Samsung unveiled its latest flagship smartphones at Galaxy Unpacked this morning, and yes: Samsung is betting big on AI with the S24 series. The S24 Ultra, S24+, and S24 base model all include a range of “advanced intelligence” functions grouped under the Galaxy AI banner, ranging from image editing to live translation during phone calls.
And because we all know colour options are one of the most important factors for any new phone, all three S24 models are available in four colours: Marble Gray, Onyx Black, Cobalt Violet, and Amber Yellow.
According to Samsung, Galaxy AI is “aimed at enhancing every part of life, especially the
phone’s most fundamental role: communication.” That’s most visible in a variety of AI translation tools for both speech and text:
- Real-time, two-way translation of phone calls, natively available in the phone app without any extra software. Translations are available as both transcribed text and spoken with one of a couple of voices. The S24 does all the translation on the device, so it doesn’t matter what phone the person on the other end is using (it will even work with a landline), and this ensures calls are kept private.
- An Interpreter app, which can translate in-person conversations by way of a split-screen interface that allows people facing each other to both read transcribed text. Again, the translation happens on the device, so it will can work without wifi or mobile data.
- Translation tools built into the default on-screen keyboard, so you can translate as you type into any text field in any other app.
- Web page translation through the Samsung browser, similar to what Chrome can do, but using Samsung’s AI translation model.
At launch, translation is available between 13 supported languages: English (US, UK, India), German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish (Mexico, Spain, US), Chinese, French, Hindi, Italian, Polish, Thai, and Vietnamese. More language packs will be added over time, as the model evolves.
Everyday tasks made easier
Galaxy AI also includes “Chat Assist” to help find the right tone for messages, speech-to-text transcription tools, AI-generated summaries of notes and web pages. More powerful search tools are covered, too, with “Circle to Search” allowing quick and convenient image-based searches of anything displayed on the screen in any other app (including the camera). Double-tapping the home button temporarily pauses the display and lets you search by circling or tapping on objects.
On the creativity side, the S24 series’ ProVisual Engine includes a suite of AI-powered tools. They cover everything from generative photo editing (deleting an ex from a photo and filling in the empty space, for example) to less flashy but more practical functions like improved camera stability, enhanced digital zoom, and instant slow-motion for video that can generate extra frames as needed.
Generative AI always raises some ethical questions in terms of data used for training models, privacy, and fake news. For its part, Samsung claims that “all data used for training advanced intelligence features comes from ethical sources”, with no private or copyright-infringing material. AI features are all optional, and personal data is used to generate responses is deleted as soon as the generation is complete. AI-modified images will include a watermark to indicate that, among other safeguards to prevent generated content from being used for malicious ends.
Not just Galaxy AI
While Galaxy AI is clearly the big thing for the S24 series, there’s a range of other improvements on the spec sheet for this year’s new models.
The big one for people who anyone who uses their phone as a game device is improved cooling thanks to a larger vapour chamber, to help maximise sustained performance in graphically-demanding games and keep the surface temperature cool. Samsung is also working with game industry partners to better optimise the most popular mobile games and make better use of the S24 series’ ray-tracing capabilities.
Smartphone photographers will enjoy the S24 series’ “Quad Tele System”, which pairs a 5x optical zoom lens with a 50MP sensor “to enable optical-quality performance at zoom levels from 2x, 3x, 5x to 10x”.
People who drop their phone all the time (guilty) can look forward to a more durable phone, particularly with the S24 Ultra: it’s the first Galaxy phone with a titanium frame, and packs Cornering Gorilla Armour18 glass for the screen. As in previous years, the Ultra is the biggest of the lot—162mm tall with a 6.8 inch QHD+ screen—and includes an S Pen stylus. It’s available in 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB options.
The S24+ comes in at 158mm tall with a 6.7 inch QHD+ screen, while the base model is the smallest: 147mm tall with a 6.2 inch FHD+ display. Both of these models are available in 256GB and 512GB options, but no 1TB—that’s Ultra only.
RRPs start at NZD $1,649 for the Galaxy S24, $2,049 for the S24+, and $2,449 for the S24 Ultra.