We're not even into February and already the first Samsung Galaxy Unpacked of 2024 has given us an all-new trio of Samsung Galaxy handsets to ring in the new year. If you're non-plussed about the largest Galaxy S24 Ultra model and are a small-phone fan then the Galaxy S24 will instead be your best bet – and here's what's different compared to the Galaxy S23 model from last year.
While the Unpacked session in February of last year delivered moderate year-on-year updates, the 2024 session saw the needle move a bit more significantly – at least where the Ultra is concerned. For the baby of the Galaxy S24 range, however, it's still good news: we're treated to marginal design changes that mean less bezel, a slightly larger screen and bigger battery capacity too. But all within a compact form-factor.
I've already used the Galaxy S24 at a hands-on preview session to bring my first impressions early verdict – and needless to say I'm very impressed by this as one of the best small phones that 2024 will see. In this piece, however, I'll be comparing the specific points of difference between Galaxy S24 and S23 to see if you're convinced that an upgrade from the earlier model (or, indeed, one before that) is worth your while.
Samsung Galaxy S24: What's new?
Rather than get too wordy up front, I've list the key new features in the Galaxy S24 that differ from the Galaxy S23 of last year. If you're currently using the previous Samsung flagship then the changes are clear to see, yet relatively subtle.
- Smaller bezel means new larger 6.2-inch screen in similar footprint
- Display is now 50% brighter, with 2600 nits peak brightness
- Galaxy AI introduces real-time transcriptions, photo editing
- Cobalt Violet, Amber Yellow, Onyx Black, Marble Grey
Samsung Galaxy S24 vs S23 Ultra: Price
With the way of the world right now the expectation was for Samsung to ramp up the S24's asking price compared to the S23. But, hold up, that's not the case at all in the UK. Actually the Galaxy S24's 'from £799' asking price is a full £50 lower than the Galaxy S23 was at launch. US and AU region pricing is TBC.
That's obviously a positive point, especially as no corners have been cut to get here. If anything it's a representation of market competition and, with the Galaxy S23 FE only recently on the market, Samsung needs to make its smaller non-Ultra handset options more appealing. Price is certainly one way to do that.
Galaxy S24 vs S23: Design & Display
- Galaxy S23: 6.1-inch, 1080 x 2340, 120Hz, 1750 nits peak
- Galaxy S24: 6.2-inch, 1080 x 2340, 120Hz, 2600 nits peak
- Galaxy S23: 70.9 x 146.3 x 7.6mm / 168g
- Galaxy S24: 70.6 x 147 x 7.6mm / 168g
Both Galaxy S24 and S23 are more or less the same size. I'm talking divisions of a millimetre different here and there, which you won't notice whatsoever in person. What you will clearly see between the two, however, is that the new handset has reduced the screen bezel – and I think it makes a really notable difference.
The new 6.2-inch panel in the Galaxy S23 might only be a 0.1-inch increase, but this is a newer panel that's also capable of delivering a much higher peak brightness (up to 50%) across the same resolution and refresh rate. It's a great small display.
Otherwise, design-wise, you'll be hard pressed to ID one handset apart from the other. Unique colours per generation are about the only point of separation, as the layout, camera arrangement, and everything else about the aesthetic is an echo. No titanium finish here.
Samsung Galaxy S24 vs S23: Cameras
- Both: triple rear camera system comprising:
- Main: 50-megapixel, f/1.8, optical stabilisation (OIS)
- 3x zoom: 10MP, f/2.4, OIS
- Wide: 12MP, f/2.2
- S24 Ultra: adds Galaxy AI photo features
While the Galaxy S24 Ultra's got a whole new zoom camera, it's not the same story for the smaller-scale Galaxy S24. Indeed, despite rumours of the main sensor moving to the 200-megapixel one, that's not come to fruition either. In fact, there's zero difference between the Galaxy S23 and S24's camera hardware. It's identical.
The only considerable shift comes from the addition of Galaxy AI features. Cloud-based options can auto-suggest image corrections that you can apply, while subject/object removal/resizing/moving – much like with the Google Pixel 8 Pro – adds significant control.
Galaxy S24 vs S23: Hardware & Software
- S23: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 / S24: Samsung Exynos 2400
- S23: 3,900mAh, 25W wired / 15W wireless / S24: 4,000mAh, same charging
- S24: adds Galaxy AI features
Continuing down the Galaxy AI route, the suite of tools available on-device (i.e. not cloud-based) for the S24 are impressive: there's live transcription and real-time translation (for 13 languages at launch) both for written and spoken word. It's impressive stuff and available on any one of the three S24 models to launch.
In terms of hardware running everything, in the UK we forego the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor found in the S24 Ultra, instead getting Samsung's own Exynos 2400 silicon (it's the same in the S24 Plus model, too). Now I see that as a downgrade, based on previous experience, in how Exynos handles battery consumption and throttling... but we'll have to wait and see when it comes to full review time.
On the positive side, however, the battery capacity sees a small increase from 3,900mAh in the Galaxy S23 to 4,000mAh in the Galaxy S24. Both have the same charging speeds though (which, at this stage, is quite behind the best – at least a boost to match with the Ultra would have been nice).
Samsung Galaxy S24 vs S23: Conclusion
All in all, then, the jump from Samsung Galaxy S23 to Galaxy S24 is reasonably minimal. They look almost identical, save for the smaller bezel and larger screen of the new model.
It's disappointing to see zero camera hardware changes for this generation, though, and I'm yet to see how Exynos 2400 will function in this generation of handsets. It could be the silicon to turn things around, mind.
However, with a brighter screen, larger battery capacity, and lower price point compared to last year's model, the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra is clearly a small-screen Android winner. Although you can buy its predecessor with a very strong price cut right now...