Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra Review: More AI at a Higher Cost video – CNET

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

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Speaker 1: This is the Galaxy S 24 Ultra and it’s all about ai.

Speaker 1: When it comes to Samsung’s new Galaxy phones, especially the Ultra, it’s usually the hardware that’s the star of the show. Think of the 200 megapixel camera that debuted last year and the embedded spen that debuted on the S 22 Ultra just one year earlier, but this year with the S 24, things are different. It’s the software [00:00:30] that’s in the spotlight. That’s because the Galaxy S 24 series are the first phones to launch with Galaxy ai, a new set of features powered by generative ai, which creates content in response to prompts based on training data. That said, I don’t know if these features alone are worth upgrading for, especially since these Galaxy AI features are available across all of Samsung’s Galaxy S 24 phones, not just the super expensive ultra, which starts at $1,300. Samsung [00:01:00] has also said that Galaxy AI will come to the Galaxy S 23 series as well, which also kind of makes it hard to justify buying the S 24 Ultra.

Speaker 1: But aside from Galaxy ai, there are some other new things that are different with the S 24 Ultra compared to the S 23 Ultra. For one, it runs on Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon eight Gen three processor. It has a brighter screen, and there’s also a new 50 megapixel telephoto camera that offers CRISPR shots at a five x Zoom. Here’s what it’s been like to [00:01:30] use it for the last week. Galaxy AI is by far the most interesting new thing about the Galaxy S 24 series. Some of these features do feel familiar, like generative edit, for example, which lets you erase or manipulate objects in photos that sounds very similar to Magic Edit on the Pixel eight. Some of the other features like the ability to organize and summarize notes in the Samsung’s notes app and the Recorder app are also very familiar, but part of that is intentional.

Speaker 1: Samsung and Google worked together on these features [00:02:00] for the Galaxy S 24, so it seems like they’re really embracing this partnership. But on the other end, that could make it harder for Samsung to make the S 24 series stand out from Google’s Pixel eight series. But just because generative edit and Google’s magic edit are similar, it doesn’t mean they’re exactly the same. I tried using both on the same photo and the results were a little bit different. I tried to erase a part of the blanket in the background. Samsung kind of added a new blanket there [00:02:30] to replace the one in the photo, and Google kind of did something a little bit different. It looks a little bit like the same blanket that was already there, but Google also gave me more options to choose from that. I can just kind of swipe through of all of the Galaxy AI features I’ve been using, I feel like language translation feels like the most unique.

Speaker 1: Samsung has put language translation natively in its keyboard and in the phone app, which means if you’re texting someone or calling them and they speak a different language, you don’t have to hop between [00:03:00] apps to translate or copy and paste text or anything like that. I’ve been playing around with this a lot in the Messages app and it’s been working really quickly. When I tried to translate an entire text message thread between myself and my husband, all it took was a few taps to have the entire thread of our conversation translated with no copy and pasting required. With phone calls, it’s similarly easy. You just start a phone call like you normally would and then tap the chat assist button. This did work well in my experience, [00:03:30] but it can be a little bit awkward and it can take a little bit of time to get used to.

Speaker 1: Basically the way this works is Samsung’s AI kind of acts as an intermediary and translates your speech and also translates the speech of the speaker on the other end so that the two of you can understand each other even though you’re speaking different languages. So even though it does work well, it can be hard to know when it’s your turn to start speaking because you do have to wait for Samsung’s AI translator to finish talking. But I do think this could [00:04:00] be really useful for people who travel a lot, maybe for people who have family members that don’t speak English or their native language, or for people who need to communicate with work colleagues in different countries, I do feel like it could be helpful. So one of the most interesting new AI features is called Circle to Search, and Samsung is partnering with Google on this feature.

Speaker 1: And basically just like the name implies, you can circle almost anything on your phone screen and it’ll launch a Google search for whatever that item is. So I just took a photo of the Tea house in this park, [00:04:30] so if I want to learn more about it after I’ve held that button down, I can just draw a circle around it. And as you can see, almost instantly this little panel comes up and it brings up similar search results based on what I circled. So circle to search also works in apps. So if you see something on Instagram or another app and you want to know more about it or maybe where to buy it or something like that, you can just circle to search and it’ll bring up some results. Once again, [00:05:00] I’m just going to hold that button and I’m going to draw a circle around this, and sure enough, there’s a bunch of recipes for grilled cheese sandwiches.

Speaker 1: And then here are some restaurants for places near me that serve grilled cheese sandwiches and even more videos. Another feature I really loved is called Instant Slowmo, and just like the name implies, you can instantly [00:05:30] turn any clip into a slow motion video just by pressing and holding on the footage and then just watching it slow down in real time. And this isn’t a game changer, it’s not a reason to upgrade your phone, but I think it’s just a fun feature that’s a nice application of Galaxy AI to the camera, but not all Galaxy AI features are that useful. There are some that I felt like I either wasn’t really using very much or I feel like could use a little bit of work. One called Chat Assist. So Chat Assist is [00:06:00] kind of an umbrella term for different features that you can use when you’re sending text messages.

Speaker 1: One of them, like I mentioned earlier, is translation. Another one can rewrite your text messages in a different tone. This is really similar to Google’s magic compose, and again, this is another feature that the two companies worked together on and I just don’t really find myself using it. And when I have used it, I’ve noticed that it just doesn’t sound like me, which I guess is kind of the point. Now, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I could possibly see this being useful [00:06:30] four times when maybe you want to text a coworker or a colleague and you want something that sounds a bit more formal than your normal language, but it’s just something that I don’t feel like is a game changer that impressed me nearly as much as the translation features and Circle to search. Another thing I’ve noticed is in the Notes app, which can organize your notes into bullet points and summarize notes for you.

Speaker 1: Sometimes when I had a really long note, like 1400 to 1500 words, it had a hard time summarizing it, [00:07:00] but my biggest complaint is that Samsung I feel has missed an opportunity here to put features on the S 24 Ultra that are specific to the S 24 ultra. These Galaxy AI features are non-exclusive to the Ultra. You can get them on Samsung’s cheaper phones. And while I am really happy that Samsung isn’t making you pay top dollar to get access to Galaxy ai, I really hope that they would’ve thrown at least a couple of extra features in there that were just for the Ultra.

Speaker 1: [00:07:30] The biggest thing that’s different about the S 24 Ultras camera compared to last year’s phone is the new 50 megapixel telephoto camera. That camera offers what Samsung claims to be an optical five x zoom compared to the 10 megapixel 10 x optical zoom that was on the S 23 ultra. So in practice, I have noticed a difference, although you do have to zoom in really close to tell, I took this picture of some house plants at a five X zoom [00:08:00] on both the S 24 ULTRA and the S 23 ultra, and when I really zoomed in, I could see that the S 24 ULTRA did capture a good amount of detail more than the S 23 ultra. But again, I did have to zoom in really closely to notice these difference in terms of general image quality. The Galaxy S 24 Ultra deals with different lighting conditions pretty well, even dimly lit cocktail bars and areas like that.

Speaker 1: And that’s probably thanks to the larger new pixels that are in the S 24 Ultra compared to the S 23 [00:08:30] ultra. Even if the Galaxy S 24 Ultra’s photo wasn’t the brightest compared to the S 23 ultra, the iPhone 15 Pro Max or the Google Pixel eight Pro, it did preserve a lot of detail, which in general still resulted in a great overall photo. I also think the Galaxy S 24 Ultra did a better job of making skin tones and colors look a bit more natural than the Galaxy S 23 Ultra. Now compared to the Google Pixel eight Pro and iPhone 15 Pro, it’s really hard to tell which [00:09:00] is the best camera phone because honestly, all three phones have great cameras, but they excel in different ways. The Galaxy S 24 Ultra, for example, is good at capturing detail in low light environments and has the most zooming options. But the Pixel a pro also preserves a lot of detail when zooming and has generally better color and brightness in some scenarios, in my opinion. And the iPhone 15 PRO generally has the most accurate skin tone and colors in my opinion.

Speaker 1: [00:09:30] The Galaxy S 24 Ultra looks a lot like last year’s Galaxy S 23 Ultra, but with some subtle changes that become more obvious when you look closely, first of all, there’s a new titanium design that gives it a bit of a different finish, and it’s also just so slightly lighter. But the other change that I personally think is more significant is the new flatter edges. The edges of this phone don’t have that subtle curve that the Galaxy S 23 Ultras have, [00:10:00] and the screen itself is also flatter around the edges, which in my opinion makes it much easier to hold and just generally feels better in the hand, like the S 23 ultra. The S 24 ULTRA also has a 6.8 inch screen, but Samsung says it’s much brighter this time around with a 2,600 knit display. However, when I held it side by side next to the Galaxy S 23 Ultra, I couldn’t really tell that much of a difference.

Speaker 1: Good news is that Samsung screens were already plenty bright, so I’m sure [00:10:30] in bright sunlight this will be even easier to see in the sun. However, I personally haven’t seen a difference yet. The Galaxy S 24 Ultra has a 5,000 milliamp battery, which is capable of lasting all day on a single charge, but battery life will always vary depending on how you’re using the phone. On my first full day with the phone, after about 15 and a half hours of use, it still had 69% of its battery left. This was mostly during casual use, but I did notice that when I started to process a lot of generative edits [00:11:00] and use some of more of the language translation features and play games and things like that, the battery life did drain a lot faster. So it really does truly depend on how you’re using your phone.

Speaker 1: The Qualcomm Snapdragon eight Gen three processor that powers the Galaxy S 24 Ultra is generally quick and snappy language. Translations happen really quickly. Games like Devil May Cry, peak of Combat, and Diablo Immortal ran just fine. Scrolling around, the operating system feels smooth. Basically anything that you would expect a flagship phone to handle [00:11:30] does happen pretty quickly. The only exception is that generative edits can take a little bit of time to process, but that relies on the cloud, not so much the processor on its own. Despite Samsung’s flashy new AI features, the main reason to consider the Ultra over the S 24 plus and regular S 24 comes down to the same things. It always has the giant screen, the extra camera, and of the spen at $1,300. The Galaxy S 24 Ultra is hard to recommend unless you [00:12:00] really care about those features and are willing to pay top dollar for them. And again, I do think Samsung kind of missed an opportunity here by not putting some more exclusive Galaxy AI features on the S 24 Ultra. So what do you think of the S 24 ultra? Let me know in the comments and don’t forget to keep following CNET for more Samsung coverage. Thanks for watching and I’ll see you next time.

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