Samsung teases huge new AI-powered zoom, just in time for Galaxy S24 launch

Woman at fair next to huge oversized stuffed bear
(Image credit: Samsung)

Samsung has dropped yet more hints that AI will be a big deal in the Samsung Galaxy S24 series, sharing a trio of teaser videos pushing the new phones' AI-enhanced zoom capabilities. 

The three phones are yet to be officially announced, but we can be fairly sure by now that they will be unveiled at the newly announced Galaxy Unpacked event on January 17. And by fairly sure, we mean absolutely, 100% certain.

While their specs are still to be confirmed, recent reports have suggested that the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra may have a reduced zoom of 5x, compared to the Galaxy S23 Ultra’s larger 10x zoom. 

The new trailers on Samsung’s website – which have the tagline “Zoom with Galaxy AI is coming" – do nothing to dispel those rumors, but they do hint at how the S24 might compensate.

The teaser trailers

The first teaser shows a dark but colorful picture of a hot air balloon in the sky, framed by what appears to be a circular camera lens.

Focus then shifts to another frame of the same image, but zoomed in further, with a tighter crop on the lower parts of the balloon more visible.

Lastly, in the third frame, the image is further zoomed in to reveal people in the basket, implying a tremendous level of zoom and detail. The video then pans out to show the three frames together, looking like the back of a Samsung Galaxy Ultra camera module. 

Gif showing a hot air ballon in various zoomed in states with a tagline reading 'Zoom with Galaxy AI is coming'

(Image credit: Samsung)

All of which implies that the Galaxy S24 Ultra could use its 'Galaxy AI' to further enhance its telephoto zoom capabilities, in the way that the Super Res Zoom feature in Google Pixel phones does. 

The second video and third videos give us a little more information while being more abstract. One shows a woman at a fair at night using a pinch gesture to enlarge a real-world teddy bear toy to giant proportions. This could imply that the Galaxy S24 could allow you to use AI technology to isolate and enlarge specific subjects.

While not a game changer, this could be an example of Samsung's own AI suite of image editing tools, much like the AI-led, Magic Eraser tool found on most recent Google Pixel devices. 

The third video repeats this enlargement trick; this time, the pinch to-enlarge motion is used to inflate an ice cream to massive proportions, which while funny, doesn’t tell us a thing about how it works, especially with no phones present in the trailers.

Woman enlarges an ice cream in real life using a pinch to zoom gesture

(Image credit: Samsung)

AI for everyone? 

It's currently unclear which models will benefit from this Galaxy AI technology, and whether it will feature on all Samsung Galaxy S24 models or will be reserved for the more premium S24 Ultra model only. 

If it does come included in the whole Samsung Galaxy S24 series, it could represent a serious contender to Google’s advanced and AI-enhanced editing tools. 

What's more, if the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra does feature a more modest 5x zoom then the new Galaxy AI tools may need to do more of the heavy lifting on the software side. 

This would be an an interesting shift from the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra’s optical zoom, and depending on how effective this AI technology is, the results could be surprising as there are some key differences between optical and digital zoom.

Either way, Samsung embracing AI technology could be an indicator of the next battleground for smartphones in 2024 – if it wasn't already, that is.

We'll know more at Samsung Unpacked in a week or so, but if you're as intrigued as we are then you may want to check out our Samsung Galaxy S24 preorders page, where we'll you'll find out how to reserve a Samsung Galaxy S24 and receive $50 in Samsung Credit. 

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Staff Writer, Mobile Computing

James Ide is a writer for TechRadar specializing in phones and tablets, having previously worked at The Daily Mirror since 2016, covering news and reviews.  

James loves messing with the latest tech, especially phones due to their incredibly rapid pace of development.

When not surrounded by various devices and/or tinkering with gadgets while putting them through their paces, James has a love of handheld consoles.

He is almost the textbook definition of a geek, who loves sci-fi, comics, games and of course, all things tech. If you think you have a story for him or just want to challenge him at Smash Bros, get in touch.