Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra could blow away iPhone 15 Pro Max with this camera upgrade

A render of the Galaxy S24 Ultra from the back and front, in white
(Image credit: Technizo Concept)

A flood of Samsung Galaxy S24 leaks has struck, bringing us news of a big potential camera upgrade for the Galaxy S24 Ultra model that'll crush the competition from Apple, and of RAM, storage and display upgrades for all of Samsung's 2024 flagships.

First, leaker Ice Universe claims Samsung will equip the Galaxy S24 Ultra with a 50MP sensor with 3x zoom. This would presumably replace the 10MP 3x zoom camera found on the Galaxy S23 Ultra and join the remaining 200MP main, 12MP ultrawide and 10MP 10x zoom cameras on the back.

This is not good news for iPhone fans. We had thought with the iPhone 15 Pro Max being rumored to introduce a 6x periscope zoom camera, the new top model from Apple may have been capable of taking the best camera phones crown back from Samsung. Maybe the iPhone 15 Pro Max is capable of taking down the Galaxy S23 Ultra, but it would certainly struggle against this rumored S24 Ultra camera, especially if Apple sticks with its lower-res 12MP sensor.

Interestingly, IU's 50MP 3x camera claim doesn't jive with other camera rumors we've heard for the Galaxy S24 Ultra. Those rumors have claimed Samsung could add a Sony Xperia-style variable zoom telephoto camera instead, which would be able to adjust its optical zoom level anywhere between two preset levels. It may not even be the biggest change coming to the next-gen Ultra Samsung, as other sources say it could feature a 1-inch main camera for increased brightness and detail in photos.

Galaxy S24 display, RAM and storage upgrades also tipped

Elsewhere, the Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo has some leaks of its own about the Galaxy S24's display and RAM/storage specs.

The paper reports that the Galaxy S24 series will use a new "M13" OLED display material, believed to be coming to the iPhone 16 next year as well. This will be "thinner" and "higher quality" than existing panels, the report continues.

For reference, The Galaxy Z Fold 5, and Galaxy Z Flip 5 both use Samsung's current flagship M12 material, and the iPhone 15 is thought to be using this too once it launches (very likely this September). The Galaxy S23 series meanwhile uses a mix of M11 and M12 technologies.

The Chosun Ilbo also back up earlier claims that we will see a RAM increase for all Galaxy S24 models, with 12GB RAM as the new default for the base model (and the Plus too, we'd assume), and 16GB in the Ultra model. This marks a return to the higher RAM capacities of the Galaxy S20 series, which offered 12GB on all three of its models, after three years of a meager 8GB RAM package on the standard/Plus Galaxy S phones.

Also, we can apparently expect 256GB storage will be the default capacity for all Galaxy S24 devices. This would remove the final 128GB option, offered on the standard S23, from Samsung's flagship lineup, making sure all Galaxy S24 buyers have plenty of room to store their stuff.

Lastly, the Chosun Ilbo report mentions Samsung using a mix of Exynos and Snapdragon chips in the Galaxy S24 series. We'd heard rumors that Samsung's own Exynos chips would be making a return next year, after the Galaxy S23 series used the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy exclusively. Assuming Samsung goes back to its typical plans, we'd expect to see the U.S. Galaxy S24 models armed with a Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset, while European buyers would get Exynos-powered S24s

We still have a fairly long wait until the Galaxy S24 series debuts, as Samsung normally updates the Galaxy S each spring. It's fun to see rumors heating up already for these phones, including not only the camera, display and performance ones we just discussed, but also others claiming titanium sides and a smoother 144Hz refresh rate for the Ultra model, full variable refresh rates for the standard and Plus models and larger batteries for all.

More from Tom's Guide

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.