S23 owners certainly should not see much of a rush to upgrade, but those coming from older models will appreciate the novelty in the Galaxy S24 and its unchanged $800 price tag.

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