What you need to know
Samsung just unveiled its Galaxy S24 lineup of smartphones.
The new Galaxy S24 phones compete directly with the Google Pixel 8 family and Apple iPhone 15 lineup, thanks in large part to Samsung's emphasis on artificial intelligence.
AI powered by the phones' Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor will power features such as Live Translate, Interpreter, Chat Assist, Transcript Assist, and Galaxy AI editing tools for photos.
Samsung introduced a Circle to Search feature that uses Google rather than Bing, which is notably due to Microsoft and Samsung's longstanding partnership.
Samsung just unveiled its Galaxy S24 lineup, including the Galaxy S24, Galaxy S24 Plus, and Galaxy S24 Ultra. The flagship smartphones feature bumped up specs, but the real story is about AI. Despite the event being named Samsung Unpacked, Samsung packed a ton of artificial intelligence into its latest phones.
The Samsung flagships run on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor. They all support several AI features, including Interpreter, Chat Assist, and Note Assist. I predict photography improvements to see the biggest bump from AI.
The Galaxy S24 flagships have ProVisual Engine and Galaxy AI editing tools. You can perform tasks like erasing objects, recomposing an image, and remastering photos, all with the power of AI. Galaxy AI will provide suggestions to create better edits. Heck, even Android Auto has an AI bump that will summarize messages and allow you to reply with voice commands.
Pricing for the Galaxy S24 starts at $799, and the S24 starts at $999. The Galaxy S24 Ultra has a starting price of $1,299, which is $100 more than the starting price of the Galaxy 23 Ultra. You can preorder all of the new Galaxy today, and the smartphones will launch on January 31, 2024.
If you want a deep dive into the experience the new flagships provide, make sure to check out my colleague Nicholas Sutrich's Samsung Galaxy S24 hands-on at Android Central. But this is Windows Central, so I want to focus on how the new Android flagships affect those in the Windows and Microsoft ecosystems.
AT&T has launched a Galaxy S24 preorder deal that could get you the flagship phone for 100% free when you sign up for an Unlimited Your Way plan and trade in ANY Galaxy phone, regardless of age or condition. That's a pretty wild offer when you consider all the old Galaxies that are out there. View Deal
Best phone for Windows and Microsoft 365
Microsoft and Samsung have forged a partnership over the years that delivers arguably the best Microsoft 365 experience when you use Samsung hardware. On the mobile side of things, Phone Link has more features when you're on a Galaxy smartphone than most competitors. Those benefits aren't exclusive to Samsung — looking at you OnePlus — but Samsung smartphones are at least tied for the best Phone Link experience.
Just about every year Samsung and Microsoft announce some expansion to the partnership. Microsoft apps are tailored to Samsung foldables and the Samsung Gallery integrates with OneDrive. Microsoft and Samsung even have partnerships on the enterprise side of things.
Earlier this month, Samsung announced support for using flagship smartphones as webcams for Windows PCs. Alongside that announcement, Samsung shared plans to integrate Microsoft's Copilot into its devices. Both Android-based and Windows-based Samsung hardware will have Copilot integration.
Verizon is not messing around when it comes to the Galaxy S24 series. Send the carrier ANY old Galaxy phone and sign up an eligible Unlimited plan and you'll get $1,000 of promo credits over 36 months. That's enough to make the S24 or S24 Plus 100% free and drop the price of the S24 Ultra down to a mere $199. Not too shabby for a flagship lineup that isn't even available yet.View Deal
Samsung's excellent laptops
Samsung's integrations between Galaxy phones and Windows PCs work with a variety of computers. But the absolute best Samsung experience will form when you pair a flagship Samsung smartphone with a high-end Samsung laptop. That's not exactly a hard sell if you're on the hunt for one of the best Windows laptops. In our Samsung Galaxy Book3 Pro review, our Editor-in-Chief, Daniel Rubino, said Samsung's offering "leaves Surface Laptop 5 in the dust."
He was effusive in his praise for the Galaxy Book3 Pro, adding, "The bottom line: This is one of the best non-touch screens you’ll find on a Windows PC without reservation. You’d expect nothing less from Samsung, and it delivers."
Support Samsung laptops have features such as one-touch hot-spot access, companion Samsung apps that go along with smartphone counterparts, and support for Samsung Flow, which further connects your phone and PC.
Samsung just unveiled the Galaxy Book4 earlier this month, so you can expect another great Windows laptop that pairs well with Samsung smartphones.
Samsung chooses Google over Bing
Despite a growing partnership between Samsung and Microsoft, the former chose to go with Google rather than Bing for its new smartphone feature. The Galaxy S24 smartphones are the first devices to have Circle to Search, a new feature from Samsung that makes it easy to start an internet search for what's on your screen. Long pressing the home button of a Galaxy S24 will bring up the option to circle or highlight content on the screen for a Google search.
Samsung choosing to go with Google over Bing is interesting. Microsoft and Samsung have an extensive partnership that arguably makes flagship Galaxy devices the best smartphones for those in the Microsoft ecosystem. Samsung makes several Windows laptops as well, including the newly announced Galaxy Book4. But when it comes to search, Google sits on top, even when a company has partnered with Microsoft for years.
The Galaxy S24 announcement didn't specify if the choice to have Google power Circle to Search was financially driven or just because Samsung's leadership believes Google delivers a better search experience. In either event, Microsoft did not get Bing up front and center of the feature.
Samsung Galaxy S24 specs
Samsung focused heavily on AI during its presentation of the Galaxy S24 smartphones, but the hardware specs are impressive. Arguably the most impressive feature is the Galaxy S24 Ultra's 200MP main camera that merges 16 pixels into a larger one to improve low-light photography. The Galaxy S24 and Galaxy S24 Plus have the same camera specs as their predecessors.
This year's new Galaxy flagships are largely iterative updates on the hardware side of things, but the overall specs of the devices remain competitive with top-tier flagships from competitors.
No surprise from Samsung
Some may be surprised that Samsung chose to go with Google for its Circle to Search feature rather than Bing. When I first saw the news, I was a tad surprised. But after writing about it and running through all the effort Samsung has done to create an ecosystem, it makes sense to go with Google.
Samsung wants to provide the best experience it can for its users. Windows PCs are ubiquitous, so it makes sense to partner up with Microsoft when it comes to connecting a Samsung smartphone to a computer. Samsung also makes its own laptops, which are another key form factor in the Samsung ecosystem.
But Bing is a far cry from Windows when it comes to user base. If Circle to Search opened up Bing by default, I bet many would complain or never use the feature again. The Bing brand is not strong. Heck, even Microsoft is moving away from the Bing brand when it comes to AI. Why would Samsung attach an AI feature to Bing when Microsoft has shifted away from Bing branding?