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3 reasons why the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra is worth it (even after the price bump)

We delved into the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra to figure out exactly what more you're getting for the new, higher price tag.
Written by Sabrina Ortiz, Editor
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra with S Pen
June Wan/ZDNET

At Samsung Unpacked, the company unveiled its newest line of Galaxy phones, the Galaxy S24, Galaxy S24+, and Galaxy S24 Ultra. One difference with the Ultra model that many are immediately noticing (or have learned from reading this headline) is a new, higher price point.

Also: Every product Samsung announced at Unpacked 2024

The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra now starts at $1,299, up $100 from the previous year's Galaxy S23 Ultra model. While Samsung has been fairly consistent with pricing its phones, this year's model sees upgrades that are arguably more significant than usual, with a noticeable change to display brightness, performance, durability, camera hardware, and more. 

So, how is Samsung justifying the price bump? Here are some potential reasons.

1. More premium and durable material

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra Camera
June Wan/ZDNET

The Galaxy S24 Ultra is made of a titanium frame, a step up from last year's aluminum. Titanium is lauded for its lightweight yet durable properties. As a result, it is typically reserved for higher-end phone models such as the latest iPhone 15 Pro Max. For reference, that costs $1,199.

Also: Samsung's new Galaxy S24 beats the iPhone 15 Pro in one very meaningful way

The Galaxy S24 Ultra also features Corning's new Gorilla Glass Armor, a more protective layer of glass than last year's Gorilla Glass Victus 2, which promises greater drop protection while preventing micro-scratches.

2. More RAM, AI features, everything

Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus AI summarize
June Wan/ZDNET

What's under the hood of a phone is just as important as its hardware features, especially for a device that will support as many generative AI features as the Galaxy S24 Ultra.

That starts with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip, an upgrade from the prior year's Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip. This update should account for improved graphics performance and processing of AI tasks such as the new Circle to Search and Generative Edit features and, of course, photo and video capturing.

The Galaxy S24 Ultra also sports 12GB RAM, an increase from last year's 8GB, as well as a larger cooling chamber for better heat dissipation.

3. A brighter display and camera

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra Brightness Display
June Wan/ZDNET

The Galaxy S24 Ultra has 2,600 nits of brightness, a significant upgrade from last year's 1,750, making it one of the brightest smartphones on the market. By comparison, Apple's top-of-the-line models, the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max, have 2,000 nits of peak brightness when outdoors. 

Also: Samsung is giving Galaxy S24 a display upgrade you'll either really love or never notice

The brighter display not only makes seeing your screen outdoor settings more comfortable but also enhances your overall content-viewing experience on your phone, making images more vivid and the contrast more distinct. 

Regarding the new camera system, the Galaxy S24 Ultra now has a 50MP telephoto lens with 5x optical zoom, a shift from last year's 10MP telephoto lens with 3x zoom, allowing you to take much higher quality images of distant objects, sharper images, and clearer shots in dimly-lit environments.

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