No longer ‘just’ a bigger screen and battery, the Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus earns bigger brother status with welcome extra upgrades. A high price makes it hard to recommend over cheaper rivals, though.
- Upgrades finally set it apart from regular S24
- AI additions are very clever
- Not short on performance
- No camera gains from last year
- Don’t expect a big battery life boost
- Some rivals offer better bang per buck
Samsung’s Plus variant Galaxy smartphones used to be head-scratchers. They were bigger than the base model and had larger batteries, but similarities elsewhere made the higher price hard to swallow. The Galaxy S24 Plus breaks from that formula.
Faster charging and superior screen tech join the list of improvements seen on the vanilla Galaxy S24, including a more powerful CPU and deeply integrated AI assistance. Samsung has even managed to lower the price compared to last year’s effort.
It’s not all sunshine and roses, though. European handsets get Exynos silicon, and the camera hardware hasn’t changed at all. Big-screen Android rivals are also still more affordable. So while it doesn’t feel as stuck in the middle as its predecessor, the S24 Plus is still tough to recommend.
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Design & build: test of metal
The Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus may not get a titanium frame like the top-tier Galaxy S24 Ultra, but it has been treated to a new ‘armor aluminium’ frame. This promises greater durability than last year’s model, and has stayed free from blemishes after several weeks of use.
Those flat sides and matte finish are bang on trend. To my eyes, the S24 Plus looks even more iPhone-like than ever. I do prefer this more minimal appearance to last year’s polished metal and slightly curved edges, even if I found it a little blockier to hold.
It’s not a tiny phone by any means, but the skinny bezels and slightly tweaked dimensions mean it sat easier in my palm than any of the 6.7 and 6.8in Android rivals I’d been using the weeks prior. A vanilla S24 remains the choice for anyone after a more pocket-friendly product, though.
The opaque rear glass keeps fingerprint smudges to a minimum. Corning’s Gorilla Glass 2 Victus glass still covers both sides, with only the S24 Ultra getting the tougher, less reflective Gorilla Armor glass. IP68 resistance is still as good as it gets from a mainstream mobile, though.
This year’s colour schemes stick to subtle, pastel-like hues. Cobalt Violet was easiest on my eyes, with Amber Yellow close behind. Marble Gray and Onyx Black are more subtle. As usual you can head to the Samsung web store for a few exclusive colours.
Screen: new year’s resolution
With some seriously skinny screen bezels, the Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus finds room for a 6.7in AMOLED display – a 0.1in upgrade over the otherwise similarly-sized Galaxy S23 Plus. The flat panel fills almost the entire front of the screen, with just a tiny punch-hole at the top for the front-facing webcam. With the right wallpaper, those bezels disappear completely.
I’m glad resolution has taken a step up to 3120×1440. Those extra pixels give shoppers another reason to upgrade to the Plus model over the regular Galaxy S24, which sticks with a lower-res panel. The phone defaults to FHD+ to save battery, but upping it gave still images wonderful clarity. Colours are as punchy and vibrant as I expect from Samsung’s OLED phones.
LTPO adaptive refresh rate tech can vary between 1 and 120Hz for silky smooth motion when scrolling, and minimal power consumption when showing static images. I found it reacted quickly to my swipes, which is handy as there didn’t seem to be an option to force 120Hz on all the time.
The other major upgrade is to panel brightness, which now tops out at 2600 nits. The Galaxy S23 Plus could manage 1750, so in theory this is better suited to outdoor viewing. It’s also better than the 2000 nit iPhone 15 Pro Max, but sits behind the OnePlus 12, which claims a peak 4500 nits.
Those numbers only refer to a small portion of the display, though – and usually only when showing HDR content. Manual and high-brightness mode (HBM) levels are much lower across the board. The S24 Plus still puts out more than enough light to see clearly outside.
Samsung has stuck with the usual down-firing main speaker and forward-facing earpiece tweeter arrangement for the S24 Plus. It does the job nicely, putting out decently loud audio with a clear mid-range and a crisp (yet rather bright) high-end. There’s no real sense of bass, but then that’s true of almost every smartphone. I was perfectly happy watching YouTube clips and listening to podcasts without reaching for my Bluetooth headphones.
Cameras: familiar trio
Stop me if this hardware sounds familiar. A 50MP main snapper with f/1.8 aperture lens, dual pixel autofocus and OIS; a 10MP telephoto good for 3x optical zoom; and an ultrawide with f/2.2 lens. That’s right, the Galaxy S24 Plus uses the same three cameras as the S22 Plus did two years ago.
Given rival brands have done some incredible work with new sensors and image processing improvements recently, that shows confidence. After a few weeks of testing, I think said confidence is misplaced – but equally the S24 Plus’s pictures are good enough that most people considering one won’t care.
Daytime photos are as punchy and dynamic as I expect from Samsung, with highlights again taking priority over shadow definition. Whether Google, Apple, or Samsung’s colour and contrast handling is best is just personal preference at this point.
The main sensor produces the sharpest, most detailed shots, but the other two lenses are a close match for exposure and colour balance. The ultrawide stays largely free of lens distortion and fisheye effects at the extreme edges of the frame. There’s no macro function like you’ll find on the Pixel 8 Pro, though.
3x zoom still feels like the sweet spot for phone photography, getting usefully closer to subjects in Portrait mode and giving the algorithms less to do when digitally zooming in further than rivals with 2x lenses. It’s what gives the Galaxy an edge over the iPhone 15 Plus – you’d have to pay considerably more for an Apple phone with a dedicated zoom lens, especially one with the same size screen as the S24 Plus.
The S24 Plus puts in a good showing at night, but phones with 1in sensors such as the Vivo X100 Pro and Oppo Find X7 Ultra are now ahead for definition and noise handling. Those phones also do a better job with moving subjects, in all lightning conditions. Night time Exposure is still well judged here, and it does well to preserve details. Optical image stabilisation helps cut out camera shake from the main and zoom lenses.
I was more impressed with the Galaxy S24 Plus’ new generative AI editing abilities. Did you crop in too tightly on your subject? Just expand the frame and let AI fill in the gaps. Not a fan of an errant coffee cup or background object? Just tap to select it, then move or delete it. Admittedly the phone wanted to replace objects with new ones it had created on the fly rather than delete them altogether – something the Google Pixel 8 Pro‘s AI editor seemed to have an easier job with. Either way, your picture’s metadata gets updated with an ‘edited with AI’ flag.
Software experience: AI in charge
Samsung can usually be relied on to inject a few more features into each new iteration of OneUI. This year, though, the familiar interface has been overhauled with Galaxy AI enhancements everywhere you look.
The highlight for me was Circle to Search, which lets you long-press the home button and then circle any onscreen object to perform a web search. AI recognises the scene or object, and Google throws up relevant suggestions. It successfully recognised a stretch of coastline as the white cliffs of Dover, and picked out the correct pair when I snapped a photo of a colleague’s sneakers.
This feature is already heading to Google’s Pixel phones, though, and will likely appear on other Android handsets later down the line. Don’t see it as a reason to pick up an S24 Plus and nothing else.
AI-accelerated speech recognition has transformed the voice recorder app into a journalists’ best friend, recognising multiple speakers and transcribing with impressive accuracy. One button then summaries the conversation, with automatic formatting. Samsung’s Notes app can do the same with written notes, and the keyboard can suggest more formal alternatives to your text chains.
The native phone dialler can also manage live translation, with 13 languages supported at launch. I have a very basic grasp of German, but it picked it all up and translated it flawlessly. If you don’t make notes or regularly talk to people in other languages, though, I’m not convinced they’re worth paying for – something Samsung plans to do after the first year.
Android Auto is also getting some AI extras, suggesting replies to incoming messages for one button ETA sharing. Samsung is adding a OneUI-flavoured interface, too. This is the first time Google has let any brand change the visual style of its driving mode.
More importantly for long-time phone owners, Samsung is committing to seven generations of OS upgrades and security patches. That puts the Galaxy S24 Plus in line with the latest iPhone in terms of lifespan. It’s an easy recommendation if you hold onto your phones for longer stints.
Performance: Exynos returns
The Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus landed in Europe with an Exynos 2400 For Galaxy chipset and 12GB of RAM. The latter is a step up from last year’s S23 Plus, which made do with the same 8GB as the base S23; the former is part progress, part backwards step.
That’s because all three S23 models shipped with Qualcomm Snapdragon CPUs, no matter where you were in the world. This year only certain territories have Snapdragon-powered phones, and the Exynos 2400 hasn’t entirely closed the gap to Qualcomm on either performance or power efficiency.
Calling it Exynos “For Galaxy” is a laugh, too. Snapdragon For Galaxy runs faster than the off-the-shelf version used by many rivals, but I don’t see any phone makers queuing up to use Samsung’s silicon in their handsets.
Other than side-by-side testing, though, you’d be hard-pressed to tell which CPU the S24 Plus was using. My unit felt perfectly speedy and responsive in daily use, opening apps quickly and coping well when multitasking. The generative AI features were snappy as well. Unless you care deeply about benchmark scores, you shouldn’t feel short changed.
Gaming was equally impressive, with Call of Duty Mobile easily managing smooth frame rates at the highest detail settings. Ray tracing is even available for titles that support it.
Battery life: gets you through the day
The Plus variant always had an edge over the standard Galaxy when it came to battery capacity, and that’s still true here. The S24 Plus has a 4900mAh cell – up from 4700mAh on the S23 Plus and considerably bigger than the vanilla S24’s 4000mAh battery.
More importantly, this year’s Plus benefits from faster charging speeds. It can now manage 45W over USB-C, compared to 25W on the regular S24. You’ll still need to supply your own power brick, though, as Samsung doesn’t put one in the box, but I appreciate the shorter wait times between top-ups.
My Exynos-powered handset produced a mixed bag as far as longevity was concerned. It lasted about an hour longer than the outgoing S23 Plus when playing videos over Wi-Fi, but less efficient network connectivity meant it fell slightly behind when web browsing over 5G.
There’s still enough juice here to last a full day of use, and the “light” power profile can really make a difference without sacrificing performance very much. It still has to power a high resolution screen, though, so certain rivals can last longer per charge.
Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus verdict
The Galaxy S24 Plus finally feels like a proper step-up model for the first time. It’s powerful, looks the part, and those AI additions are undeniably slick. However, it launches into highly contested territory.
A Google Pixel 8 Pro costs the same and has the edge on camera quality. The OnePlus 12 is considerably cheaper yet takes the lead on battery life. An iPhone 15 Plus might not have a zoom lens but is somehow easier on the wallet.
Unlike the productivity minded S24 Ultra, which justifies its higher price with a titanium build and Gorilla Armor glass, the biggest reason I can see to put one of these in your pocket is if you just can’t cope with the regular Galaxy S24’s compact 6.1in screen. Faster charging and a higher screen resolution sweeten the deal a little, but not enough to make the Plus the pick of the bunch.
No longer limited to a bigger screen and battery, the Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus earns its bigger brother status with some welcome extra upgrades. A high price makes it tough to recommend over cheaper rivals, though.
Upgrades finally set it apart from regular S24
AI additions are very clever
Not short on performance
No camera gains from last year
Don’t expect a big battery life boost
Some rivals offer better bang per buck
Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus technical specifications
|6.7in, QHD+ AMOLED w/ 1-120Hz LTPO, 2600 nits brightness
|Samsung Exynos 2400 for Galaxy (Europe)
Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 (US)
|50MP, f/1.8 main w/ dual pixel AF, OIS +
10MP, f/2.4 telephoto w/ 3x optical zoom,PDAF, OIS +
12MP, f/2.2 ultrawide rear
12MP, f/2.2 front w/ dual pixel AF
|Android 14 w/ OneUI 6.1
|4900mAh w/ 45W wired, 15W wireless charging