Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra could beat iPhone 15 Pro Max with this big camera upgrade

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra concept renders
(Image credit: Technical Cheez)

We’ve recently heard rumors about the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s camera sensor, and how it might be 11% larger than last year. Provided the upgrade isn’t being reserved for the iPhone 16 Pro, of course. But one rumor suggests that, whatever happens, the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra could have Apple beat.

According to SamLover, the Galaxy S24 Ultra could come with a 1-inch camera sensor. That would be noticeably bigger than the 1/1.4 (0.87) inch sensor that may be coming to the iPhone 15 Pro Max. It’s certainly a lot bigger than the 1/1.28 (0.78) inch sensor inside the iPhone 14 Pro series.

A larger sensor means the camera can capture more light, which in turn improves the brightness and dynamic range of the final image. That plays its part in ensuring you end up with better quality photos. 

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is already at the top of our best camera phones list, narrowly knocking the iPhone 14 Pro Max out of the top spot. With a larger sensor, plus whatever other camera-upgrades Samsung has to offer, the S24 Ultra could have a good shot at claiming that top place for itself.

SamLover claims that Samsung has made room for the larger sensor by reducing the number of camera lenses on the Galaxy S24 Ultra. We’ve previously heard rumors that the phone could offer a hybrid variable optical zoom, which could switch between 3x and 10x magnification. That means a single telephoto lens can do the job of two, freeing up space for other camera components.

Whether this rumor actually pans out is another matter entirely. We don’t know how accurate SamLover’s information is, and we’re not likely to find out until sometime in early 2024. Needless to say Samsung’s plans could change over the next few months too, so even if this sensor was a possibility it may not make it to the final product.

So don’t be disappointed if things don’t play out exactly as rumors have been claiming in recent weeks. 

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra: Other rumored specs

One thing we’re pretty certain about with the Galaxy S24’s camera is the inclusion of the 200MP main camera. That debuted with the Galaxy S23 Ultra to great acclaim, and we don’t see Samsung scrapping it anytime soon.

We’ve also heard that the whole Galaxy S24 series could get a RAM boost, with the Ultra model potentially offering up to 16GB of memory. The standard Galaxy S24 model could also get a small storage upgrade, scrapping the 128GB model and offering 256GB by default.

It’s also rumored that the Galaxy S24 series could get a major graphical upgrade, with a GPU that’s 50% faster than before. Combined with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, which is due to launch later this year, the phones could offer some spectacular performance. That’s assuming the S24 doesn't see the return of Samsung’s Exynos chipsets, which aren’t nearly as impressive.

There’s still a lot we don’t know about the Samsung Galaxy S24 lineup, including the Ultra, but we’re almost guaranteed to hear more over the coming months — especially after the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Z Flip 5 launch this summer. So sit tight, be patient, and we’ll bring you all the latest news as and when we hear it.

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Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.