Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra Review: The Best Ultra Ever

 Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra

MSRP $1,300.00

“The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra is one of the most complete, most capable, and most creatively versatile smartphones we’ve ever used.”

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra Pros

  • High performance processor
  • Improved telephoto cameras
  • Flatter screen aids S Pen use
  • Battery will last two days
  • Long software support
  • Durable build and materials
  • Circle to Search by Google

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra Cons

  • Unfortunate price increase
  • Speakers easily covered up
  • Chat Assist is almost unusable
  • Charging speeds are only average

If you asked the AI chatbot of your choice to help design a smartphone with the best specification possible, it might come up with something similar to the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra, which itself is packed full of AI smarts.

After all, there’s very little missing from the top Galaxy model, with everything from a stylus to the very latest processor included. Does this mean you shouldn’t think twice about buying it? Let’s find out.

About our Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra review

This is my preliminary review based on seven days with the Galaxy S24 Ultra, which I used extensively as my primary smartphone during this time. After another seven days with the phone, it will be updated when I finalize my opinion of the battery life, camera performance, and software reliability. However, none of these aspects (or any other part of the phone) have given me cause for concern at this time, and I don’t expect my overall score or opinion to change unless something dramatically alters.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra: Design

The back of the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra, resting against a post.Samsung hasn’t really changed the design of the Galaxy S24 Ultra, as it’s very similar looking to the Galaxy S23 Ultra, but it has made various alterations that make the phone more durable, easier to use, and even more modern. It may not have had a significant redesign, but what has been altered is more meaningful than just a few new lines and a different look to the camera.

A titanium frame replaces the Armor Aluminum frame used on the S23 Ultra, and it’s warmer to the touch, likely more scratch-resistant, and has a more attractive visual texture. The sides are less curvy than before, which, combined with the grippier titanium, makes it feel more secure in your hand. The screen is flatter too, and with a smaller bezel at the bottom, making the enormous screen look somehow even bigger. This is an imposing smartphone.

The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra from the side, resting against a post.The flat screen isn’t the design disaster on the S24 Ultra as it is on some other phones, and it actually makes writing with the S Pen stylus more comfortable when you’re holding the phone in your other hand. Dimensionally, none of this makes much of a difference compared to the Galaxy S23 Ultra, as it’s only a hair thinner (8.6mm compared to 8.9mm) and a millimeter shorter and less wide, too, plus it is one single gram lighter.


It means the Galaxy S24 Ultra is still a massive 232-gram smartphone that will stretch your pocket to capacity. It’s not ungainly, though, and time does mean you get used to wrangling such a whopping piece of technology. But if you want a compact device, the regular Galaxy S24 will be much more up your street.

A person holding the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra.Drop the S24 Ultra, and you could face a hefty repair bill, so a case is recommended if you’re concerned. Thankfully, it’s not a slippery phone at all. Samsung has sealed the phone well enough to have an IP68 water and dust resistance rating, and the screen is covered in Corning’s Gorilla Armor glass, exclusive to the S24 Ultra. It’s supposed to be more scratch-resistant, which is great, but more noticeably and just as welcome is it’s less reflective than other glass, making the screen easier to see in bright conditions.


The Galaxy S24 Ultra’s style has been refined over the past few generations and is instantly recognizable. The addition of titanium makes it more modern, and surprisingly, so does the flat screen, which also has considerable ergonomic benefits. It’s also as durable as phones get. I’d choose one of Samsung’s brighter, exclusive online colors to give it some visual pep, but otherwise, this is a smartphone you’ll be proud to carry around — even if it doesn’t always fit in your pocket.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra: screen and performance

The special Gorilla Armor glass stops reflections from being such a pain, but the 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2x screen has another trick to make outside viewing easier: a peak brightness of 2,500 nits. Dreary winter days in the U.K. mean I’ve probably not seen it hit this yet, but on the sunnier days, I’ve had no problem viewing the screen comfortably with the brightness slider at maximum. The Adaptive Brightness works well, and I haven’t needed to adjust it manually, indicating it isn’t aggressively restricting the brightness to save battery life.

But what about alongside the OnePlus 12? The new OnePlus phone has a peak brightness of 4,500 nits for those who dislike their retinas but will sit at 1,600 nits when it’s not trying to blind you. Compare them side-by-side at maximum everyday brightness (set by the slider), and the OnePlus phone certainly is a little brighter, up to the point of being quite stark. Even with the Pro setting activated for the OnePlus’s color profile, it can’t quite match the S24 Ultra’s lovely vibrance and pop. The OnePlus 12’s screen is undoubtedly a bit brighter, but unless you live on the surface of the sun, I doubt you’ll need the additional level of brightness that often.

The Galaxy S24 Ultra’s performance and visuals are incredible almost all the time.

Out of the box, the screen is set to a 2340 x 1080 pixel resolution, and you must manually switch to its full 3120 x 1440 pixel resolution. The refresh rate is set to adaptive as standard, meaning it dynamically switches between 1 and 120Hz depending on the screen’s activity. During normal use, I don’t notice any difference in sharpness when using the highest resolution setting, and it’s wonderfully smooth and stable at all times. The screen always looks excellent.

Qualcomm has worked with Samsung to optimize the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for the Galaxy chip inside the S24 Ultra, and it comes with 12GB of RAM and a choice of storage options. I’ve had no problems at all with its performance when using the phone for calls, apps, and other basic tasks. Over 30 minutes of playing games like Asphalt 9: Legends barely makes the phone warm, and even benchmarking stress tests can’t make it too hot to handle. Annoyingly, holding the phone in a landscape orientation does make it easy to cover the speakers.

The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra and S Pen stylus on its screen.This is the advantage of the Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro, which also uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, as its forward-facing speakers aren’t so easily obscured, plus they deliver more bass and have a much fuller, wonderfully musical tone. Due to Asus’s redesign, the ROG Phone 8 Pro is lighter and more manageable than the Galaxy S24 Ultra, plus the screen is absolutely stunning. Playing games back-to-back, I’d play for longer on the Asus phone, so do consider it if gaming is a priority.


While the OnePlus 12 and Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro are strong competition in certain situations, the Galaxy S24 Ultra’s performance and visuals are incredible almost all the time, no matter what you’re doing or where, making it such a fantastic all-rounder. It’s perfect for someone who wants to do pretty much everything on their phone and not compromise.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra: Camera

The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra's camera lenses.Like the Galaxy S23 Ultra, the Galaxy S24 Ultra has a 200-megapixel main camera, a 12MP wide-angle camera, and a 10MP telephoto camera for 3x optical zoom photos. The main hardware change is a new 50MP telephoto camera for a 5x optical zoom, and 10x zoom photos are now “optical quality.” Inside is Samsung’s ProVisual Engine, Super HDR, and a selection of Galaxy AI editing tools to enhance your photos during and after shooting them.

You can see how the Galaxy S24 Ultra’s telephoto cameras compare to the Galaxy S23 Ultra’s in our separate test, but rest assured that outside of slightly less detail at 10x zoom, the Galaxy S24 Ultra’s telephoto cameras take better, more colorful, and more visually accurate photos than its predecessor. Despite what the nomenclature may lead you to believe, it’s a genuine upgrade.

Shoot with the main and wide-angle camera, and the S24 Ultra performs much like the S23 Ultra — taking colorful, punchy photos that are great for social media but also have depth and detail so you can edit them using apps like Lightroom for a very polished final look. Photos in extreme lowlight are decent but can be a little noisy, and I’m still testing lowlight photography in general. I dislike how close-up shots force the main camera to activate the intrusive “focus enhancer” mode, ruining any depth of field you may be trying to create.

A more successful feature is the new AI-assisted auto slow-motion mode, where you tap and hold on a video shot at normal speed, and the S24 Ultra slows it down while the AI fills in the missing frames. If the video is very busy, it’s a tiny bit jerky, but at all other times, you’d never know it wasn’t actually shot in slow motion. You can edit the video to only slow down at certain moments too, creating your own little stylized movie. It’s great.

The camera is packed full of video features, too, including UHD resolution recording with access to all the different zoom levels, 8K at 30 frames-per-second (fps), and UHD slow motion video at 120fps. Along with assessing the battery life, I’ll continue to use the Galaxy S24 Ultra’s camera over the coming week.

So far, it impresses with its versatility; the useful AI features work very well, and the telephoto cameras have been improved at 3x and 5x zoom. The 10x zoom is also far better than I expected, and it completes the S24 Ultra’s comprehensive array of photography tools.

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