Samsung’s Galaxy S24 Ultra is like a bizarro iPhone 15 Pro Max

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Samsung has unveiled its newest Galaxy flagship phone, the S24 Ultra, and as always it’s designed to take on the iPhone 15 Pro Max. But while you’ll hear many of the same marketing points, when you dive into the AI buzzword-loaded spec sheet, something about the Galaxy S24 Ultra seems… off. Here are four facts about the Galaxy S24 Ultra that have us scratching our heads:

It’s made of titanium—but still heavy

Like the iPhone 15 Pro Max, the Galaxy S24 Ultra is its maker’s biggest phone, clocking in at a whopping 6.8 inches, just a smidgen bigger than the 6.7-inch iPhone. This year’s model ditches the curved edges for flatter ones, though the squared-off silhouette is still unmistakably Galaxy. The big change this year is the use of titanium, but unlike the iPhone 15 Pro, there isn’t as clear of a reason. While the use of titanium over stainless steel makes the iPhone 15 Pro Max significantly lighter than the iPhone 14 Pro Max (221 grams vs 240 grams), the Galaxy S24 Ultra is only a gram lighter than the S23 Ultra (233 grams vs 234 grams)–and significantly heavier than its iPhone counterpart.

So why use titanium? Samsung claims it’s for durability, but with most of the phone still made from glass, we’re not so sure. Rather, it seems like Samsung just wants to match the iPhone’s biggest selling point–right down to the assortment of colors, which are extremely similar to Apple’s offerings.

The Zoom camera has gotten a downgrade

The Galaxy Ultra has had a superior telephoto zoom camera than the iPhone for years. Apple might have closed the gap considerably with the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s 5X telephoto camera, but it still lagged behind the S23 Ultra, which has a 10X optical zoom. But Samsung has changed the hardware with the S24, swapping the S23 Ultra’s 10MP 10x camera for a 50MP 5x lens. Samsung says the higher resolution lets it get to the same focal length thanks to lossless crop zoom, but the downgrade in optical zoom is still a head-scratcher. Fear not, though, the unnecessary and gimmicky 100X Space Zoom remains.

It has a higher price tag than the iPhone 15 Pro Max

Apple raised some eyebrows when it bumped the price of the iPhone 15 Pro Max from $1,099 to $1,199, but it cushioned the blow by bumping the storage to 256GB along with it. That meant it had the same price as the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, which also started at $1,199 with 256GB of storage. However, instead of rolling with it for a few generations or even lowering the price to undercut the iPhone, Samsung inexplicably raised the price of the S24 Ultra to $1,299 with the same 256GB of storage, which just hands Apple an easy win. 

It doesn’t have Qi2 charging

This is the most puzzling of all: the Galaxy S24 Ultra doesn’t support the new Qi2 standard for the new batch of magnetic chargers and stands that were just announced at CES. Samsung is usually pretty quick to adopt new technology—and isn’t shy about chasing popular iPhone features—but unfortunately, Galaxy S24 Ultra users are going to have to precariously place their phones on an old Qi charger and hope they’re aligned properly.


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