Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra First Impressions – AI Superpowered

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It was almost a year ago when I bought the Galaxy S23 Ultra. It was my most powerful Android smartphone until the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate arrived at the studio. It has all the specs needed to empower tech enthusiasts and digital creators.

Galaxy S24 Ultra First Impressions 16
Galaxy S24 Ultra First Impressions 16

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra First Impressions

Following up on the success of last year’s Galaxy S23 Ultra, Samsung has pulled out all the stops to deliver an even more exceptional device – the new Galaxy S24 Ultra. Improvements in key areas and the latest hardware combine into a refined and capable package that aims to stand out in an increasingly competitive premium smartphone market.

Refreshed Yet Familiar Premium Design

Galaxy S24 Ultra First Impressions 10
Galaxy S24 Ultra (left), Galaxy S22 Ultra (right)

The Galaxy S24 Ultra retains an impressively similar in-hand feel with nearly identical dimensions and a recognizable design language compared to its predecessor. However, the devil is in the details as the Galaxy S24 Ultra now features a a Titanium build, Corning Gorilla Glass Armor and flat display (definitely a design decision that I personally loved). The thoughtfully designed ergonomics that made its predecessor so easy to grip and use comfortably one-handed seem to make a welcome return with a “flatter” flair.

Galaxy S24 Ultra First Impressions 08
Galaxy S24 Ultra First Impressions 08

Next-Level Photography Power with 200MP Sensor and 3x Telephoto

Galaxy S24 Ultra First Impressions 12
Galaxy S24 Ultra First Impressions 12

Where the S24 Ultra kicks things up a significant notch is with its versatile quad camera system. Headliner specs include a huge 1/1.3” primary sensor boasting a staggering 200MP resolution – the largest on any Samsung phone to date – using advanced pixel-binning technology to produce incredibly detailed 12.5MP images.

Dynamic range also sees a boost for brilliant lighting across lighting conditions. This setup is joined by all-new 50MP telephoto with 3x optical zoom capacity for sharper long-distance shots. A 12MP ultrawide lens and familiar 10MP sensor with 10x hybrid optical zoom remain on board as well for photography flexibility. Even the front camera receives spec bumps to keep selfies on par with the rear setup.

Quality-wise, they are fantastic and its performance can rival the iPhone 15 Pro Max. While I will have a dedicated comparison article about the photos I took using the two flagship devices, I would like to share you some photos to give you an idea how the S24 Ultra’s cameras fare compared to Apple’s.

Powered by a Flagship Processor

Taking full advantage of these cameras is the integrated Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor, Adreno 740 GPU, and 12GB of RAM bringing substantial improvements to overall device speed and graphics rendering. This cutting-edge hardware allows flawless 120Hz refresh rate visuals and promises excellent energy efficiency even with the most demanding apps and services running. Wi-Fi 7 capability and 5G connectivity ensure users stay future-proofed as well. Flagship-level gaming is expected to reach new heights of responsiveness on the S24 Ultra too.

Galaxy S24 Ultra First Impressions 18
Galaxy S24 Ultra First Impressions 18

While we will have a more thorough performance benchmark tests of popular games, we will reserve those on our full review. Meanwhile, here’s what we got using popular benchmark applications.

Performance Benchmark

Antutu Benchmark

Antutu Benchmark is a popular software tool used to measure the performance of smartphones and other mobile devices. It is developed by Antutu, a Chinese software company, and is available for both Android and iOS operating systems.


The benchmark test evaluates the device’s CPU (Central Processing Unit), GPU (Graphics Processing Unit), RAM (Random Access Memory), and storage performance. The tool generates an overall score based on the device’s performance in different tests, including CPU and GPU tests, RAM and storage tests, and user experience tests.

The Antutu Benchmark score is commonly used to compare the performance of different mobile devices and to identify the strengths and weaknesses of a particular device. Higher scores generally indicate better performance, but it’s important to note that the benchmark score is just one factor to consider when evaluating a device’s overall performance.

Geekbench 6

Geekbench is a cross-platform benchmark tool developed by Primate Labs that measures the performance of a computer’s CPU and GPU. It is designed to evaluate the single-core and multi-core performance of processors, as well as the performance of the system’s memory and compute capabilities.

Geekbench 6 uses a variety of workloads to test different aspects of a system’s performance, including image processing, encryption, and machine learning. The results are reported as a single score for the CPU and GPU, which can be used to compare the performance of different systems.

Geekbench 6 is widely used by hardware enthusiasts, tech reviewers, and manufacturers to test and compare the performance of different computer systems, including smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktops. It is available for Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, and Android, and is regularly updated to support the latest hardware and software platforms.

Geekbench 6 – Single Core

Geekbench SC
Geekbench SC

Geekbench 6 – Multi Core

Geekbench MC
Geekbench MC

PC Mark 3.0

PCMark for Android is a benchmark tool developed by UL Benchmarks that measures the performance of Android devices, including smartphones and tablets. The tool evaluates the device’s performance in a variety of scenarios, such as web browsing, video playback, and photo editing, and generates an overall score based on the device’s performance.

PC Mark 3.0
PC Mark 3.0

PCMark for Android includes several benchmark tests, each designed to evaluate a different aspect of the device’s performance. For example, the “Work 2.0” test evaluates the device’s performance in productivity scenarios, such as document editing and data manipulation, while the “Web Browsing 2.0” test evaluates the device’s web browsing performance.

PCMark for Android is widely used by hardware enthusiasts, tech reviewers, and manufacturers to test and compare the performance of different Android devices. It is available for download from the Google Play Store and is compatible with most Android devices running Android 5.0 or later.

Long Battery Life with Faster Charging

Despite boosts in other areas, one key omission seems to be battery capacity remaining unchanged from its 5000mAh predecessor. However, improved efficiencies in both the processor and software should still easily provide all-day uptime from a full charge. When power does run short, 45W wired charging promises a quicker refuel. 15W wireless charging support returns for good measure too.

Galaxy S24 Ultra First Impressions 05
Galaxy S24 Ultra First Impressions 05

We haven’t used our review unit for more than 24 hours so it is still not fair to give it a constructive judgement of its battery performance. We hope to be able to give a more thorough review of this in our full review.

One UI 6.1 and Android 14 Under the Hood

Tying everything together, the Galaxy S24 Ultra comes loaded with Android 14 OS and Samsung’s own One UI 6.1 software layer. This updated skin focuses on customization, multitasking capabilities, accessibility features, user security, and deeper interoperability with Samsung’s flourishing ecosystem of products and services. Owners can expect a polished interface experience where Samsung and stock Android strengths intersect.

One UI 6.1 introduces several enhancements over 6.0, especially focusing on displays, optimization, camera, and AI capabilities. A major chage is the ability to use your lock screen wallpaper as the always-on display background, with support for showing lock screen widgets as well. There are also options to cut out backgrounds on wallpapers to only show subjects on the always-on display.

IMG 8143
IMG 8143

Additional display capabilities include a new adaptive color tone setting that automatically adjusts the screen’s colors based on detected ambient lighting conditions to improve viewing. Animations have also been optimized for better fluidity when opening and closing apps.

The Protect Battery feature now has more granular options, including limiting battery charge to 80% instead of 85% to prolong battery life. On the camera side, Single Take can now use different lenses, and a new dual recording mode lets you simultaneously capture video from two rear cameras.

Finally, One UI 6.1 introduces a wide range of AI features under the Galaxy AI branding. This includes generative image editing, translated messaging, summarization of long articles or notes, and even live translation during phone calls. Together these enhance the capabilities and intelligence of the device.

Super-powered by AI, with a twist

From live translation to generative-fill features, the Galaxy S24 Ultra is even more powerful with AI. While the features embedded on the new series seem like a gimmick or fad for some, they define the future of mobile computing. I expect Samsung, in collaboration with Google in some aspects, to set a new standard of mobile computing and content creation, moving forward. I also talked about this in my previous video.

Galaxy S24 Ultra First Impressions 07
Galaxy S24 Ultra First Impressions 07

AI capabilities of the Galaxy S24 Ultra aim to enhance communication, productivity, and convenience by providing helpful features like real-time translation, intelligent writing aids, automated organization, and augmented search.

Specifically, the Live Translate and Interpreter modes could allow for smoother conversations when language barriers exist by translating calls and in-person speech. If executed well, these have significant potential for breaking down communication divides.

On the productivity front, the automated creation of note templates, audio transcriptions and Android Auto driving summaries demonstrate ambition to streamline workflows. But the usefulness relies heavily on accurate AI, which Samsung seems to make no guarantees about.

The AI writing assistance from Chat Assist to improve messaging tones and summaries could also remove friction during interactions. However, the subjective nature of communication makes it unlikely AI can universally enhance tonal accuracy currently.

Galaxy S24 Ultra UI 8
Galaxy S24 Ultra UI 8

And the expanded search functionality from Circle to Search leveraging partnerships with leaders like Google signals potential, but could also raise privacy concerns around data sharing that Samsung leaves unaddressed.

AI is Luxury

Samsung paints an ambitious vision of AI enhancements transforming communication and productivity pain points into conveniences. The integration aims are laudable and definitely empowers the new Galaxy S24 Ultra, and this dictates the present and future trend of mobile computing.

However, the AI capabilities of the Galaxy S24 Ultra is limited by its collaboration with Google Gemini and Google AI. In fact, if you take a little closer to most of its image-centric AI features, most of the Galaxy AI features are reskinned Google AI. As also mentioned in a fine print, the AI features on Galaxy S24 Ultra only remains to be free until 2025. This presupposes that the AI features will become paywalled after 2025, similar to what Google has already been doing on some of the AI functions of their applications. If this becomes the case in the future, AI processed in the Cloud will become a luxury feature, which can only be accessed by few subscribed ones, regardless of the specs of the device being used. This will also define the future of smartphones: (1) powerful or high-specced smartphone that can locally process LLMs and would not, or partially, rely on cloud-processed AI; or (2) low-specced smartphones that totally rely on Cloud AI.

A Promising Flagship Package

Galaxy S24 Ultra First Impressions 01
Galaxy S24 Ultra First Impressions 01

Samsung continues their conservative but effective strategy of honing and evolving an already successful flagship phone recipe. While onlookers might have preferred a radical Galaxy S24 Ultra redesign, Samsung stays consistent with the range’s core identity while notably boosting camera performance, processing speeds, and overall feature set.

For loyalists seeking familiar top-notch hardware, an enhanced camera system, and strong software support, the S24 Ultra checks those boxes handily. It shapes up to be a refined jack-of-all-trades flagship able to handle demanding photography, creativity, and productivity scenarios with prowess. Where it stands against rivals like iPhone and upcoming foldables remains to be seen. But the Galaxy S24 Ultra brings an intriguing blend of powerhouse performance, AI enhancements, and design refinement that should please both seasoned supporters and new adopters alike.

SpecsGalaxy S23 UltraGalaxy S24 Ultra
Screen Size6.8 inches6.8 inches
Display Resolution1440 x 3088 pixels1440 x 3088 pixels
Rear Cameras200MP Main, 12MP Ultrawide, 10MP Telephoto with 10x optical zoom200MP Wide Main, 50MP Telephoto, 12MP Ultrawide, 10MP Telephoto with 10x optical zoom
Front Camera Resolution12MP12MP
Storage256GB / 512GB / 1TB256GB / 512GB / 1TB
Battery Capacity5000 mAh5000 mAh
Battery LifeAll day++All day++
Charging Speed45W fast charging45W fast charging
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3
5G SupportYesYes
S Pen SupportYes (built-in)Yes (built-in)
Dust/Water Resistance RatingIP68IP68
Operating SystemAndroid 13 + One UI 5Android 14 + One UI 6.1

Giancarlo Viterbo is a Filipino Technology Journalist, blogger and Editor of, He is also a Geek, Dad and a Husband. He knows a lot about washing the dishes, doing some errands and following instructions from his boss on his day job. Follow him on twitter: @gianviterbo and @gadgetpilipinas.

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