Samsung Galaxy S24 review: Affordable AI power

Galaxy AI features at an affordable price

Samsung galaxy s24 review
(Image: © Future)

Tom's Guide Verdict

The Galaxy S24 delivers some of the strongest value of Samsung’s latest flagships, offering the same Galaxy AI features as its pricier counterparts. But the real benefit to upgrade is to reap the performance and battery life improvements delivered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 silicon — assuming that you’re able to buy a phone with that chip where you live.

Pros

  • +

    Clever Galaxy AI features

  • +

    Excellent battery life in a compact phone

  • +

    Brighter display than before

  • +

    Outstanding performance for Snapdragon-powered models

  • +

    7 years of updates

Cons

  • -

    Some AI features are works in progress

  • -

    No big camera improvements

  • -

    Snapdragon chipset only in North American models

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The story of the Samsung Galaxy S24 centers around artificial intelligence — namely, the suite of AI-powered features Samsung has introduced to all three phones in its S24 lineup. It's understandable, as AI is new and buzzy, and the Galaxy AI capabilities at the heart of the Galaxy S24 are actually practical and (with some exceptions) polished.

But to focus exclusively on Galaxy AI is to do the Galaxy S24 a disservice. Yes, the hardware tweaks and enhancements aren't terribly groundbreaking — not that it's easy making significant changes to a phone this well-established. But the changes Samsung does make are important, improving upon an already stellar display while also tackling a long-standing complaint about the most compact model in its flagship lineup.

My Samsung Galaxy S24 review will look at the Galaxy AI features, of course, and whether they make the most affordable model in Samsung's flagship lineup worth a purchase or upgrade. But I’ll also look at the other changes made to the Galaxy S24 that produce one of the most well-rounded Samsung phones in years.

For more on the Galaxy S24 series, see our Galaxy S24 Plus review as well as our Galaxy S24 Ultra review.

Samsung Galaxy S24 review: Specs

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Galaxy S24
Starting price$799/£799
Display size and resolution6.2-inch AMOLED (2340 x 1080)
Refresh rate1-120Hz adaptive
ProcessorSnapdragon 8 Gen 3 (North America) / Exynos 2400 (Elsewhere)
RAM8GB
Storage128GB, 256GB
Rear cameras50MP main (f/1.8), 12MP ultrawide (f/2.2), 10MP telephoto (f/2.4) with 3x optical zoom
Front camera12MP (f/2.2)
Battery size4,000 mAh
Battery lfie (Hrs:Mins)13:28
Charging speed25W
Size5.79 x 2.78 x 0.30 inches
Weight5.93 ounces
ColorsSand stone orange, sapphire blue, cobalt violet, jade green, marble gray, onyx black, amber yellow.

Samsung Galaxy S24 review: Price and availability

The Galaxy S24 is available for $799/£799, with the base model featuring 128GB of storage. (In Australia, the base model of the Galaxy S24 features 256GB of storage and starts at AU$1,399.) In the U.S., that's the same price Samsung charged last year for the Galaxy S23 — something worth calling out in light of Samsung's $100 price hike for the Galaxy S24 Ultra.

There's also a 256GB version of the Galaxy S24 available in the U.S. and U.K. for $859/£859.

You'll be able to find the Galaxy S24 at Samsung's website as well as at major retailers like Amazon and Best Buy. (Order from Samsung and you can choose from three exclusive colors on top of the four color options available elsewhere.) U.S. phone carriers are now selling the Galaxy S24, too, with many offering Galaxy S24 deals that can help you lower the cost of the phone.

Samsung Galaxy S24 review: Design

Samsung galaxy s24 review

(Image credit: Future)

You won't spot too many differences between the Galaxy S24 and the Galaxy S23 it nudges aside in the lineup of best Samsung phones. The screen and back panel on the S24 are both flat and are joined by metal side rails, but the phone has adopted a unibody-like design that blends all the separate panels together brilliantly. 

Samsung continues to make the S24 out of aluminum — titanium is reserved for the Galaxy S24 Ultra, as is the more durable Gorilla Armor Glass for the Ultra's display. Still, the Galaxy S24 counts on Gorilla Glass Victus 2 to be tough enough, and it offers IP68 water-resistance, so don't worry about dropping the phone in the drink.

The biggest design change to the Galaxy S24 involves the bezels — they're smaller than before which allows the new phone to offer a slightly bigger screen than the S23 without noticeably changing the dimensions of the phone. Even with a 6.2-inch display, the Galaxy S24 remains as compact as its predecessor.

I wish I could get excited about the Galaxy S24 color options, which strike me as a bit muted. Names like Onyx Black, Marble Gray, Cobalt Violet and Amber Yellow make the colors sound a lot more dramatic than they actually look. I would suggest heading to Samsung's online store where exclusive options in blue, orange and green at least add some variety to your choices.

Samsung Galaxy S24 review: Display

Samsung galaxy s24 review

(Image credit: Future)

I've mentioned the Galaxy S24's larger display, which offers a resolution of 2340 x 1080 resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate. But besides the modest increase in size from the 6.1-inch panel on the S23, the biggest addition is a boost to the screen's brightness. Like the rest of the new lineup, the Galaxy S24 promises a maximum brightness of 2,600 nits.

I have to say our lab testing didn't come close to that theoretical maximum, which was probably achieved under very controlled circumstances. Still, the 1,416 nits it reaches using a light meter and with HDR enabled is nothing to sneeze at — it improves upon the Galaxy S23's 1,340-nit reading and was in line with the iPhone 15's 1,401-nit result.

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Galaxy S24 display test results
Row 0 - Cell 0 Samsung Galaxy S24iPhone 15Samsung Galaxy S23
Display size6.2 inches6.1 inches6.1 inches
Brightness (nits)1,4161,4011,340
sRGB color spectrum137.5% (Vivid), 120.8 (Natural)114.4128.6 (Vivid), 212.1 (Natural)
DCI-P3 color spectrum97.4 (Vivid), 85.5 (Natural)81.1150.2 (Vivid), 91.1 (Natural)
Delta-e rating0.22 (Vivid), 0.24 (Natural)0.180.34 (Vivid), 0.24 (Natural)

I found I had to keep the display brightness slider rather high to see screen details under less favorable lighting conditions, but at least the S24 has that capability in its toolkit. A trailer for The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare on YouTube looked pretty dark in some scenes, though I suspect that's a Guy Ritchie problem and not a Samsung one. Streaming Under Pressure on Netflix produced bright crisp images of the U.S. Women's soccer team in action.

The Galaxy S24 recreates more colors than the iPhone 15's display does using both the sRGB and DCI-P3 spectrums. Apple's screen is a bit more accurate, though, with a Delta-E rating of 0.18 to the S24's 0.22 with the display in its default Vivid mode. (Numbers closer to zero are better.)

Samsung Galaxy S24 review: Galaxy AI features

Chat Assist on Galaxy S24

(Image credit: Future)

Any discussion of the Galaxy S24 is going to revolve around the Galaxy AI features that Samsung has added to the phone in an attempt to make artificial intelligence a centerpiece on its mobile devices going forward. To that end, Galaxy S24 owners have reason to cheer — the same features available on the Galaxy S24 Ultra are also present on this device, which is now $500 cheaper than the Ultra. In other words, you don't have to pay up to access Galaxy AI.

My colleague John Velasco covers the what, how, and why of the Galaxy AI capabilities quite extensively in his Galaxy S24 Ultra review, so I'll not repeat his work here. I do want to share my key impressions of each of the features, though, starting with the most intriguing — Live Translate, which promises real-time translations for 13 different languages when you're on a phone call with someone speaking in a different tongue.

Galaxy S24 Live Translate

(Image credit: Future)

It's impressive on paper, but a bit awkward in practice, as I found when I placed a phone call to my wife, who can speak German. Live Translate's translations weren't always accurate, and I'm not sure how much of that can be chalked up to her accent — she's not a native German speaker — and how much is because Live Translate seems to falter with casual conversation tones. It is pretty clear that the delay between when someone speaks and when the translated speech appears on your phone screen and in your ear is something that takes getting used to.

Galaxy AI Notes auto-formatting on Galaxy S24

(Image credit: Future)

I'm far more impressed with what Galaxy AI brings to the Notes app on the Galaxy S24. The AI features in Notes can auto-format the notes you quickly jot down into something that's not only easier to read, but also pleasing to the eye. I was especially delighted to see that you get multiple options for notes formatting, so you can pick the one that looks the best to your eye. I took some quick notes on all the things that I had to do for the coming week — it's quite an extensive list — and Note turned it into a bulleted list. The app's auto-summary feature produced a very accurate summary that boiled down what I had to do on each given day.

Circle to Search on the Galaxy S24

(Image credit: Future)

It's a toss-up on whether Notes or Circle to Search is the most polished Galaxy AI feature. Circle to Search does exactly what its name implies. If you see something in any app that catches your fancy, just long-press the home button at the bottom of the screen — a message will pop up telling you to circle or tap on what you want to search, and the results will appear in an overlay at the bottom of the screen so you don't have to leave the app you're currently in.

Circle to Search works in any app — I've used it just as easily in Gallery as I have in Chrome — and while it works best with photos, I've found that circling text produces results, too. I used the latter method to circle Mean Girls on a movie theater marquee to look up information about the movie, for example. Circle to Search is currently geared a little too much to e-commerce for my taste — the first search results you get are usually invitations to buy what you've circled — but this is still a pretty powerful use of AI.