Watch out, Google; Samsung’s new Galaxy S24 series is stepping on your turf with its AI-centric features.
While Samsung has notably gone titanium with its Galaxy S24 Ultra, that’s more of an aside in what they’ve done with the new lineup — the new Galaxy S24 series has gone pretty much all-in on AI, and its features pretty much put it on par with the Pixel phones in that department.
Top of that list is the real-time live translation of phone calls, although the caveat is that you can only do it on the phone app for now. From the demo, it doesn’t take long for the translation to be made, though it’s necessary that you speak clearly for it to work properly. That’s what you need to do for your typical transcriptions anyway, so it seems equally reliable for the most part. You don’t see this on the Pixel phones — yet, at least.
And speaking of Google, they’ve collaborated with Samsung on one of the coolest AI-enabled features in the new phones. If you’re lazy like I am, the Circle to Search checks all the right boxes; simply circle on a picture the subject that you need information on, and the phone will offer suggestions and contextual ones when applicable (e.g. location).
For those like me with tone issues, Chat Assist might be the difference between employment and a part-time delivery gig where you have to work full-time. This AI tool is baked into the Samsung keyboard and generates socially-appropriate responses that aren’t snappy for work chats and snappy captions for social media. It can also translate messages in real time so long as you download the appropriate language pack. Samsung has announced the availability of 13 packs. In addition, Android Auto will automatically provide a summarised version of incoming messages so you can focus on the road.
Like the Pixel phones, the S24 series will feature Transcript Assist for your speech-to-text needs, including translations and offers summaries. Notes Assist also creates AI-powered summaries and can streamline notes in organised formats.
The usual photography updates
At the heart of the S24 series is a 50 MP adaptive pixel sensor with a quad telephoto system for up to 5x optical zoom (100x digital zoom). Opting to drop the 10x optical zoom lens is a bold move — you can say they’re doubling down on their digital tech. The ‘Nightography’ branding is something that Samsung has been pretty aggressive about, and the new phones feature tweaks to improve night photos further. The main sensor has 1.6x larger pixels (1.4μm) and has 2x wider OIS, along with an advanced gyro that can distinguish between the movements of your subject and yourself.
Samsung uses AI for a couple of nifty features. It generates the intermediate frames to simulate a slow-motion video (Instant Slo-mo); Generative Edit lets you relocate subjects within photos to fine-tune your pictures. Samsung’s Super HDR has also been integrated into Instagram so you can upload HDR photos.
The downside of these AI features is that you generally need an internet connection for the best results, but I think at this point in time, no one is complaining (hard) that the phone can’t do 100% of the work instantaneously.
Only the Ultra gets the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 SoC, which means, in all likelihood, you’re getting the Exynos 2400 in the regular S24 phones; the upside is that in 2024, it’s rarely a real-world problem unless you have a personal bugbear about not receiving a Snapdragon at these prices. Other updates include a 1.9x larger vapour chamber for improved heat dissipation, a bright 2600 nits display (peak) with Vision Booster for better clarity outdoors and a 1-120Hz adaptive refresh rate; Quick Share, Samsung’s wireless file transfer app, now works with all Android devices.
Google’s normalised the idea of a flagship phone where the software features outshine the hardware (or was that indirectly an Apple thing), and Samsung’s S24 series just added credence to where phones should be heading. Pushing camera performance gives infinitesimal improvements, and giving people more usable tools, especially now that the AI tools are becoming ubiquitous, seems like a far more productive venture. Our first impression of the new S24 series is pretty good, as the AI features seem to work as advertised. The jury’s out on the cameras of this phone, as we could only try it in really challenging conditions, and we had no frame of reference — we know you can have reasonable-looking pics given tough lighting circumstances. Hardware breakthroughs may be more exciting at launches, but the idea of a proper productivity tool in your pocket is more satisfying as the days go by. The good news for consumers is that we seemingly have two viable AI-centric options now: Samsung and Google.
Availability and pricing details
Pre-order/registration of interest is currently active at selected online stores and the following:
- Samsung Online Store for Galaxy S24 Ultra and Galaxy S24+ | S24
- Samsung Shop App
- Samsung Experience Stores
- Samsung Official Store in Lazada, Shopee and KrisShop
- Local telecommunication operators M1, Singtel and StarHub
- Selected Consumer Electronics & IT online stores Best Denki, Challenger, Courts, Gain City and Harvey Norman
- Other selected channels: iShop Changi and ZYM Mobile
Customers who pre-order will enjoy a complimentary storage upgrade (worth up to SGD330) on their selected device, early delivery, and can collect or receive their devices from 24 January 2024, Wednesday.
If you need to see it before committing, head to Galaxy Epic Wonderland at Ngee Ann City for an interactive adventure with Galaxy AI and check out the new gear.