Samsung Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus Boast Bigger Batteries, Brighter Screens, and Smarter AI

The new flagship phones were announced at Samsung's Unpacked Event on Wednesday.

David Lumb Mobile Reporter
David Lumb is a mobile reporter covering how on-the-go gadgets like phones, tablets and smartwatches change our lives. Over the last decade, he's reviewed phones for TechRadar as well as covered tech, gaming, and culture for Engadget, Popular Mechanics, NBC Asian America, Increment, Fast Company and others. As a true Californian, he lives for coffee, beaches and burritos.
Expertise smartphones, smartwatches, tablets, telecom industry, mobile semiconductors, mobile gaming
David Lumb
5 min read
Samsung Galaxy S24

The new Galaxy S24 which launched at Samsung's Unpacked event on Wednesday.

John Kim/CNET

At its Unpacked event on Wednesday, Samsung launched its Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus phones, which have the usual incremental upgrades over its predecessors. But its biggest leap is that it's among the first smartphones to include generative AI capability -- the same tech powering ChatGPT, Midjourney and other AI tools -- directly on the device. 

The on-device generative AI capabilities are made possible in part by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset, which also powers the Xiaomi 14 that beat Samsung to the punch for the first phone with the technology. Samsung calls its flavor of generative artificial intelligence Galaxy AI, which is split between some features powered by on-device AI and others relying on cloud-based AI.

Read more: Best Galaxy S24 Preorder Deals

Cloud-based AI isn't as secure as on-device AI since it's sending personal data off the phone, but does enable one of the coolest new features: Circle to Search, which lets you use your finger to circle an element on your screen to have AI look up what it is. It's perfect for looking up that landmark in the photo your friend just sent you, and it works in whichever app you have open. 

Watch this: Samsung Reveals Its New S24 Series Phones and Their AI Chops

Other AI features include the ability to summarize the notes you've taken and make suggestions for changing the tone of messages when chatting with different people -- formalizing your missives when talking to your boss or making them more casual when talking to friends, for instance. This was a feature showcased when Qualcomm unveiled the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3. 

The generative AI extends to photo with generative editing, adjusting the tilt of the image, erasing reflections and shadows, and filling in the background when expanding an image (another trick Qualcomm showcased with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3). Some of these features will get better as you take more photos and the system learns from them, Samsung says.

Watch this: 'Circle to Search' Lets Users Google From Any Screen

You can also choose to take a normally recorded video and produce a slow-motion version by generating additional frames in between.

Interestingly enough, all these generative AI features are on the Galaxy S24, S24 Plus and S24 Ultra and will also be coming to several of last year's phones, including the Galaxy S23 series, Galaxy S23 Fan Edition, Z Fold 5 and Z Flip 5 (as well as the Tab S9 tablet) by the end of the first half of 2024. That suggests the tech in those phones -- presumably including the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip -- can support generative AI, too.

Read more: Best Samsung Phones of 2024

Bigger phones, sharper screens

Samsung Galaxy S24

The Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus both have larger batteries.

John Kim/CNET

Aside from generative AI, the new Galaxy S24 series has other improvements on its predecessors. The standard S24 and S24 Plus are slightly larger (by 0.1 inches) than last year's phones, with the S24 sporting a 6.2-inch display and the S24 Plus a 6.7-inch screen.

More importantly, the S24 Plus has a sharper screen with Quad HD resolution (roughly the same as the S24 Ultra's resolution), up from Full HD Plus in the S23 Plus screen. The standard S24 retains Full HD Plus. 

And the phones will be more usable outside on bright days, as all have increased their maximum brightness to 2,600 nits, up from 1,750 nits in the S23 series. By comparison, the new OnePlus 12, which will launch later this month in the US, has a 4,500-nit display.

Unlike the S24 Ultra and its new tougher titanium frame, the standard S24 and S24 Plus both still have aluminum frames and IP68 water- and dust-resistance ratings.

Samsung Galaxy S24

The cameras on the S24 and S24 Plus are largely the same as last year's S23 and S23 Plus.

John Kim/CNET

As for cameras, the standard S24 and S24 Plus are roughly unchanged from last year's phones, with a 50-megapixel ultrawide camera, 12-megapixel ultrawide camera with 120-degree field of view, 10-megapixel 3x optical zoom camera and 12-megapixel front-facing camera.

There are other ways that more conventional AI will improve photos: Samsung says new advanced noise-reduction algorithms will distinguish between your movement and that of your subject, as well as reduce noise and improve object recognition. Low-light photography has also been improved.

In addition to enabling generative AI capabilities, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 offers better performance than its predecessor and improved ray tracing (introduced in last year's S23 series). Samsung also improved the cooling system in all three phones, with a vapor chamber twice the size of those in the S23 series and two added layers of thermal interface material to better dissipate heat, as well as a final graphite sheet to assist the cooling. 

Samsung simplified the storage and memory configurations of this year's phones. The S24 is unchanged from its predecessor with 8GB of RAM and either 128GB or 256GB of storage. The S24 Plus has 12GB of RAM (up from 8GB in the S23 Plus) and either 256GB or 512GB of storage.

The S24 has a 4,000 mAh battery (up 100 mAh from the S23) and the S24 Plus has 4,900 mAh (a 200mAh increase on the S23 Plus). The phones have 5% better battery efficiency thanks to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, Samsung says. 

Better sustainability and a seven-year lifespan

Samsung Galaxy S24

The entire Galaxy S24 series now comes with seven years of software and security updates.

John Kim/CNET

Samsung also increased the amount of recycled materials in the S24 series. While the S series has included recycled ocean plastic in the volume rocker and S Pen stylus holster of the Ultra phones since 2022, and recycled aluminum, glass and other types of recycled plastic in the S23 phones, this year's handsets have up to 50% recycled cobalt in batteries in the S24 Ultra and Plus, as well as 100% recycled rare earth elements and 40% recycled steel in the speakers. The packaging also has 100% recycled paper material.

Samsung says it's closer to eliminating single-use plastics and aims to do so as part of a series of goals by 2025. Other targets the company hopes to hit by then are incorporating recycled materials in all of its products, having zero standby power consumption in its chargers and achieving zero waste in landfills in its global operations. By 2030, the company intends to include recycled materials in every component of its mobile products.

Samsung has another big announcement which, in a roundabout way, also helps with sustainability: pledging seven years of Android and security updates. Supporting phones for that long will please owners who want to get the longest lifespan from their devices, which presumably means fewer old phones going to landfills. The pledge is on par with Google and almost as good as the sustainability-focused Fairphone, which offers eight years of updates.

For all these upgrades, the starting US prices for the S24 ($800) and S24 Plus ($1,000) are unchanged. But the added RAM, titanium frame and camera changes have resulted in a pricier S24 Ultra ($1,300) over last year's S23 Ultra ($1,200). To soften the blow, Samsung is offering deals at launch for a storage upgrade at no extra cost. (See the chart below for UK and Australian prices.)

All three S24 phones will come in four colors for retailers: yellow, violet, gray and black. Samsung's website will additionally offer green, blue and orange hues.

Editors' note: CNET is using an AI engine to help create some stories. For more, see this post.

Samsung Galaxy S24 specs vs. Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus, Samsung Galaxy S23, Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus

Samsung Galaxy S24Samsung Galaxy S24 PlusSamsung Galaxy S23Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus
Display size, tech, resolution, refresh rate, brightness 6.2-inch AMOLED; FHD+ resolution; 1-120Hz adaptive refresh rate6.7-inch AMOLED; QHD+ resolution; 1-120Hz adaptive refresh rate6.1-inch AMOLED; 2,340x1,080 pixels; 120Hz adaptive6.6-inch AMOLED; 2,340x1,080 pixels; 120Hz adaptive
Pixel density TBDTBD425 ppi393 ppi
Dimensions (inches) 5.79 x 2.78 x 0.3 in6.24 x 3 x 0.3 in5.76 x 2.79 x 0.3 in6.21 x 3 x 0.3 in
Dimensions (millimeters) 147 x 71 x 7.6 mm158 x 76 x 7.6 mm146.3 x 70.9 x 7.6 mm157.7 x 76.2 x 7.6 mm
Weight (grams, ounces) 168 g (5.93oz)197 g (6.95 oz)168 g (5.93 oz)196 g (6.91 oz)
Mobile software Android 14Android 14Android 13Android 13
Camera 50-megapixel (wide), 12-megapixel (ultrawide), 10-megapixel (telephoto)50-megapixel (wide), 12-megapixel (ultrawide), 10-megapixel (telephoto)50-megapixel (wide), 12-megapixel (ultrawide), 10-megapixel (telephoto)50-megapixel (wide), 12-megapixel (ultrawide), 10-megapixel (telephoto)
Front-facing camera 12-megapixel 12-megapixel 12-megapixel 12-megapixel
Video capture TBDTBD8K8K
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for GalaxyQualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy
Storage and RAM 8GB RAM + 128GB, 256GB12GB RAM + 256GB, 512GB8GB RAM + 128GB, 256GB8GB RAM + 256GB, 512GB
Expandable storage NoneNoneNoneNone
Battery 4,000 mAh4,900 mAh3,900 mAh4,700 mAh
Fingerprint sensor Under displayUnder displayUnder displayIn-display
Headphone jack NoneNoneNoneNone
Special features 2,600-nit screen; 7 years of OS and security updates; 5G (mmWave); IP68 water resistance; wireless PowerShare to charge other devices; 25W wired charging (charger not included); Galaxy AI; Wi-Fi 6E2,600-nit screen; 7 years of OS and security updates; 5G (mmWave); IP68 water resistance; wireless PowerShare to charge other devices; 45W wired charging (charger not included); Galaxy AI; Wi-Fi 6E5G (Sub 6, mmWave); IP68 water resistance; wireless PowerShare to charge other devices; 25W wired charging5G (mmw/Sub6), IP68 rating, wireless PowerShare to charge other devices, UWB for finding other devices; 45W wired charging
US price starts at $800 (128GB)$1,000 (256GB)$800 (128GB)$1,000 (8GB/256GB)
UK price starts at £799 (128GB)£999 (256GB)£849 (128GB)£1,049 (8GB/256GB)
Australia price starts at AU$1,399 (256GB)AU$1,699 (256GB)AU$1,349 (128GB)AU$1,649 (8GB/256GB)