Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra — everything we know so far

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra concept renders
(Image credit: Technical Cheez)

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra rumors are picking up steam now that Samsung's major phone launches for the year are in the rear view mirror — and now that the electronic giant's competitors have launched their fall phones, too. It's time to focus on what Samsung has planned for 2024, and the Galaxy S24 Ultra figures to be the best phone in Samsung's arsenal.

Galaxy S24 Ultra: Top Rumored Features

• Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 or Exynos 2400 chipset, depending on market
• 144Hz refresh rate
• A 50MP telephoto lens replacing one of the 10MP zoom lenses on the S23 Ultra
• On board AI-assisted features with Samsung Gauss
• A larger main camera sensor to capture more light
• Titanium sides

The big challenge for Samsung will be finding ways to improve upon the Galaxy S23 Ultra, which delivered top performance, outstanding battery life and the best cameras we've seen on any phone in the past year. But early Galaxy S24 Ultra rumors suggest that there's plenty to be excited about.

In addition to the possibility of a more powerful chip like the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, we're hearing that the Galaxy S24 Ultra could introduce further camera improvements, highlighted by a more powerful telephoto lens. Samsung could also be considering an increase to the refresh rate of the phone's 6.8-inch display as well as a new stacked battery approach that could make the phone last even longer on a charge.

Drawing on some early Galaxy S24 leaks along with rumors specific to the Ultra model, here's what we've heard so far about the Galaxy S24 Ultra, along with what we hope to see from Samsung's premium handset.

Galaxy S24 Ultra latest news (Update December 5)

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra release date and price speculation

Samsung's had a busy year. The Galaxy S23 lineup arrived in February 2023, with the midrange Galaxy A54 making its debut a few months later. Now that the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Galaxy Z Flip 5 launches have happened, Samsung can turn its full attention to the Galaxy S24 models, including the S24 Ultra.

Galaxy S phones tend to debut in the first three months of a new year, with Samsung recently favoring a February announcement to introduce us to its latest flagships. With that in mind, we would have expect to see the Galaxy S24 Ultra debut alongside the rest of the S24 lineup in February 2024. 

But Samsung may have different Galaxy S24 release date plans. One early leak claims that Samsung may bring the launch event forward by about a month in response to the apparent success of the iPhone 15. The latest word on this is that the phones could launch in mid-to-late January, with a report out of Korea specifically pointing to January 17 as the likely date for a Galaxy Unpacked 2024 event to be held in San Jose, Calif. The emergence of regulator filings for the phones points to an imminent launch too.

Galaxy Unpacked 2023 images

(Image credit: Samsung via YouTube)

It's far too early to talk Galaxy S24 Ultra pricing. Our biggest wish is that Samsung holds the line on pricing — or even finds a way to lower the cost of the phone from the Galaxy S23 Ultra's $1,199 starting price. Given all the premium features Samsung packs into that model plus the rising cost of smartphone parts, though, a price cut would be a long shot. 

We'd be happy just to see the same $1,199 starting price, especially in light of rumored price hikes that surfaced before the Galaxy S23's launch earlier this year. It's also worth noting that Samsung rivals Apple and Google raised prices on their top of the line phones this fall with the respective releases of the iPhone 15 Pro Max and Pixel 8 Pro.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra design rumors

Galaxy S24 Ultra images in four colors

(Image credit: Windows Report)

With Samsung introducing the Ultra's design across the Galaxy S23 lineup this year — and even making its lower-cost Galaxy A phones look a lot like the Ultra — we didn't expect a radical design change for the Galaxy S24 Ultra, however that could change with the introduction of bezels to the main display. Samsung clearly likes the look of having a row of camera lenses descending vertically down the back of its phones and is likely to stick with that approach.

One potential change to the Galaxy S24 Ultra design could involve the materials Samsung uses. Multiple leakers tip the upcoming phone to swap out Samsung's Armor Aluminum for titanium sides, with the Ultra seemingly guaranteed to get it with the other two models in the line-up possibly getting it too. One such report from leaker Ice Universe claims that will help the Galaxy S24 Ultra weigh less than the S23 Ultra by as much as a gram.

For color options, the four rumored basic colors could be black, gray, violet and yellow, plus Samsung store-exclusive colors of orange, light blue and light green.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra

(Image credit: Technizo Concept/Super Roder)

Concept designs based on CAD information give us an idea of what the Galaxy S24 Ultra might look like, and the the answer is "a lot like the Galaxy S23 Ultra." One difference could be more squared-off edges, according to designs posted by Technizo Concept.

Alleged dummy models of the Galaxy S24, Galaxy S24 Plus and Galaxy S24 Ultra

(Image credit: Sonny Dickson/X)

Alleged dummies of the new Galaxy S24 phones suggest a couple of potential modifications to the S24 Ultra's design compared to the S23 Ultra. Its edges may be squarer, reducing the curve of the display and back panel, and its cameras may be resized to accomodate changes to the sensors being used.

The most definitive look yet at the Galaxy S24 Ultra comes from Windows Report, which published images that purport to show off the Ultra. They also confirm the flatter display, titanium build and the four colors mentioned by other sources.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra display rumors

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra

(Image credit: Technizo Concept/Super Roder)

The last few Ultra models have featured a 6.8-inch panel, one of the largest screens you can get on a phone that doesn't fold. We'd expect Samsung to stick with that 6.8-inch display for the Galaxy S24 Ultra.

The leaker Ice Universe claims that the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra will reach a peak brightness of 2,500 nits. That’s 750 nits brighter than the S23 Ultra, which is rated for a peak brightness of 1,750 nits.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra playing racing game

(Image credit: Future)

The biggest display change could be to its refresh rate. Since the Galaxy S20 Ultra, that giant display has been capable of a 120Hz refresh rate. More recent models have been able to scale down to 1Hz when the activity on-screen is more static.

The Galaxy S24 Ultra could mix that up by increasing its maximum refresh rate to 144Hz. That claim comes from the SamLover rumor site in a post containing several supposed details about next year's top Samsung phone. There are other devices out there with a 144Hz displays, though most of them are gaming phones.

Given that Samsung likes to tout the gaming capabilities of its Ultra model — the fast processor, the big display, the internal cooling system designed to cut down on performance lags — it's not that big a stretch to imagine the S24 Ultra adopting this particular feature.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra camera rumors

Samsung's big camera change to the Ultra model happened this past year when the Galaxy S22 Ultra's 108MP main sensor made way for a 200MP shooter. We wouldn't expect another big leap forward, though SamLover does claim that Samsung will make some improvements to the sensor. 

This could mean anything from a wider aperture to let in more light to improvements in color reproduction. The site later claimed that the sensor size would be increased to 1-inch, which would be the same as the Xiaomi 13 Ultra and larger than the one in the iPhone 15 Pro Max.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra camera close up

(Image credit: Future)

Another SamLover tip involves the telephoto lens on the Galaxy S24 Ultra, which is supposed to get improved zooming capabilities. The S23 Ultra's camera setup includes a pair of telephoto cameras — one with a 3x optical zoom and the other with a 10x zoom — which can combine for a 100x Space Zoom feature. You'd think that improved zooming would mean we'll be able to get even closer to subjects, though we'll need to hear more details before we can be more certain.

A separate leak from the tipster @Tech_Reve says that the Galaxy S24 Ultra will feature a new 3-10x variable folded telephoto lens. This would replace the dedicated 3x and 10x lenses on the Galaxy S23 Ultra. The new lens would use a periscope design and have the ability to change the focal length while connecting to a single sensor. 

Prominent leaker Ice Universe added fuel to the camera speculation by predicting improvements to the telephoto lens. "I have full confidence that the Galaxy S24 Ultra has improved the performance of the 3x camera, which means that the image quality of 3x~10x will bring a significant improvement," the leaker said. The leaker followed that up with a claim that Samsung may turn to a 50MP telephoto lens with a 3x zoom for the Galaxy S24 Ultra. Leaker Yogesh Brar also thinks a 50MP telephoto lens is in the works.

More recently, Ice Universe has claimed Samsung will use 10MP 3x and 50MP 5x zoom lenses on the Galaxy S24 Ultra. That sounds bad since it'll mean no more 10x optical zoom, but hopefully the more detailed 5x sensor will make up for that — like how Apple leverage pixel binning with the iPhone 15. Despite this switch, it seems that it won't affect the phone's ability to achieve the same maximum 100x zoom as its predecessors.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra leaked case

(Image credit: Ice Universe/Weibo)

Some Galaxy S24 Ultra case images posted by Ice Universe include cutouts for the same number of cameras featured on the S23 Ultra, adding more support to the rumor that Samsung is sticking with two telephoto lenses, even if one gets a megapixel upgrade.

The Galaxy S23 Ultra introduced a new front camera, so we'd only expect some fine-tuning there if Samsung's planning any changes at all. That leaves just the 12MP ultrawide lens on the back of the phone as a possible area of improvement.

Samsung has also unveiled its Zoom Anyplace camera tech, which uses a combination of a 200MP sensor and AI to offer improved zooming capabilities. One is the ability to use AI to keep your subject in frame at all times, while another allows you to record zoomed and full-frame shots simultaneously — and in 4K resolution.

Samsung's also changing the way it captures images, using parallel image processing rather than the usual sequential method. Apparently this will improve image quality thanks to reduced latency and data loss, while simultaneously improving capture speeds by 2 times.

These changes haven't been confirmed for the Galaxy S24 Ultra, but given the reliance on a 200MP lens and the AI engine in the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, it seems pretty likely.

On the software side of things, you may be able to get to Instagram more quickly on the Galaxy S24 models. Code in the current version of Instagram hints at a shortcut that can be placed on the S24 lock screen so that you can get to Instagram's camera more quickly for capturing photos and video to the app.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra spec rumors

A render of the Galaxy S24 Ultra from the back and front in black

(Image credit: Technizo Concept)

It's not going out on a limb to claim that whatever Qualcomm's top silicon is at this time next year, it'll be in the Galaxy S24 Ultra. The Galaxy S23 lineup was entirely powered by Qualcomm chipsets after years of Samsung also including its own Exynos chips in some models. Samsung had been rumored to be sticking with the all-Qualcomm approach for next year's S24 phones, though some now argue that Samsung will return to using Exynos chips in some models of its next flagship.

Leaked specs posted by Yogesh Brar also make that claim — the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 introduced by Qualcomm in October will power the phones released in the U.S. and South Korea while the Exynos 2400 will power S24 Ultra models in other regions.

While that would be worrisome in the past — Exynos chips haven't always performed as well as their Snapdragon counterparts — Samsung may be working to improve its silicon. Leaked Exynos 2400 benchmarks have that chip posting better multicore results on Geekbench than we've seen from Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 and A16 Bionic devices, though they can't beat the newer A17 Pro or rumored Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip results.

Samsung has, however, claimed that the chip's GPU will be able to beat out North American competitors, which would include Apple and Qualcomm. But until a device is released with an Exynos 2400 chipset, we won't be able to test those claims for ourselves.

Alternatively, it could be that the Galaxy S24 Ultra uses a Snapdragon chip worldwide, while the basic S24 and S24 Plus' chips will depend on where you buy the phone.

Another report suggests that the Galaxy S24 Ultra will get an optimized version of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, as will the Galaxy S24 Plus. You may remember that the S23 lineup runs on a version of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 that's overclocked to maximize performance. However instead of just a flat boost to the prime core's clock speed, the 8 Gen 3 for Galaxy may also lower the efficiency cores' speed, a move that could help keep battery life up when not using computing-intensive apps.

Compared to its rivals, leaked benchmark tests for the Galaxy S24 Ultra indicate it's closing the gap against the iPhone 15 Pro Max's Apple A17 Pro chip. There's still room to catch up to match the iPhone 15 Pro Max's GeekBench scores.

For what it's worth, FCC filings in the U.S. show the Galaxy S24 Ultra and other S24 models fetauring a Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset, seemingly confirming the presence of that silicon in U.S. versions of the phone.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 3

(Image credit: Qualcomm)

Another Galaxy S24 Ultra rumor points to a possible RAM upgrade. Leaker Tauran Vats on Twitter claims that the Galaxy S24 Ultra could come with as much as 16GB of RAM, which would be a major upgrade from the 8GB/12GB options on the S23 Ultra. Another leaker, @Tech_Reve, has also corroborated this rumor, while Ice Universe has said its not going to happen.

Meanwhile, other sources have said all Galaxy S24 models could start with 256GB storage. This won't be an upgrade for the S24 Ultra, as the S23 Ultra already gets a 256GB default capacity, but it's good to hear we won't be going backwards next year.

The Galaxy S24 Ultra could wind up blowing away the iPhone 15 Pro in terms of graphics performance. Qualcomm says the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3's Adreno GPU can deliver a 25% performance gain over the current Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, which was no slouch in the graphics department.

Here's our roundup of rumored Galaxy S24 specs for all models, including the Galaxy S24 Ultra.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra: Battery rumors

One rumor claims that Samsung could add a new stacked battery to the Galaxy S24 Ultra, alongside an improved cooling system. The idea here is that a stacked battery is much denser, offering more power in an equal amount of space. According to one report that could see an improvement of around 10% in this particular instance.

This new battery design will apparently push the S24 Ultra's maximum charging speed up to 65W — which would be almost 50% faster than the 45W charging in the Galaxy S23 Ultra. But more recently, it's been said that Samsung won't be upgrading charging for the Galaxy S24 series at all.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra: AI and software rumors

Image of Samsung logo and Samsung AI logo.

(Image credit: Samsung/Tom’s Guide)

The latest iteration of Samsung's mobile software is beginning to roll out to current phones, but it'll be interesting to see how Samsung's One UI will be reimagined for the Galaxy S24 Ultra. There's very little around this, but it seems as though Samsung's investing heavily in artificial intelligence to propel the Galaxy S24 Ultra to new heights.

Most notably, the company's own generative AI, Samsung Gauss, will be making an appearance on the Galaxy S24 series. So far, it's expected to help users compose emails, translate content, summarize documents, and much more. It's also expected to fashion Samsung's own AI-generated image creator, which would effectively meaning you'll have a photo editor in your pocket.

What's worth pointing out is that Samsung Gauss will be on device, as opposed to a cloud AI-based generative model much like ChatGPT. This would enable the S24 Ultra run these models faster and without connectivity. However, there is a rumor that Samsung could be locking away some of these new AI-assisted features behind a paywall.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra: What we want to see

Given how thin Galaxy s24 Ultra rumors are at this point, that leaves an awful lot of room for us to fill in the blanks with features we hope to see. After all, as capable a phone as the Galaxy S23 Ultra may be, there are still some areas that Samsung could stand to improve.

New S Pen capabilities: Samsung added S Pen support with the release of the Galaxy S21 Ultra, and by the time the S22 Ultra arrived, it figured out how to include storage for the stylus within the phone's design. S Pen improvements with the Galaxy S23 Ultra were non-existent, though, as Samsung focused on other areas.

We hope the Galaxy S24 Ultra lavishes more attention on the S Pen, adding support for new capabilities. These could include new S Pen Air Actions or possibly remote control over additional Galaxy S23 Ultra functions.

Faster charging: The Galaxy S23 Ultra remained stuck on 45W charging, even as other Android phones — most notably devices like the OnePlus 11 — let you top off your phone much faster. We'd like to see charging speeds more befitting of a phone with an Ultra name.

No price change: We mentioned this above, but we're hoping that whatever changes Samsung introduces to the Galaxy S24 Ultra aren't accompanied by a change in price. That goes for our friends in other parts of the world who did wind up paying more for the Galaxy S23 Ultra, as Samsung adjusted for currency fluctuations.

While Ultra models boast more than their fair share of premium capabilities, $1,199 remains a steep price for a smartphone. Samsung would do well to remember that even the best phones can't cost so much that they're out of reach for most shoppers.

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Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.