If Galaxy AI is headed to the Galaxy S22, do you really need the S24 Ultra? – PhoneArena

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AI is everywhere, and it may just as well be taking over the entire galaxy this very moment. Well, actually this is a more positive experience than the cyborg apocalypse scene that many people will imagine when I say AI is taking over the galaxy… I simply mean that Galaxy AI, Samsung’s new and hot set of S24 series AI-powered features, has been announced to come to the S22 series. Galaxy AI is one of the big and fancy things that the Galaxy S24 series introduced. And all of these coming to older models like the Galaxy S23 Ultra and Galaxy S22 Ultra begs one question: do you really need the Galaxy S24 Ultra then? Let’s explore!

Galaxy AI was the center of attention during the S24 unveiling

The entire tech industry is currently infatuated with generative AI, and Samsung doesn’t stay away from the action. The S24 series brought Galaxy AI, a set of AI features that make your experience with your phone simpler, more productive, and more convenient. The Galaxy AI features can be summarized in three big sections:

  • Communications: you get Live Translate, Chat Assist, and Interpreter
  • Productivity: Circle to Search with Google, Note Assist (provides summaries of notes and creates formats, Browsing Assist (provides summaries of articles on the web), Transcript Assist
  • Creativity: Generative Edit (allows to edit an image with the help of AI), Edit Suggestions (AI helping to make a photo better), and Instant Slo-Mo (Available only for S23 series, Z Fold 5 and Flip 5, Tab S9 series)  

So, all in all, you get the power of generative AI helping you with the main use cases of your phone.

Galaxy AI availability: Galaxy S23 Ultra, S22 Ultra

Galaxy AI (all the features listed above) started rolling out to Galaxy S23 models on March 28 this year. Samsung has confirmed Galaxy AI will be coming to the S22 series and the updates are expected to start rolling out in early May. 

The only feature from the list that isn’t going to make its way to the Galaxy S22 models is the Instant Slo-Mo (generates additional frames to turn any video into slow-mo video). Apart from that, the S22 Ultra should get all the other Galaxy AI features.

Now, let’s talk about what else the Galaxy S24 Ultra has on its two predecessors.

Galaxy S24 Ultra vs its predecessors (S23 Ultra, S22 Ultra)

 
So, if Galaxy AI is available on the S23 and S22 Ultra models, then what need do you have for the S24 Ultra? Let’s outline the main differences between the three models.

 

At a glance, many of these categories have similar content, and Galaxy AI coming to the older models now makes the grounds more even. However, there are a couple of aspects where the S24 Ultra outperforms, and those are mainly the camera, the display brightness, and the software updates.

Camera

An excellent camera is very important, especially if you’re looking for an Ultra model. On paper there aren’t enormous differences between the three models:

We have some differences, especially in the telephoto for the S24 Ultra. But that’s not the key here, as those specs look almost identical on paper. Actually, the key to solving this puzzle is Samsung’s new camera processing abilities.

With the S24 Ultra, Samsung has decided to abandon the well-known “Galaxy look” with its overly vivid and highly saturated images and to go all natural. As you can see in the images below, the S24 Ultra delivers much more realistic blues and greens, skin tones are more human-like, and everything is much more soft and real-life-like. If that’s your thing, the S24 Ultra is definitely the device for you.

Just look at those greens!

On the selfies above, just look at the sea color behind Vic on the S24 Ultra and S23 Ultra sample. Also examine skin tones, and the overall color scheme of the photo.

Display brightness

The Galaxy S24 Ultra comes with a much higher display brightness than the other two phones. This is especially important if you’re the outdoorsy type of person, as sunny days make it hard to interact with a phone that has lower peak brightness. 

That could be a key aspect of why you may want to go for the S24 Ultra. But if you don’t tend to hike a lot or spend a lot of time on the beach, this peak brightness thing may not actually be as big of a factor for you as it’s made out to be.

Software updates

The S24 Ultra is now getting seven years of software updates. That’s an epic improvement over the S23 and S22 four years, and this basically means the S24 Ultra will have the better longevity.

Why am I not mentioning performance?

You may have noticed that when I listed the categories the S24 Ultra beats its 2 earlier competitors I seem to have neglected to mention the chip. That’s on purpose. Although it’s clear that a newer chip is more powerful and faster than its older generation, and does beat the two older phones in benchmarks, I’m here to argue that in real life, the difference isn’t that big of a deal.

*Keep in mind we have the Exynos version of the S22 Ultra. The Snapdragon S22 Ultra performs a bit better than the Exynos one, but the difference isn’t big

Benchmarks that test a chip’s endurance and performance are highly demanding tasks that don’t necessarily reflect real-life use cases. For extra heavy users that game a lot, these differences are indeed a factor, but I’d argue that even for the normal power user, the differences in experience are minuscule. As you can see above, the most dramatic improvement is seen in the 3D Mark Extreme test (a gaming benchmark).

All in all, the three phones are flagships and perform really well no matter the task. In general, a difference in performance is more noticeable between the S22 Ultra vs the S23 Ultra than in the S23 vs S24 Ultra. That’s mainly because when the speed of the phone passes a certain threshold, increases in that speed, no matter how dramatic, are hard to notice in real life. The difference in performance is more noticeable, as I said, if you’re a gamer. If you’re not, well, they’re all crazy fast anyway.

Galaxy AI performance

One important aspect when it comes to processors thought is the performance of Galaxy AI. Some of the Galaxy AI features are done on-device (or in a combination between on-device and with cloud services). This means that they require the processing power of the device to run fast. 

YouTuber performed a series of tests and found no difference in speed between the S23 Ultra and the S24 Ultra for Chat Assist, Note Assist, Call Assist, and Interpreter features. He found the S24 Ultra was faster when generating a summary from a voice note or an article, and was also quicker during Circle to Search. However, the S23 was close behind and the generated results were the same.

On the other hand, features like Generative Edit for photos are done via the cloud, and don’t require processing power. Interestingly enough, the S23 Ultra was found to be faster on that but the results were a bit clunkier in comparison to the S24 Ultra.

Obviously, the Galaxy S22 has an older processor, so it may be that Galaxy AI features won’t work as fast on it as with the S24. But my prediction, based on the comparison between the S23 and S24 Ultra and their benchmark results, is that the slowdown won’t be big enough to be a deal breaker. We will know for sure when the phone gets the update though.

So, should you go for the S24 Ultra?

The answer is: it depends. Here are my general recommendations on why you would want to go for the Galaxy S24 Ultra:

  • If you’re a big fan of natural photography – getting the S24 Ultra is a must
  • If you really fancy higher-quality zoom shots – the S24 Ultra has one telephoto lens equipped with 50MP resolution, so the photo quality is better
  • If you’re a gamer and you currently have the S22 Ultra – you will be noticing big performance improvements with the S24 Ultra
  • If you’re outdoorsy and really need that peak brightness – there’s noticeable peak brightness improvement with the S24 Ultra

Reasons why you should probably stick with the S22 or S23 Ultra:

  • If you don’t game as much – it’s hard to feel any life-changing speed bump
  • If you like the more saturated Galaxy look on the camera – the Galaxy look is gone with the S24 Ultra (it can be achieved by editing the image though)

All in all, as you can see, the S24 Ultra is similar to its two predecessors in loads of categories. But it’s definitely improved on some, so even though its two older brothers are now getting Galaxy AI, that doesn’t undermine the Galaxy S24 Ultra‘s existence. Actually, it manages to showcase what other sides of the Galaxy S24 Ultra have seen improvement and helps you realize what the S24 Ultra is really about, apart from that AI craze.

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