A New Era in Smartphone Innovation

Last week, Samsung hosted an event in Toronto to show off some of its latest creations, but at the centre of it all was the innovation designed to improve everything its hardware can do: Galaxy AI. It’s designed to take everything you love about Samsung phones and make it even better.

The event also saw the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S24 series of phones. Having seen and handled the phones, I can tell you that you’ll see a few hardware improvements over the 23 series, although nothing major. Take the Ultras as an example; the phones are the same size with Gorilla Glass Victus 3 upgrades on the S24 Ultra. The chipset is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 compared to the S23 Ultra‘s Gen 2 chipset and some significant improvements to the octa-core CPU.

All storage sizes of the Galaxy S24 Ultra will have 12GB of RAM, whereas there was an 8GB version of the S23 Ultra with 256GB of storage. The cameras are almost identical, with the only difference being the periscope telephoto lens, which increases its resolution from 10 to 50 megapixels but reduces the optical zoom from 10x to 5x. The battery remains the same, with a 5000mAh lithium-ion battery and the same charging capabilities.

Samsung Unpacks Their Latest InnovationsSamsung Unpacks Their Latest Innovations

The event took the press through various stations, highlighting specific features of the Galaxy AI. The first of these features was an improved version of Samsung’s Voice Recorder. With AI, the voice recorder transcribes the speech of anyone being recorded. Not only does it transcribe, but Galaxy AI identifies the individual speakers and separates their dialogue in the transcript. This will be a game changer for people who use their phones to conduct interviews, listen to lectures or the like.

“Galaxy AI is designed to take everything you love about Samsung phones and make it even better.”

That’s not the only way Samsung Galaxy AI works with your voice. Samsung demonstrated a translator tool that was very unique. Most translator tools involve two people talking into the same device in close proximity and waiting for it to translate into each speaker’s language. You don’t have to be in the same country with Samsung.

Just turn on the feature when you start a call, make sure you have selected the appropriate translation language and then simply speak into the phone. The translation will take place (it takes a few seconds), and the person on the other end of the line (who doesn’t have to be using a Samsung phone, by the way) will hear what you said in their own language. When they speak back to you, it’s translated into your language, and you hear the correct audio. You’ll also receive a text of what was said in both their original language and your language.

Samsung Unpacks Their Latest InnovationsSamsung Unpacks Their Latest Innovations

Moving on to the camera-related features, let’s start with Samsung’s Circle and Find feature. The closest thing to this is the Google Lens app, where you open the app and take a picture with the camera, and Google determines what you want to search for in the picture and performs the search. Galaxy AI has improved the process while making it very easy to determine the subject of your search.

With the Camera app on, simply press and hold the Home button to enter Circle and Find mode. Use your S Pen or finger to circle what you want to search for in the picture, and the search will begin. This makes a difference, as demonstrated to us, because if you have many things in a shot, Google Lens would have a hard time working out the real subject. This event was cleverly set up at Ripley’s Aquarium, so all the pictures taken would have a lot of subjects.

But all you have to do is circle a fish, and in no time, you’ll know everything you want to know about that fish. The demonstrator made us do the same search with his shoes. When the information about the Nike Air Jordans on his feet came up (including where to buy them), we simply typed the word “blue” into the little search window at the top of the results, and the results changed to the same shoes, only in blue.

Samsung Unpacks Their Latest InnovationsSamsung Unpacks Their Latest Innovations

Circle and Find isn’t limited to what you can see through your own lens at the moment, though. You can open your gallery and hold down the home button while looking at any photo. You could open a streaming app like Netflix or Disney Plus and wonder who that actor is in the background. Hold down the home button and circle that person, and get your answer. Circle and Find is an incredibly powerful tool, and a clear highlight in a strong set of features.

“The Samsung Galaxy S24 series, complete with Galaxy AI, was unveiled today, showing off a phone that might look similar at first glance, but offers much more upon a deeper look.”

Samsung has taken AI photo editing to the next level. Take any photo and put it into AI mode, turning it into an AI image you can manipulate however you like. Are the two people in your photo too far apart? Move them closer together. Want your cat to be three times the size of your first-born child? Just click on the cat and make it bigger. You can remove objects if you like. The sky’s the limit. When you are done, simply export the AI photo back to a normal photo.

Low-light photography is often a highlight of camera tests, and this one was something special. Samsung’s demonstration of night photography was particularly cool, as the low light levels in areas of the aquarium were set specifically for the needs of this feature. They also combined other key features of their cameras to show how it works with Galaxy AI.

Samsung Unpacks Their Latest InnovationsSamsung Unpacks Their Latest Innovations

The demonstrator zoomed in 37 times on a fish hiding under a rock. The photo was taken and it looked clear as a bell. She then took out an iPhone 15 Pro Max and framed the photo in the same way. The iPhone photo was good, no doubt, but the difference between it and what the Samsung delivered was, for lack of a less corny term, night and day.

We were also able to try out an interesting video function. Think of all the times you’ve tried to take a slow-motion video and either the timing was off and you missed what you were trying to capture. You can’t get that moment back. With AI Slow Mo, you simply press and hold the screen as the video plays and it plays back in slow motion (with the motion smoothed thanks to AI) and you can export it as you like and capture that great slow motion video afterwards.

An existing feature on Samsung’s Galaxy phones is Single Take, which has also received a boost from Galaxy AI. For those of you unfamiliar with the feature, the camera takes 10 seconds of video and creates a number of elements for you to use, such as filtered photos, boomerang videos and other fun options, while also selecting what the phone thinks is the best-framed photo in the video. The Galaxy AI version of this seems like more of the same on the surface, but I have to say that it did a fantastic job with all the moving objects in the aquarium.

Samsung Unpacks Their Latest InnovationsSamsung Unpacks Their Latest Innovations

It’s also worth noting that during my time at the event, I was given the opportunity to use the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra to test out these features, and while I don’t have all the nitty-gritty details of what’s inside this series of phones, I can tell you that the phone’s performance and screen brightness couldn’t have been more satisfying.

The Samsung Galaxy S24 series, complete with Galaxy AI, was unveiled today during the Galaxy Unpacked event, with more information on its release date. The sneak peek I managed to get gave me the impression of a phone that might look like more of the same at first glance, but the deeper you look, the more you’ll find to be excited about.

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