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I’m a lifelong iPhone user. Here’s what I think about the Samsung Galaxy S24

The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra and S Pen stylus on its screen.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Samsung and Apple typically release new smartphones at different times of the year. Samsung usually does it early in the year, while Apple waits until the fall ahead of the holiday shopping season. As always, Apple tends to release new iPhones that outdo the ones Samsung released earlier, and then when the calendar changes, Samsung comes back with something to better compete with Apple, and so forth.

Samsung has recently announced its Galaxy S24 series, which has sparked the curiosity of iPhone owners like myself. Many of us are currently exploring the features of these phones and seeing which ones aren’t available on our iPhones, myself included. Some are entirely new, while others have been introduced on previous Samsung Galaxy S models. Although many seem promising, some may not be as appealing to iPhone users. Here are a few of the Galaxy S24 features I like — and a few I don’t.

Circle to Search looks impressive

A person holding the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra using the Circle to Search feature.
Circle to Search Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The new Samsung phones have introduced a feature that is turning many heads, including mine. Circle to Search is a groundbreaking feature that allows users to search for anything on the smartphone screen with a simple gesture. It combines Google Lens and screenshot search and is designed to make search easier and more fun. This feature is not exclusive to the Galaxy S24 lineup, and it’s coming soon to the Google Pixel 8 series through a software update.

Google has truly outdone itself with this feature, and it’s already promoting it heavily as a feature that iPhones do not have and never will. The growing number of Circle to Search TV and YouTube ads proves that.

Samsung beats Apple at the telephoto game

A person holding the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra.
Galaxy S24 Ultra Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The Galaxy S24 Ultra has a 50MP telephoto camera with a 5x zoom feature. This compares to the iPhone 15 Pro’s telephoto camera, which has a 12MP sensor with a 5x zoom capability.

This huge difference suggests that Samsung’s smartphone will produce higher-quality images than Apple’s flagship — and our review shows just how good some of those zoom shots can look. The iPhone is still capable in this regard, but Samsung is clearly a bit ahead of it.

Come fall, I would expect the iPhone 16 Pro series to overtake the Galaxy S24 Ultra regarding the telephoto lens. At least, I hope it does. Until then, Samsung has a major selling point that Apple does not.

I want the brighter display

The Samsung Galaxy S24 laying on a shelf with its screen turned on.
Samsung Galaxy S24 Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Our eyesight tends to deteriorate as we age, making reading text on a smartphone screen more difficult. To address this issue, manufacturers have been improving the brightness levels of their device displays with each new release.

The iPhone 15 Pro boasts an outdoor peak brightness of 2,000 nits, which makes it ideal for use in highly bright environments, such as direct sunlight. This compares favorably to the Galaxy S23 Ultra, which has a brightness of 1,750 nits.

However, Samsung has again taken the lead with the Galaxy S24 Ultra, which offers an even more impressive outdoor peak brightness of 2,600 nits. It’s a much higher number, and it means you shouldn’t ever have difficulty seeing the Galaxy S24’s screen — even in the harshest of sunlight.

Something tells me the iPhone 16 Pro will beat this, though.

The S Pen rules

The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra and the S Pen stylus.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

It has been nine years since the first Apple Pencil was released, and since then, two additional models have been launched. However, none of these models are compatible with an iPhone, which is unfortunate. Meanwhile, despite discontinuing its Note series of smartphones in 2021, Samsung still produces smartphones that work with its S Pen. The latest model that supports the S Pen is the Galaxy S24 Ultra, which even comes with the stylus for free.

As an iPhone Pro user who spends a lot on a new smartphone each year, it no longer makes sense that there’s no Apple Pencil for the company’s flagship device. Kudos to Samsung for continuing to go in the opposite direction. And here’s to hoping Apple offers a similar solution at some point.

Galaxy AI seems overhyped

Activating the Chat Assist feature on the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Galaxy AI is one of the biggest new features on the Samsung S24. The tool includes many moving parts, including real-time translation in phone calls, generative AI image manipulation, note management, and more.

I am still uncertain about AI, particularly when integrated into mobile devices. Although I am intrigued by its potential, my excitement is often overshadowed by concerns about privacy. As for Galaxy AI, I prefer to let others judge whether it is a positive or negative development or if it holds any promise for the future. However, I find it interesting that Samsung plans to charge extra for a few of these features in the future.

It seems Galaxy AI could show great promise. However, in its current form, it is probably more of a work in progress than anything else. Apple would be wise to take a cautious approach to AI for its future products. Because of the privacy concerns, I expect that it will.

Wi-Fi 7? Let Samsung users test it first

Image used with permission by copyright holder

The Galaxy S24 series are among the first mobile devices to support Wi-Fi 7, also known as 802.11be. Wi-Fi 7 is the latest generation of Wi-Fi technology, and it offers significant improvements in speed, capacity, and efficiency over its predecessors. While Apple will likely release products that support this technology in the future, it will take time for all the necessary hardware to support it. Therefore, I think it’s smart to let Samsung test it first. This way, Apple can wait for the kinks to be worked out before adopting it.

More color choices

The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra in blue, green, and orange colors.

I want to mention that Samsung has again surpassed Apple in terms of offering a wider range of smartphone color options. From the Titanium Orange and Titanium Gray for the S24 Ultra to the Cobalt Violet and Sandstone Orange for the S24, Samsung offers more daring and bold color choices. Of course, many of us put a must-have case on our smartphones, so the color options may not matter to us that much. And yet, I still think Samsung deserves a little praise for thinking more out of the box.

I’m also always amazed that Samsung elects to offer executive smartphone colors through its website. It’s a buzzy move Apple could duplicate, but probably won’t.

Apple could learn a thing or two

The Apple logo on the iPhone 14 Pro Max.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

I have been writing about mobile phones on different websites for a long time. Although I am an Apple fan at heart, I get excited about any new smartphone release. The latest Samsung Galaxy S series looks very promising, bringing together a good combination of new, existing, and improved features. While there are some features that I would love to see in future iPhones, some don’t interest me as much.

With the Galaxy S24 now here, it’s your move, Apple.

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Bryan M. Wolfe
Bryan M. Wolfe has over a decade of experience as a technology writer. He writes about mobile.
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