I can tell you the exact day I decided I’d be buying the Samsung Galaxy S24, if I check my bank statements. Here it is, on February 17, when I plunked down cash for the Galaxy S23 Ultra. I knew that a year later I’d be buying the next big Galaxy. Now, I’m waiting for the Galaxy S24 not because I’m a Samsung super-fan, but because I know the company well and I have an idea this will be worth the wait.
When it comes to yearly upgrades, Samsung isn’t like Apple. Apple upgrades are predictable and smooth. The iPhone 15 was a small, yet meaningful upgrade over the iPhone 14. It got more megapixels in the camera. A brighter screen. That USB-C port is a big deal, but the rest of the phone world had USB-C. There were no additions that made it imperative to upgrade your older phone right away. No changes that upset the fans.
Samsung, on the other hand, does not roll that way. If you are a Samsung fan, you embrace the change. Change is a deep part of Samsung’s corporate culture, and I say that as someone who used to work there (long before the plague times).
Samsung has changed again and again, on the outside
Samsung used to make phones that were cheap pieces of glossy plastic. It’s hard to look at my Galaxy S23 Ultra and remember the debacle that was the Galaxy S5, which the Wall Street Journal’s Joanna Stern unfavorably compared to a Band-Aid bandage.
But while that phone was flopping, Samsung was already changing its focus to bigger phones with the Galaxy Note. Within a year, Samsung had changed dramatically, to phones made of metal with glass that curved and bent. Then it changed again, to flat phones with superlative cameras and foldable phones with two displays. Who knows what change could be coming next.
Will the Galaxy S24 be a big change? Not in terms of the design itself, but I suspect there will be more changes behind the scenes than ever before. The tech industry is being pushed towards AI, and the next generation of phones will be built with AI in mind, even though phones don’t have a mind or much AI... yet.
Samsung seems to be embracing AI at an appropriate pace. It isn’t in a rush, but it has already announced plans for a generative AI suite called ‘Samsung Gauss.’ Gauss will include an image generator, a code generator, and a large language model tool (LLM). These tools are pretty much the same as what every other AI developer is making, so there’s no big surprise here. The surprises are yet to come.
AI is coming, whatever that means, and I'll be ready
Actually, I don’t think even Samsung knows what AI will bring to its future Galaxy phones, but it seems clear that AI on Galaxy will start with the Galaxy S24, thanks to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset. The new Snapdragon has a more robust neural processing unit (NPU) than previous devices, and it’s custom built for an AI future.
That means tomorrow’s phones will be capable of features that may not find their way backwards into the phones of today. This isn’t like a new web browser or a better camera app, that can be installed on older phones. It’s possible that the Galaxy S24 will be able to do things that require an NPU, and those features may never come to older phones in an upgrade.
That’s the biggest reason why I’m waiting for the Galaxy S24, because I’m hoping that the next generation of Galaxy will run software that is so advanced that it won’t even work on my Galaxy S23 Ultra. Frankly, Samsung’s software needs an overhaul, and AI may be just the remedy.
I also want to get the best trade in value
The other big reason I’m waiting is because I have the Galaxy S23 Ultra in hand, and Samsung usually offers great deals for a trade at launch, especially if you’re trading in last year’s top model. I’m expecting the Galaxy S24 Ultra will cost at least $1,199.99 / £1,249 / AU$1,949 at launch, for the base model. I’m also hoping to get as much as $800 / £800 / AU$1,200 in trade for my S23 Ultra.
One of the biggest problems with Android phones is that they don’t hold value like iPhones. But phone makers and mobile carriers offer deals when a new phone launches, hoping to switch people to their side. If I wait for the Galaxy S24 Ultra to launch, I could end up putting down only $400 / £450 / AU$750 or so for a phone that is a contender for being the best of the best. That’s not bad.
Then, I will mark my calendar again for the next year and the Galaxy S25. Samsung doesn’t stop making its phones better, and I’ll wait to try every phone until I’m sure I know which one is the best.
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Phil Berne is a preeminent voice in consumer electronics reviews, having reviewed his first device (the Sony D-EJ01 Discman) more than 20 years ago for eTown.com. He has been writing about phones and mobile technology, since before the iPhone, for a variety of sites including PCMag, infoSync, PhoneScoop, and Slashgear. He holds an M.A. in Cultural Theory from Carnegie Mellon University.
Phil was the internal reviewer for Samsung Mobile, writing opinions and review predictions about top secret new devices months before launch. He left in 2017. He worked at an Apple Store near Boston, MA, at the height of iPod popularity. He has been a High School English teacher at Title I schools, and is a certified Lifeguard. His passion is smartphones and wearables, and he is sure that the next big thing will be phones we wear on our faces.