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The Best Galaxy AI Features to Try on Your Samsung Phone

Now that Galaxy AI is available on more devices, these are the features you should check out.

Lisa Eadicicco Senior Editor
Lisa Eadicicco is a senior editor for CNET covering mobile devices. She has been writing about technology for almost a decade. Prior to joining CNET, Lisa served as a senior tech correspondent at Insider covering Apple and the broader consumer tech industry. She was also previously a tech columnist for Time Magazine and got her start as a staff writer for Laptop Mag and Tom's Guide.
Expertise Apple | Samsung | Google | Smartphones | Smartwatches | Wearables | Fitness trackers
Lisa Eadicicco
5 min read
Samsung Galaxy S24

Circle to Search

James Martin/CNET

When Samsung announced the Galaxy S24 series earlier this year, it didn't just introduce a trio of new phones. It also debuted Galaxy AI, a suite of software features available on its newest devices, as well as the Galaxy S23 family, Galaxy S23 FE, Galaxy Tab S9 lineup and its latest foldables.

Read more: AI Is Changing Our Phones, And It's Just Getting Started

Galaxy AI is Samsung's attempt at infusing more AI into its smartphone interface following the runaway success of ChatGPT. The biggest areas where you'll see Galaxy AI at work on the Galaxy S24 are in its photo-editing features language translation capabilities and a new feature called Circle to Search, which lets you launch a Google search just by circling an object on screen. 

After reviewing the Galaxy S24 Ultra, I realized that not every Galaxy AI feature is actually useful. But Circle to Search and other tools, such as Samsung's instant language translation in text messages, show there's promise behind the hype surrounding AI. 

Galaxy AI launched on the Galaxy S24 series and later came to other devices through a software update. An April press release announcing support for additional languages also hinted that Galaxy AI may arrive on even more devices in the future. After listing the current devices that support Galaxy AI, the announcement ended by saying "with more coming soon."

The expansion suggests Samsung sees Galaxy AI as being a key part of its mobile devices moving forward. 

Watch this: Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra Review: More AI at a Higher Cost

Circle to Search

The Galaxy S24 Ultra showing the new Circle to Search feature

The Galaxy S24 Ultra showing the new Circle to Search feature.

Lisa Eadicicco/CNET

Circle to Search, as the name implies, lets you launch a Google search for just about anything on your phone's screen just by drawing a circle around it. See a delicious-looking brunch dish in your Instagram feed? Just circle it, and Google will pull up recipes and nearby restaurants with similar dishes. It's a little bit like Google Lens, except you can search for almost anything on your phone's screen rather than having to snap a picture first.

Read more: Best Android Phone of 2024

In my time with the Galaxy S24 Ultra, Circle to Search seems most useful for shopping, looking up recipes or discovering nearby restaurants or points of interest. But I think there's further potential for a feature like this. For example, you can add additional text queries to go along with whatever you've circled, which can help narrow down results. Combining text and image inputs the right way could end up making it much easier to get the search results you want immediately rather than having to scroll through multiple options.  

But it's worth noting that Circle to Search isn't exclusive to supported Galaxy devices; it's also on certain Pixel phones too

Chat Assist

The Galaxy S24 Ultra showing the new chat translation feature

The Galaxy S24 Ultra showing the new chat translation feature

Lisa Eadicicco/CNET

Chat Assist is a blanket term for three new features in the Messages app: Chat translation (translates text messages into different languages), Writing style (rewrites texts in different tones before you send them, like Google's Magic Compose) and Spelling and grammar (checks messages for errors). But the one that impressed me the most is chat translation. 

With just a couple of taps, I converted an entire chat thread into another language without having to copy and paste text or switch between apps. When I received an incoming message written in Korean from one of my coworkers, the Messages app automatically asked if I wanted to translate it into English. Samsung also announced support for new languages in April, including Arabic, Indonesian and Russian. New dialects such as Australian English, Cantonese and Canadian French will also soon be available, and the company is bringing Romanian, Turkish, Dutch and Swedish languages later this year. 

This could be helpful for frequent travelers and those who regularly communicate with family members or colleagues who speak a different native language. And even though I'm not using it on an everyday basis, seeing text messages automatically translate in real time as I scrolled through my messaging history was impressive. 

Live Translate

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
John Kim/CNET

Language translation was clearly a big area of focus for Samsung when developing Galaxy AI. The company added translation capabilities to the native phone app as well with a new feature called Live Translate. When making a phone call, just tap the Live Translate button, and Samsung will translate the call on both ends in real time. An automated voice informs the person on the other end that the call is being translated. Once you're finished speaking, Samsung will repeat your speech in the desired language so that the person on the other side can understand it, and vice versa.

As someone who has done a lot of international traveling in the past year, I could see how this could have been useful for tasks like making restaurant reservations and buying event tickets abroad. But it can also feel a bit awkward to use since it can be hard to tell when it's your turn to speak. Regardless, the new support for additional languages should make this feature more useful. 

Instant Slow-mo

Instant Slow-mo on the Galaxy S24 Ultra.

Lisa Eadicicco/CNET

On the Galaxy S24 series, you can see how any video clip in the Gallery app will look in slow motion just by pressing and holding the screen. It's not a must-have feature, but it's a lot of fun to play around with. However, I wish it were just as easy to save clips in slow motion after previewing them. You have to tap on the pencil icon below the video clip to do so.

Generative Edit

The Galaxy S24 Ultra showing the new Generative Edit feature

The Galaxy S24 Ultra showing the new Generative Edit feature.

Lisa Eadicicco/CNET

Generative Edit lets you move, resize and erase objects in photos, much like Google's Magic Editor tool. There's a reason the two features are similar -- Samsung is using Google's underlying technology to power the feature.

Still, that doesn't mean Generative Edit and Magic Editor are exactly the same. Samsung watermarks images that were edited with Generative Edit, unlike Google, which offers multiple results to choose from compared to Samsung's sole result. 

Features like Generative Edit and Magic Editor raise questions about authenticity in smartphone photos at a time when misinformation on the internet is already a concern. But when used responsibly, Generative Edit can make it possible for anyone to apply photo edits on the fly without any knowledge of Photoshop or other extra software. 

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These are just a handful of the new Galaxy AI features Samsung launched on the Galaxy S24 series. But they're the best at demonstrating how AI can bring functionality that feels genuinely new and practical to smartphones. Some of Samsung's other Galaxy AI additions didn't leave as strong of an impression on me, either because I didn't find them useful or they were too limited. Take the writing style option in Chat Assist, for example: Most of Samsung's suggestions sounded too unlike me to feel helpful. The professional option sounded like an email, while the social-themed option just peppered my words with hashtags. 

It's also unclear whether Galaxy AI will remain free for Samsung users, since the fine print on the Galaxy S24 Ultra's product page hints that the company could charge for such features after 2025. 

Regardless, the current iteration of Galaxy AI feels like a strong start and makes me curious about where Samsung will take it in the future -- especially as it develops new features for other devices like foldables and tablets

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Editors' note: CNET used an AI engine to help create several dozen stories, which are labeled accordingly. The note you're reading is attached to articles that deal substantively with the topic of AI but are created entirely by our expert editors and writers. For more, see our AI policy.