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Home / Features / Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs S23 Ultra: what’s the difference?

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs S23 Ultra: what’s the difference?

Samsung's latest flagship meets last year's version. Here's the tale of the tape

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs S23 Ultra lead

Samsung Unpacked 2024 event saw the latest generation of Galaxy smartphones revealed. As always, the Ultra is the productivity-minded and photography-focused flagship, and has seen some substantial updates on the materials front. But what about where spec sheets are concerned? Is there anything meaningfully new when it comes to the Galaxy S24 Ultra vs S23 Ultra?

Now I’ve fully reviewed the Galaxy S24 Ultra, I know exactly what’s the same as the previous generation – and what has changed for the better. If you’re thinking about an upgrade (or a swap from another brand), read on:

Design & display: Round, flat, and clad in titanium

The Galaxy S24 Ultra hasn’t massively shifted from the design of its predecessor, but there are a few notable differences. For starters, it distinguishes itself from its Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus siblings by retaining its rounded edges, and it’s moved on from the S23 Ultra with a front display, along with a slightly thinner build overall.

It’s also rocking a more premium, durable titanium frame for an added touch of luxury, along with Gorilla Glass Victus 2 on the rear. It further edges out ahead from the rest of the Galaxy S24 range with Gorilla Armor glass on the front, for additional longevity and higher resistance to drops and scratches. In terms of finishes, the Galaxy S24 Ultra is available in Titanium Gray, Black, Violet, and Yellow. I rather enjoyed the satin matte finish of the titanium S24 Ultra, and it feels pleasantly cool to the touch, adding an extra premium feel over the Galaxy S23 Ultra.

On the business end, it’s rocking a 6.8in QHD+ AMOLED display, which is now perfectly flat (compared to the rounded screen of the S23 Ultra), with a 3200 x 1440 resolution. It’s got LTPO tech too, which means adaptive refresh rates ranging from 1-120Hz, for improved efficiency and power-saving shenanigans. 2600 nits of brightness is a noticeable improvement over the Galaxy S23 Ultra’s 1750 nits peak brightness.

Performance & battery: Oh Snap(dragon)

Unlike the Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus, the Galaxy S24 Ultra launched globally with a special ‘For Galaxy’ variant of Qualcomm’s formidable Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor, which is around 30% faster than the Gen 2 variant found in the Galaxy S23 Ultra. It produces the goods in practice, being super quick with both apps and games, and never sweating when multitasking. During my review it handled everything thrown at it with ease, including multi-hour Genshin Impact sessions, with smooth, steady framerates. Compared to the less powerful silicon in the Galaxy S23, there’s a clear winner here.

Qualcomm’s snappy Galaxy S24 Ultra silicon is paired with 12GB RAM and 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB of storage. Those capacities match that of the S23 Ultra, but this time round there’s no 8GB option, all in the name of progress. On the software front, Samsung has introduced various AI features. They include things like Circle to Search, which is a feature that lets you circle any onscreen object to fire up a web search for it, along with AI-accelerated speech recognition for impressive transcription accuracy. Some are genuinely useful, and make a lot of sense in a productivity-minded phone such as the S-pen-toting S24 Ultra.

One of the most impressive AI features in the Galaxy S24 Ultra that’s lacking in the S23 Ultra is the new transcription summariser. A feature built into the voice recorder app, it truly blew me away. It works by recognising different speakers (and accents), while quickly and accurately transcribing what’s being said. It’s tall then distilled into a clear bulleted summary, with correct spelling and punctuation thrown in for good measure. A very valuable tool, especially for a tech journalist.

The battery capacity between both handsets remains the same at 5000mAh, which remains a respectable figure. In testing, battery life on the S24 Ultra didn’t blow me away, although it still lasts a day of heavy use. I’m also a little disappointed at the 45W/15W wired/wireless charging, which hasn’t evolved. Those aren’t shoddy charging speeds, but with plenty of other manufacturers blazing ahead with 65W-100W+ speeds, I’d have liked to have seen more of an evolution on this front.

Cameras: Zoom zoom

The Galaxy S24 Ultra sees an improvement in the zoom department over the outgoing S23 Ultra. Its quad-cam setup now consists of a 200MP main snapper, 10MP telephoto, 12MP ultrawide, and new 50MP periscope telephoto lens, as opposed to last year’s 10MP offering.

This unlocks 5x optical zoom, which Samsung states is good for 10x lossless zoom thanks to the wonders of cropping and algorithms. Still shots aren’t actually better than the S23 Ultra’s (in some cases they’re worse, as they rely on software processing rather than lens hardware to achieve 10x), but there’s very little in it. Low-light optical image stabilisation is much better while zoomed now, though, and overall, I prefer the camera on the S24 Ultra, thanks to the increased resolution and lossless zoom on offer.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra review AI image edit beforeSamsung Galaxy S24 Ultra review AI image edit after

There’s also a smattering of AI-powered tricks in the Galaxy S24 Ultra’s arsenal. These revolve mostly around generative fill, which is a trick I’ve seen on the latest Google Pixel phones. One example of this is object removal, and you can even replace things too. If there’s a coffee cup ruining a shot, for example, you can remove it entirely or replace it with a more attractive candle — all directly on the handset itself.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs S23 Ultra verdict

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra hands-on rear

The Galaxy S24 Ultra offers plenty of improvements over the S23 Ultra, but some are more impactful than others.

The more minimalist design change won’t blow you away, but it’s no bad thing. I’m more impressed by the titanium materials and reportedly tougher screen, which does a fantastic job of cutting down light reflections. The underlying panel is usefully brighter, too.

AI extras may or may not prove useful, depending on what you use your phone for, and the new periscope zoom isn’t a slam dunk over Samsung’s previous flagship effort. Some of the software changes will come to the S23 Ultra in an update, so there’s no massively compelling reason to force an upgrade unless you’re desperate for the latest and greatest hardware.

Profile image of Esat Dedezade Esat Dedezade Contributor


Esat has been a gadget fan ever since his tiny four-year-old brain was captivated by a sound-activated dancing sunflower. From there it was a natural progression to a Sega Mega Drive, a brief obsession with hedgehogs, and a love for all things tech. After 7 years as a writer and deputy editor for Stuff, Esat ventured out into the corporate world, spending three years as Editor of Microsoft's European News Centre. Now a freelance writer, his appetite for shiny gadgets has no bounds. Oh, and like all good human beings, he's very fond of cats.

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