Forget Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra — 6 reasons to buy Galaxy S24 Plus instead

Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus in yellow and Galaxy 24 Ultra in hand in titanium violet
(Image credit: Future)

There’s a reason why companies go for a tiered approach with their phone releases. It's mainly a way to reserve the best features for the top-of-the-line model, which provides conumers an extra incentive to pay up for the more feature-packed model. After we put the Galaxy S24 Ultra and S24 Plus through their paces, something odd happened that we haven’t seen before — for once, the Plus was the worthier phone.

Trust us, that’s a tough sentiment for us to share, but we came away convinced about that in our Galaxy S24 Plus review. The middle child in the series has a lot in common with its bigger, more expensive sibling in the S24 Ultra. And while there are hardware features in that $1,299 phone that you won’t get in the S24 Plus (namely the S Pen and extra 5x optical zoom camera), you’re getting the same set of software features including the handy desktop PC-like experience of Samsung DeX.

Don’t get us wrong, there are still compelling reasons to look at the top-of-the-line Galaxy. But we’ll share all the ways the Galaxy S24 Plus beats the S24 Ultra, so you can feel more confident about your buying decision if you opt for the former.

The Galaxy S24 Plus is cheaper by $300

Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus back

(Image credit: Future)

This is probably the biggest reason why the S24 Plus beats the S24 Ultra. What’s important to mention here is that the S24 Plus remains at the same $999 starting price as last year's model, while the S24 Ultra gets an increase of $100 that results in a $300 price difference between the two.

The reason why this is important is because the two phones share many of the same hardware, including a Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip, 12GB of RAM, and 256GB starting storage. Additionally, they both offer IP68 ratings for water and dust protection. 

In the past, these two models were usually separated by $200, but now that gap has grown. As a result, the S24 Plus offers greater value in the eyes of consumers who are looking to save money.

The Galaxy S24 Plus has a lighter, sleeker design

Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus Review Photos.

(Image credit: Future)

Sure, the Galaxy S24 Ultra gains a new design complete with a fancier titanium frame to make it more durable. But Samsung’s flagship still feels over bloated compared to S24 Plus. 

Not only is the S24 Plus lighter at 6.95 ounces (versus the S24 Ultra’s 8.22 ounce weight), it’s also sleeker at 0.3 inches thin. In comparison, the S24 Ultra is a smidge thicker at 0.34 inches.

Those figures may not look substantially far apart, but we can tell you after holding the two phones together that there’s a noticeable difference. The sleeker look and lighter feel of the S24 Plus certainly holds up in the hand much better.

You get the same set of Galaxy AI features

A photo of the Samsung Galaxy S24 in hand with the Circle to Search feature in use. The circle is half drawn.

(Image credit: Future)

Samsung’s clearly invested in the power of artificial intelligence, and both of these phones are proof of that because they share the same exact set of Galaxy AI features. Most people thought that the Galaxy S24 Ultra would have some exclusive ones, much like how Google’s Pixel 8 Pro boasts a couple of exclusives over the standard Pixel 8, but that’s not the case here.

As a result, the Galaxy S24 Plus has access to productivity features like Circle to Search, Chat Assist, and Live Translate — while also acquiring the same generative AI features found on the S24 Ultra, such as Instant Slow-Mo, Generative Edit, and Edit Suggestions.

Even longer battery life

Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus Review Photos.

(Image credit: Future)

Typically a bigger battery ends up giving a phone the extra endurance to clear our custom battery benchmark test for much longer, but that’s not what our testing reveals. The Galaxy S24 Plus’ 4,900 mAh battery manages to outlast the larger 5,000 mAh battery cell of the Galaxy S24 Ultra.

In reality, the difference is one minute — with the S24 Plus reaching a time of 16 hours and 46 minutes, while the S24 Ultra getting to 16 hours and 45 minutes. We already know that the power efficiency of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 is helping out a lot with these leaps in battery life, but this is the first time that the Plus model manages to outlast the Ultra in our testing.

Brighter display for the Galaxy S24 Plus

Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus Review Photos.

(Image credit: Future)

In our testing, the S24 Plus manages to reach a peak brightness output of 1,396 nits with its 6.7-inch QHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2x display — whereas the S24 Ultra’s 6.8-inch QHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2x gets to 1,363 nits. Our eyes can barely notice that minor difference in luminance under sunny conditions, but that’s why we put a light meter against their displays to objectively tell which is brighter. In this case, it’s enough to propel the S24 Plus above its sibling.

Same charging tech on both models

Samsung galaxy s24 and galaxy s24 plus

(Image credit: Future)

The last reason why the Galaxy S24 Plus beats the S24 Ultra is because it charges faster. This is mainly due to the fact that they share the same charging tech, which gives them top USB-C wired charging speeds of 45W.

In 15 minutes, the S24 Plus gets up to 40% while the S24 Ultra isn’t too far behind at 39%. That 1% variation is also present when charging both phones after 30 minutes, where the S24 Plus and S24 Ultra get to 72% and 71% respectively. Given the price difference between the two phones, the fact that charging is essentially a dead heat across the two phones is a big win for the Plus.

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John Velasco
Senior Channel Editor for Phones

John’s a senior editor covering phones for Tom’s Guide. He’s no stranger in this area having covered mobile phones and gadgets since 2008 when he started his career. On top of his editor duties, he’s a seasoned videographer being in front and behind the camera producing YouTube videos. Previously, he held editor roles with PhoneArena, Android Authority, Digital Trends, and SPY. Outside of tech, he enjoys producing mini documentaries and fun social clips for small businesses, enjoying the beach life at the Jersey Shore, and recently becoming a first time homeowner.

  • thugedum
    I have been a huge Samsung fan forever with an exception of 2 years when LG had me. I still use one of them and I will explain why in a moment. I have had an iPhone for work and loathe them. However, Samsungs Galaxy 21 plus was a little disappointing as far as some glitches I had to endure. I skipped the 22 and then bought a 23 Plus. I have had SO many issues with the 23 plus that I have had to use my older LG ThinQ when it has bricked on me. Keep in mind that I am not doing tricks with my phone and for it to brick within a few months of purchase, I was irritated. Then just as fast as it bricked, letti g it sit in the trash for 2 days must have triggered something because be4 i threw it out, I tried to turn it on one last time and it worked. However, 2 months later, it start rd glitching again. Freezing on me and I had to piwer off nearly once a day. This has gone on for the last few months but now it seems to be just once a week. The camera is not consistent with the quality it takes, so my LG is always with me just in case. As much as I loathe Apple, I may switch to the iPhone soon because the Galaxy is too expensive and not all that amazing for my taste to justify needing tk reboot the phone all of the time. Especially when it is brand new. I dont know what happened to Samsung. Maybe they got an ego because of their market share. Well, trust, they will lose it aoon because I know i am not the only one with this issue. U were warned but if it does happen, take it in IMMEDIATELY. Save ur sales receipt and another issue... charger will stop working also. Just know that also. Samsung, fix ur stuff becuz I really dont wanna go to iPhone and LG isnt an option anylonger. Pixel 8 Pro may be for me but i may just sit this out for a few months longer and continue carrying my LG for when my galaxy plus bricks again. I know it will.