Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus is still the awkward middle child — time to drop it?

Samsung galaxy s24 plus
(Image credit: Future)

The release of the Galaxy S24 series has pushed Samsung to the front of the 2024 smartphone race. However, it has left me with a question that has plagued me since Galaxy Unpacked: what is the point of the Galaxy S24 Plus, or the Plus versions of Galaxy phones in general?

The concept behind the Plus phones is relatively simple, it's about making a middle ground for customers. The idea is to have a phone with some differences from the base Galaxy model but is not as large a difference as the Ultra model. This usually takes the form of more storage, RAM and a larger screen. However, the issue is that the breadth of changes seems to have lessened and, what with the lack of any major hardware changes, makes the Plus model seem pointless. This wasn't always the case, in fact, the first plus model was quite different from its contemporary.

The Plus model has been around since the release of the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus, but what it offers has changed over time. The Galaxy S8 Plus only offered a bigger screen and a better battery. Then the Galaxy S9 Plus was released and it offered a dual aperture camera and a better quality screen and was considered quite an improvement over the base model.  

The next year saw the release of the Galaxy S10 Plus, which differed from the Galaxy S10 by having the option to reach as high as 1TB of storage, as well as 12GB of RAM compared to the 8GB on the base model. Finally, the Galaxy 10+ included a dual front camera that wasn’t introduced to the base model until the Galaxy S10 5G. This followed a trend in the Galaxy Series where the Plus would offer higher storage and RAM options over the base model.

galaxy s23 plus back

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When it comes to the S24 Plus there are some familiar differences, namely an increased RAM as well as a larger battery, and faster charging speed. These upgrades come in at $200. These are some great improvements, but they’re surprisingly minimal in terms of how much difference they make. There's no removing the Galaxy S24 Plus, but does there need to be another Plus model?

First and foremost, having varied price options is never a bad thing. We live in a difficult time financially and smartphones are an expensive product. As such, giving customers a variety of choice can only be an advantage. Not to mention, sometimes there are things in a smartphone that you don’t care about and would rather not spend money on. For instance, the majority of people may not notice a RAM difference, at least one between 8GB and 12GB.

There is a counterpoint to that, however, and it has to do with the actual cost of developing the phones. It has been speculated that Samsung has kept the majority of the hardware between the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S24 due, in part, to a cost-cutting measure. This raises the question: why have a model of phone that historically has worse sales than the other two and costs more money to produce? Would it not be cheaper to simply offer to add the upgraded options to the base model S24?

There is an argument for having a larger screen as an option for those who want it, and it is hard to find a counterpoint for that, except for one minor detail. The screens are barely different sizes, at least not enough to convince many to buy one. The screen on a base S24 is 6.2-inches, while the Plus has a 6.7-inch screen. Meanwhile the Galaxy S24 Ultra has a 6.8-inch screen. The difference the Plus has on either the base or the ultra model is so minimal that it just feels redundant. 

Galaxy S20 deals

(Image credit: Amazon)

Therein lies the next part of this discussion, what could the Plus series do differently to differentiate itself? Honestly, it’s a tricky one to answer, especially as the hardware changes appear to be slowing down and the focus shifts to Galaxy AI. We could look to Apple, but they are having a similar problem with their own Plus model. It seems like this is common problem across the larger developers.

Perhaps they could go back to including a slight camera variation for the S25 Plus, and maybe find a middle ground to help separate the three phones. The issue to contend with is that this option would incur more cost and thus make the phone more expensive which raises the question why you would not just save for the Ultra version. 

A final option is to perhaps keep a few features from the Galaxy AI free on the Plus models. There has been some indication that Samsung could lock out parts of the Galaxy AI behind a paywall in the next few months. Regardless of whether this is a mistake or not, it might be a good way to separate the Galaxy S24 Plus from the Galaxy S24 without having to majorly change the hardware.

I don't know what the future might hold for the Plus version of the phone, and I don’t think Samsung fully knows either. While I have my doubts that the Plus range will continue, I know that this has been a debate before and so far all the naysayers have been wrong. I don’t honestly have an issue with the idea, but I think there is so much more that needs to be added or changed, otherwise, I worry it might be seen as a means to score a few extra bucks out of people for only a minimal change and that would end up being its death warrant.

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Staff Writer

Josh is a staff writer for Tom's Guide and is based in the UK. He has worked for several publications but now works primarily on mobile phones. Outside of phones, he has a passion for video games, novels, and Warhammer. 

  • Khallin
    Actually I pre-ordered the plus because it's exactly the phone I wanted. I like having a larger screen and more memory but I don't care about the cameras or the stylus. I'll happily save some money by not getting the Ultra.