It's not always fun being the middle child. Your older and younger siblings get all the attention and the special treatment. Rarely do you have anything to call your own – it's either hand-me-downs from the older sibling or stuff you have to share with the younger one. Sometimes, it's hard not to feel like an afterthought.
And if that's true of kids, then it's definitely true of smartphone lineups. Look no further than the Plus model in Samsung's Galaxy S series for a prime example of how the middle phone often suffers from a lack of attention.
Samsung's Ultra smartphone is the one that gets the premium capabilities. The entry-level Galaxy S flagship gets its own features to attract smartphone shoppers looking for a good value. And the Plus? Often, it's stuck with the leftovers, as it tries to stand out among the best Samsung phones.
It's happened before with the current Galaxy S23 Plus. And it's probably going to happen again in the next few months when the Galaxy S24 phones arrive, and the Plus model gets treated as an afterthought.
Does it have to be this way? Surely, Samsung can throw a little love in the direction of the Galaxy S24 Plus, so that it doesn't find itself crowded out of the limelight by the standard S24 and what figures to be the headline-grabbing features of the Galaxy S24 Ultra. Or maybe Samsung is happy with the way things are. treating its Plus flagship as a super-sized version of the regular model for people who don't want to pay up for an Ultra.
Here's a closer look at the dilemma the Galaxy S24 Plus potentially finds itself in and whether anything can be done to change that.
Where the Plus fits into Samsung's Galaxy S lineup
Since history is likely to repeat itself with the Galaxy S24 lineup, we can assess the Plus' status by reviewing where it currently fits among the Galaxy S23 models. Like all the S23 phones, this year's Plus runs on the same optimized Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset and features the same basic design. The Plus' display even offers the same peak brightness as the rest of the S23 lineup at 1,750 nits.
But really, the key Galaxy S23 Plus features match what you'd get with the standard S23, particularly when it comes to cameras. Both the S23 and S23 Plus use the same setup — a 50MP main camera aided by a 12MP ultrawide sensor and a 10MP telephoto lens with a 3x zoom. You want more powerful zoom capabilities or a 200MP main camera, you pay up for the Galaxy S23 Ultra.
|Galaxy S23||Galaxy S23 Plus||Galaxy S23 Ultra|
|Screen size||6.1-inch AMOLED (2,340x1.080)||6.6-inch AMOLED (2,340x1,080)||6.8-inch AMOLED (3,088×1,440)|
|CPU||Snapdragon 8 Gen 2||Snapdragon 8 Gen 2||Snapdragon 8 Gen 2|
|Storage||128GB, 256GB||128GB, 256GB||256GB, 512GB, 1TB|
|Rear cameras||50MP main, 12MP ultrawide, 10MP telephoto (3x zoom)||50MP main, 12MP ultrawide, 10MP telephoto (3x zoom)||200MP main, 12MP ultrawide, 10MP telephoto (3x zoom), 10MP telephoto (10x zoom)|
|Battery size||3,900 mAh||4,700 mAh||5,000 mAh|
|Charging speed||25W wired||45W wired||45W wired|
|Size||5.8 x 2.8 x 0.3 inches||6.2 x 3 x 0.3 inches||6.4 x 3.1 x 0.35 inches|
|Weight||6 ounces||7.3 ounches||8.2 ounces|
|Colors||Phantom Black, Green, Lavender, Cream||Phantom Black, Green, Lavender, Cream||Phantom Black, Green, Lavender, Cream|
There are some differences between the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus, but they all relate to size. The Plus has the larger display at 6.7 inches, compared to 6.1 inches for the standard Galaxy S23. (Both phones offer the same refresh rate range of 48-120Hz, though.) Because the S23 Plus is bigger, it also has room for a bigger battery, which translated to a better result on our battery test than what the Galaxy S23 produced.
As closely tied as the Plus model is to the standard Galaxy S phone, the middle model has some things in common with the Ultra. In the case of the Galaxy S23 Plus, the similarities included wired charging speeds — both the S23 Plus and Ultra support 45W speeds — and the same amount of base storage (256GB).
What that means for the Galaxy S24 Plus
Based on current Galaxy S24 rumors, it sounds like not much should change for the upcoming Plus model. It will likely keep the same camera setup as the standard Galaxy S24, with the big telephoto camera improvements earmarked for the Galaxy S24 Ultra. We'd expect the Plus to continue to support the same wired charging speed as the Ultra, which sounds like it will be unchanged from the S23 Plus' 45W speed, and it will likely feature 256GB in its base model, too.
From Samsung's perspective, there's little motivation to change things up for the Galaxy S24 Plus. By offering a phone with a larger screen size than the standard Galaxy S, it motivates user who prefer lots of screen real estate to pay extra for that feature. And by keeping the starting price of the Plus model at $999, Samsung manages to remain attractive to shoppers who'd balk at paying more than $1,000 for a new phone.
Still, you wonder if there are further ways that the Galaxy S24 Plus could set itself apart from the standard model without crowding the Galaxy S24 Ultra at the higher end of the product line. Maybe the 200MP main camera remains a marquee feature for the S24 Ultra and the Ultra alone, but nothing's stopping Samsung from using a 108MP senor like the one on the Galaxy S22 Ultra to help its Plus model stand out a bit more from the regular Galaxy S. (Just to be clear, there's no rumor suggesting this would happen with the Galaxy S24 models.)
A pair of Galaxy S24 rumors has me wondering if there is a way to give the S24 a little pizzaz. First, there's the suggestion that Samsung might use titanium as the material in some of its new phones — the Galaxy S24 Ultra is all but certain to adopt titanium, but it's less clear if Samsung plans to extend the new feature to other models. Building the Galaxy S24 Plus out of titanium would be one way to help that model live up to its Plus moniker.
There's also the matter of what chipset will power which models released in what countries. The current rumor has every Galaxy S24 Ultra running on the newly announced Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 silicon, regardless of where the phone is released. But a persistent rumor suggests that some Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus models might use an Exynos 2400 system-on-chip instead, with the Exynos-powered models likely shipping to countries other than the U.S.
It's a longshot, but maybe Samsung decides that a way to make the Galaxy S24 Plus stand out a little more is to include it among the models getting a Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset regardless of where the phone ships. Leaked benchmarks certainly suggest a performance edge for the Qualcomm silicon over the Exynos 2400 so that move might certainly encourage more shoppers to pay up for the Plus.
Galaxy S24 Plus outlook
Samsung finds itself in an enviable position where it really doesn't have to make any changes to the Plus model if it doesn't want to. It can point to the popularity of the Galaxy S lineup as proof that all three of its flagship phones have a distinct and dedicated audience.
That's probably true, which is why the Galaxy S24 Plus will likely have the same similarities and differences to Samsung's standard phone as the Plus models that came before it. But adding a little extra something to the Plus might help Samsung's middle model finally carve out a space of its own.