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Samsung Galaxy S24 vs iPhone 15: Which phone should you buy?

The new Samsung Galaxy S24 and the iPhone 15 are among the best of the best. We'll help you choose the right phone for your needs.
Written by Maria Diaz, Staff Writer
Galaxy S24 vs iPhone 15
June Wan/ZDNET

Samsung's fresh new lineup of smartphones has officially arrived during the company's Unpacked event, with the Samsung Galaxy S24, S24 Plus, and S24 Ultra. But after going over all the striking features, you may be left wondering how these phones differ from the iPhone, arguably the most popular smartphone on the market, and how to choose the right one for your needs. 

Also: Every product Samsung announced at Unpacked 2024

If you're trying to choose between the latest Samsung S series base model, the Galaxy S24, and the iPhone 15, you should know it may come down to individual preferences. Each smartphone has its strengths, which we will explore further to help you choose the right one for your priorities. But each one offers a different experience, leading to users going with personal preferences in the end, especially regarding the operating system. 

Specifications


Galaxy S24iPhone 15
Starting price$799$799
Display6.2" Dynamic LTPO AMOLED 2X, 2600 nits peak6.1'' Super Retina XDR OLED, 1000 nits peak
Resolution1080 x 2340 pixels1179 x 2556 pixels
ProcessorSnapdragon 8 Gen 3 Apple A16 Bionic
RAM8GB6GB
Storage128GB, 256GB, 512GB128GB, 256GB, 512GB
Main camera50MP f/1.8 wide, 12MP ultrawide, 10MP telephoto - 8K at 24/30fps, 4K at 30/60fps48MP f/1.6 wide, 12MP ultrawide - 4K at 24/25/30/60fps
Front camera12MP f2.2 - 4K at 60fps12MP f/1.9 - 4K at 24/25/30/60fps
Battery4,000mAh3,349mAh
DurabilityIP68, Gorilla Glass Armor with aluminum frameIP68, Corning-made glass front and back with aluminum frame
ColorsOnyx Black, Marble Grey, Cobalt Violet, Amber YellowBlack, Blue, Green, Pink, Yellow

You should buy the Samsung Galaxy S24 if...

Samsung Galaxy S24 - Galaxy AI
June Wan/ZDNET

1. You want generative AI in your hands

The new lineup of S24 smartphones includes several noteworthy artificial intelligence (AI) features. And it's no surprise; generative AI dominated headlines in 2023, and 2024 is promising to be a year where AI will truly reach the most uncommon places. Thus far, Samsung has the iPhone beat on the generative AI front. 

Also: Samsung Galaxy S24 series hands-on: I did not expect this model to be my favorite

While the iPhone 15 has few generative AI features, all three Samsung Galaxy S24, Plus, and Ultra smartphones have generative AI available in email, text, photos, voice memos, home, and more. Much like the Google Pixel phones, S24 users can move subjects within a photo and generate a part of an image to fill the vacated spot. A Galaxy S24 user could call someone that speaks a different language and use the AI-powered translation feature in real-time to have a conversation with an older relative from a different country, for example.

The Galaxy S24 also generates text for emails, transcribes and summarizes voice memos, and lets users circle an item on an image to perform a Google search. I can't speak for what Apple will launch this year, but the iPhone 15 is certainly not there yet.

2. A fast smartphone is a big deal to you

The iPhone 15 has an Apple A16 Bionic processor, while the Galaxy S24 features the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip. While both are 4 nanometers (nm) processors, the S24 has 8GB of RAM compared to the iPhone 15's 6GB. 

These 4nm processors are advanced chips with better performance, faster processing speeds, smooth multitasking, and improved energy efficiency over previous models. But they also leverage the device's available RAM to perform at their peak. A 4nm processor combined with a higher RAM should maximize the system's capacity to handle more processes simultaneously and reduce strain on the processor. 

3. You want smoother scrolling during sunny days

The iPhone 15's refresh rate infamously tops out at a mere 60Hz unless you spring for the Pro or Pro Max models. The Samsung Galaxy S24, in turn, features a variable refresh rate of up to 120Hz to match the content displayed on the device. 

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

You don't have to be a hardcore gamer to appreciate a variable refresh rate -- the feature also makes for smoother video playback scrolling and, since the refresh rate is dynamic and is automatically lowered when static content is being displayed, like a photo, the S24 conserves battery and processing power. 

The Galaxy S24 also has a peak brightness of 2,600 nits, a big difference compared to the iPhone 15's 1,000 nits. This makes it so your S24's screen remains legible when you're out in bright lights, like outside during sunny weather.

You should buy the iPhone 15 if...

iPhone 15 Pink
June Wan/ZDNET

1. You'd prefer a better resolution

The iPhone 15's display is slightly smaller than the Galaxy S24's, about 0.1 inches smaller, yet its screen resolution and pixel density are higher, promising a more realistic and crisp image. If you can get past the lower refresh rate and peak brightness in favor of a cleaner image, then the iPhone 15 is far from a bad choice.

2. You enjoy the Apple ecosystem

Many iPhone fans prefer to stick with the Apple brand because they like being immersed in its ecosystem. The ease with which users can switch from one device to another, knowing they can always rely on them with few snags or bugs, has been enough to convince many users to continue buying iPhones. 

Review: iPhone 15: I spent a month with Apple's base model and found it more 'Pro' than ever

That being said, Apple runs things like a walled garden, selling exclusivity for frivolous features like blue message bubbles and devices that all look and act the same. But some Apple fans find comfort in the expected, knowing that the next brand new iPhone they get will operate much like their previous one and that it will work seamlessly with their iPad, AirPods, and Apple Watch. 

If you're coming from an iPhone and considering switching to a Galaxy S24, I can only recommend you think hard about what you enjoy from the Apple ecosystem -- you can't use an Apple Watch with a Samsung phone, after all. But if you consider it and find yourself still curious and open to leaving behind the predictable iPhone world, the Samsung Galaxy S24 is a great alternative. 

3. You think pink

Your smartphone's color may not be a thing you give much thought to, but many users do care what color their phone is -- particularly the younger crowd, who are the most common users of entry-level phones like the iPhone 15 and Galaxy S24. The iPhone 15 is available in pink, black, blue, green, and yellow, while the Galaxy S24 comes in Onyx Black, Marble Grey, Cobalt Violet, and Amber Yellow.

Alternatives to consider

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