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Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs S24 Ultra: Should you upgrade?

There's more to Samsung's 2024 flagship than the spec sheet suggests.
By
January 17, 2024
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
MSRP: $1,199.00
Check price
Positives
Powerful, flexible camera setup
Great battery life with solid charging
Convenient S Pen
Excellent software update promise
Premium materials and display
Great performance
Negatives
Will be too large for some
Limited base RAM for the price
Expensive, especially for extra storage
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
MSRP: $1,299.99
Check price
Positives
Powerful, flexible cameras
Excellent update commitment
Brilliant flat display
Titanium build and Gorilla Armor durability
Loud, punchy speakers
Negatives
Expensive
Hit-or-miss on some AI features
Cameras struggle with motion
AI features only guaranteed to be free through 2025

Samsung has taken the wraps off its flagship Galaxy S24 Ultra smartphone, which packs cutting-edge hardware and AI-enabled features that rival some of the industry’s best. But what if you already own last year’s Galaxy S23 Ultra? The list of differences may seem minor at first glance, but Samsung has addressed some of the series’ long-standing pain points. Is there enough on offer to make the new 2024 flagship worth trading in your old phone for? Find out in our Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs Galaxy S24 Ultra comparison.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs Galaxy S24 Ultra: At a glance

  • The Galaxy S24 Ultra features a flat display, doing away with the S23 Ultra’s curved edges.
  • The S24 Ultra packs better Gorilla Glass Armor protection and its display can get much brighter for better outdoor visibility.
  • Samsung has increased the telephoto sensor’s resolution from 10MP to 50MP. However, that has come at the expense of focal length, dropping from 10x on the S23 Ultra to 5x on the new S24 Ultra.
  • The S24 Ultra features the newer Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for Galaxy chip.
  • Samsung has committed to seven years of software updates for the S24 Ultra, an improvement over the S23 Ultra’s five-year support window.
  • The Galaxy S24 Ultra costs $100 more than the S23 Ultra.

Keep reading to know more about the differences between the Galaxy S23 Ultra and S24 Ultra.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs Galaxy S24 Ultra: Specs

Samsung Galaxy S23 UltraSamsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
Display
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X Display
Curved WQHD+
Adaptive 120Hz refresh rate
HDR10+ certified
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
6.8-inch Dynamix AMOLED 2X Display
Flat WQHD+
Adaptive 120Hz refresh rate
HDR10+ certified

Processor
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for Galaxy
RAM
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
8GB or 12GB
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
12GB
Storage
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
256GB, 512GB, 1TB
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
256GB, 512GB, or 1TB
Battery
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
5,000mAh
45W wired charging
15W wireless charging
Reverse wireless charging
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
5,000mAh
45W wired charging
15W wireless
Reverse wireless charging
Cameras
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
Rear:
- Wide-angle: 200MP, ƒ/1.7, OIS and phase-detection AF
- Telephoto: 10MP, ƒ/2.4, OIS, dual-pixel AF, and 3x optical zoom
- Telephoto: 10MP, ƒ/4.9, OIS, dual-pixel AF, and 10x optical zoom
- Ultra-wide: 12MP, ƒ/2.2, 1.4µm with dual-pixel AF and a 120-degree FoV
- Laser AF sensor

10x optical zoom
100x "Space Zoom"

Front:
- 40MP, ƒ/2.2, 0.7µm, with phase-detection AF
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
Rear:
- Wide-angle: 200MP, ƒ/1.7, Super Quad Pixel AF, OIS
- Main telephoto: 50MP, ƒ/3.4, 5x optical zoom, Quad Pixel AF, OIS
- Second telephoto: 10MP, ƒ/2.4, 3x zoom, Dual Pixel AF, OIS
- Ultra-wide: 12MP, ƒ/2.2, Dual Pixel AF, 120-degree FoV

Laser AF
100x Space Zoom

Front:
- 12MP, ƒ/2.2, Dual Pixel AF
Connectivity
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
4G LTE
5G
Wi-Fi 6E support
Bluetooth 5.3
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
4G LTE
5G
Wi-Fi 7
Bluetooth 5.3

S Pen included
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
Yes
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
Yes
Operating system
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
One UI
Android 13
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
One UI
Android 14
Water resistance
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
IP68
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
IP68
Security
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
Ultrasonic fingerprint sensor, face unlock
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
Ultrasonic fingerprint sensor, face unlock
Dimensions and weight
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
163.4 x 78.1 x 8.9 mm
233g
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
79 x 162.3 x 8.6mm
232g

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs Galaxy S24 Ultra: Design and size comparison

S23 Ultra and S24 Ultra 10
Damien Wilde / Android Authority

On the surface, not much has changed design-wise between the S23 Ultra and S24 Ultra. Both phones have the same general silhouette and rear camera arrangement. Having said that, Samsung has made subtle changes with the new S24 Ultra that will definitely improve day-to-day usability.

For starters, the Galaxy S24 Ultra now features a flat screen instead of the curved one we got on the S23 Ultra. The curved screen was a contentious design choice, which Samsung stuck with for years. Many may appreciate the benefits of a flat display like reduced mis-touches and glare along the edges. However, it does mean one less area of feature differentiation between the Ultra model and other devices in the S24 family.

Moving on, the S24 Ultra also features a new titanium frame with a satin finish. The flat screen is also complemented by new Gorilla Glass Armor protection. Both of these add up to offer significantly more scratch and impact protection compared to the S23 Ultra. Other than that, Samsung hasn’t improved or changed the IP68 water resistance going up to the S24 Ultra.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs Galaxy S24 Ultra: Features

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra homescreen
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

The biggest hardware change going from the S23 Ultra to the S24 Ultra is the inclusion of the latest flagship chip in the form of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 3. This upgrade will matter most to power users and gamers, but even day-to-day usage may improve thanks to a redesigned vapor chamber cooling system. If the past is any indication, better cooling can also have a positive impact on the S24 Ultra’s charging speeds.

The display on the S24 Ultra can deliver up to 2,600 nits of peak brightness vs the S23 Ultra’s 1,750 nits. Samsung claims that translates to 40% better outdoor visibility compared to the S23 Ultra.

The S24 Ultra gets a more durable display with improved sunlight legibility.

Moving on, the Galaxy S24 Ultra swaps the 10x telephoto lens from last year’s S23 Ultra for one that’s capable of 5x zoom instead. This change may seem like a downgrade, but the S24 Ultra delivers much higher resolution at 50MP instead of the 10MP sensor on last year’s S23 Ultra. Samsung also says that it combined AI with hardware to ensure that you don’t lose out on the full focal length. But you’ll have to wait for our full review to know if that claim holds true in the real world.

Even though the Galaxy S24 Ultra looks like an iterative yearly upgrade on paper, it’s more than the sum of its parts thanks to the software package. Samsung’s Galaxy AI suite introduces a whole host of features that you won’t find on most rival phones, including older models like the S23 Ultra.

Samsung Galaxy S24 GalaxyAI Processing
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Starting with photography, the S24 Ultra gets new generative AI powered image editing features that will let you erase and manipulate objects in your shots. You’ll also be able to expand images beyond the original dimensions using AI. Samsung also promises better night-time photos with newer noise reduction algorithms on the S24 Ultra.

Other Galaxy AI features include real-time phone call translation, website summarization, recording transcripts, and a suite of text-editing features in Samsung’s Keyboard and Notes app. However, we can’t say for sure how many of these features will land on the S23 Ultra with the upcoming One UI 6.1 update.

Local and cloud-powered generative AI is the S24 Ultra's headlining feature.

The final aspect of software difference relates to long-term support. The Galaxy S23 Ultra was part of Samsung’s four-plus-one year update guarantee. As such, it will continue to receive software updates until 2026 and security patches for another year. However, Google raised expectations when it launched the Pixel 8 series and guaranteed seven years of software updates. So with the Galaxy S24 series, Samsung has decided to match the industry’s best and commit to the same seven-year timeline. This means the S24 Ultra will receive full-fledged updates until 2030, or seven years after its launch.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs Galaxy S24 Ultra: Price and availability

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs S23 Ultra vs S22 Ultra 1
Lanh Nguyen / Android Authority
  • Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: Launched at $1,199
  • Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra: Starts at $1,299

The Galaxy S24 Ultra’s improvements come at the cost of a $100 higher starting price vs the S23 Ultra last year. The new AI features likely played a part in this price hike as many of them rely on Samsung’s servers for cloud processing. Still, it’s difficult to come up with a meaningful justification when so little has changed hardware-wise from one generation to the next.

To ease the sting, Samsung will double the storage capacity for all pre-orders, so $1,299 will get you 512GB instead of 256GB. That’s what you’d have paid for the higher storage variant of the S23 Ultra after it hit store shelves last year. In that vein, $1,419 will net you a whopping 1TB of storage instead of 512GB. Samsung will also throw in a $100 store credit if you pre-order via its own website, which you can use towards an accessory.

You can already pre-order the Galaxy S24 Ultra, with sales officially kicking off on January 31.

On the other hand, the Galaxy S23 Ultra has steadily dropped in price over the past few months. You can frequently find it on sale right below the $1,000 price point. Just keep in mind that it won’t get updates for as long.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs Galaxy S24 Ultra: Should you upgrade?

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra ports
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra has all of the noteworthy improvements you’d expect from a new flagship phone. It packs a brighter display, much longer software support, improved cameras, better durability, and a host of AI features. However, none of these attributes really justify paying well over a thousand dollars if you already own an S23 Ultra.

Even as a newcomer to the series, you can’t go wrong with the S23 Ultra if it’s deeply discounted vs the S24 Ultra. The $100 price hike coupled with only minor generational improvements mean that the older smartphone makes more financial sense. The only exception would be if you intend to keep your smartphone for five years or longer. In that case, Samsung’s new seven-year update pledge makes a compelling case for the S24 Ultra. Which smartphone would you rather buy?

Which would you rather buy, the Galaxy S23 Ultra or S24 Ultra?

345 votes
See price at Amazon
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
Powerful, flexible cameras
Excellent update commitment
Brilliant flat display
See price at Samsung
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
New 200MP main camera
Beautiful display
S Pen functionality

FAQ

Yes, both the S23 Ultra and S24 Ultra sport the excellent IP68 water resistance rating.

No, neither the S23 Ultra nor the S24 Ultra house an SD card slot for expandable storage.

No, Samsung doesn’t bundle or pre-apply screen protectors on any of its smartphones except foldables.

Yes, the S23 Ultra and S24 Ultra will come with dual SIM and eSIM support in most regions.

Yes, the S23 Ultra and S24 Ultra ship with dual SIM and eSIM support in most regions.

Unfortunately, Samsung does not bundle a charger or adapter in the box alongside either the S23 or S24 Ultra. That said, you can use any USB Power Delivery PPS adapter.