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5 things that made me fall in love with the Galaxy S24 Ultra

The back of the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra in Titanium Orange.
The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra in Titanium Orange Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

One of the top smartphones on the market right now is the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra, and it’s easy to see why. It’s blazing fast thanks to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip and is packed with a ton of powerful features. It has a quad camera system with an impressive 200MP main shooter and a new 50MP periscope telephoto, plus an absolutely gorgeous display.

When I joined Digital Trends, I was a newcomer to Android phones since I only used to use iPhones, and one of the first Android flagships I reviewed was the Samsung Galaxy S23. I thought the Ultra was definitely impressive, but the gigantic size put me off a bit, even though I wanted to check out the 200MP camera for myself.

I got my hands on the Galaxy S24 Ultra this year, and it’s my first time experiencing an S-Series Ultra phone. I have to admit — it’s becoming one of my favorite phones of 2024 so far. Here’s what I’ve been loving about the S24 Ultra.

I really love the S Pen

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra in Titanium Gray with S Pen on back.
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

When Apple co-founder Steve Jobs announced the iPhone in 2007, one of his famous lines was, “Who wants a stylus? You have to get them and put them away and you lose them. Yuck! Nobody wants a stylus.”

Instead, Jobs argued that the human finger was the best pointing device in the world. To a certain extent, he had a point. But honestly, the S24 Ultra’s S Pen is one of my absolute favorite things about the phone so far, and I wish my iPhone 15 Pro had a built-in stylus, too.

I’m not sure about everyone else, but I have noticed that after using my fingers all day on my screens, the displays are covered with smudges. I wipe my smartphone screens multiple times a day because I find it bothersome.

As such, I’ve primarily been using the S Pen on the S24 Ultra as a way to navigate and use my phone. Maybe it’s due to the size, since I have to use two hands anyway, but it just feels really nice to just use the S Pen to go through screens and menus, scroll, and select things. It’s also much easier to close out of annoying ads with those tiny “X” buttons with the S Pen rather than fat, stubby fingers since it’s much more precise.

A person using the S Pen stylus with the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

I’ve also found the S Pen to be very handy for a lot of other things. For example, while Circle to Search is a new AI feature that is also available on the Galaxy S24 and Galaxy S24 Plus, the S Pen feels more accurate when selecting something to search for. I also don’t really handwrite notes on my phone — I’d rather type them out — but when I do, the S Pen makes that feel more natural.

The other big thing about the S Pen that I love is that it can be used as a remote control thanks to its button. While there are a few use cases for this, such as controlling PowerPoint presentations and even browsing the Gallery app, my favorite is using it as a remote shutter button. Since the S24 Ultra is so huge, it’s hard for me to take a selfie with the touchscreen controls. Being able to snap a photo with the S Pen is just so convenient, and it’s also great if I need to take a photo with the rear camera.

The iPhone could benefit so much from having something like the S Pen, especially the iPhone 15 Pro Max. Perhaps one day Apple can bring the Apple Pencil to the iPhone. Until then, Samsung is on a league of its own here.

The display is gorgeous

Pixel 8 Pro (left), Galaxy S24 Ultra (middle) and iPhone 15 Pro (right).
Pixel 8 Pro (left), Galaxy S24 Ultra (middle) and iPhone 15 Pro (right) Prakhar Khanna / Digital Trends

I’m quite impressed with the display on the S24 Ultra, as it’s one of the best I’ve used on a phone to date. Though I reviewed the regular Galaxy S24 and thought that display also looked great, the S24 Ultra takes it even further.

One thing I noticed with the regular S24 is that since it still uses Corning Gorilla Glass Victus 2, it’s pretty reflective if you’re outdoors or in sunny conditions. But Samsung fixes this issue with the new Corning Gorilla Armor glass on the display, which helps reduce a lot of the glare and reflections that you would normally get on a smartphone screen.

The Galaxy S24 Ultra's screen.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The S24 Ultra, as well as the S24 and S24 Plus, also reaches 2,600 nits of peak brightness. While this is not quite as high as the OnePlus 12’s insane 4,500 nits, it’s still very bright and makes the device incredibly usable outdoors in direct sunlight. It definitely surpasses my iPhone 15 Pro, and since I live in (mostly) sunny Southern California, having brighter displays is always a must.

While I didn’t have the Galaxy S23 Ultra, my colleague Andy Boxall did, and he says that the S24 Ultra has a flatter display than its predecessor. I actually love this flatter screen, as it makes it using the S Pen very comfortable and easy. I also don’t end up doing a lot of accidental touches on the display like I did with the OnePlus 12’s very curvy screen edges, so that’s a plus.

Battery life is truly insane

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra in Titanium Gray with S Pen on side showing battery levels.
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

Though my iPhone 15 Pro is still my primary smartphone, battery life is one of its weakest points. Sure, it will get me through the day, but I typically need to plug it in during the evening to make it last until bedtime.

The S24 Ultra has been proving itself to be quite a beast in terms of battery life. In our review, the S24 Ultra would get about two days of battery on a single charge with moderate to heavy use. I haven’t been pushing my S24 Ultra to those limits, as my usage with it has still been quite light since it’s not my primary device. As such, a full charge for mine lasts about three days at the moment, according to the battery section in the Settings app.

The massive 5,000mAh battery inside the S24 Ultra, combined with the power efficiency of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip, will absolutely get you through a full day and then some with just a single charge. This is easily a two-day phone, and for some folks, maybe even more.

When you do need to charge, the 45-watt wired fast charging is pretty nice. Sure, it’s not as fast as the OnePlus 12’s 80W fast charging, but it’s still definitely better than the iPhone 15 Pro — and many other smartphones available in the U.S.

The cameras are amazing

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra in Titanium Gray camera module.
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

One of the main reasons I typically upgrade my smartphone annually is because of the camera. It’s one of my most used features, and I need it to be good because I don’t have a standalone camera. The Galaxy S24 Ultra has one of the best smartphone cameras I’ve used so far.

I tried out the S24 Ultra camera over the weekend, and the results were incredible. I was especially eager to try the 5x and 10x optical zoom, and they’re definitely impressive. I was able to capture a decent snapshot of a snowcapped mountaintop off in the distance while on the rooftop level of the Disneyland parking structure. I also used it to zoom in on a gorgeous sunset, and the colors are absolutely beautiful.

Even photos taken with the 200MP main camera at 1x look great. One of the problems I’ve had with Samsung devices before was the tendency for images to be overly saturated and vivid in the color profiles, but Samsung has toned that down a bit with the S24 line. Photos have been looking more realistic with the colors, and I’m quite happy with the results.

It doesn’t feel too big

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra in Titanium Gray in hand.
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

One of the reasons why I always felt deterred from checking out Samsung’s Ultra phones was because of the size. After all, if you’ve followed some of my work, I’ve always been an advocate of smaller phones; large devices always felt unmanageable for my petite hands.

I was surprised with the Galaxy S24 Ultra, however. Despite it having a massive 6.8-inch display, it doesn’t really feel too large and I found it pretty easy to hold because of the chassis design. Plus, with the S Pen, I’m typically using both hands anyway.

If I were to switch to a large device as my primary instead of my iPhone 15 Pro, I think I would definitely move over to the S24 Ultra.

The S24 Ultra is one of the best phones of 2024

The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra in Titanium Orange and in Titanium Silver.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

We’re only a couple of months into 2024, but the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra has quickly become one of my favorite phones I’ve tried this year (the others being the OnePlus 12 and the regular S24).

The S Pen on the S24 Ultra is just one of my absolute favorite things about the device. It really makes me wish that Apple would adopt an integrated stylus with its Pro line, or at least the Pro Max, because maybe then I would consider trying one out. Not only is the S Pen great for just navigating around and not smudging up the screen as much, but being able to use it as a remote is super convenient.

And this year Samsung took it a step further with the incredible Gorilla Armor display that is seriously one of the most impressive I’ve laid my eyes on. Lastly, the camera system is definitely one of the best on a smartphone, and a big improvement on the previous color profile, in my opinion.

I’ll be sad once I have to send the Galaxy S24 Ultra back, that’s for sure.

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Courtesy by: Digital Trends

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