The best phone of 2024 might already almost be here, as the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra is expected to land in January alongside the rest of the Samsung Galaxy S24 line, and based on past form it’s likely to be among the top handsets of next year.
While we don’t know anything for sure about it yet, the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra has extensively leaked, so we have a good idea of what specs and features it will likely offer. Based on these it certainly sounds like it should rank among the best Samsung phones at the very least.
Below, you’ll find the five biggest upgrades that we’re expecting to see on the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra, based on leaks and rumors. These are upgrades that are both potentially exciting, and likely to happen – so we haven’t included any of the more questionable claims.
1. A powerful Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset
Samsung’s Ultra phones are always among its most powerful handsets, and the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra should be no exception, with leaks suggesting it will have a powerful Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset.
So this should provide a significant power boost – especially as it’s likely that Samsung will have access to an overclocked version of it, much like it did with the Gen 2 in the Samsung Galaxy S23 line.
It’s worth noting that some leaks suggest Samsung could equip certain Samsung Galaxy S24 models with an Exynos 2400 instead outside the US. But more reports point to the Ultra getting the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 everywhere, with the standard phone and the Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus that might see a chipset split instead.
2. AI features
As well as various hardware upgrades, the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra could have some significant software improvements, most notably through the addition of AI features.
Various leaks point in this direction, with Samsung itself having also applied to trademark the term 'AI phone'. Thanks to a leak of upcoming Samsung Galaxy S24 software though, we have a clearer idea of what that might mean.
It looks like you can expect various Pixel 8-like features, including the ability to move objects, people, and pets in photos, and generate AI wallpapers.
Other leaked AI features include the ability to extend the background of photos, the ability to live translate voice calls so that both parties can hear the other in their native language, and the ability to instantly turn a block of text into easy-to-read bullet points.
3. A 50MP 5x optical zoom
One camera change we’ve repeatedly heard rumored is the addition of a 50MP sensor on the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra, offering 5x optical zoom. That said, most leaks suggest it will replace the Galaxy S23 Ultra’s 10MP 10x zoom, so it might be a downgrade at least in terms of zoom distance. But regardless, the extra megapixels should be beneficial.
While it would be a shame to see the 10x zoom go, if Samsung equips this 5x optical zoom with a good enough sensor then it could be capable of great quality 5x optical shots and maybe even acceptable quality 10x digital ones.
4. A titanium frame
The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra could be Samsung’s must luxuriously designed phone yet, as there’s talk that the S24 Ultra will have a titanium frame.
This would be in place of the aluminum of its predecessor, and it’s a more premium and pricey material. It’s also the material Apple switched to for the sides of the iPhone 15 Pro and the iPhone 15 Pro Max.
Depending on how much titanium Samsung uses, its presence here could make the Galaxy S24 Ultra lighter, stronger, or both. So it serves a practical purpose.
5. An extremely bright screen
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra already has one of the best screens you’ll find on a smartphone, but the Galaxy S24 Ultra’s could be that little bit better – or at least brighter.
According to one leak, the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra will have a peak screen brightness of 2,600 nits. That’s up from 1,750 nits on the Galaxy S23 Ultra and would also see it beat the likes of the iPhone 15 Pro Max (2,000 nits) and the Pixel 8 Pro (2,400 nits). Though it would still fall short of the OnePlus 12 and its 4,500-nit screen.
Being able to get brighter can help with outdoor visibility, particularly on very sunny days, and while that could be quite a drain on the battery, we’ve also heard that the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra could use a more power efficient screen technology.
More about the Samsung Galaxy S24
Get daily insight, inspiration and deals in your inbox
Get the hottest deals available in your inbox plus news, reviews, opinion, analysis and more from the TechRadar team.
James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to 3G.co.uk, 4G.co.uk and 5G.co.uk and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.