How does the Galaxy S24 compare to the iPhone 15?

Samsung last week announced the new Galaxy S24 lineup, which comes in three different models: the S24, S24+, and S24 Ultra. While the new phones are available for pre-order and will hit stores later this month, Samsung kindly let me try out the base model of the Galaxy S24 a few days early. Read on as I detail what’s new in the Galaxy S24 and how it compares to the iPhone 15 lineup.

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Even though I’m all into the Apple ecosystem and my main phone is an iPhone, I like to have a secondary Android phone to see how things are on the other side. I’ve tested many Samsung phones, from the Galaxy Z Flip 3 to the S23 Ultra and, more recently, the Z Fold 5 (which I also have some thoughts to share in another article).

Currently, my main smartphone is the iPhone 15 Pro Max. Since last week, I’ve been using the Galaxy S24 to try out the new features (which are mostly AI-related) and challenge myself to use a phone that isn’t huge.

A new but very familiar design for the Galaxy S24

Samsung has given the Galaxy S24 a refreshed look. The glossy edges have been replaced by a matte finish and the curves have gone, making the phone completely flat. In recent years, Samsung has come up with some pretty original designs, but I have to say that the Galaxy S24 looks a lot like the latest iPhone models.

It’s an elegant design, don’t get me wrong. But I was a fan of the slightly curved glass on the edges. By the way, the bezels around the screen are slightly thinner than the bezels on the iPhone 15 Pro – which are already impressively thin. Kudos to Samsung on this one.

From a big phone to a not-so-big one

I’ve been a fan of big-screen phones since the iPhone 6 Plus. I remember going from a 4-inch iPhone straight to a 5.5-inch one and never regretting it. And when it comes to Samsung, my favorites are always the Ultra models.

The base Galaxy S24 model now has a 6.2-inch screen, versus 6.1 inches in the previous generation. Honestly, I thought I’d be more bothered by the smaller size, but I’m okay with it – although I do miss a larger virtual keyboard and more space to use two apps at the same time (yes, that’s a thing on Android phones).

In fact, the display is really good. The color levels are on par with the display on my iPhone 15 Pro Max. Samsung uses a 120Hz AMOLED panel for the entire S24 lineup, while Apple keeps its best display for the Pro models. A clear advantage here is the maximum brightness level: a peak of 2600 nits versus 2000 nits on the iPhone 15. It’s great for using the phone in bright sunlight.

Also, the S24 weighs just 167 grams, making it very comfortable to hold in your hand. The regular iPhone 15 has almost the same weight, at 171 grams.

iPhone 15 Pro Max and Samsung Galaxy S24

What’s really new about the Galaxy S24?

Samsung talked a lot about AI during its event because the Galaxy S24 is all about it. The new phones have a faster SoC and slightly better displays, but what sets them apart from the Galaxy S23 models are the AI-based features that come built-in.

The company calls these features “Galaxy AI,” and they’re present in many parts of the modified version of Android known as One UI. But there are five specific new features that are quite interesting.

First, there’s Circle to Search, which basically lets users circle anything on the screen to search for it on Google. What this feature does isn’t exactly new, but it’s now much faster and doesn’t require any third-party apps or taking a screenshot. It worked very well in my tests, and the results showed up almost instantly.

To trigger Circle to Search on the Galaxy S24, all you have to do is press and hold the Home button/indicator on the screen for a few seconds and then circle anything you want to search for. It can be a photo or text. It just works.

One thing I liked about Circle to Search is that it has an anti-stalking feature. If you try to circle a person in a photo, you’ll see a message saying that the search results are limited. It can find details about the glasses or headphones the person is wearing, but nothing about the person themselves. Great for privacy.

Samsung Galaxy S24

2. Editing photos with AI

But what will probably catch people’s attention the most are the new generative tools for editing photos. You can select an object in the photo and move it or delete it from the image, and then Galaxy AI will regenerate that photo for you.

I’m not here to discuss whether AI-edited photos are morally wrong, but the feature does a good job (although the processing can sometimes take a while, probably because most of it happens online). But the thing is, I’m sure a lot of people will have fun editing photos “like a pro” without having to download third-party apps.

By the way, if you edit a photo using Galaxy AI, the image will have a watermark in the bottom left-hand corner and “Galaxy AI” will be added to the image’s metadata.

3. Transcript Assist

This is one of my favorite features of the Galaxy S24. It not only transcribes voice memos, but also summarizes all the content into topics. Again, this isn’t something new and you can do the same using some other AI tools, but the point here is that it’s now built into the phone – and it all happens locally, so you don’t need an internet connection for using it.

The transcription isn’t always perfect, but it does a good job. However, the summarizing feature is impressive. I recorded myself reading one of 9to5Mac’s articles and Galaxy AI accurately highlighted the main points of my voice memo. I can’t wait for Apple to implement something similar in iOS.

4. Live Translate

With Live Translate, you can call someone who doesn’t speak your language and easily have a conversation with them. When you call someone, you’ll see a button to enable this feature and choose the two languages to speak during the call. After that, the Galaxy S24 automatically translates everything that is said into each person’s respective language.

Users can listen to the original audio followed by an AI-generated voice reading the translation. The feature may sound a little confusing and even strange at first, but it works. It’s probably not something you’ll use every day, but it can be very useful when you’re traveling and want to make a reservation at a restaurant or call customer service in another country.

5. Chat Assist

Chat Assist was built to help users improve their communication or even speak in a group chat with people in other languages, as it can even translate messages in real time. For instance, the user can select the text and then ask the AI to rewrite it in a more formal or casual way. It can also check the grammar of any text you’ve written and suggest improvements, which is pretty cool.

What about the cameras?

When it comes to the cameras, the specs are pretty much the same as last year’s model. However, Samsung says it has been able to improve a few things here and there using AI and better image processing (like what Apple does with Smart HDR).

I still need to test the cameras in more scenarios, but the results are pretty equivalent to what I achieve with my iPhone 15 Pro Max, at least for taking pictures.

Regular photos taken with the iPhone 15’s main lens have a little more detail because Apple now uses pixel-binning to create a 24-megapixel image from the 48-megapixel sensor. Although the Galaxy S24 has a 50 megapixel sensor (and you can use its full resolution if you like), regular photos are taken at 12 megapixels.

Putting the two phones side by side, the results were mixed – but quite similar. In some scenarios, the photos taken with the S24 were better, while the iPhone certainly does a better job when it comes to balancing exposure when there’s a person and the sky behind them. I still think the iPhone is unbeatable for shooting videos, though.

And I thought the Ray-Ban Meta hands-on would be the only one to feature a photo of me

When it comes to zoom, the Galaxy S24 has a 3x telephoto lens, while the iPhone 15 is limited to digital zoom by cropping the image from the 48-megapixel sensor (that’s not telephoto zoom, Apple). Samsung also uses AI to enhance the digital zoom above 3x, which doesn’t produce incredible results, but can be useful sometimes.

Of course, the iPhone 15 Pro does a better job of taking zoom shots because of its 5x periscope lens (although I’d love to see Apple use AI to improve photos taken with a 10x digital zoom, for example).

More tidbits on the Galaxy S24

The Galaxy S24 comes with the new Exynos 2400 or Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip, depending on the region where you buy it.

I have the Exynos version, which is the one that will be available here in Brazil. Based on Geekbench 6 tests, the performance of the two chips is very similar. The single-core score of these chips is similar to that of the A15 Bionic, while the multi-core score is close to the results of Apple’s A17 Pro.

But Exynos processors are known for being more power-hungry and also for overheating. Samsung claims to have solved these problems with its latest chip. In my tests, I could notice that the phone gets a bit warm when I’m using it outside with 5G on. Otherwise, I haven’t noticed anything unusual.

Samsung Galaxy S24

Performance-wise, the Galaxy S24 is quite fast. Not noticeably faster than the S23 when using both phones side by side, but there wasn’t a single moment when I felt the phone needed more power, even compared to my iPhone 15 Pro Max.

Battery life is also great, especially for a 6.2-inch phone. Samsung has increased the capacity to almost 4,000mAh, which ensures that this phone can be left unplugged for more than 24 hours if you’re not a heavy user. It outperformed the iPhone 15 Pro Max (which has a 4,400mAh battery for a 6.7-inch phone) in my daily use.

By the way, Samsung says it has been working with Instagram to optimize the app for Galaxy S24 devices. While I still think the experience is better on the iPhone, things have gotten much better compared to other Android devices for sharing Stories.

Wrap up

Samsung’s Galaxy S24 is definitely one of the best phones on the market right now. Of course, if you already have a Galaxy S23, the upgrade may not be worth it due to the minor improvements, but users coming from older phones (whether Android or iPhone) will certainly appreciate having the latest and greatest hardware.

When it comes to Galaxy AI, upgrading just because of this isn’t worth it. And again, Samsung isn’t introducing anything new – but having these features built into the phone will make a difference to a lot of users who would never download third-party AI tools. Some of these features are quite convenient and I could easily get used to having them on my phone.

Samsung has clearly learned a lot from Apple, but there are some things that Apple could also learn from Samsung. I appreciate how Samsung unifies certain aspects of its phones across the entire lineup, such as using exactly the same processor and display technology for all of them.

While both the Galaxy S24 and the base iPhone 15 start at $799, Samsung’s phone certainly offers a bit more for its price with true 3x optical zoom and the 120Hz display with thinner bezels. Choosing between a high-end Android phone or an iPhone at this point is more about personal preference than anything else.

I will continue to use the iPhone as my main phone for many reasons (especially because of the Apple ecosystem), but I have to admit that using the Galaxy S24 doesn’t make me miss many things about my iPhone.

The entire Galaxy S24 linup is now available for pre-order, and you can already find some special offers (such as getting double the storage at a discount) in online stores.

More about the Galaxy S24 from 9to5Google

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