The future of smartphones is AI. Google started the trend with its Pixel line, and now Samsung is joining in with the new Samsung Galaxy S24 series.
While we previously looked forward to hearing about the newest hardware changes for the latest Samsung flagship smartphones, this year, the company highlighted the AI capabilities of the Galaxy S24 line and what it can do for users; equipping the phones with a new AI software that enables several useful features.
All about AI
So let’s talk about those features, shall we? And there are a number of them.
The biggest one is Live Translate, which provides real-time translation of foreign languages. Yes, we’re already familiar with text and conversational translation; my iPhone does that. That isn’t all the feature can do. What is new is that Samsung’s AI system allows users to have on-the-spot translation for calls.
Imagine this: You want to make a restaurant reservation while overseas in Japan, but without knowing the Japanese language, it can be a tricky process; some might say impossible. Live Translate, however, will aid in translating what the speaker is saying both ways in real time. That means you can have a two-way conversation with someone who doesn’t speak your language and vice versa.
Samsung says the feature is enabled through one device, meaning it doesn’t require the other person on the line to use a Samsung Galaxy S24 phone; it will work with even a coin phone. Users will, however, have to enable it before making the call. It does not automatically detect the language of whoever is speaking. Notably, it only works with phone calls through SIM cards. Calls through apps like WhatsApp aren’t able to take advantage of the feature.
At the preview event for the Samsung Galaxy S24 line, I got to try out a demonstration of the feature using a native Korean speaker. Separated into two booths, I talked with him about work, dinner, and other casual stuff using Live Translate — a unique experience to go through, though it was rather mixed. Translation from the Korean speaker was mostly excellent; the translated speech was coherent, and I could understand exactly what was being said, save for a minor hiccup at the end. You can hear the other line talking in their language in the background over to the automated translation, which shows how fast it works.
The trouble came from translating me to him. It tripped up on translating about 30% of what I spoke, though I’m unsure if this was due to the AI or because I was speaking to him via speaker. I did observe that you have to be very deliberate whenever it is your time to speak. Live Translate did not allow much time for pauses. It seemed to cut me off and start the translation more times than I would have liked — it certainly takes some getting used to. I should also preface that this isn’t the final version, so it may very well be tweaked and improved on launch day.
Samsung’s new AI capabilities extend to everyday use too. Circle to Search is like a more intuitive version of Google Lens. Let’s say you see a piece of clothing you like; you only have to hold the Home button and then draw a circle over it to search for the item. A representative demonstrated as such, taking a photo of a sweater before circling over it to search where it came from. The neat aspect of this feature is that it works over any app, meaning you can use it on Instagram, YouTube, and others; not just the photo gallery.
Notes also benefit from AI. With Note Assist, AI can help format your notes into a more readable form — headers, bullet points, and more! Similarly, Transcript Assist aids in summarising all the major talking points from a recording.
Samsung Keyboard also joins in the fun. Not only can the Chat Assist feature translate your text in real-time, but it also helps tailor your tone for different situations, like polite messages to colleagues or drafting out social media-ready captions.
These are all features for the everyday user experience, but Samsung is also improving photos with AI. If you are at all familiar with what Google’s Pixel can do for photo-editing, Samsung’s version is very similar, though it does have some new tricks up its sleeve.
Samsung Galaxy S24 brings Generative Edit to photos. If you have a crooked photo, you can get the phone to automatically align it for you, generating visuals to fit into the background that was cut. Likewise, subjects can be lassoed to a different position or resized within the image frame, and the AI software fills in any gap left behind. Results will vary depending on the image. When I tried out the feature, it did not lasso the person I had selected completely, which resulted in a cut-off hand that messed up the generative fill-in.
Edit Suggestion is something a little newer. When editing a photo, the Samsung Galaxy S24 has several suggestions that it can do to improve the image. Want a portrait photo? It is simply one click away. Distracting reflection in the way? The software removes it pronto. Overall, users have more power to get their perfect photo.
But it isn’t just photos; videos also get an AI feature! Instant Slow-Mo turns your videos into an incredible slow-motion clip just by long-pressing the screen. This is enabled by the AI software generating intermediate frames in the video to create the effect. I did not get to play with this, but I wonder if the result would be better if you tried videos with different frame rates.
The great thing is that no phone is left out! Every new AI feature is available for all three phones in the Samsung Galaxy S24 line — the Galaxy S24 Ultra, Galaxy S24+ and Galaxy S24 — meaning no user will get a compromised experience.
Updated hardware and performance
While we’ve had all this talk about AI, Samsung also has some updated hardware that can be found on the Galaxy S24 series.
For the Galaxy S24 Ultra, expect a new flat-screen design — gone are the curved-edge displays from the previous editions. Samsung has also equipped the Ultra with a titanium frame, which is lighter and more durable. It will also have the new Corning Gorilla Armour for screen protection, touting four times more resistance to scratches and impacts as well as reducing glare by up to 75%.
The titanium build and Corning Gorilla Armour are exclusive to the Galaxy S24 Ultra. Meanwhile, Galaxy S24+ and Galaxy S24 are very similar to their predecessors, but both will feature slimmer bezels on the screen for a sleeker look. The duo will also have slightly larger displays at 6.7 and 6.2 inches, respectively.
While we are on the topic of the displays, the Samsung Galaxy S24 series’ screens are touted to be the brightest Galaxy displays yet. With Vision Booster enabled, users can get a 2,600 nit peak brightness — that’s absurdly bright.
For users wanting to upgrade from an older Samsung phone, not to worry; the Galaxy S24 Ultra will have Snapdragon as the processor — specifically the optimised Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for Galaxy. Performance is the best yet, particularly for gaming. Samsung claims the Galaxy S24 Ultra will have enhanced heat dissipation with an up to 1.9 times larger vapour chamber, enabling sustained performance on games supporting ray tracing.
For photography, the camera on the Ultra is now a Quad Tele System with a 5x optical zoom lens, working alongside the 50MP sensor to enable a new 5x zoom — it still does 10x magnification, but the new 5x option on the viewfinder adds a little more flexibility for users.
On that same note, night photography (or ‘nightography’ as Samsung calls it) will also have better zoom performance at 5x. In fact, the Galaxy S24 Ultra has a 60% larger pixel size, which will help capture more light in dim environments. Videos will also see an improvement with an enhanced gyro sensor that will see reduced blur.
Image previews are also improved through Super HDR, providing more vivid and lifelike HDR previews before you even hit the shutter. This extends to third-party social apps like Instagram as well, with integration done directly to showcase your visuals in HDR before sharing.
Samsung has also committed to seven generations of OS upgrades and seven years of security updates, so anyone getting the new Samsung Galaxy S24 series will be assured that they are getting a device that will last for the long term.
The focus on AI is an intriguing prospect not just for Samsung, but for the smartphone landscape. With the company previously spearheading changes which other smartphone brands have followed, we are looking at what could be the start of widespread adoption.
But back to the Samsung Galaxy S24 series, this is one of Samsung’s most unique and fascinating device announcements in recent years. The new features are very exciting and will no doubt be something users will spend a lot of time playing around with. Let’s see how good they can be.
The Galaxy S24, Galaxy S24+ and Galaxy S24 Ultra will be available in Singapore from 31 January 2024, with pre-orders available right now at the Samsung Online Store (S24|S24+, Ultra), their official store pages on Shopee and Lazada, local telecommunication operators (M1, Singtel and StarHub), and select consumer electronics & IT online stores (Best Denki, Challenger, Courts, Gain City, Harvey Norman, iShop Changi). You’ll also be able to enjoy the device early if you make a pre-order, receiving it on 24 January 2024.
Prices for the Galaxy S24 Ultra start at S$1,928 for the 256GB version, with Titanium Gray, Titanium Black, Titanium Violet, and Titanium Yellow as the available colours.
Meanwhile, the Galaxy S24 and Galaxy S24+ will start at S$1,288 and S$1,528 for the 256GB option. Colourways include Onyx Black, Marble Gray, Cobalt Violet, and Amber Yellow.
If those colours aren’t your fancy, the Samsung Online Store has exclusive colours in Sapphire Blue, Jade Green, and Sandstone Orange available for all three phones in the Samsung Galaxy S24 line.
Photos by Leo Chia of the DANAMIC Team.