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Please buy the Galaxy S24 Plus instead of the Galaxy S24 Ultra. Here's why!

With the Ultra going up by $100 this year, now, more than ever, is the right time to give the Plus a look.
By
January 25, 2024

The Galaxy S24 Ultra is, objectively, the best phone in the Galaxy S24 series. One only needs to look at the hardware, design, S Pen, and camera system to support the claim. However, not everyone needs the power the Ultra offers, just like one doesn’t need an RTX 4090 to play Minecraft or take a Ferrari on a grocery run.

With this in mind, this year, the Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus is incredibly compelling. It adopts more of the Ultra’s hardware features than in previous years. Additionally, Galaxy AI is the main selling point of the series and is the same across all Galaxy S24 phones, making the Plus even stronger. Oh, and I haven’t even talked about the sky-high pricing of the Ultra model, yet.

I’ve used both the Galaxy S24 Ultra and the Galaxy S24 Plus, and I’m here to tell you: The Plus is where it’s at. Here’s why I think the Galaxy S24 Plus is the best Galaxy S24 for most people!

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

1422 votes

Do you really need an S Pen?

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra S Pen
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
Galaxy S24 Ultra

While this might be controversial to Samsung fans worldwide, the S Pen has never really appealed to me. I don’t draw or take notes, and there’s never been a time that I’ve thought to myself, “I really could use a stylus right now for my phone.” Considering the number of people out there using a phone without a stylus far exceeds the number of people who do use one, I’m clearly not alone in this assessment.

The S Pen is a star feature of the Ultra series, but do you really need it?

I understand that many people do use it, but for me, it’s just taking up space in the phone that could be better utilized by other features. For example, if the S Pen were removed, Samsung could fit in a larger battery, a headphone jack, a microSD card slot, or any number of other features I’d actually want to use. It could also just, you know, make the phone smaller (more on that in a second).

The point here is that most people reading this probably don’t need an S Pen, so why would you spend more on your phone to get one? This predicament makes the S24 Plus the better option for folks like me.

The Ultra design is an acquired taste

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra in hand
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
Galaxy S24 Ultra

Samsung hasn’t dramatically altered the design of its stylus-toting smartphones since as far back as the Galaxy Note 10, which launched in 2019. Clearly, people like this design a lot; otherwise, Samsung would have changed it by now. But every time I grab one of these phones — whether a Note from yesteryear or one of the recent Galaxy S Ultras — I can’t help but think to myself, “This is a terrible way to design a smartphone.”

I know Samsung fans are probably already mashing their keyboards in the comments after that statement, but hear me out. The Galaxy S24 Ultra has squared-off corners, which can be uncomfortable to hold for extended periods; they dig right into your palm. The flat sides of the Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus aren’t much better when it comes to ergonomics, but the slight curve of the corners does make a significant difference, especially if you’re holding the phone in your hand for more than 15 minutes. In other words, for long smartphone sessions, the Galaxy S24 Plus is going to be much more comfortable to hold compared to the Ultra.

I'd choose a Galaxy S24 Plus over an S24 Ultra for a long plane ride any day of the week.

Speaking of holding the phone in your hand, the Galaxy S24 Plus is significantly lighter than the Galaxy S24 Ultra. By my measurements, the Plus is about 16% lighter than the Ultra. While the Plus is still a large and somewhat heavy phone, it’s better suited to my needs than a rectangular brick.

Also, we can’t discuss Galaxy S24 designs without mentioning the titanium factor. Samsung is making a big deal out of the titanium sides on the Galaxy S24 Ultra because Apple made a big deal about the material being used for the iPhone 15 Pro models. However, the titanium construction of the Galaxy S24 Ultra simply makes it more expensive to produce. And for what? You’re just going to slap a case on that Galaxy S24, no matter which one you buy, so all titanium construction is giving you is a more expensive phone. My colleague Ryan Haines has a lot to say on the smartphone titanium trend if you want to hear more.

Speaking of being expensive…

Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus: More bang for your buck

Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus two colors
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

The most obvious reason the Galaxy S24 Plus is better than the Ultra for me and others like me is the price. In the United States, the Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus is $300 cheaper than the Galaxy S24 Ultra, and saving those $300 doesn’t require you to sacrifice much.

With the Plus, you still get a 1440p display that’s almost the same size as the Galaxy S24 Ultra’s (6.7 inches vs 6.8 inches). You also get the same processor (in the US, anyway), which is the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for Galaxy, currently the best processor in the Android world. You have the same amount of RAM (12GB) and the same storage options (barring the 1TB option, which is exclusive to the Ultra but adds a whopping $360 to its price tag). You even have the same Galaxy S24 colorway options across the board, even though some are a little darker and different on the Ultra.

The best new feature this year is Galaxy AI and it's equally available on the S24 Plus and Ultra, so why pay more?

Most importantly, though, every single Galaxy AI feature the Ultra has, the Plus also has. Considering very little has changed this year as far as hardware goes, Galaxy AI is the number one selling point of this series, and the Ultra can’t do anything in that realm that the Plus can’t also do. So why pay more?

Simply put, the Galaxy S24 Plus is going to be the best Galaxy for most people reading this. For what you’ll spend, you’ll get what will undoubtedly be one of the best smartphones of the year without needing to spend extra to get features you might not use alongside a design that might not be what you want.

Of course, the Ultra exists for a reason, and it does have a huge audience.

Only go Ultra if you need to go Ultra

Samsung Galaxy S24 series backs standing
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

The two things the Galaxy S24 Ultra is universally better at than the Plus are the S Pen and the camera, with the S Pen being out of contention if you don’t really, really need it. Camera-wise, the S24 Ultra has more lenses, better zoom capabilities, and additional camera features that the Galaxy S24 Plus simply can’t match. If you prize the camera above all other aspects of a smartphone, then the Galaxy S24 Ultra is the phone to get in this series.

However, people who are more casual about their photos and videos will need to decide if spending $300 more to get those fancy camera features on the Ultra is really worth it. I would argue that for most people, it’s not necessary. The Galaxy S24 Plus delivers plenty of excellent capabilities for photos and videos, including, once again, all those fancy AI features that allow you to tweak your captures to make them look as good as possible.

Pick the S24 Ultra if you want the best cameras, need the S Pen, or live somewhere where the S24 Plus gets an Exynos chip.

However, I do want to admit that this opinion is heavily biased by where I live. In Europe and many other places worldwide, the Galaxy S24 Plus comes with an Exynos 2400 chipset, which is enough reason to upgrade to an Ultra and get the Snapdragon chip instead. If you live in the US, Canada, China, Hong Kong, or Taiwan, though, your Galaxy S24 Plus comes with Qualcomm’s chip, so you don’t need to worry.

I understand that many Samsung fans might disagree with my opinion here because they believe the Ultra is the ultimate Android phone and worth every penny. That might be true for power users who need their smartphones to perform specific tasks and require the best of the best when it comes to cameras. But if you’re like me and you don’t care for the design of the Galaxy S24 Ultra, its weight, its edges digging into your palm, the S Pen, and have no real need for the fancy lenses on the back, then save yourself the money and opt for the Galaxy S24 Plus instead.

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Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
Powerful, flexible cameras
Excellent update commitment
Brilliant flat display
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Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus
Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus
Bright, sharp 1440p display
Excellent update commitment
Handy Galaxy AI features