Hands on: Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus review – finally, the Plus has a reason to exist

The middle child comes good

What is a hands on review?
Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus in hand
(Image: © Future / Axel Metz)

Early Verdict

Samsung has furnished its latest Galaxy S-series Plus model with the usual smattering of iterative design, display and hardware upgrades, but it’s the phone’s impressive AI capabilities that finally narrow the gap with the more expensive Galaxy S24 Ultra. Unless you’re dead set on having the latter’s titanium frame and superior camera credentials, the Galaxy S24 Plus could be a great cost-effective alternative with few compromises.

Pros

  • +

    Big, bright, outdoor-friendly QHD+ display

  • +

    New AI features bring parity across the S24 range

  • +

    Seven years of software and security updates

Cons

  • -

    Cameras remain unchanged

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Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus: Two-minute preview

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus was rumored to be the last Plus-branded entry in Samsung’s long-running flagship Galaxy S series, and had a successor – the Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus – not been unveiled at Galaxy Unpacked 2024, it would’ve been easy to forgive the company for calling time on its awkwardly-positioned middle-child devices.

Despite offering Galaxy Ultra sizing at a more accessible price, Samsung’s Galaxy Plus phones have seldom, if ever, proven better value for money than its all-singing, all-dancing Ultra devices. This year, though, the Galaxy S24 Plus is a much more enticing proposition: its display is objectively better than the one you'll find on the standard-sized Samsung Galaxy S24, and it doesn’t lose out on the impressive AI features that Samsung is touting as the key selling point of the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra.

Specifically, the Galaxy S24 Plus benefits from QHD+ display technology – a feature previously reserved for the Galaxy S23 Ultra – and a bespoke Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset (or Samsung’s own Exynos 2400, depending on your region) that places AI at the forefront of the mobile experience. The former upgrade is far from game-changing – it essentially means the Plus’s 6.7-inch screen is sharper and more detailed than the S24’s FHD+ equivalent – but it’s enough to better differentiate the Plus from its cheaper sibling. The latter, by contrast, brings a parity to the Galaxy S24 range that we haven’t seen, well, ever.

Galaxy AI is the umbrella term for Samsung’s suite of AI-powered features, which range from real-time text and call translation to generative photo editing. I tried out several of these features during my brief hands-on time with the Galaxy S24 Plus, and while their level of real-world utility remains to be seen, their seamless integration into Samsung’s One UI is seriously impressive.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus hands on front handheld angled home screen

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

On the physical upgrade front, the Galaxy S24 Plus sports marginally narrower bezels and a slightly flatter design than its predecessor, though its (supposedly stronger) Armor Aluminum frame is the most noticeable change. The phone’s 4,900mAh battery is a touch larger, too, though this is unlikely to equate to much (if any) real-world battery life improvement. 

If you’re after the best camera phone around, the Galaxy S24 Ultra is the way to go, but the new Plus model boasts some decent photography hardware nonetheless. The phone retains its predecessor’s 50MP wide lens (f/1.8), 12MP ultra-wide lens (f/2.2), 10MP telephoto lens (f/2.4, 3x optical zoom), and 12MP selfie camera (f/2.2), though the aforementioned addition of Galaxy AI has thrown some neat new AI-powered editing capabilities into the mix.

I haven’t spent enough time with the Galaxy S24 Plus to deliver a full verdict on its value-for-money offering yet, but after some brief hands-on time with the device at Galaxy Unpacked 2024, I can safely say that Samsung’s latest second-tier flagship is an objectively better phone than last year’s S23 Plus – and one that might finally make buyers think twice.

If you're interested in our thoughts on the other new Galaxy phones, check out our hands-on Samsung Galaxy S24 review and our hands-on Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra review.

Hands-on Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus review: Price and availability

  • Starts at $999 / £999 / AU$1,699
  • Preorders are open now
  • Shipping from January 31

The Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus was announced at Samsung’s latest Galaxy Unpacked event on January 17, 2024. Samsung Galaxy S24 preorders are live now, and all three new devices will begin shipping on January 31.

Pricing for the Galaxy S24 Plus starts at $999 / £999 / AU$1,699 for the base configuration (8GB RAM / 256GB storage), and rises to £1,099 / AU$1,899 for the model with 8GB RAM / 512GB storage. I’ll be updating this article with US pricing for the latter configuration as soon as I have it.

For comparison, the Galaxy S23 Plus started at $999.99 / £1,049 / $1,649 for the model with 8GB RAM / 256GB storage, so £999 marks a welcome £50 decrease (in the UK, at least).

Hands-on Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus review: Specs

Here's a look at the Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus' specs and how it compares to its stablemates. 

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Samsung Galaxy S24 specifications comparison
Header Cell - Column 0 Galaxy S24Galaxy S24 PlusGalaxy S24 Ultra
Dimensions147 x 70.6 x 7.6mm158.5 x 75.9 x 7.7mm162.3 x 79.0 x 8.6mm
Weight167g196g232g
FrameEnhanced Armor AluminumEnhanced Armor AluminumTitanium
Display6.2-inch AMOLED 1Hz to 120Hz6.7-inch AMOLED 1Hz to 120Hz6.8-inch AMOLED 1Hz to 120Hz
Resolution2340 x 10803088 × 14403088 × 1440
ChipsetQualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for Galaxy / Samsung Exynos 2400 for GalaxyQualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for Galaxy / Samsung Exynos 2400 for GalaxyQualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for Galaxy
RAM8GB (LPDDR5X)12GB (LPDDR5X)12GB (LPDDR5X)
Storage128GB / 256GB (UFS 4.0)256GB / 512GB (UFS 4.0)256GB / 512GB / 1TB (UFS 4.0)
Main camera50MP50MP200MP
Ultra-wide camera12MP12MP12MP
Telephoto camera10MP, 3X optical zoom10MP, 3X optical zoom10MP, 3X and 10X optical zoom
Selfie camera12MP12MP12MP
Battery size4,000mAh4,900mAh5,000mAh
Charging25W wired, 15W wireless45W wired, 15W wireless45W wired, 15W wireless
ColorsOnyx Black, Marble Gray, Cobalt Violet, Amber YellowOnyx Black, Marble Gray, Cobalt Violet, Amber YellowTitanium Black, Titanium Gray, Titanium Violet, Titanium Yellow
Samsung.com exclusive colorsSandstone Orange, Sapphire Blue, Jade GreenSandstone Orange, Sapphire Blue, Jade GreenSandstone Orange, Sapphire Blue, Jade Green

Hands-on Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus review: Design

  • Slightly flatter edges and narrower bezels
  • New Armor Aluminum frame

Samsung Galaxy S24 S24 Plus S24 Ultra hands on back straight

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

For the second year running, Samsung’s newest Galaxy Plus model places emphasis on meaningful internal upgrades over a dramatic aesthetic redesign. But that’s not to say the Galaxy S24 Plus looks identical to its predecessor.

Measuring 158.5 x 75.9 x 7.7mm and weighing 196g, this year’s Plus phone has slightly narrower bezels, slightly flatter edges (think the iPhone 15 Pro and Galaxy Z Fold 5) and a more durable Armor Aluminum frame versus the Galaxy S23 Plus.

Personally, I’m all for the changes – the S23 Plus’s mirrored frame was a garish fingerprint magnet – although you’d be hard pressed to distinguish the Galaxy S24 Plus from its predecessor when viewing the two phones at a glance.

Hands-on Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus review: Display

  • QHD+ display for the first time in a Plus model
  • Enhanced outdoor visibility
  • New 2,600-nit peak brightness

Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus hands on front handheld straight lock screen

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

For the first time, the display on Samsung’s latest Galaxy Plus model is objectively superior to the display used by its standard sibling. Specifically, the Galaxy S24 Plus uses a 6.65-inch dynamic AMOLED 2X display, with QHD+ technology that delivers improved sharpness and detail compared to the screen on the smaller Galaxy S24. Previously, QHD+ displays have been reserved for Samsung’s Ultra phones, and although the differences here aren’t all that noticeable, it’s good to see Samsung giving the Galaxy S24 Plus the best screen possible.

The other display upgrades are shared between the Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus. Both phones get a new peak brightness of 2,600 nits, as well as improved outdoor visibility thanks to Samsung’s Vision Booster feature. Their refresh rates have also been improved – you’ll now get 1-120Hz instead of 48-120Hz.

All of these features combine to deliver the biggest, boldest and brightest Galaxy S Plus display yet, and although I’ll need to conduct further testing, I was able to use the phone under the bright lights of Samsung’s hands-on testing space without issue.

Hands-on Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus review: Cameras

  • Same triple-lens setup as the Galaxy S23 Plus
  • Up to 8K video at 30fps
  • AI features are impressive but potentially problematic

Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus hands on camera closeup

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

If there’s one big disappointment with the Galaxy S24 Plus, it’s the lack of changes in the camera hardware department. The phone retains its predecessor’s 50MP wide lens (f/1.8), 12MP ultra-wide lens (f/2.2), 10MP telephoto lens (f/2.4, 3x optical zoom), and 12MP selfie camera (f/2.2). This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – I was impressed with the all-round photography capabilities of the Galaxy S23 Plus – but an S23 Ultra-style 200MP main sensor wouldn’t have gone amiss.

Samsung has instead turned to AI for this year’s camera-related Galaxy upgrades, with a suite of new editing tools on hand to help you re-compose and remaster photos. Edit Suggestion, for instance, uses Galaxy AI to suggest suitable photo tweaks, while Generative Edit can fill in parts of an image background with generative AI. Instant Slow-mo can generate additional frames to add more detail (or the illusion of more detail) to videos, while Super HDR reveals lifelike previews before the shutter is ever pressed.

I’ll need to further test these features before passing judgment on their utility, but the demos given by Samsung staff for each were supremely impressive. Generative AI looks particularly mind-blowing, although it does raise some awkward questions about authenticity, beauty standards, and the value of photography in 2024.

Hands-on Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus review: Performance

  • Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset in the US, Exynos 2400 elsewhere
  • Larger vapor chamber and ray tracing support

Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus hands on back table angled

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

Much to the chagrin of Samsung fans the world over, Samsung has again split the chipset offering for its latest Galaxy phones – though rumors suggest that the situation isn’t as bad as it was for the Galaxy S22 line, where the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 outperformed the Exynos 2200 by some margin.

Specifically, the chipset powering your Galaxy S24 Plus depends on the region in which you buy the phone. Those in the US get a bespoke version of Qualcomm’s newly released Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset, while those in Europe and other regions get Samsung’s new Exynos 2400 chipset. Luckily, however, early benchmark results promise similar real-world performance from both chipsets, so I don’t expect the differences to be significant this year, although the Snapdragon may prove slightly more efficient than the Exynos in the long run.

In my brief time with a Snapdragon 8 Gen 3-powered Galaxy S24 Plus, the phone was able to juggle gaming, heavy-duty video recording, and multiple apps with ease.

Speaking of gaming, the Galaxy S24 Plus benefits from a vapor chamber that’s 1.9x larger than its predecessor, which Samsung says will deliver improved heat dissipation. All three Galaxy S24 phones offer ray tracing support, too, so the Galaxy S24 Plus might prove to be one of the best gaming phones of 2024.

Hands-on Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus review: Software

  • Galaxy AI enables several experience-enhancing features
  • Seven years of OS updates and seven years of security updates

Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus hands on on-device AI only mode

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

The ace(s) in the hole for the Galaxy S24 Plus are its new AI capabilities, which Samsung says are “aimed at enhancing every part of life.” Here’s how the company describes the key features of Galaxy AI: 

  • When you need to communicate defying language barriers, Galaxy S24 makes it easier than ever. Chat with a student or colleague from abroad. Book a reservation while on vacation in another country. It’s all possible with Live Translate, two-way, real-time voice and text translations of phone calls within the native app. No third-party apps are required, and on-device AI keeps conversations completely private.
  • With Interpreter, live conversations can be instantly translated on a split-screen view so people standing opposite each other can read a text transcription of what the other person has said. It even works without cellular data or Wi-Fi.
  • For messages and other apps, Chat Assist can help perfect conversational tones to ensure communication sounds as it was intended: like a polite message to a co-worker or a short and catchy phrase for a social media caption. 
  • In the car meanwhile, Android Auto will automatically summarize incoming messages and suggest relevant replies and actions, like sending someone your ETA, so you can stay connected while staying focused on the road. 
  • Organisation also gets a big boost with Note Assist in Samsung Notes, featuring AI-generated summaries, template creation that streamlines notes with pre-made formats, and cover creation to make notes easy to spot with a brief preview. 
  • For voice recordings, even when there are multiple speakers, Transcript Assist uses AI and Speech-to-Text technology to transcribe, summarize and even translate recordings. 
  • Communication isn’t the only way Galaxy S24 takes the fundamental benefits of the phone into the future. Online search has transformed nearly every aspect of life. Galaxy S24 marks a milestone in the history of search as the first phone to debut intuitive, gesture-driven Circle to Search with Google. With a long press on the home button, you can circle, highlight, scribble on, or tap anything on Galaxy S24’s screen to see helpful, high-quality search results.

Naturally, I’ll be taking these AI-powered features for a proper spin as I test the Galaxy S24 Plus for my full review, but the early signs are promising. Circle to Search with Google worked perfectly when I tried to identify a plant, two different watches and even my battered backpack during my hands-on session, while Live Translate worked well, too (though it remains to be seen how effective this feature will be when it comes to interpreting colloquialisms and muffled phrases).

Also on the software front, Samsung is committing to seven years of OS updates and seven years of security updates for the Galaxy S24 Plus and its siblings, which is a welcome improvement on the five years we’ve come to expect from the company (and brings the S24 range in line with the Google Pixel 8 and Apple’s latest iPhones). In other words, you’ll be able to use the Galaxy S24 Plus without fear of being left behind until at least 2031. Yikes.

Hands-on Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus review: Battery

  • 4,900mAh battery is a slight upgrade

Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus hands on bottom handheld angled

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

The Galaxy S24 Plus has a 4,900mAh battery, which is a 200mAh increase over the S23 Plus’s 4,700mAh power pack. That said, I’m not expecting the new phone to offer significantly better real-world battery life than its predecessor. I found that the Galaxy S23 Plus could comfortably last for almost two days when testing that phone, so I’m anticipating something similar from the Galaxy S24 Plus. I’ll confirm as muc