Samsung Galaxy S24 review

The Samsung Galaxy S24 may not have all the bells and whistles of the S24 Ultra, but it's still a great handset for Australians.

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9.3Expert Score
Pocket powerhouse

The Samsung Galaxy S24 is a comfortably compact smartphone that feels good in the hand and delivers stellar performance.

Design
9.5
Performance
9
Pros
  • Sleek, comfortable design
  • Responsive and fast
  • Strong camera, gorgeous display
Cons
  • AI functionaility seems a little lost
  • Smaller battery capacity
  • Exynos chip rather than SnapDragon

The problem with having a truly exceptional flagship product like the Galaxy S24 Ultra in your lineup is that there may be some people who think that the standard model is underpowered.

Especially given the Australian version of the Samsung Galaxy S24 is powered by the Exynos 2400 processor rather than the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor.

The good news is that those people are wrong. The S24 has plenty of grunt under the hood, and can perform the same AI feats as the Ultra device.

What’s more, its smaller form factor means the phone is easier to hold, which makes it easier to use. Features like Circle to Search can be done single-handedly (though it’s still a little awkward).

Couple that with robust battery life, and an exceptional camera, and you have a winning combination on your hands, available at a more achievable price in today’s cost of living crisis.

But like the premium Ultra model, Samsung has buried a lot of the AI functionality beneath a legion of menus. And some of those AI functions still have question marks on performance.

Holding the S24 in my hand

Samsung Galaxy S24 review: Design

Samsung hasn’t really reinvented itself on the design front with the S24, and that’s no bad thing.

Measuring 147.0 × 70.6 × 7.6 mm with a 6.2-inch screen (it’s actually a little less thanks to the screen’s rounded corners, but we’ll give them the full dimensions here), the S24 weighs just 167 grams, yet feels lighter than that somehow.

The screen itself sits within millimetres of the phone’s frame, giving it a screen to body ratio of about 90%. It’s actually remarkable how tiny the phone’s bezel is.

The Dynamic AMOLED 2x display boasts a 2340 × 1080 (FHD+) resolution across its 6.2 inches of real estate and a 120Hz refresh rate. In real-world terms, that means this phone will tackle anything you throw at it and make it look pretty great.

Samsung has used Corning’s Gorilla Glass Victus 2 for both the front and back glass on this phone, which means it’s remarkably resilient to scratches and drops. Not that I tested scratching or dropping the phone, of course.

The edge of the phone is aluminium, unlike the S24 Ultra’s titanium frame, but for most people I doubt you would even notice.

Naturally, the phone comes with an IP68 rating, which effectively means you can dunk it in up to 1.5 metres of water for up to 30 minutes. You should absolutely not do that, by the way, but if you drop your phone in some shallow water, it should be fine.

Closeup of the S24 camera array

Cameras

The Galaxy S24, like the S24 Plus, comes with a triple camera array on the back that includes the main 50.0 MP lens at f/1.8, an ultra-wide 12MP f/2.2 lens, and a 10MP f/2.4 telephoto with 3x optical zoom.

The lenses stick out a reasonable amount from the back of the phone, which means you’ll never get your S24 to sit flat on a desk without a case.

That’s fairly standard for modern-day flagships, but using a case will hide the subtle colours of the phone itself. My review unit was Cobalt Violet, and it was really nice to look at, if maybe a little slippery to hold.

The front camera is a 12MP f/2.2 lens with autofocus. It does a pretty good job at taking a reasonable selfie, but I’ll discuss that in more detail a bit later.

The S24’s camera array also shoots 8K video at 30fps. For most people that’s going to be massive overkill, unless you have one of Samsung’s stunning 8K TVs, I guess.

Samsung Galaxy S24 in front of a fountain

Samsung Galaxy S24 review: Performance

Let’s get this out of the way up front: the Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus devices Samsung supplied were “non-final units”. This means that I can’t show off benchmark scores here like I normally would because the scores may not reflect the final product.

This is important because unlike last year’s S23 family of smartphones, this year the Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus are powered by the Exynos 2400 processor, rather than the SnapDragon 8 Gen 3 found in the S24 Ultra.

Typically, Exynos chips don’t have quite the same level of horsepower as SnapDragon chips, but can stretch out the battery life a little more.

And in my testing, I did find the Exynos stutter occasionally, particularly when playing more graphically intense games like Call of Duty Mobile.

To be clear, it performed admirably across the board. I didn’t even notice the phone to be any slower than the S24 Ultra, which blew me away with its speed and responsiveness.

And while benchmarks aren’t really useful in the day-to-day use of a phone, in a situation like this where the core S24 uses a different processor to the flagship S24 Ultra, comparative benchmark scores would be useful.

Camera performance

The S24’s camera array is a triple-lens system, rather than the quad-camera lineup in the S24 Ultra. The main lens is also a step down, from 200 MP in the Ultra to 50 MP here.

Honestly, though, you’re going to be hard-pressed to notice the difference, unless you’re trying to take handheld photos of stars at night.

Images are crisp and clean, with lots of detail and colour. Where previous generations of Galaxy phones have typically oversaturated images, I feel like Samsung has toned that down a bit this generation.

The different shooting modes all work well, as you would expect – Samsung has been making some of the best camera phones of the past decade, after all.

Here’s a gallery of test shots taken during the review period.

AI still needs work

As I noted in the Galaxy S24 Ultra review, the arrival of AI functionality on the device is a little hit-and-miss.

Features like Circle to Search are simple to understand and easy to use. In the case of the S24, it’s actually a little easier, as you can do it single-handed.

Simple image improvements, managed by swiping up the photo in Samsung’s Gallery app, are also pretty useful. So far, the results have been good, better balancing the colour and exposure, or removing unwanted objects from a photo.

But some other functions seem off. For example, there’s the ability to summarise a web page in Samsung’s browser, which I used to summarise our Best Phone’s page.

After a few moments analysing the content, It returned a summary of about the first third of the page, regardless of whether I set it for standard or detailed summaries.

That’s quite disappointing, given how much information is being missed.

The S24 in a tree, looking at the back of the phone

Battery performance

The Galaxy S24 has a 4000 mAh battery, which is relatively small compared to what you’ll find in many of today’s budget phones.

It makes sense that Samsung had to cut back the battery given the more compact form factor here, and the capacity is only part of the equation when it comes to battery life.

It also offers the S24 Plus for those who want that extra battery life without requiring the full Ultra experience.

In any case, there are no battery concerns here. The phone comfortably gets you through the day, though you’ll want to stick it on the charger every night to make sure it’s ready to go the next day.

As you would expect, it supports wireless charging, which makes the process easier.

Samsung Galaxy S24 review: Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra is objectively a better phone than the S24, but its cheapest configuration costs $800 more than the cheapest S24.

That cost saving is nothing to dismiss. You get the vast majority of the features and performance in a more compact form factor for a fraction of the cost. All the AI functionality is the same across the entire S24 lineup.

With its impressive camera array and zippy processor, the S24 is a great device at a reasonable price.

It’s best suited to those looking for that smaller form factor, but it’s still one of the best phones Samsung has ever produced. And that’s saying something.

Buy the Samsung Galaxy S24 online

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Samsung Galaxy S24 512GB – Amber Yellow

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Samsung Galaxy S24 512GB – Marble Grey

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Samsung Galaxy S24 512GB – Cobalt Violet

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Product disclosure

Samsung supplied the product for this review

Author

  • Nick Broughall

    Nick is the founder and editor of BTTR. He is an award winning product reviewer, who has spent the last 20 years writing, editing and publishing technology and consumer content for brands like Finder, Gizmodo and TechRadar.

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