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My Galaxy S24+ first impressions based on a two-year Galaxy S22+ experience

Opinion
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Last updated: January 26th, 2024 at 16:52 UTC+01:00

I've used the Galaxy S22+ for two years. It never let me down in terms of performance, battery life, or durability, and I can honestly say it still has life left in it two years after release. Nevertheless, I decided to upgrade to the new Galaxy S24+, which Samsung announced on January 17, and I finally got the phone delivered to me yesterday.

These are my first impressions (in the true sense of the word) on the Galaxy S24+ as a now-ex Galaxy S22+ user. I barely had the chance to use the phone for less than a day, and needless to say, my preliminary thoughts on the new flagship phone were influenced by a two-year window of using the Galaxy S22+.

What do I think of Samsung's new flagship so far? Keep reading to find out, but keep in mind that my early opinions are subject to change as I continue using the Galaxy S24+ as my daily driver. And if you are looking for a more thorough look at the device, you should definitely wait for your full upcoming review.

Amber Yellow Galaxy S24+ is not yellow enough

This year, I decided to switch gears and challenge myself a little bit by going from a dark green Galaxy S22+ to an Amber Yellow Galaxy S24+.

I never had a yellow phone, and I must admit I prepared myself mentally for the unboxing. But to my surprise, the Amber Yellow Galaxy S24+ doesn't look yellow enough.

The color is more like a light cream. Or white with a splash of caramel. However you call it, it's not amber yellow, despite the name. But I guess that's what official phone renders are for. Right?

True, but here's the kicker. The color of the back panel and the frame don't match nearly as much as the official renders suggest. The frame is darker and closer to rose gold than anything else.

Do I mind it? Not necessarily, and it is already starting to grow on me. Nevertheless, it's not what I expected. The color is not as powerful as the “Amber Yellow” name suggests, and more importantly, I think Samsung could've done a better job of representing the color mismatch between the frame and back panel through renders.

Galaxy S24+ feels bigger, and it is

The Galaxy S22+ measures 157.4 x 75.8 x 7.6mm and has a 6.6-inch screen. The Galaxy S24+ has a 6.7-inch panel, and the phone measures 158.5 x 75.9 x 7.7mm.

One would think that a 1.1mm height increase and a screen bigger by 0.1 inches would go unnoticed. However, when I unboxed the Galaxy S24+, it somehow looked significantly larger than the S22+. More so than the numbers suggest.

I can't say I like how the Galaxy S24+ feels more than the S22+. I never had an issue with flat frames “digging into my palm,” and I usually prefer slab-type designs. But there's something about the feel of the Galaxy S22+ that's just right for me.

It is possible that the Galaxy S22+ just hit that sweet spot for my hands, but then again, it may be a matter of getting used to the new feel. I might say the same about the S24+ once I spend more time with it.

Smart Switch somehow feels better

The last time I tried to use Smart Switch was when I switched from the Galaxy Note 10 to the Galaxy S22+. And to put it bluntly, the experience left a sour taste in my mouth. Stability issues prevented me from completing the setup, and eventually, I just gave up.

Two years later — as in yesterday — I decided to give Smart Switch another try. And somehow, it felt a whole lot better. Even though speeds still feel extremely slow if you have dozens of GB of data to transfer, everything about SmartSwitch felt a lot more intuitive and user-friendly than I remembered.

More importantly, I experienced no lock-ups or crashes throughout the Smart Switch process, and everything transferred from the Galaxy S22+ to the S24+ without issues.

It's not a game-changer, but I enjoy the full-screen AOD for its aesthetics

One change made possible by the upgraded LTPO panels Samsung used for the Galaxy S24 series is a full-screen Always On Display mode that blends more intuitively with the lock screen.

I don't have much to say about this, but that's probably because I rarely use the lock screen. I usually unlock my phone through the fingerprint scanner directly on the Always On Display, bypassing the lock screen altogether. I don't use lock screen widgets or anything of the like.

But for what it's worth, the full-screen AOD is a nice aesthetic change. It's far from a game-changer, but I quite like it. As someone who barely uses the lock screen, the upgraded AOD is a pleasant, albeit minor, aesthetic treat. It gives me a glimpse of whatever AOD wallpaper I use, even without touching the phone. It feels a bit more personal. And since I always turn off my AOD when I sleep through Modes and Routines, I'll keep using the full-screen AOD throughout the day.

Circle to Search works incredibly well, and I guess I can live with the Gesture Hint

One of the AI features at the forefront of the Galaxy S24 experience is Circle to Search. To make Circle to Search easily accessible, Samsung defaulted the UI to gesture-based navigation and forced the Gesture Hint on.

Galaxy S24 users can switch back to traditional navigation buttons, but Samsung's navigation gestures are no longer an option in One UI 6.1. Understandably, some users won't like this, but personally, I've been relying on Google's navigation gestures (rather than Samsung's) for a couple of years now. So, luckily, this is a non-issue to me.

What feels odd is that the Gesture Hint can no longer be hidden. I always kept this UI element turned off, but Samsung is now forcing it ON to make Circle to Search more intuitive.

Story continues after the video

As far as first impressions go, I don't like the Gesture Hint aspect, especially since some apps can draw behind this UI element while others lazily draw a thin black bar across the entire lower area of the screen, making the phone look like it has a thicker bezel.

But the question is whether Circle to Search is good enough to offset these inconveniences. Well, I barely had time to try out this AI feature, but when I did, it worked flawlessly.

Circle to Search doesn't seem like something I'd use daily, but it shows potential and it is within easy reach. So much so that I might start using it intuitively on occasion, as I do Swipe for Split Screen.

I will spend more time with other AI features in the coming days and weeks.

Lastly, Exynos 2400 is not an issue

I must preface my thoughts on performance by clarifying that I was off the Exynos 2200 hate bandwagon months into using the Galaxy S22+. Yes, the first couple of months were pretty bad. There's no doubt about that.

However, once Samsung started working on optimizing things, my Exynos-powered Galaxy S22+ became fast and reliable. Besides, I never gave much importance to peak framerates in benchmarks — not for PCs and not for phones.

Framerate consistency is much more important than peak frames, so, all in all, I couldn't have cared less about the GOS (Game Optimizing Service) controversy, all the misguided information around it, and all the Exynos 2200 hate that lingered for months and years on social media after Samsung fixed the initial performance issues.

With that being said, the Galaxy S24+ powered by the new Exynos 2400 chip doesn't feel much smoother than the Galaxy S22+ in One UI. To me, that's a testament of how good the Galaxy S22+ actually is.

Granted, I haven't spent much time gaming on my new Galaxy S24+, but I have played a match of Call of Duty, and there's a noticeable improvement in both framerate and touch input delay. I suspect many other fast-paced mobile games will feel a lot better on the S24+.

All in all, I'm sure the Exynos 2400 chip will do its job well for many years to come. If the Exynos 2200 lasted two years without hiccups, I expect the Exynos 2400 to do even better.

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