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HomeTech‘AI’cing the cake! Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra review 

‘AI’cing the cake! Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra review 


I write for a living, but I don’t remember the last time I wrote with a pen. Every year though I spend about 2-3 weeks trying out a device on which I love using a pen. This year, it’s the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra with the S-Pen that landed on my desk a few weeks ago, and I’ve been hooked on to it since then. 


Design

Although I like ‘em big, the dimensions of the Galaxy S24 Ultra are just a bit beyond a comfy grip for me. A two-handed operation feels more secure with a phone this size. The unit looks classy in the Titanium Grey finish I have, although I’d loved to sport the Titanium Violet, which is more my vibe. Beyond the colour variant branding, the frame on the phone features actual titanium, which I’m guessing we’ll see more of in flagships now.

Display

The flagship sports a massive 6.8-inch display, which offers up to 120 Hz adaptive refresh rates and a peak brightness of 2600 nits, which is more than anyone will ever need for screen visibility. There’s Corning Gorilla Armor on the display, which claims to cut down on reflection by a huge amount. The overall display is a bit flat as I cue up the first episode of Guardian: The Lonely and Great God. Gong Yoo in his tweed coat looks charming as ever. The witty dialogues and the atmospheric background scores sound resonant on the dual speakers as well. 

Camera

When I take the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra along to a late-evening al fresco music show, I’m low-key sure it’s not going to disappoint. The rear camera setup includes a 200 MP, a 50 MP telephoto periscope lens, a 12 MP telephoto lens and a 10 MP ultrawide lens.

I started with low-light photography at a location that was once a horse stable and is now a concert venue. The banyan trees overhead were low-lit by gold and purple lights. Despite the dim lights, the smartphone delivered some surreal-looking photos.

Seated quite a distance away from the stage, I zoomed in to capture some of the Rajasthani and Mongolian artists on stage. At 10x zoom, we could see the singers more clearly, but I think due to limited light, the photographs were very noisy and also ridden with artifacts.  During the day, the results of 10x zoom were much clearer, with significantly less noise. Portraits taken at night with one or two light sources also delivered really nice results. Most snaps taken during daytime were bright and vivid, with the colour saturation amped up just a little bit. Portraits looked polished while retaining the real skin tone and a lovely bokeh effect. The front camera has a 12 MP lens which captures skin tones as well as some of the texture accurately. However, it also tends to brighten up the entire frame and the subject just a little more than the actual condition.  

Special features
The ‘Circle to search’ feature on the smartphone

The ‘Circle to search’ feature on the smartphone

I loved using the S-Pen so much more with this device. There are meaningful AI features baked into the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra. I tried out was the ‘circle to search’ feature first. A long press at the bottom of the screen (either with the stylus or your fingers) allows you to draw a circle around an image or text which is then automatically ‘Googled’ . I tried it out on beautiful monuments and landscapes I saw online and the feature delivers accurate results in a jiffy.

The ‘generate wallpaper’ feature, which first debuted with the Google Pixel 8 series, is here too. It makes for a bit of fun trying to play around with different elements and colours. There are endless permutations and combinations to get lost in. The only downside is this generative AI takes its own sweet time (anywhere between 5-10 seconds) to render new images.

A snapshot of the process of finalising an AI generated wallpaper of rare minerals on the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra

A snapshot of the process of finalising an AI generated wallpaper of rare minerals on the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
| Photo Credit: Bijoy Ghosh

The Summarise function on the Samsung Internet app is snappier and presents a gist of any article or web page I’m on, at the tap of a button. When I ask it to summarise the Devialet Mania review, it effectively highlights the key points. The ‘Detailed’ summary option gives more comprehensive results than the ‘Standard’ option. Any notes that I’ve scribbled in a hurry can be auto-formatted depending on what I want — a chunk of meeting notes or neatly organised in bullet points. Phone calls can be translated in real-time, although the default Hindi language pack offers a very formal register, which can make a casual conversation or texting between friends sound more serious than it is. There’s also the built-in ability to get writing help in writing assist and summarise and translate your voice recordings as well. 

Tech Specs

Powering all these features and the general prowess of the smartphone is the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 customised for Galaxy smartphones. It’s a top-notch processor with the ability to handle multiple tasks simultaneously. The smartphone runs on Android 14 and has Samsung’s One UI 6.1 as the user interface.

The unit I reviewed has 12 GB RAM and 256 GB storage. For gamers, Samsung has built in a larger vapour chamber to keep the temperatures cool. And in what seems like a stunningly future-proof move, the company has promised seven generations of OS upgrades and security updates. 

Battery 

The battery capacity on the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra stays the same at 5,000 mAh. On an average day of streaming music, watching an hour or less of K-dramas and taking some photos and a video or two, the battery had dropped to only 60 per cent at the end of the day. 

Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra isn’t a phone for everyone. I mean, it is, if all you do on the phone is make calls, chat on WhatsApp, take photos, watch media and play games. It goes beyond to offer a specific use case for those who depend on their smartphone for productivity more than the common consumer. It’s targeted at the consumer who needs to write notes often and a bigger screen to create, organise, delegate or collaborate. Now, with the addition of new AI features, the productivity flagship gets a step closer to being the smartphone of choice if you work in a multicultural, multilingual setup. Or travel often for work, because that battery isn’t going die on you anytime soon. If these features are on the checklist for your next smartphone, then the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra would definitely be one of the top contenders. The only drawback is that it carries the price tag for a fancy laptop, and hence stays out of reach for those who might really enjoy the features it offers but might not have the desire to spend so much on a smartphone.  

Snapshot

Price: ₹1,29,999 onwards

Pros: Meaningful AI features, decent camera setup, excellent battery life 

Cons: Prohibitively expensive, not the most compact flagship  





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