We previously shared our first impressions and unboxed the new Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra fresh from its Malaysia launch and after taking it for a spin around the block, here’s our Galaxy S24 Ultra review where we share if their ultimate flagship phone with their new Galaxy AI is worth its substantial price tag.
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra review – Specifications, benchmarks and performance
Table of Contents
The design of the Galaxy S24 Ultra shows that Samsung is indeed listening to consumers. Building on the proven design of its predecessor the Galaxy S23 Ultra, the Galaxy S24 Ultra features a flat top and bottom with rounded sides that offer a more comfortable grip. Detractors may demur its lack of aesthetic upgrades but on the contrary, the phone has been upgraded from within and without in the ways that matter.
Rather than sticking to the Armor Aluminum 2 material used in the smaller Galaxy S24 and S24+, the S24 Ultra uses even tougher titanium alloy for the chassis while retaining a robust IP68 dust and water resistance rating. The display enjoys even more protection this time around as it uses the new Corning Gorilla Armor glass – currently their most scratch resistant glass yet while also reducing irksome reflections by 75% – making it more durable as well as easier and clearer to view. This is on top of its current IP68 dust and water resistance.
Listening to feedback, Samsung has also made the display completely flat which makes using the S Pen stylus on it a better experience without it gliding off the edges by accident when writing on the screen. The display itself is brighter too with 2,600 nits peak brightness augmented by their Vision Booster tech that can further amp up brightness settings for superb clarity even under direct sunlight along with an adaptive 1- 120Hz refresh rate too.
Unlike the Galaxy S24 and S24+ that uses an Exynos 2400 chipset in some regions including Malaysia, the Galaxy S24 Ultra universally uses the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for Galaxy processor for every model in every region. Our Galaxy S24 Ultra review sample features 12GB LPDDR5X RAM with 256GB of fast UFS 4.0 storage though pricier variants with 512GB and even 1TB are available for customers in Malaysia. Here’s how a summary of the specifications of our Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra review sample:
|RM6,299 (12GB RAM, 256GB storage), RM6,799 (12GB RAM, 512GB storage), RM7,799 (12GB RAM, 1TB storage)
|6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X, Quad HD+ (1,440 x 3,120 pixels) resolution, 1-120Hz adaptive refresh rate, HDR10+, 2,600 nits peak brightness
|Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for Galaxy
|12GB LPDDR5X RAM / 256GB (review unit), 512GB or 1TB UFS 4.0 storage
|Android 14 w/ One UI 6.1 (7 year OS and security updates)
|200MP F/1.7 w/ PDAF, laser autofocus and OIS + 50MP F/3.4 with 5x optical zoom, PDAF and OIS + 10MP F/2.4 w/ OIS 3x optical zoom + 12MP F/2.2 ultra wide angle with Dual Pixel [rear] / 12MP F/2.2 w/ Dual Pixel AF [front]
|5,000mAh w/ 45W wired charging, 15W wireless charging, 4.5W reverse wireless charging
|162.3 x 79 x 8.6mm / 233g
With a maximum 8GB RAM Plus virtual RAM assigned with the phone running the latest Android14 with OneUI 6.1, our Galaxy S24 Ultra review sample managed to yield the following benchmarks…
|3D Mark Solar Bay
|3D Mark Solar Bay Unlimited
|3D Mark Wild Life Extreme
|3D Mark Wild Life Extreme ULTD
|3D Mark Wild Life
|3D Mark Wild Life Unlimited
|Geekbench 6 Single Core
|Geekbench 6 Multi Core
|Geekbench 6 OpenCL
|Geekbench 6 Vulkan
|PCMark Work 3.0 Performance
|PCMark Battery Life
|17 hours 50 min
In synthetic benchmarks, our Galaxy S24 Ultra review sample does well across the board with high loops scores in the 3D Mark Solar Bay stress test with a high loops score of 6,798 with the lowest being 4,877 though the heat was a balmy 41°C and it had 71.7% stability.
To be fair, Samsung’s own Exynos 2400 processor in the smaller S24 and S24+ had a much higher stability average at 90% which meant it was more stable under heavy performance lods though it had lower best loop scores on average just under the sub 5,000 point range but with higher temperatures average 44-45°C.
These synthetic benchmark results give an idea of its performance envelope of Samsung’s latest flagship phones but don’t fully reflect performance under practical usage scenarios. In that regard, our Galaxy S24 Ultra review sample blows the competition out of the water.
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for Galaxy used in the phone is a variant unique to Samsung that’s clocked slightly faster than the stock variant used in competing phones and handled everything thrown at it be it work or gaming from the latest Call of Duty Warzone to Genshin Impact. While it got a bit warm after heavy gaming sessions, it still remained relatively comfortable to wield without being overly hot to the touch.
The display on our Galaxy S24 Ultra review unit is arguably the best seen on a phone thus far, with superb colour rendition that was brimming with detail while also offering excellent clarity even under direct sunlight. The provision of Corning Gorilla Armor glass also decisively tackles the problem of reflections and glare, offering markedly less reflections when compared to the displays used in the Galaxy S24 and Galaxy S24+.
On the audio front, the stereo speakers don’t disappoint and are able to tackle music, games and movies without issue with sufficient volume to fill a room with sound and share your taste in music or lack thereof with everyone within half a dozen paces.
One of the signature features of the Ultra series since the Galaxy S21 Ultra is the inclusion of an S Pen though it isn’t the focus of this year’s round of updates so it works much like its predecessor in the Galaxy S23 Ultra without radical updates.
The S Pen stylus retains 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity and has BLE to enable it to act as a remote control for selected apps by waving it around in specific gestures which comes in especially handy for using the cameras for group shots. Fortunately, the writing experience for the S Pen has been improved in another fashion – with the flat display letting you write all the way to the edges of the screen.
The new Galaxy AI features are all present on the Galaxy S24 Ultra along with its smaller siblings so you get access to generative AI support for editing pictures in post, slow motion for captured video on demand and more especially for live translations and editing the tone of text to taste.
Of more practical use in daily life are Galaxy AI’s voice transcription capabilities in the default Samsung Voice Recorder which helps to handily transcribe conversations to text with their Samsung Notes app helping to clean up and format text to make it easier to read. It isn’t flawless just yet and some words and accents get inaccurately transcribed but it does help settle a lot of the grunt work with a bit of polishing needed afterwards
It’s still early days for Galaxy AI so not all of its capabilities are at their fullest potential just yet and will likely improve with future updates. The new Circle to Search with Google does offer an easier way to search objects in a browser without actually having to recognise its name though it wasn’t something I used often as the results more often than not were commercially oriented by referring me to links to purchase an item rather than additional information.
Battery life is excellent and our Galaxy S24 Ultra review sample was comfortably able to go through a full day and half of normal use inclusive of light gaming duties off its 5,000mAh battery. In PCMark’s battery life test, our Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra review unit managed a very respectable 17 hours 50 minutes which is one of the best results on test.
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra Review – Cameras
The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra’s camera setup is somewhat akin to the older Galaxy S23 Ultra, featuring a primary 200MP F/1.7 camera with OIS, an ultra wide angle 12MP camera with Dual Pixel AF and a unique dual telephoto camera setup which consists of a 10MP F/2.4 camera with 3x optical zoom and the addition of a 50MP F/3.4 camera with 5x optical zoom and OIS.
The 50MP 5x telephoto camera itself is the primary upgrade over the older Galaxy S23 Ultra’s setup, directly replacing the older model’s smaller 10MP F/3.4 camera with 10x telephoto zoom by offering a more practical zoom length and a larger sensor. The better NPU with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for Galaxy also affords the phone better low light results and better 100x Space Zoom images too.
The rear camera setup is capable of 8K@30fps video with up to 5X zoom and for 4K@60fps video and up to 20X digital zoom. Stills are afforded more leeway offering lossless 3x and 5x optical zoom and all the way up to 100x Space Zoom to shoot subjects at paparazzi pleasing distances. The single 12MP front selfie camera offers up to 4K@60fps video though there’s understandably no zoom for videos or stills.
Shots in daylight are brimming with detail and likelike colours with excellent noise control all the way out to 10x and even 100x are still viewable if not Pulitzer prize quality. Both casual users and content creators alike will have plenty of creative leeway for capturing great footage and shots.
Samsung has also enabled improved electronic image stabilisation and better low light performance for selected third party apps like Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok to take full advantage of the camera’s capabilities which makes it an appealing proposition for content creators who work heavily on these platforms.
Shots in low light surpass its predecessor in salvaging details from shadows and better colours too but shots at maximum 100x zoom look somewhat overprocessed which is understandable seeing how challenging low light scenarios are to begin with.
It would have been challenging to surpass Galaxy S23 Ultra’s capabilities but the Galaxy S24 Ultra does so by a comfortable margin, offering superb image quality across all but the most demanding imaging scenarios.
Should you buy the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra?
The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra is the definitive flagship phone with premium materials and superior performance along with the best displays and cameras yet seen in an Android phone.
While it admittedly does not come cheap and enjoys a price hike over its predecessor at launch, Samsung’s uber flagship for 2024 has an industry-leading 7 years of OS and security updates which certainly add to its longevity.
While more casual users may balk at the Galaxy S24 Ultra’s lofty price tag, its enhancements and performance especially compared to its predecessor make it worth every sen as well as being worthy of an Editor’s Choice award.
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra review unit courtesy of Samsung Malaysia. For more details and to purchase, please visit https://www.samsung.com/my/smartphones/galaxy-s24-ultra/buy/
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra is an early contender for one of the best phones of the year as it packs the most sophisticated technologies and the most premium materials currently available in a slim, titanium hewn chassis that transcends its predecessor in every way. The addition of Galaxy AI offers unique features that no other competing phone can currently match while their robust 7 year OS and security update make this a compelling proposition especially for those who infrequently upgrade their phones. If you’re after the best Android phone that money can buy, this is it.
Superb brightness and clarity with improved Gorilla Armor glass and flat LTPO Amoled display
Excellent performance from Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for Galaxy chipset
Outstanding rear camera performance
Tough titanium chassis
DeX mode turns the phone into a powerful PC
Design hasn’t changed much from predecessor
Not many S Pen upgrades