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Artist Review: Samsung S24 Ultra with S Pen

Review unit on loan from Samsung Singapore

This is an artist review that will focus more on the experience with drawing and note taking. I won't cover much on the technical aspect of the phone since there are other reviewers better at those reviews.

Bottom line

Main selling point of the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra over the S24+ and S24 is the included S Pen and perhaps the anti-reflective coating and the 5x zoom lens in addition to the 0.6x, 1x and 3x lens.

The Galaxy S24 Ultra has a built-in pen holder that lets you pull out the pen to write or even draw spontaneously. There aren't many phones in the market with pen support so this is a huge selling point for the phone.

If you don't need the pen, you can just go with the Galaxy S24+ which is cheaper, lighter and still has great battery life. And Galaxy S24 is way more portable and battery life is still good.

The main upgrade from Galaxy S23 Ultra from pen usability point of view is the S24 Ultra now has a screen that's almost completely flat extra for the thin beveled side edges. If you already have the S23 Ultra, there isn't much reason to upgrade unless you can get a terrific trade-in deal from Samsung.

To conclude, it's a great phone. The question is do you need the pen support.


S23 Ultra S24 Ultra S24+ S24
Display 6.8-inch, 3088 x 1440px, 120Hz, Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 1750 nits 6.8-inch, 3120 x 1440px, 120Hz, Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 2600 nits, anti-reflective coating 6.7-inch, 3120 x 1440px, 120Hz, Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 2600 nits 6.2-inch, 2340 x 1080px, 120Hz, Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 2600 nits
Weight 233g 232g 196g 167g
Storage 256GB, 512GB, 1TB 256GB, 512GB, 1TB 256GB, 512GB 128GB, 256GB, 512GB
RAM 8GB, 12GB 12GB 12GB 8GB
Camera 0.6x, 1x, 3x, 10x 0.6x, 1x, 3x, 5x, 10x 0.6x, 1x, 3x 0.6x, 1x, 3x
Battery capacity 5000 mAh 5000 mAh 4900 mAh 4000 mAh
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 (8-core) Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 (8-core) Exynos 2400 for Galaxy (6-core) Exynos 2400 for Galaxy (6-core)
MicroSD card slot No No No No
S Pen Yes Yes No No
Durability Armor aluminum frame, Corning Gorilla Glass Victus 2, IP68 Titanium frame, Corning Gorilla Armor, IP68 Armor aluminum frame, Corning Gorilla Glass Victus 2, IP68 Armor aluminum frame, Corning Gorilla Glass Victus 2, IP68
Connectivity 5G 5G 5G 5G

The main takeaway points from the specs are...

  • Galaxy S24 Ultra is the only model with Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip. S24+ and S24 are using Exynos 2400.
  • S24 Ultra is the only phone with pen support.
  • S24 Ultra is the only phone with anti-reflective coating
  • S24+ is 36g lighter than S24 Ultra. S24 is 29g lighter than S24+
  • S24 Ultra has the extra 5x zoom lens

Shown on the right is the S24 Ultra and the reflections are noticeably dimmer.


Model Screen size Colour RAM and storage Retail Price SGD (including GST)
Galaxy S24 6.2” Cobalt Violet, Amber Yellow, Onyx Black and Marble Gray 8GB, 256GB $1,288
8GB, 512GB $1,458
Galaxy S24+ 6.7” Cobalt Violet, Amber Yellow, Onyx Black and Marble Gray 12GB, 256GB $1,528
12GB, 512GB $1,728
Galaxy S24 Ultra 6.8” Titanium Gray, Titanium Black, Titanium Violet and Titanium Yellow 12GB, 256GB $1,928
12GB, 512GB $2,128
12GB, 1TB $2,458

The S24 series pricing is competitive compared to flagship phones from other brands. Prices are even more attractive when you consider trade-in deals.

Pricing advantage is quite significant over the Apple iPhone 15 series. iPhone 15 non-Pros get two cameras and iPhone 15 Pros get three cameras. All S24 and S24+ phones get three cameras and the S24 Ultra gets four cameras. I don't like how Apple markets their cropped zooms as lens.

All S24 phones are considered "pro" phones. If you are looking for "non-pro" phones, go with the Samsung A series instead which are way more affordable. Main difference is the Samsung A series do not have SamsungDex.

Price comparison table between iPhones and Samsung Galaxy S24:

Price SGD iPhone 15 Pro iPhone 15 Pro Max S24 S24+ S24 Ultra
256GB 1823 2071 1288 1528 1928
512GB 2149 2342 1458 1728 2128
1TB 2472 2664 - - 2458

iPhone vs Samsung

Samsung phones are more affordable than iPhones and provide more value for money simply because of the lower price point.

Having said that, I still use an iPhone for three reasons:

  • Samsung phones cannot record videos at 25FPS
  • iPhone zooms while recording is smoother
  • Samsung backup options do not backup everything, e.g. data in the Internal Memory - Android - Data folder

Why does 25FPS matter? Have you ever seen flickering lights in videos? That's because the FPS is not in sync with electricity frequency. iPhones can record NTSC (30FPS) and PAL (25FPS) so you can choose either to remove flickering lights manually. If you're recording with a Samsung phone and lights flicker, too bad. When zooming while recording, iPhone can switch between the different zooms more smoothly than Samsung.

If you don't use your phone for video production, I really don't see why you should spend SGD 500 more to get an iPhone. And don't tell me iPhones hold their value better than Samsung phones. The more expensive your phone, the more value you will lose. The more expensive a phone is, the steeper the depreciation.

iPhones do not have pen support.

Samsung offers backup options to Samsung Cloud, Google Drive and external storage. Most things are backed up but not everything. From what I can see, files in the Internal Memory - Android - Data folder are not backed up. So if you use apps that save files into that folder, make sure to copy out your saved files manual. This is a very small issue if you know the workaround, but a big issue if you had forgotten to save your files out.


The S24 Ultra is a big phone. When it's in your pocket, you can't squat down to put on your shoes or tie your shoelaces. And how comfortable you are when seated will depend on how deep your pocket is.

The 6.2-inch S24 is so compact by comparison. Battery capacity is lower at just 4100 mAh vs the 4900 mAh and 5000 mAh of the larger phones, but you really don't have to worry about battery life when you can get back 50% with 30 minutes of fast charging.

It is quite thin but the weight is 232g and will be heavier with a case. This is a phone that requires 2-hand operation and you'll also feel some discomfort from resting the phone on your pinkie finger for long period of time -- same applies to the iPhone Pro Max phones.

The 6.7-inch Galaxy S24 is 36g lighter at 196g, noticeably lighter.

The S Pen is stored inside the phone which is convenient so you will never forget to bring the pen. The SIM tray can hold two nano SIMs. Speaker has excellent audio quality. USB-C port supports 45W fast charging, USB3.2 transfer speed, and can output video so that you can use SamsungDex to get the computer desktop experience.

The S Pen is much smaller and thinner compared to the S Pen included with the Galaxy tablets. The pen uses Wacom EMR technology so the S Pens from tablets, and third party pens such as the Staedtler Noris Digital and Wacom One pen can also be used with this phone.

The S Pen has a broad side which still makes it comfortable enough to hold and has a good grip. There's one side button with a shortcut that will vary depending on the app you use. Whether the side button can be customised will depend on the app you use.

Ergonomics while drawing or writing is alright. Since both the phone and the pen are moving parts, your writing and drawing will look more loose or sketchy than usual compared to writing or drawing on a stable non-moving surface.

The extra sketchy lines can make your lines look more characteristic. If you've found your lines to look too stiff, this phone and pen can loosen up those lines. The pen tip is soft with no sharp tapping sound. The pen glides on the display quite smoothly.

It is more comfortable to hold the phone vertically, but it is possible to hold the phone horizontally for drawing too. You can hold it with your thumb or palm below.

The main app I use for sketching is Concepts app. The sketch above was drawn while waiting for my bus. Waiting time is never wasted when you can sketch.

Sketching a wide scene while holding the phone vertically is quite challenging, more specifically it's difficult to ensure your perspective is consistent (horizon is horizontal) and proportion looks accurate.

The pen supports tilt, pressure sensitivity and palm rejection. The display is laminated so there's no gap between the line and pen tip.

The curved edges are now less curved so the glass display is almost completely flat. I am so glad the curved display trend is almost over.

That's my daughter Tricia.

This was drawn on a moving train. Since I draw on the train often, I am able to draw with rather smooth and non-jerky lines. Drawing on the train is just great practice and helps pass time quickly and more productively compared to doom scrolling on social media.

The phone will wobble on the table while drawing unless you have a case that evens out the camera bump behind.

Writing experience on the phone is good. Red text shown above was written with phone on the table, and blue text was written with phone held in hand. My handwriting style was captured quite accurately.

Samsung has included anti-reflective coating for the display on the S24 Ultra and not the S24 and S24+. The anti-reflective coating is quite effective. When reflecting light sources, yes you will still see reflections, but when reflecting non-light sources, eg your face, the reflections are barely noticeable. The other upgrade is the maximum brightness of the OLED display is 2600 nits vs 1750 nits.

AI features

Samsung has added many AI features to the phone. I don't really use them so I'll just briefly write about what's included.

  • You can use AI to edit photos. Eg move things around
  • There's Live Translate that will listen to a foreign language and speak to you in your language
  • You can use the pen to circle things to do a visual search online
  • AI can summarise notes
  • AI-generated wallpaper using your keywords

AI wallpaper is cool but you can only choose from their list of keywords to generate new ones.

Samsung One UI

The phone runs on Android 14 with Samsung One UI 6.1 on top.

Android and Samsung One UI has many useful features:

  • You can install your own launcher for more features and to customise the home screen
  • SamsungDex can be used with external display for a desktop UI, and phone can be used as trackpad
  • You can share files to any device (including Apple products) by generating a QR code for sharing. QR code file sharing is limited to 5GB per day.
  • Connect your phone to your computer and use it as an external storage device
  • Android notification system is better than iPhone's

I love this swipe-out sidebar called Edge Panels. I wish this phone also has the mini taskbar with app shortcuts like the one found on the Samsung Z Fold phones.

Downsides or limitations. You cannot adjust volume from the display.

App switcher only shows max of three apps and you have to swipe left right to find the app. It would be more useful to show tiles.

By the way, depending on which model you get, the phone may not be using the maximum resolution. You will have to go into settings to enable maximum resolution for the extra sharpness, at the expense of slightly shorter battery life. Anyway, the phone still looks so sharp even with medium resolution settings.

Battery life

The Galaxy S24 Ultra has 5000 mAh battery capacity and battery life is around 10 - 12 hours depending on brightness. It's very difficult for you to drain the battery completely with normal usage or even intense usage unless you're on the phone non-stop for 10 hours.

There's 45W fast charging which can give you 50% with 30 minutes of charging. There's also wireless charging.


This phone has almost everything: a wonderful display, great performance, long battery life, good audio, premium build quality and pen support. You can also use this as a computer with SamsungDex as long as you don't need to use Windows/Mac/desktop specific apps. Photos from the cameras look great.

The S24 Ultra's main selling feature is pen support. You can write and draw with a pen and that's not a feature that many other phones have. And even with the pen holder built into the phone, the size isn't that much bigger than the iPhone Pro Max or S24+.

I don't review many Android phones so I cannot say the Samsung S24 Ultra is the best Android phone in the market. But what I can say is this phone has almost no compromises, except for the missing microSD card slot and 3.5mm audio jack.

Between the Samsung Z Fold 5 or the S24 Ultra, it will come down to how much confidence you have with the folding hinge system. The Z Fold 5 is more pocketable despite being thicker when folded. I personally prefer the S24 Ultra because you can never go wrong with a flat non-folding phone. But if you ask me the same question on another day, I may choose the Z Fold 5. I mean it really comes down to personal preference.

Pros and cons at a glance
+ Beautiful design with solid build quality
+ Vibrant, 2600 nits bright, sharp 120Hz OLED display
+ Anti-reflective laminated display
+ Display's curved edges are now even smaller
+ 8 - 12GB RAM
+ Fantastic lag-free performance
+ 10-12 battery life with fast charging
+ S Pen included with a dedicated holder on the phone
+ Cameras have good image and video quality
+ Good audio quality
+ Samsung DeX is useful
+ IP68 rating for resistance against dust and water
+ USB-C port with USB 3.2 transfer speed
+ Samsung One UI 6.1 has many useful features
+ Android 14
+ Supports dual nano SIM cards
+ Good value for money at street pricing
+ Samsung offers good trade-in offers
- No micro SD card slot
- No 3.5mm audio jack
- S Pen is too thin, uncomfortable for long period of use
- Full backup only available to external storage
- No 25 or 50FPS PAL video recording


If you find this review helpful and have the intention to buy this phone, consider using the affiliate links below to support my blog and the work I do.

The phone's available from Amazon (US | CA | UK | DE | FR | ES | IT | JP), Shopee SG and Lazada SG.