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Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra review: Stellar smartphone complemented by AI

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra not only showcases cutting-edge specifications but, crucially, a comprehensive suite of AI features operating both covertly and prominently
3 Month ago

Samsung, the South Korean smartphone manufacturer, stands as one of the initial collaborators with Google in adopting the Android platform. A close partnership with the software giant has enabled both entities to bring advanced technological offerings to consumers. In their recent venture, the collaboration focuses on elevating the smartphone experience through the integration of artificial intelligence, exemplified by the Galaxy S24 series, particularly the flagship Galaxy S24 Ultra. This high-end smartphone not only showcases cutting-edge specifications but, crucially, a comprehensive suite of AI features operating both covertly and prominently. But to what end? Let us find out:

The Galaxy S24 Ultra, while retaining the form factor of its predecessor, introduces a new titanium frame and a flat display. The titanium frame contributes to the device's durability, while Samsung enhances overall ergonomics, making the phone more user-friendly. The flat top and bottom sides, coupled with subtle curvature on the left and right, improve the in-hand feel despite the device's substantial size, weight, and bulk. The package is completed with industry-leading Gorilla Glass protection for both the display and rear panel, along with an IP68 rating for dust and water resistance.
Display and Audio
A notable design evolution on the Galaxy S24 Ultra is the display, maintaining a 6.8-inch QHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2x panel that is brighter and devoid of curvature on the left and right sides. The flat display, framed by thin, symmetrical bezels, receives added protection from Gorilla Glass Armor, boasting enhanced resistance to scratches and wear. The glass's ability to reduce reflections by up to 75 per cent enhances visual clarity, ensuring sharpness and consistent colours and contrast across various usage environments. The responsive display is optimised for a seamless experience without compromising power efficiency, offering HDR and HDR10+ support for high dynamic range content.
Complementing the impressive display are the stereo speakers, characterised by their loud, clear, and balanced output. Notably, Samsung integrates Dolby Atmos for object-based spatial audio, enhancing the auditory experience, particularly when using supported wireless audio accessories like the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro.
Camera
The Galaxy S24 Ultra features a quad-camera setup on the rear, comprising a 200-megapixel main sensor, a 12MP ultra-wide-angle sensor, a 10MP 3x telephoto with OIS, and a new 50MP 5x telephoto with OIS. On the front, a 12MP camera sensor is employed. The camera system upholds the S-series legacy, showcasing versatility in performance across different lighting conditions, modes, and focal lengths.
In various lighting conditions, the main camera consistently delivers detailed, high-contrast results with a broad dynamic range. The ultra-wide-angle sensor performs well, although its low-light capabilities are not as potent as the main sensor. Notably, both sensors exhibit colour symmetry. The ultra-wide-angle sensor, equipped with autofocus, also serves as a macro sensor for close-up shots. While competent, the macro photography capability is slightly limited compared to competitors that utilise telephoto sensors for close-up shots, eliminating the need for close proximity to the subject.
The telephoto lenses, operating at 3x and 5x optical zoom levels, prove advantageous for portraits. However, reducing the maximum optical zoom from 10x in the predecessor to 5x alters Samsung's traditional focus on distant zooming capabilities. While the camera system can reach up to 100x, video quality at peak zoom suffers due to the shorter focal length of the secondary 5x optical zoom.
Video capabilities include recording up to 4K at 60fps from all available sensors, with smooth transitions between sensors during recording. The addition of 4K at 120fps in slow-motion recording is a welcome enhancement.
The user-friendly camera interface further enhances the imaging experience, facilitating easy navigation for both novice and experienced users.
Software
The Galaxy S24 Ultra introduces a new era of mobile AI, named Galaxy AI by Samsung, deeply integrated into the operating system to offer a unique user experience. AI-powered features span communication, imaging, and productivity aspects of the smartphone.
Communication-related AI features include a live translate feature for voice calls, supporting Hindi language in real-time. Part of the Call Assist, this feature provides instant voice translation for both participants, complemented by a Text Call option for typed text narration during calls. An interpreter feature facilitates real-time translation for in-person conversations, displayed in a split-screen view for individuals facing each other.
While promising, these communication-related AI features exhibit imperfections, notably in the translation accuracy of live translate, causing disruptions for callers on both ends. The real-time, two-way nature of translation also challenges contextual comprehension.
Text translation within the Chat Assist feature, integrated into the Samsung keyboard, is more effective. Chat Assist not only translates text across apps but also includes a built-in tool for spelling and grammar checks, along with options to modify the tone of text using various writing styles.
AI extends to the imaging experience with generative AI incorporated into the Galaxy S24 Ultra. The photos app introduces a new editor featuring generative edit capabilities, allowing users to adjust image angles, fill empty spaces, move and resize objects, and change backgrounds using GenAI. Generative edits, while neat, may not always appear entirely natural. In videos, AI interpolates frames to create slow-motion effects, even if the video is not originally recorded in slow-motion.
Additional imaging features include Remaster, enhancing image quality through improved colors, contrast, and dynamic range; Background Blur, offering various bokeh effects; and Reflections Eraser, allowing removal of reflections from images.
The Circle to Search feature, powered by Google, enables users to initiate searches through circular, highlighting, scribbling, or tapping gestures on the display, eliminating the need for screenshots.
Productivity apps, such as Samsung Notes, Voice Recorder, and Samsung Internet, benefit from AI integration. In the Notes app, AI automates formatting, summarisation, and translation of notes, along with spelling checks. Voice Recorder incorporates AI for text transcripts, summaries, and translation options. The Samsung Internet browser utilises AI to generate summaries based on webpage text.
Beyond AI features, the Galaxy S24 Ultra introduces numerous enhancements with the Android 14-based OneUI 6 interface. The redesigned Quick Setting, expanded Quick Share compatibility with devices outside the Samsung ecosystem, and updated lock screen with AI wallpapers, widgets, and customisable colour schemes contribute to an enriched user experience. It is worth mentioning, Samsung has promised seven years of OS and security update for the Galaxy S24 series.
Performance
Powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 system-on-chip, paired with 12GB of RAM, the Galaxy S24 Ultra stands as a performance powerhouse. Consistent performance is maintained even under prolonged use, with the device exhibiting resilience to graphic and power-intensive workloads without slowdowns or discomfort due to overheating. While the phone may warm up, it avoids reaching temperatures that impede performance or user comfort.
Battery
The Galaxy S24 Ultra delivers over a day of on-battery time on a full charge, placing it among the top performers in its category. Charging with the supported 45W wired charger is rapid, although not the fastest available in the smartphone market.
Verdict
Priced from Rs 129,999 onwards, the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra emerges as a comprehensive premium flagship smartphone, distinguished by an array of AI features that redefine the user experience. Notably, it stands as the sole smartphone in its segment to feature a digital stylus (SPen) and a built-in computing platform (DeX). On that note, the Galaxy S24 Ultra surpasses its predecessors in the Android category, establishing itself as a category leader and outshining the Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max on several key parameters.
 

 

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