The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra is now on sale – and I've lived with the phone for a number of weeks already. There's no doubt I absolutely love this phone – as made clear in my S24 Ultra review – and that it's easily among the best Android phones (if not the best) available right now.
But having used the device as my own since Samsung's Galaxy Unpacked event in mid-January, where the S24 series and Galaxy AI features were announced, it has raised a number of points that are worth considering if you're contemplating buying a brand new Galaxy S24 Ultra as your next in-pocket device.
So here are five top tips about the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra and whether it'll be the best phone for your needs right now. Whether you're upgrading or new to the Galaxy fold, there's something here for every user.
1. The flat screen makes S Pen way better
Compared to its S23 Ultra predecessor the S24 Ultra's most significant difference is that it has done away with the curved-edge screen of old and adopted a flat-panel display instead. That's a major difference but also a major benefit if you're an avid S Pen stylus user – as the Ultra is the only model with the stylus embedded into the base of the body.
A flat display is way better for accurate contact edge-to-edge, but it also avoids contrast and colour fall-off towards those edges. This panel is also brighter than before by quite a margin so, for me, it just looks altogether better whether you're an avid S Pen user or not.
The only 'downside', if you think of it as one, is that no curve gives the S24 Ultra a sense of being extra wide – when, in reality, it's barely any different to its S23 Ultra predecessor. That goes to show how much form and design have on the essence of how a device feels overall.
2. But you'll need a new case
If you're an S23 Ultra user and looking to upgrade then you're going to need one of the best new S24 Ultra cases to protect your device. That's because that flat screen changes the form of the device and you won't get a good fit with an old panel, even if the two devices are fundamentally a very similar scale all in all.
If you're willing to go case-free, however, then I've got some good news: the Galaxy S24 Ultra is the first Samsung phone to be built from titanium, so it's much more robust than its predecessor. Fewer dents, bumps, scratches and blemishes are the idea behind this finish.
There's also Corning Gorilla Glass Armor covering that flat display, which is even stronger and better at negating screen reflections than ever before – and in the weeks of using the phone it avoided scratches that, for my typical use, would have likely damaged other devices.
3. Samsung Store has the best colours
However, the titanium finish does give the whole S24 Ultra a rather subdued look when it comes to the colours on offer. The base S24 and step-up S24 Ultra actually look much brighter in colour, as those two handsets don't use titanium. All three offer a yellow (Titanium/Amber Yellow), violet (Titanium/Cobalt Violet), silver-grey (Titanium/Marble Grey) or grey-black (Titanium/Onyx Black) finish.
However, the best place to order an S24 Ultra, in my view, is direct from Samsung's store directly. That's because there are exclusive colours: Titanium Blue, Titanium Green, and Titanium Orange. For me the blue is the winner of the lot; it's got a silvery finish to it but is the one I'd pick out of the whole bunch.
4. Double storage capacity pre-order
There is (well, was, it ended 30 January 2024) another reason to order from Samsung's store: a pre-order promotion doubled the on-board storage for free, so buying the S24 Ultra in 256GB would deliver 512GB instead; a 512GB purchase would net you the 1TB option. Even if you don't need that capacity in particular, it adds value in the future when it comes to trade-in later down the line.
The price is a big talking point, too, but the Galaxy S24 Ultra maintains the same £1,249 / $/1,199 / AU$1,949 asking price just as the original did. There are feature upgrades, though, so in today's economic climate that's a decent position. It's necessary, though, as it keeps things competitive against Apple's iPhone 15 Pro Max.
However – and bargain alert! – the Galaxy S23 Ultra is now way, way cheaper and is a frugal buy. I'd prefer to own the newer S24 Ultra, sure, as the flat display, titanium build and uprated camera system would be worthwhile for me. But if you're not an avid S Pen user and fancy the curved predecessor then, well, it's a savvy option still.
5. The cameras make it worth buying
A major change in the S24 Ultra – aside from its titanium build and new flat-panel display – is that Samsung ditched the 10x optical zoom of its predecessor and replaced it with a 5x optical zoom instead. Sounds like a downgrade, right? It's quite the opposite: the quality is much finer, with resolution bumped from 10- to 50-megapixels.
It's an upgrade that I've wanted for years and helps position the S24 Ultra's camera as one of the strongest on the market. Its Nightography low-light abilities and new Google Pixel-challenging Galaxy AI features are also accomplished, as is the upgraded optical stabilisation system. Again, if you won't be taking many zoom shots then consider the earlier S23 Ultra as a bargain, but if you want best-of-best then the Galaxy S24 Ultra has it.