As Samsung’s latest and greatest Galaxy S smartphones roll out worldwide, many people are probably looking despondently at the device in their hands and wondering if this is the year that an upgrade makes sense. If you’re the type to ponder this question and you’re holding a Galaxy S23+, does Samsung’s new middle child warrant an upgrade?
The new one is always at least a little better. Samsung is no fool, it has a strategy and sticks to it. You don’t get to be a top global smartphone maker by fumbling around in the dark. But is it better enough to justify spending R25,500 or around R1,000/m?
Maybe you read our last on-paper comparison and stuck with your S22+ or maybe you’re tired of the midrange and want to see what the flagship fuss is all about. Before we spend a meaningful amount of time with Samsung’s new devices to know for sure, here’s what the spec sheets tell us.
Samsung has taken more than a few cues from Apple’s last iPhone launch. The new Galaxy S24+ and base S24 devices have flatter sides to go with their flat displays. But unless you’re already intimately familiar with the smartphone landscape, you’ll struggle to tell the Galaxy S24+ and the S23+ apart just by looking at them.
They do feel slightly different in your hand – where it counts – but if you’re looking to make a statement with your smartphone, the S24+ isn’t what you should have in mind. Samsung says its new one is tougher with its ‘Armour Aluminum 2’ frame, though it retains Corning’s Gorilla Glass Victus 2 on the front and back.
Upfront, that glass is protecting a slightly larger display on the Galaxy S24+. It now measures 6.7in (17.02cm), up from the 6.6in (16.76cm) of the S23+. The size increase might not mean much but the other improvements will. Samsung has increased the resolution to 1,440 x 3,120 which results in a much higher pixel density of 513ppi.
It now comes with LPTO tech (low-temperature polycrystalline oxide) which allows the device to scale down the refresh rate when you aren’t doing much scrolling to save battery. This year’s model is also notably brighter, maxing out at 2,600nits. So far, so good…
Winner: Galaxy S24+
Snapdragon vs Exynos
As we mentioned six paragraphs ago, the new model is faster. Last year’s Galaxy S23+ shipped with the same SoC as its Ultra brother. This year, Samsung has reserved its Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 units for the S24 Ultra so the S24+ gets its latest in-house Exynos 2400 chipset.
Samsung’s Exynos chips haven’t usually been able to keep up with Qualcomm’s – they’re either less performant or offer the same performance by using more battery. Thankfully, initial measurements show that doesn’t appear to be the case this year. Even though the chips are measurably different (leaning in the favour of Exynos), most people aren’t likely to notice.
The Galaxy S24+ also gets a bump in RAM, up to 12GB from the 8GB inside the S23+. You can thank the memory-hungry Galaxy AI tasks for that, which are present in the S24+ just like its bigger brother. That alone could be the deciding factor for the folks who like being on the bleeding edge of tech and is the biggest reason why the S24+ bags the performance win.
However, Samsung has said that Galaxy AI will arrive on some of its older devices later this year. When that’ll happen and how successful the older devices will perform with the new workloads, is anyone’s guess.
Winner: Galaxy S24+
Now with 4% more juice
Another notable upgrade for the Galaxy S24+ is the larger battery. The 4,900mAh cell is a whole 200mAh (or 4%) larger than the S23+. Easy win, right?
Not so fast. Bigger doesn’t always mean better. The larger, crispier, and brighter display will surely draw more power than the last. It’s got LTPO tech helping it out but will that be enough to offset the brightness and resolution increases?
Then there are the new Galaxy AI features. The NPU (neural processing unit) inside the Exynos 2400 will handle on-device AI-related tasks while the chip’s Xclipse 940 GPU allows for hardware-accelerated ray tracing – neither of which are easy tasks. Think running on a flat surface versus on an incline.
The bigger battery is nice to see (even if it was a requirement) but it’s a pity we can’t say the same thing about faster charging speeds. Still, for now, the bigger number wins.
Winner: Galaxy S24+
Life through the same lens
When it comes to cameras, comparing the S23+ and S24+ spec sheets reminded us of the British children’s puzzle book series Where’s Wally? Except now, instead of trying to find a dude in a red-and-white striped kit, we’re looking for changes.
In case you forgot, the S23+ had a 50MP main camera with additional 10MP and 12MP sensors for telephoto and ultrawide shots respectively.
The only difference we could find, as far as hardware is concerned, is 3mm. The 67mm focal length of the 10MP telephoto sensor has been increased to 70mm for the same sensor in the S24+.
We’ve said before that the megapixel count isn’t the be-all of a smartphone camera so if the S23+ captured perfect pictures then we’d understand the lack of changes. But that definitely isn’t the case.
Samsung is confident that the software improvements will make enough of a difference. But until we see that with our own eyes, the S23+ wins this one. If you snap a lot of pics with your smartphone, there’s no discernible difference between these two to warrant an upgrade.
Winner: Galaxy S23+
Samsung Galaxy S24+ vs. S23+ – Initial verdict
Tallying up the wins sees the new Galaxy S24+ emerge victorious. But this head-to-head was a lot closer than it seems. Aside from the improvements to its display, the S24+’s win comes with a few asterisks.
The new processor is faster and can do fancy new AI tricks… but it isn’t that much faster and those fancy new AI tricks might end up on the S23+ before the end of the year. The battery is bigger but will you notice the difference or was the increase required so the S24+ lasts at least as long as the old one?
On paper, and at the time of writing, the Galaxy S24+ is the better phone. Whether it’s worth the upgrade from the S23+ depends on what you want from your smartphone and how much you’re willing to spend to get it.
A new 512GB S23+ can still be found for less than what the 256GB S24+ will cost. If you can’t wait to play with Galaxy AI then you don’t really have a choice. If you can wait, or just don’t care, the S23+ is still a decent option.