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Samsung Galaxy S24 review: Pocket-sized AI

Our Rating :
£859.00 from
Price when reviewed : £799
inc VAT

Samsung cleans up its design, brightens up its display, and launches a compact AI barrage


  • All the Galaxy AI tricks for less
  • Sharp, if derivative design
  • Cheaper than before


  • OneUI still very busy
  • Cameras barely changed
  • Split processor approach feels like a step back

If you’ve read our glowing review of the Galaxy S24 Ultra, you’ll know that this year is “All about (Galaxy) AI”. Samsung has gone all in on artificial intelligence-driven software tricks.

Of course, there’s an unspoken caveat in all this: you don’t need to spend £1,249 and knock through to an adjacent pocket in order to welcome said AI features into your life. You can just spend £799 on a Samsung Galaxy S24 and secure yourself a stylish compact flagship with exactly the same skills.

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Samsung Galaxy S24 review: What you need to know

Samsung has always offered one of the most complete compact flagship phone packages on the market, and its Galaxy S24 is no different. In fact, with a purposeful new design and improvements to its stamina and display, it’s arguably the most appealing ‘small’ Galaxy flagship phone yet.

It comes with a custom Exynos 2400 processor rather than the Galaxy S23 Ultra’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for Galaxy, and this is backed by 8GB of RAM and either 128GB or 256GB of internal storage. At the front, it has a 6.2in Full HD+ (1,080 x 2,340) AMOLED panel with a 120Hz refresh rate; this is both slightly larger and significantly brighter at peak than its predecessor.

That slightly larger display is accompanied by a bigger 4,000mAh battery. However, the triple camera system appears pretty much unchanged, with a 50MP main camera accompanied by a 12MP 120-degree ultrawide and a 10MP 3x optical telephoto.

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Samsung Galaxy S24 review: Price and competition

You don’t hear this much these days, but the Samsung Galaxy S24 is actually cheaper than its predecessor – at least in the UK. Prices start from £799 for the 128GB model, while the step-up 256GB unit costs £849; that’s £50 cheaper than the equivalent S23 models at launch last year.

Let’s not forget that the Galaxy S23 marked an unpopular £80 price hike for the series, though, so Galaxy S24 pricing hasn’t quite returned to S22 levels. Still, it does mean that the Galaxy S24 is priced competitively. The phone costs the same as the iPhone 15, and is £100 more than the Google Pixel 8.

If you like what the Galaxy S24 has to offer, but would prefer a larger display and even better stamina, the Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus offers a 6.7in QHD+ (1,440 x 3,120) display and a meatier 4,900mAh battery from £999.

Samsung Galaxy S24 review: Design and key features

Samsung seems to be on a slow but steady mission to do away with anything so ostentatious as a curve. Last year’s Galaxy S23 saw the showy Contour Cut camera module given the heave-ho, and there’s no return to it with the Galaxy S24.

This time around, Samsung has straightened out the remaining curved edges, too, producing a Galaxy S24 that’s now flat around the border and rounded in the corners. The decision further robs the Galaxy S series of its own signature look, which is a shame when the iPhone and Pixel ranges both have their own distinct thing going on.

While some will justifiably grumble at this design decision, there’s no denying the Galaxy S24 looks and feels sharp. In my model’s Amber Yellow shade (one of seven colours on offer this year), with its slightly tinted Armor Aluminium frame, it looks very sophisticated indeed.

Other than this flattening out process, the Samsung Galaxy S24 design is similar to the Galaxy S23’s. Its footprint and 7.6mm thickness are pretty much the same, as is a weight of 167g. It’s as unobtrusive and conveniently pocketable as modern smartphones get.

As always, you won’t find this Samsung flagship wanting for build quality. It’s IP68 rated and has Corning Gorilla Glass Victus 2 up front, while the tolerances are nice and tight. You still won’t find any microSD expansion potential in that SIM slot alongside the USB-C port, though, so you’ll have to be happy with the 128GB or 256GB of storage that comes with the phone.

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Samsung Galaxy S24 review: Display

We just discussed how the Galaxy S24 has a similar footprint to the Galaxy S23, but it’s not identical. It’s a fraction taller than its predecessor, and that’s because Samsung has expanded the size of its display a little.

We’re only talking about a fractional increase to 6.2in. Held side by side with an Apple iPhone 15 Pro (6.1in) and a Google Pixel 8 (6.2in), there’s nothing noticeable between them in terms of screen size.

This is another Full HD+ panel (1,080 x 2,340), which is plenty sharp enough at this size, and it still refreshes at up to 120Hz. However, it’s a more advanced LTPO panel this time around, which means it can scale the refresh rate up and down incrementally according to the task for greater energy efficiency.

Doubtless, this goes some way to offsetting the Galaxy S24’s extra brightness. Samsung claims that it can get up to 2,600cd/m2 in HDR scenarios, which is quite an advance on the Galaxy S23’s 1750cd/m2. Outside HDR playback and with auto brightness off, I measured a maximum brightness of 732cd/m2, which is excellent.

Samsung still tends towards vibrant colours with its displays, despite the complaints of some; this thing really pops, even in the more sRGB gamut-friendly Natural mode. Using this, I recorded an sRGB gamut coverage of 99.5% and an average Delta E of 1.73. It isn’t the most colour-accurate display around, then, but it’s certainly very easy on the eye.

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Samsung Galaxy S24 review: Performance and battery life

After unifying its global approach last year, Samsung has regrettably gone back to its own custom chips for the global Galaxy S24, while specifying the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 in a handful of regions (notably the US and China).

Here in the UK, we get the global model with the Samsung-made Exynos 2400 chip. This is simply not as fast or efficient as the Galaxy S24 Ultra’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, and it would have been preferable if Samsung had just gone with that chip across the range and in every territory.

Still, it’s worth highlighting that the Galaxy S24 will perform well enough for most people and that it performed a fair chunk faster than the Galaxy S23 with its Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip in the benchmarks. It comfortably trumped the Google Pixel 8 with its custom Tensor G3 chip.

samsung galaxy s24 performance chart geekbench

samsung galaxy s24 gaming gfxbench chart

Away from benchmarks, the Galaxy S24 feels snappy. Samsung’s fingerprint sensors are some of the most responsive around, and jumping into the Galaxy S24 from sleep is near-instantaneous, as is flipping between open apps and switching into the camera UI with a double press of the power button.

Gaming performance is decent too, with Wreckfest and Genshin Impact running pretty fluidly on max graphical settings. Having said that, I did note that high-end gaming performance drops off quite dramatically after a few minutes, with the Galaxy S24 quickly throttling back to keep things cool.

Efficiency is always a worry when Samsung introduces its Exynos chips, but I had no qualms with the Galaxy S24’s stamina. With a larger than ever 4,000mAh battery, the Galaxy S24 was able to attain a score of 27hrs 28mins in our video playback test, which is five hours longer than the Galaxy S23 and two hours longer than the Pixel 8.

In practical terms, a day of moderate usage (four hours screen on time) would leave me with around 35% left in the tank at bedtime. That’s fine rather than outstanding, but it more or less matches my experience with the Pixel 8, which has a much larger 4,500mAh battery.

Charging times are disappointingly slow, however. With support for a mere 25W maximum charging speed, a full top-up took longer than an hour.

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Samsung Galaxy S24 review: Cameras

While Samsung has made a number of tweaks and changes elsewhere, the Galaxy S24’s camera set-up remains more or less unchanged. You seemingly get the same 50MP (f/1.8) main camera, the same 12MP (f/2.2) 120-degree ultrawide unit, and the same 10MP (f/2.4) 3x telephoto as on the S23.

This wasn’t a particularly fresh set-up even in 2023, although a dedicated 3x telephoto in a compact flagship of this kind is still relatively rare. Both the iPhone 15 and the Pixel 8 omit such a provision.

samsung galaxy s24 camera sample field sunset

Sure enough, zoomed shots are a relative strength here, with strong sharpness at 3x in good lighting. There’s the capacity to go up to 30x, but 10x is probably as far as you should go.

You shouldn’t expect a miraculous improvement over the S23 here, but the Galaxy S24 takes solid, vibrant shots with plenty of contrast in regular daytime lighting. There was a pleasing natural warmth to most of the daytime shots I captured with the phone, and a certain uniformity to that tone across the three main sensors, too.

samsung galaxy s24 camera sample night

Night shots are solid, although I did notice quite a bit of sky noise in a couple of shots. It’s not up to Pixel 8 standards when the light falls. I also found the Galaxy S24 could struggle a little in those mid-lighting conditions, such as when capturing people and food in an artificially low-lit restaurant, although these are challenging conditions for any camera system.

The Galaxy S24 offers one of the better selfie cameras out there, too, locking onto the subject (that’s you) with sharp edges and natural skin tones.

samsung galaxy s24 camera sample dinner meal

Video support once again stretches to 8K at 30fps or 4K at 60fps, although it defaults to a slightly underwhelming 1080p/30fps. In all three of those modes, I found the Galaxy S24 camera to shoot suitably steady (yes, even in 8K) and clear footage, and to be capable of adjusting quickly to changes in lighting on the fly.

samsung galaxy s24 photo sample day

You can also switch to Slow Motion mode, which shoots at 1080p and 240fps, although it’s rather too buried in the More menu.

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Samsung Galaxy S24 review: Software

The Galaxy S24 runs Android 14 with One UI 6.1, just like the Galaxy S24 Ultra so anyone who has used Samsung’s take on Android before will be well at home. This is a bright and fluid interface that’s probably a little more congested and convoluted than Pixel fans would like.

There are things you have to do with a Samsung phone that you don’t always have to do with phones from other brands. You still have to switch to gesture-based controls, you still have to install Google Wallet, and you still have to remove Samsung’s own web browser as the default.

The app tray will confound anyone used to the simple vertically scrolling, alphabetically ordered approach. Which is anyone who hasn’t used a Samsung phone before, and probably a fair few who have.

You don’t get Google Calendar installed by default, accessing your Google-saved passwords isn’t as easy as it should be… I could go on. It’s not that Samsung’s way of doing things is bad, it’s just very particular and very hands-on. You’ll either dig it or you won’t. Thankfully, even if you don’t, most of these annoyances can be mitigated or rolled back.

The one thing that’s really new and exciting here is Samsung’s Galaxy AI, with the Galaxy S24 capable of all the same whizzy tricks as the Ultra. With a mixture of on-device and cloud-based AI rendering, you can remove background objects from your images, instantly translate calls and audio transcriptions in real-time, and summarise any notes you’ve made.

Press and hold on the swipe bar (in gesture mode), and you’ll be able to search the web using any piece of on-screen information with a tap or circle. Tap the AI button when typing out a text and you can have Galaxy AI completely rewrite your message in a different tone, or perform a spelling and grammar pass.

Samsung has gone to town with the AI features this year, and while they vary in usefulness, they’re pretty much all impressive showcases of what’s possible with this increasingly popular technology. The Galaxy S24 is the cheapest way to access them all, too.

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Samsung Galaxy S24 review: Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy S24 is a subtle evolution over the Galaxy S23, but small improvements to the design, display, and stamina combine to produce a worthy successor. The Galaxy S24 is a remarkably easy phone to live with, once you’ve performed the usual One UI adjustments.

It’s also the most accessible way to sample Samsung’s exciting new suite of AI tools, several of which are spookily powerful and even downright useful. Add in a return to a more palatable price, and you have another elite compact flagship phone from Samsung.

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