Samsung Galaxy S24 vs S24 Plus vs S24 Ultra — biggest expected differences

 Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra camera tips and tricks.
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra camera tips and tricks.

The year is drawing to a close, and that means we’ve likely seen the last big hardware launch of 2023.

But that doesn't mean we've got long to wait. The next big launch might be right around the corner: Samsung is tipped to unveil the Galaxy S24 family at an event in San Francisco on January 17. With Samsung’s history, that would suggest early adopters could have the company’s latest flagship in their pockets on February 2.

Since 2020’s S20 handsets, the ‘S’ series have come in three varieties: regular, Plus and Ultra. We’re expecting the same from Samsung next year, and here are the differences we’re expecting between the Galaxy S24, S24 Plus and S24 Ultra in 2024.

Samsung Galaxy S24 series: Expected specs

Samsung Galaxy S24 series: Sizes and screen tech

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra render
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra render

The S23 family came in three sizes, ranging from 6.1 inches across on the S23 to 6.8 inches on the S23 Ultra. The big picture is unchanged here, but both the regular and Plus S24 models are tipped to get small increases: 6.17 inches on the S24 and 6.65 inches on the S24 Plus.

While the S24 is tipped to keep its 1,080 x 2,340 panel, the S24 Plus is rumored to be getting an Ultra-matching WQHD resolution of 1,440 x 3,120. Not to be outdone, however, the S24 Ultra is tipped to get a refresh rate boost, and could apparently now be capable of outputting at 144Hz.

Samsung could also be following Apple’s lead by giving the Galaxy S24 Ultra titanium sides. Titanium isn’t just tougher than aluminum. It should result in a lighter design with the S24 Ultra tipped to weigh 8.21 versus 8.25 ounces for the previous model.

Samsung Galaxy S24 series: CPU, RAM, battery and storage

Phone Arena renders of the four rumored colors for the S24 Ultra
Phone Arena renders of the four rumored colors for the S24 Ultra

In terms of CPU, your Galaxy S24 will come with either the (possibly souped up) Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip or Samsung’s own equivalent, the Exynos 2400. This will likely depend on your region, though apparently the Galaxy S24 Ultra will come with a Qualcomm chip, regardless of where you are in the world.

In terms of RAM, there’s a strong rumor that both the S24 and S24 Plus will be upgraded from 8GB to 12GB. That in turn makes it likely Samsung will have a version of the S24 Ultra with a massive 16GB.

For battery capacity, while the S24 and S24 Ultra will apparently remain static, the S24 Plus may get a 200mAh bump to 4,900mAh. Despite the S24 Ultra keeping the same capacity, you may get more from it: Samsung is apparently embracing stacked battery technology, which will allow for better energy density without increasing its size.

For local storage, it looks like the 128GB model is dead. Samsung will apparently start all S23 models with 256GB of onboard storage, possibly rising to a massive 2TB if you buy the most expensive S24 Ultra available.

Samsung Galaxy S24 series: Cameras

Galaxy S24 Ultra concept
Galaxy S24 Ultra concept

So far, there’s little talk of the S24 and S24 Plus getting any upgrades on the photography front. While that’s disappointing, it’s worth pointing out neither are exactly bad, only denied a slot on our best camera phones list thanks to the brilliance of the S23 Ultra.

And speaking of the Ultra model, this is where Samsung seems to be concentrating its improvements in 2024. The 200MP main sensor and 12MP ultrawide will stay the same, but the company will apparently be introducing a new 50MP telephoto lens.

The catch? It will reportedly only have 5x optical zoom, rather than the 10x on the previous generation. That feels like a downgrade, but A) people may prefer improved closer zoom, and B) the megapixel bump might see Samsung doing some clever pixel binning to make up for it, as Apple did with the iPhone 15.

Samsung has also teased some neat video features for phones using both a 200MP camera and the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3… which almost certainly means the S24 Ultra. AI tracking will let you keep tabs on a subject in a video while simultaneously filming full angle and cropped shots. It looks very neat indeed.

Samsung Galaxy S24 series: Other features

Once again, the S24 Ultra will be the only model to come with a bundled S Pen. It is, after all, the MIA Galaxy Note in all but name.

But there are two additional features that could come to some or all of the phones.

The first is satellite communications. Samsung has confirmed satellite communications will arrive on Galaxy handsets next year, and although the S24 series isn’t mentioned, it seems a very likely phone to debut on, assuming it’s ready (if not, the company’s 2024 foldables may benefit).

This is a feature for emergencies where you can’t get cellular signal, and its rumored to let you send SMS messages and low-res images to get help when you’re off grid.

Samsung Galaxy AI translate feature
Samsung Galaxy AI translate feature

The second new feature is generative AI, which Samsung will apparently be going big on in 2024. The company has shared one example — the ability to translate phone calls in real time — but we’re expecting other tricks, like summarizing texts, helping you write emails and AI image editing tricks to make your snaps look better.

It’s unclear as to whether Samsung sees AI as an Ultra-exclusive feature or something that all models will benefit from. There’s also a question mark as to whether it’ll be paywalled. You can read more about the rumored power of Samsung’s AI here.

Samsung Galaxy S24 series: Outlook

It looks like all three handsets will be amongst the best Android phones of 2024, though in the case of the basic S24, the rumored changes appear relatively minor. We’ll have to see if the AI features are truly game changing to say whether it’s worth the upgrade — assuming it even gets them.

For the S24 Plus and Ultra, things look extremely positive. The higher resolution and bigger battery of the former are a serious upgrade, and we’ve got high hopes for the latter’s camera improvements.

We’ll have to see how many of these rumored upgrades come to pass when the S24 family launches in early 2024.

More from Tom's Guide