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Samsung Galaxy AI features explained: What does it do and is it free?

Galaxy AI extends far beyond photography and it's coming to older Samsung devices too!
By
January 30, 2024

With the growing popularity of AI tools like ChatGPT, it was only a matter of time before tech giants would begin incorporating the tech into smartphones. Google kicked off the trend in late 2023, adding copious AI photography features to the Pixel 8 series. Fast forward a few months and Samsung had an announcement to match, namely a new suite of AI features shipping alongside the company’s Galaxy S24 trio of smartphones. Dubbed Galaxy AI, the software package replicates some of the features we’ve seen on rival smartphones while also introducing a host of new and exciting ones.

So what does Galaxy AI bring to the S24 series and will any of these new features trickle down to existing Samsung smartphones? Let’s break it down.

What is Galaxy AI and how does it work?

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra on device AI toggle 1
Lanh Nguyen / Android Authority

When Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 in late 2023, it showcased the chip running generative AI models completely on-device. In particular, we saw it run text-to-image models like Stable Diffusion, an object eraser feature for videos, and the ability to expand images beyond existing borders.

Fast forward a few months and Samsung has collaborated with Qualcomm to bring those capabilities to its smartphones under the Galaxy AI umbrella. The South Korean giant also worked with Google on certain AI features coming to the S24 series, but more on that later.

With Galaxy AI, you can choose between offline and cloud processing for many tasks.

Smartphone chipsets have supported on-device AI for a few generations now, thanks to built-in neural processing units or NPUs. However, even the latest SoCs won’t be able to run cutting-edge large language models like the one powering ChatGPT. So for the best results, some of Galaxy AI’s best features will rely on Samsung’s servers in the cloud for processing.

We’ve seen Google employ a similar strategy with its Pixel 8 series, where many features like Magic Editor don’t work without an internet connection. Having said that, Galaxy AI will allow you to choose between cloud-based and on-device models. You’ll get lower-quality results from the latter, and some advanced features might not be available at all, but it’s a small win for the privacy-conscious among us.

No, you don’t need an internet connection to use the majority of Galaxy AI. However, some features like Generative Edit will vastly benefit from an active internet connection as on-device models won’t perform as well as cloud-based ones.

Galaxy AI features: What’s new?

Samsung has crammed several features under the Galaxy AI umbrella, and learning how to use them is one of the best Galaxy S24 tips we can provide. In short, we’ve grouped these features into two distinct categories. We’ll start with photography, which is arguably the centerpiece of the S24 series and Galaxy AI’s raw potential.

Photography and video

Samsung Galaxy S24 AI Edit Crop and Move
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

From the outset, Samsung says it turned to AI to improve the image quality of the Galaxy S24 series’ cameras. Dubbed ProVisual Engine, the software suite incorporates AI during the capture process and also while editing shots after the fact.

Thanks to Galaxy AI, the S24 series produces better shots in low-light conditions. Digital zoom quality has improved, too, and the S24 Ultra gets an additional boost thanks to its new 50MP sensor with 5x optical zoom. According to Samsung, the phone will rely exclusively on hardware to deliver shots at 3x and 5x zoom. However, 2x and 10x zoom shots will combine the phone’s optics with Galaxy AI-driven enhancements for “optical-equivalent image quality”. We’ll test these claims in the real world, though, so stay tuned for our full review.

Galaxy AI plays an equally prominent role after you’ve captured your shot. Like Google’s Magic Editor on the Pixel 8 series, activating Samsung’s AI editing tool via the button pictured below will let you erase and move objects within photos. This Generative Edit feature will seem familiar if you’ve ever used an AI image generator like Midjourney. It can also fill in or expand an image beyond its original size, a practice commonly referred to as “outpainting” in AI circles.

Samsung Galaxy S24 AI Edit suggestions
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Finally, Instant Slow-mo will let you transform a video shot in standard mode into a slow-motion clip. The feature will use AI to generate additional frames as slow-mo typically requires you to shoot at 120, 240, 480, or even 960 fps. This technique of adding new frames is already known as motion interpolation and is commonly used in televisions to make motion look more fluid. The non-AI approach is known to exhibit visual artifacts, so Galaxy AI has some heavy lifting to do here.

Samsung will add a watermark to any images modified with Generative Edit.

Samsung says the Gallery app will automatically add a watermark to any images modified using Generative Edit. This will signal to others that an AI edit was performed on the image.

Language, voice, and more

Galaxy AI includes a range of language-based features that work across both written text and voice. Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Live Translate: Samsung’s built-in Dialer app is now capable of translating phone calls in real-time. The feature uses AI to generate voice and text translations of live phone calls both ways. In fact, the person you’re calling doesn’t even need a Samsung phone for Live Translate to work. The fine print notes that you’ll need an internet connection to use this feature, but Samsung also said the feature uses on-device AI to keep conversations private. We’re not completely sure if it’s usable offline.
  • Interpreter: Similar to the Interpreter mode on Google’s Pixel Fold, this feature can transcribe and translate conversations in a split-screen view. And since it relies on an offline language model, it doesn’t require a network connection.
Samsung Galaxy S24 GalaxyAI Chat Assist
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
  • Chat Assist: The Samsung Keyboard app is getting a number of AI features, ranging from translation to changing the tone of your messages. The latter will rewrite or edit your messages to suit different conversations. You’ll be able to choose from options like professional, casual, polite, and witty.
  • Summarization and Note Assist: Galaxy AI will offer an option to summarize documents and websites as well as notes in the Samsung Notes app. The latter is part of a broader AI feature called Note Assist that will also offer pre-made templates and auto-generated covers.
Samsung Galaxy S24 GalaxyAI Transcription Processing
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
  • Transcript Assist: Samsung’s Voice Recorder app will now use AI to generate transcriptions, summaries, and translations of files and phone calls up to three hours in length. It seems pretty similar to the Pixel-exclusive Google Recorder app.
Samsung Galaxy S24 Circle to Search lying on chair
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
  • Circle to Search: To activate the feature, you’ll need to press and hold the home button (or navigation bar if you’re using gestures) and circle or tap any part of your screen. It will then perform a search related to the content you highlighted and surface relevant results. Even though Circle to Search launches alongside the Galaxy S24 family, Samsung collaborated with Google to make it possible. Expect to see the feature show up on other premium phones as it’s already available on the Pixel 8 series.
  • Android Auto: This is another feature that will make its way to non-Samsung devices in the near future. An upcoming Android Auto update will allow your phone to summarize incoming messages and suggest relevant actions. For example, the AI can suggest replying to an incoming message with your estimated arrival time.

What's your favorite Galaxy AI feature?

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Will Galaxy AI come to the S23, S22, and older Samsung phones?

Samsung logo Galaxy Z Flip 4 hinge
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Yes, Galaxy AI will make its way to existing Samsung flagship phones and tablets with the One UI 6.1 update. This includes the Galaxy S23 series and the Tab S9 family as well as foldables like the Galaxy Z Flip 5 and Z Fold 5. The exact timeline for the update can vary depending on your model, region, and even carrier, but you should expect it within the first half of 2024.

Select Galaxy AI features will come to 2023 Samsung flagships via an update

We’re a little less clear on which Galaxy AI features will stay exclusive to the S24 series. The company hasn’t kept any software features exclusive to the more expensive Plus or Ultra models, so we’re hopeful that the majority come to last year’s phones too. That said, some on-device features may require the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 or Exynos 2400 in the latest Samsung flagships.

Still, it’s a positive sign that Samsung has agreed to bring over new AI features to its older phones. We’ve seen Google do the opposite with the Pixel 8 series, after all. It also bodes well for future releases as you can take solace in the fact that you’ll likely get some of next year’s features if you buy a Galaxy S24.

Is Galaxy AI free for Samsung phones and tablets?

Unpacked 2024 Galaxy AI Samaung billboard
Samsung

Yes, you can use Galaxy AI for free as long as you own a Samsung device that supports it. The Galaxy S24 trio are the first phones to pack the software suite and we expect upcoming devices like the company’s 2024 foldables to include it as well.

However, it’s not all good news as Samsung is only guaranteeing free access to Galaxy AI until the end of 2025. Thankfully, the company’s mobile chief has hinted that a potential paid subscription tier will introduce new advanced features instead of locking currently-free features behind a paywall. Still, the roadmap for Galaxy AI’s pricing remains undecided for now. Given that a number of AI features rely on cloud processing, this “free until 2025” clause is likely just a fail-safe in case it becomes too expensive to operate.