Samsung Galaxy S24 range with AI upgrades launching February 7 from $1649

Samsung has shown off its latest range of flagship smartphones which are being released next month with a slew of new upgrades made possible by the company's advances in artificial intelligence.

In New Zealand, the Galaxy S24 will start at $1649, the Galaxy S24 Plus will start at $2049 and the Galaxy S24 Ultra will start at $2449, while the most expensive Ultra option launches at $3099.

Those are all increases on the launch prices of last year's S23 range and are very similar to how Apple priced its iPhone 15 range in Aotearoa.

The S24 Ultra model is the first phone Kiwis will be able to get their hands on that comes with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3; the latest, most powerful yet chip from Qualcomm, which also powers the recently announced Oppo Find X7 Ultra. The non-Ultra S24 models will instead come with a Exynos 2400 chip.

Like last year's iPhone Pros, the S24 range features titanium frames said to be more durable than previous models. They also come with an improved cooling system Samsung says will keep them from heating up too much and improve performance for demanding usage such as gaming.

Screen brightness has been ramped up to a new peak of 2600 nits for all S24 models, and the Ultra's Corning Gorilla Armour display is said to improve durability by 50 percent and reduce glare by up to 75 percent for better viewing in challenging light situations.

There are also the typical annual bumps in photo and video taking capabilities, including the S24 Ultra boasting a 5x optical zoom and improvements to its digital zoom that should mean clearer videos and photos up to 100x zoom.

But it is the new AI-powered features of the S24 range that Samsung is most excited about.

Galaxy AI unleashed

The S24 devices come with 'Galaxy AI', which Samsung's mobile president TM Roh promises "ignites the next decade of mobile innovation".

"Galaxy AI is built on our innovation heritage and deep understanding of how people use their phones. We're excited to see how our users around the world empower their everyday lives with Galaxy AI to open up new possibilities," Roh said.

The key AI-powered features Samsung is showcasing are centred on translation tools, a new search function and photo editing, summarised below:

  • Circle to Search
    In partnership with Google, this feature allows users to circle anything on the phone's screen and immediately pull up information about it. Examples include pointing the camera at an item of clothing someone is wearing and having the feature identify what it is and where to buy it, or getting information on a building or landmark in the background of a photo taken by the phone or displayed online.
  • Interpreter
    For when you're having an in-person conversation with a speaker of another language, this translates between the two languages as you speak. It's done on-device so an internet connection isn't necessary and is launching with 13 languages, but more may be added later.
  • Live Translate
    Similar to Interpreter, but for phone conversations instead of in-person.
  • Chat Assist
    This provides on-device live translation of text messages within the messages app itself - meaning no more going out of it to Google Translate, copying and pasting, then coming back. It can also suggest ways of changing the tone of a message to make it more appropriate, such as making a message to a colleague more polite. 
  • Transcript Assist
    Transcribes speech recordings and provides summaries of them and handy formatting options, as well as being able to translate them into other languages.
  • Note Assist
    This upgrade to the Samsung Notes app means it can automatically provide summaries of notes, create templates for them, and create covers with brief previews so notes can be more quickly found.
  • Galaxy AI editing tools
    Advanced photo editing features such as shadow removal, erase reflection and blur reduction can be done on-device. Cloud-powered generative AI can also be used to fill in gaps and background, similar to Photoshop's Content-Aware Fill, which is useful for moving objects or people around an image and filling in the empty areas they were moved from.
  • Instant Slow-mo
    Adds a slow-motion effect to videos by generating additional frames.
Demonstration of Galaxy AI editing tools being used on a photo on a Samsung Galaxy S24.
Objects in photos can be repositioned, then AI will fill in the background hole they've left behind. Photo credit: Newshub.

The S24 range is said to have greater security thanks to Samsung Knox and has been produced with more recycled elements than any previous Galaxy device, including cobalt and rare earth elements.

Samsung is also promising more longevity with its new devices - these phones offer seven years' worth of security updates along with seven generations of Android upgrades.

Colour wise, the S24 handsets come in options of grey, black, violet and yellow.

Samsung's Galaxy S24 range launches in New Zealand on February 7 with pre-orders opening today.