We now know that the Samsung Galaxy S24 is going to arrive on January 17, and all the official teasers point toward one thing — Samsung is going to be pushing the AI angle really hard this year. We already knew 2024 would be a big year for AI in phones, and Samsung looks to be leading the charge on that front.
Unfortunately, the rumors don’t paint a particularly positive picture of what Samsung has in store for us. In fact, the Galaxy S24 series sounds like it could be rather boring — certainly in terms of new hardware when compared to the Galaxy S23 series from last year.
If anything, it’s starting to look like Samsung will be using AI as the “killer feature” to push people into upgrading their phone. And I have a pretty strong feeling that this isn’t going to work the way Samsung hoped.
The Galaxy S24 series sounds pretty bland
These days, it often feels like smartphones don’t change all that much from year to year, certainly as far as hardware is concerned. But there are times when those changes seem particularly weak. The iPhone 14 was a prime example, and judging from rumored specs we’ve heard so far, it may also be the case for the Galaxy S24 series.
On the base Galaxy S24 model, rumors suggest there's practically no meaningful hardware changes. Word is that we’ll be getting a slightly larger display (6.2-inch vs 6.1-inch) and a brand new chipset — either a Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 or Exynos 2400. The cameras, battery and other major specs are no different to what the S23 offers, assuming those rumors are accurate. That doesn’t discount changes to the design or changes under the surface, but it doesn’t paint a good look for the Galaxy 24.
The S24 Ultra is expected to get a few extra upgrades, including extra RAM, a titanium frame and a new 50MP telephoto lens — though the higher resolution lens may come at the expense of a better optical zoom, with the 10x magnification reportedly being halved this year. Needless to say, even the ultra-premium Ultra model isn’t looking particularly exciting from a hardware standpoint.
Then again, this isn’t a major surprise as far as phone upgrades go. Incremental phone upgrades are nothing new, and it’s not often that we get any major hardware changes from one generation to the next. Analysts even predict that the iPhone 16 might not be all that exciting, seeing as how there were a bunch of significant upgrades in the past couple of generations.
So from this pre-launch perspective, it looks as though AI may be the thing Samsung uses to try and prop up the lack of additional upgrades.
It’s clear there will be a big AI focus — and Samsung isn't alone
AI in phones is nothing new, even from Samsung. The smartphone industry has been peddling AI improvements for several years now. Google is probably one of the bigger proponents, thanks to the AI enhancements powered by Google-designed Tensor chips. But the likes of the Galaxy S23 also featured AI in various places — to the point where it was accused of using AI to fake photos of the moon last year.
Samsung hasn’t exactly kept it a secret that the Galaxy S24 will go big on AI. Some variants of the phone are expected to come with a Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset, which has been built with a bunch of new AI-powered features. Qualcomm is no stranger to AI support on its flagship chipset, but the Gen 3 takes things a big step further — including support for multi-model generative AI.
Samsung hasn’t shied away from hyping AI either. While there have been tons of rumors about the AI capabilities on the Galaxy S24 series, Samsung itself has been teasing the prospect as far back as October. The Zoom Anyplace technology mixes AI and a 200MP camera sensor and while it hasn’t been specifically confirmed to be a Galaxy S24 Ultra feature, the hardware limitations mean there’s nowhere else it could go anytime soon.
The Galaxy Unpacked announcement for January 17 also confirmed that “Galaxy AI” will be on show, and seems to be one of the major announcements of the day. Not to mention that Galaxy S24 pre-registration pages have been teasing “Zoom with Galaxy AI” — which seems to be all about improved picture quality at high zoom levels.
AI should complement hardware, not make up for it
We don’t know all the ins and out of what Samsung will include in the Galaxy S24 this year, and how much of it will be exclusive to the Ultra or Plus models. The problem is that judging from the hardware rumors, the Galaxy S24 is not going to be that exciting all by itself.
So the emphasis on AI so far comes across as though Samsung is using the new tech as a way to make up for that. And that’s not a good look.
AI hype is a big deal in tech circles, but tech bros aren’t the audience Samsung is looking for. Sure, software is the one thing that phone makers can work on to make their devices stand. But the big question here is whether AI features will be enough to convince ordinary people to ditch their current phone and pick up some kind of Galaxy S24.
If anything I’m a firm believer in a phone standing on its own two feet, rather than relying on shiny new software features. And honestly? So far AI features on phones have not been very exciting. Potentially useful at times, like Google’s AI photo editing suite or AI-transcription, but hardly the kind of thing that gets you excited about a new phone.
Your software should be complementing your existing hardware, and if the hardware barely changed it makes me question whether any of this new stuff could have been done on last year’s model instead.
Maybe Samsung will surprise us all with an incredible Galaxy S24 range that’s a huge improvement over the Galaxy S23. Maybe the bland rumors are just proof that you can’t believe everything you read online — and it wouldn’t be the first time rumormongers got stuff wrong.
None of that really matters until Samsung actually announces the Galaxy S24 series at Unpacked later this month. Until then, rumors and teasers are the only thing we have to go by. And, frankly, it doesn’t seem like a particularly impressive set of upgrades this year. If I wanted something with the capabilities of the Galaxy S23, I’d probably buy a Galaxy S23 and save myself some of the money.
I can’t really see any amount of AI hype changing that.
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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.
"Samsung 24 will be dull like the iPhone 14 because there were no big enhancements" "iPhone 16 will be dull because of so many enhancements in the last few generations" Reply
Negative Nancy is negative ⛔📵
Enjoy the latest upgrade or don't. They've got several years of updates now. If you don't like the AI features, wait. These things are so fast already about the only area to noticeably improve is software and battery. 🤷♂️