Samsung rumored to be dropping the Galaxy S25 Plus — here's why that's a big mistake

Samsung Glaaxy S24 Plus in different colors
(Image credit: Future)

Certain phone rumors seem to come back year after year like perennials blooming back to life. The next iPhone is finally going to get rid of physical buttons. Apple's just about to release a foldable iPhone any moment now. And Samsung is pulling the plug on the Plus model in its Galaxy S lineup — this time we mean it,

The Galaxy S25 installment of that rumor has recently flared up, with reports suggesting that the absence of an S25 Plus entry in the International Mobile Equipment Identity database means the middle entry in Samsung's flagship lineup will finally be kaput when the other Galaxy S25 models show up in early 2025.

We should note that not everyone agrees with this conclusion. But more to the point, dropping the Plus model from the Galaxy S family just doesn't make sense, not at this at this point in the Galaxy S story. 

I'll admit that this is a change in attitude toward the Plus edition of Samsung's annual Galaxy S releases. In fact, I may have been one of the people arguing in the past that the Plus is perhaps one Galaxy S phone too many. But after seeing what better value the Galaxy S24 Plus delivered compared to the Galaxy S24 Ultra, I started to wonder if I've been too dismissive of the Plus phone's appeal.

Why the Plus stands out

Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

I came by my original antipathy toward the Plus model honestly. I tend to prefer smaller phones, and I think the Galaxy S24 is just about the ideal size for a handset. When I reviewed that phone earlier this year, its compact fit in my hand proved to be one of the more appealing things about Samsung's latest device.

But not everyone shares my preference. Though a big phone may not be as easy to use one-handed as a smaller model, it's easier to get things done on a device with a larger display. And at 6.7 inches, the Galaxy S24 Plus offers one of the biggest panels in Samsung's lineup. Only the Galaxy S24 Ultra gives you more screen space, and that phone's a lot more expensive than the Plus (which we'll talk about more in a bit).

There's another advantage to having a phone large enough to support a screen as big as the one on the Galaxy S24 Plus — you have more room to fit in a big battery to help that phone last longer on a charge. In the case of the Galaxy S24 Plus, we're talking about a 4,900 mAh cell that, combined with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 silicon powering the North American version of the phone, helped it last 16 hours and 32 minutes on our battery test. That's about 6.5 hours longer than the average phone and only 13 minutes shy of the Galaxy S24 Ultra's average, placing it high on our best phone battery life list.

The similarities in battery life between the Plus and the Ultra take on further significance when you consider how very different their prices are. After a price hike, the Galaxy S24 Ultra starts at $1,299, which is $300 more than the cost of the Galaxy S24 Plus. Perhaps people who want the very best in terms of features will pay up for the Ultra, but that $999 price is going to be the sweet spot for more shoppers, precisely because it falls under the psychologically important $1,000 threshhold. 

To put it another way, the Plus model in the Galaxy S series serves a very important function. It provides a step up from the entry-level Galaxy S model without forcing a commitment to Ultra-level prices. I don't seem Samsung giving up that middle ground just to get a simplified product lineup.

Galaxy S25 Plus outlook

Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus Review Photos.

(Image credit: Future)

I do think Samsung could do more to differentiate the Plus and standard Galaxy S models, and maybe that can happen with the Galaxy S25. For example, the Galaxy S24 Plus camera setup features a 50MP main camera, 12MP ultrawide shooter and 10MP telephoto lens, matching the camera array on the Galaxy S24. Perhaps, Samsung could find a way to better distinguish the camera specs on those two models, maybe in time for the Galaxy S25 Plus.

Then again, there are already some crucial distinctions between the standard Galaxy S and its Plus variant that justify the higher price beyond just a big screen. The Galaxy S24 Plus charges faster than the Galaxy S24, and its base configuration comes with double the storage. The Plus model also offers more RAM.

What I'm getting at is there's enough to distinguish the Plus model, to the point where its absence in the Galaxy S25 lineup would be keenly felt. I don't know if the lack of an S25 Plus in the IMEI listings portends a change in Samsung's phone lineup plans for 2025 or if it's just an oversight that will corrected soon enough. But I do know that there would be a Plus-sized hole in Samsung's phone lineup if all ae get is a Galaxy S25 and Galaxy S25 Ultra at the start of the new year.

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Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.