Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs. Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: What has changed?

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

Wondering if the Galaxy S24 Ultra warrants an upgrade from your S23 Ultra? Or simply curious about the major differences? We’ve got you covered. This in-depth comparison dives into every aspect of these flagships, highlighting what’s new, changed, and ultimately, whether the upgrade is worth it for you.

Buckle up, because we’re about to settle the S24 vs S23 debate! So, let’s dive in and get started right away. 

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs. Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: Build quality

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
The titanium on the S24 Ultra has a matte finish, as opposed to the slight shine you have on the S23 Ultra (Image credit: Future)

The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra has an upgrade here! We now have a titanium build for the frame, which runs around the edges of the smartphone. On the front and back, we still have the Gorilla Glass Armor, the latest glass technology (a step up from the S23 Ultra’s Armor Aluminum and Gorilla Victus 2 combination).

Now, titanium is a great material, but it’s not going to be a dramatic upgrade. One thing I do like, though, is the fact that the titanium has a matte finish, as opposed to the slight shine you have on the S23 Ultra. So, looks-wise, I’d definitely go with the titanium. Quality-wise, yes, it’s better, but not a dramatic change. And that’s the build quality!

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs. Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: Design

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
Left: Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra/ Right: Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra (Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

When you look at the design, you can see that these phones look almost identical from the front and the back. Overall, they have the same exact size with the same display size, but you can see the S24 Ultra has some subtle improvements. We do have slimmer, more even bezels on all four sides, which makes it look slightly better, again, nothing dramatic.

Now, one more thing with the design on the rear: when you look at the camera housings with the S24 Ultra, all the camera housings and components now have a ring around them. On the S23 Ultra, we only have rings on the three main cameras. So, again, nothing dramatic as far as build and design, but of course, there are improvements. The S24 Ultra is the newer product, now let’s move on and talk about the performance, which is much more important.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs. Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: Performance

So, we have a Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor on the S24 Ultra with 12 GB of RAM and up to 1 TB of storage. With the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, we have a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, 12 GB of RAM, and up to 1 TB of storage. One more thing you need to know is that internally, the cooling system (the vapor chamber) that’s in the S24 Ultra is now 1.9 times larger than the one on the S23 Ultra. So, what we have here is increased performance for sure. We’re looking at an approximately 25% increase in CPU and GPU performance over the older model, and because we’re going to have better cooling, you’re going to be able to sustain high levels of performance for longer.

That means if you’re playing a game, you’ll be able to sustain high performance in the game for longer periods of time. So, if you’re a heavy-duty gamer or someone who likes to use heavy-duty apps, maybe even do video editing on your smartphone, maybe you want to consider this. But keep in mind that the S23 Ultra still is a powerhouse of a product.

The S24 Ultra just came out, it’s got the latest processor, and it is going to be fast. The question is: do you need it or do you want it? And that’s all there is to it.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs. Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: Display

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
The S24 Ultra also has a slightly faster touch response time (Image credit: Expert Reviews)

We’ve got the same size and same technology for the display. There really is only one major difference, and that’s the fact that the S24 Ultra now has a higher peak brightness. On the S23 Ultra, it is 1750 nits of maximum brightness. On the S24 Ultra, it has jumped to 2,600 nits of maximum brightness. So, that’s a major jump, and it’s something to consider. We will summarize all these things toward the end, so you know exactly what’s going on.

Now, the S24 Ultra also has a slightly faster touch response time, which might give you a little extra benefit when you’re gaming, but nothing major, nothing dramatic. This is not that important. So, that’s the display.

Key Specifications of the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra and Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
Display 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X with 120Hz (LTPO) 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 120Hz
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
RAM/Storage 12GB with 256GB, 512GB, 1TB 8GB, 12GB/ 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
Battery 5,000mAh 5,000mAh
Camera 200MP main, 50MP periscope telephoto, 10MP telephoto, 12MP ultra-wide, 12MP front 200 MP, 10 MP, 10 MP, 12 MP,  12 MP front
Colors Titanium Black, Titanium Gray, Titanium Violet, Titanium Yellow Phantom Black, Green, Cream, Lavender, Graphite, Sky Blue, Lime, Red, BMW M Edition
IP rating IP68 IP68
Price Starting at $1,299 Starting at $800

 

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs. Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: Software

When it comes to software, it’s a little tricky. I’m going to say right now that the S24 Ultra has more software features because it’s running One UI 6.1. So you’ll get some AI features under the advanced features, giving you all these AI-capable tools that’ll help you with productivity, taking photos, improving taken photos, and much more. These AI features are currently exclusive to the S24 Ultra with One UI 6.1, but they’ll trickle down to the S23 Ultra later. So, at some point, the software will be identical, both on Android 14 and with AI features. We also have the S Pen on both smartphones, which works the same way.

So, if you want the latest software features right now, go for the S24 Ultra. But if you can wait, you can save money and get them on your S23 Ultra down the road. We’re talking about things like the AI wallpaper and the weather-responsive wallpaper — if it’s raining outside, you can have rain on the lock screen. Remember, the S24 Ultra will run these features smoother and faster thanks to its latest processor.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs. Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: Camera

With the camera, the best way to put this is: 80% of the camera is the same, but there are some minor improvements here. Both phones have quad camera systems: a main 200-megapixel camera, a 12-megapixel ultrawide camera, and a 10-megapixel telephoto camera with up to 3x optical zoom.

Then there’s another optical camera, and this is the only thing that’s really changing on the S23 Ultra. You have a 10-megapixel 10x optical camera on the S24 Ultra. Some people think this is a downgrade, but it’s not.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
There is really no big, dramatic change in the camera (Image credit: PhoneArena)

First of all, the sensor is going to be larger on the S24 Ultra. And even though it’s limited to 5x optical zoom, using AI capabilities, this phone can deliver 10x optical quality zoom, which is going to be just as good, if not better, than the S23 Ultra. That’s one of the major differences, and you can see that’s a really small change.

But then there’s another thing: when you’re recording in 4K on the S24 Ultra, you can seamlessly switch between all the lenses during recording. With the S23 Ultra, you can’t do that at 4K. You can do it at 1080p, but not 4K. With the S24 Ultra, you can do it everywhere. So if you use your phone to take a lot of video and you do 4K and want to be able to switch between different zoom lenses, this is an awesome option to consider.

But the bottom line is this: this is not a big, dramatic change in the camera.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs. Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: Battery

The battery size is the same at 5,000 mAh on both of these devices. The battery charging speeds are exactly the same. Both phones offer up to 45 W charging, so you get 0 to 65% of charge in 30 minutes for both products. However, the S24 Ultra possibly is going to yield a longer battery life.

Remember, the chipset, the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, is more efficient, and because of the larger vapor chamber, it also is going to be less hot. So, all those things combined are going to also yield slightly longer battery life, which some people might like. Then there’s wireless charging, which is all the same, and reverse wireless charging, which is also the same. So, most features here are also the same, nothing dramatic except slightly better battery life.

Final thoughts

What has changed? Should you upgrade from the S24 Ultra or keep the S23 Ultra? The question is simple. Let’s look at what’s actually improved.

Like I said, the performance has definitely improved. The S24 Ultra will be the better-performing smartphone in terms of speed, processing, and graphics. It will also have a brighter display, initially exclusive One UI 6.1 features, a slightly improved camera, and slightly better build quality. That’s about it. Which is not to say that’s not a lot of stuff! For some people, that might be plenty and worth the upgrade, especially if you want the latest and greatest. But for others, they’ll be perfectly satisfied with the S23 Ultra and might prefer to wait for the S25.

Ask yourself: when you’re going from the S23 Ultra to the S24 Ultra, how much extra money are you spending? And for that extra money, how many benefits are you getting? So, if you’re spending $300 more to get the S24 Ultra, that’s not a bad deal. But if you’re spending $600-$700 just to upgrade, that might be overkill. You might want to wait and see if the price drops or consider if the improvements are truly worth the cost for you.

Ultimately, how much money you’re spending to get the improvements you desire is the key factor to consider. We’ve talked about all the improvements; now it’s up to you to decide if they justify the upgrade for your needs and budget. Now, if you’re in the market to buy either one of these — let’s say you don’t have a Samsung Galaxy smartphone — you’re looking at the S23 Ultra or the S24 Ultra. In that case, I would just straight go for the S24 Ultra. As a consumer, that’s what I would personally do as well.