Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra: The DANAMIC Review

The 33rd-floor Azabudai Hills Observation Deck is one of the best views you can find of Tokyo Tower, and best of all; it is completely free. The scene at night was especially spectacular when I recently went there on vacation — even the large crowd didn’t diminish the view. But as I raised my phone to take my shot, I realised one big problem: there were simply too many reflections to take a photo. Never have I wished that I had the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra more than that moment.

Driven by AI, the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra may not possess the most significant hardware leap from its predecessor, but it certainly brings a whole new world to users in terms of what it can do. From live translations to photo magic, the number of new things you can do with it is incredible.

It’s everything you would ostensibly need in a phone, and that is reflected in the price—it wouldn’t be Samsung without that premium tag, after all. But even though some features may not be something you’d use all the time, I really enjoyed trying them out. And I certainly do miss not being able to use them when I didn’t have the phone with me.

Design and Build

Samsung has seemingly nailed down the look of its Ultra line, but there is still room for changes in this new version. It still has that humongous 6.8-inch display, but now the screen is flat rather than curved like before. In truth, this was an inevitability given how the company has slowly been reducing the curvature, but the S24 Ultra has been chosen to be first without it. The change is good; there’s certainly less worry about damaging it, and it doesn’t detract from the look.

Likewise, the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra is still built with that monolithic design, but if you peek at the side rails, you’ll see that they are now using titanium for the material. Not only does it look great, but it feels great, too, which adds to the overall premium nature of the phone.

A new titanium frame is fitted at the sides of the phone

Another addition is the new Gorilla Glass Armor used for the screen, which is purportedly more scratch-resistant than previous editions. Now, I can’t in good faith test the limits of its protection lest I incur the wrath of the Samsung PR representative who loaned me the phone, but it did come off clear while I had it in my pocket with keys and coins. Besides the screen, the phone itself feels sturdy in the hard; again emphasising its build quality.

In terms of aesthetics, the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra remains a looker. The matte-textured back complements the serious-toned colours of the available variations, which include Titanium Gray, Titanium Black (which we had), and Titanium Violet — a darker version of the previous S23’s Lavender colourway. But if you want something bright, you can also pick the new Titanium Yellow option or the Samsung Online exclusive Titanium Blue, Titanium Green, and Titanium Orange.


The 6.8-inch display of the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra keeps the 1440p resolution and 120Hz refresh rate, but it does receive an upgrade to its brightness. Now, the phone reaches a peak of 2,600 nits, providing a supremely bright screen. In an environment with as much sunshine as Singapore, this has been a game-changer in allowing me to see what is on display.  

Also, that bright screen makes things appear even better. The AMOLED display is pleasingly vivid all around, with vibrant colours popping off the screen while blacks just ooze right across through the periphery of the display. And given how large the screen is, it makes for an excellent device to watch your videos on.

Big, bright, and bold

Inside, the phone is equipped with the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor and unsurprisingly, performance is excellent on Samsung’s most premium smartphone. Apps run silky smooth on it — the experience aided by the high refresh rate — and it never lags, even when a ton of them are running in the background.

Games also run very well on the phone. Still, for those who play more graphically intensive games, Samsung touts improved sustained performance on ray-traced titles like Diablo Immortal because of the larger vapour chamber. 

My only quarrel with the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra’s performance is that it gets hot easily. Even with simple tasks like taking a photo, the back of the phone can become uncomfortably hot when holding it. It happens often enough that I unconsciously take breaks just to avoid it. With a phone cover, though, this might potentially be mitigated.

But while the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3’s performance might be great, the phone’s real star feature is AI. Like Google’s Pixel phones, the AI features add many useful tools for users to take advantage of.

One of those AI features is summaries, which work for both note-taking and voice recording. The AI works its magic by collating all the recorded information and then spits out what it thinks are the key points. The summaries are even neatly organised with headers and bullet points to make things easier to glean.

For voice transcript summaries, the output is decently accurate but does make a couple of mistakes if the user isn’t familiar with certain terms. I tested it out by recording a segment of a football-related video talking about a particular match, and it mistook some slang and names wrongly.

Summaries are very useful in letting you see all the key information from recordings or notes

Another one involves translation, specifically a feature called Live Translation. Live Translation is a real-time translator for calls, enabling you to speak with someone whose native language is not English. This feature would have been a godsend for my aforementioned trip to Japan, considering how reservations are now a necessity given the wait times for restaurants. Best of all, it works on-device, so you don’t have to worry about the other party having a Samsung phone or being connected to the internet to use it (you do need to download the language pack first though).

All you have to do is speak your own language, and not only does the phone automatically transcribe what you just said, but it also narrates the speech—quite like having a normal conversation. It works vice versa for the other party, but the remarkable thing is that it does these translations fast. 

In theory, its functionality sounds like an excellent tool, but it does come with certain quirks. Translation is not 100%; there’s always an instance of misinterpretation from the AI, but I found keeping to shorter sentences provides accuracy more consistently. Live Translation is also quite impatient. You can’t pause for too long; otherwise, it’ll think that you’ve finished speaking and mistranslate your words. Considering those issues, this feature is more for quick exchanges rather than long casual conversations.

However, the last and most useful feature of the AI feature suite is Circle to Search. Have you heard of Google Lens? It works like that, but it is much more convenient. If you see something you fancy or are curious about, you can long-press the home button to bring up the feature, prompting you to circle the item you want to search about. If the search results do not give you the answers you need for the initial search, you can further refine them by adding queries.

The convenience of Circle to Search makes you want to search things more often

It works as advertised and is easy to utilise, to the point where doing it almost feels routine. Best of all, unlike Google Lens, you can utilise this feature at any time — within social media apps, web browsing, or even in the camera app without needing to screenshot or take a photo. It has an understated convenience factor that I suspect most people would appreciate.

While there are other AI tools like Chat Assist, which helps to suggest different tones for your messages and captions for social media, the features mentioned above are likely the most useful in everyday scenarios.

Notably, users will be glad to know that Samsung has promised seven years of OS and security updates, which ensures that you’ll be able to make use of this phone for a very long time.


Same look, but slightly different specs

When looking at the back, you might think that the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra is using the same set of cameras as the S23 Ultra, and you’ll mostly be right. It still has that ridiculous 200-megapixel primary camera, coupled with a 10-megapixel 3x telephoto camera, and a 12-megapixel ultrawide camera.

But wait, I’ve intentionally left out one because Samsung did change one of the cameras ever so slightly. Instead of a 10x telephoto camera, it now is a 5x telephoto. That sounds like a downgrade, doesn’t it? Well, not necessarily. The previous edition used a 10-megapixel sensor, but now the S24 Ultra uses a 50-MP sensor. 

That means that you get a more powerful 5x zoom, plus you still have the versatility to crop into the picture if you want to zoom in on a particular subject. There is much more detail in the image than before, and it preserves the colour accuracy lost from digital zoom. I’m glad that Samsung decided to switch out the sensor, even at the cost of the zoom.

Speaking of colour, photography on the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra remains as great as ever. Photos still have that distinct vibrant hue unique to Samsung phones; the blue and red colours are a particular standout for any image. Also, you get to experience the Ultra HDR image format, which adds more dynamic range to your photos. You can see the effect live in the preview before taking the photo, and you’ll be able to upload it straight to Instagram.

However, we still aren’t done with AI; it also has a couple of features available for you to upgrade the photos you have taken. 

Truth be told, many of them are similar to what is offered on Google Pixel phones. Generative AI, for instance, similarly lets you erase objects and move selected subjects around the frame. It ostensibly produces the same level of results—simple tasks like erasing something when the background is uniform and clean typically produce a convincing output, but more complex ones like those with words will give an eerie result. 

However, Samsung has unique AI photo features. Generative AI extends to adjusting the rotation of your photo, where it will now fill in the portions that have been cropped off. Samsung also lets you remove reflections and add bokeh to an image if it detects a person in the frame, letting you adjust the level of background blur as well. The latter two features work decently well too.

Generative AI helps to fill in the adjusted outside portions. Notice how the filled-in words have gibberish?

My only nitpick is that they are found in another menu rather than Edit Photo. Instead, you have to navigate to the Photo Info menu to see those options, which makes it somewhat confusing to get used to for the first few times.


Perhaps I was expecting a little more for the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra, but I thought it’d have a bigger battery capacity. It still uses a 5,000mAh battery to power the phone, though I will give props for it staying at the same capacity despite making the build slightly thinner.

Even though my wish for a bigger battery was not answered, the 5,000mAh battery isn’t something to sniff at. I still managed two full days of use without managing my use too closely, even with the high refresh rate and brightness up. It goes to show how efficient the phone is at power usage.

And if you do need it ready in a pinch, the phone supports fast charging for both wired and wireless (45W and 25W respectively). In any case, you should not have many issues with battery life on the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra.


The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra is a powerhouse device that continues Samsung’s legacy of combining a premium build with powerful hardware. The processor and camera system housed inside a sturdy and aesthetically pleasing chassis deliver exceptional performance.

But with AI, you’re getting even more from it, with features like Circle to Search and the various photography editing tools proving to be excellent tools that can be utilised for everyday use. As I can attest, you don’t realise their usefulness until you actually need them.

All of this sounds like almost the perfect package for the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra, but then you look at the price, and your excitement might waver. Another slight against it is that the AI features aren’t exclusive to this phone. Not only can you find them on the rest of the S24 line, but they have also made their way to the S23, Fold, Flip, and Tab series of devices through a recent update

If you recently got one of those Samsung devices, there’s absolutely no need to upgrade. But if you’re coming over from another phone, it still might be worth considering getting the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra. Yes, the AI features are a big part of the fun, but with seven years of updates coming alongside the hardware, you’ll be getting a very capable phone that lasts a decent amount of time and justifies the investment.

The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra can be purchased physically at their retail stores, the Samsung Online Store, or their merchant platforms on Shopee and Lazada.

Photos by Russell Loh of the DANAMIC Team.

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