OPINION: This week Samsung revealed the Galaxy S24 range in San Jose, and while the hardware is largely familiar, Galaxy AI isn’t.
In fact, it has a lot of potential, whether it’s in editing photos, summarising long meeting recordings or translating calls and voices in real-time without an internet connection. The latter – the real-time translation tech – really stands out to me.
If it works as well in real-world conditions as it did in the demo video at the launch, the S24 range – and the Galaxy S24 Ultra in particular – could become my new go-to travel companion.
As you might imagine, I attend quite a few smartphone launches. While some are, rather handily, in the UK, plenty aren’t, with manufacturers often opting for a bougie European launch for their latest tech.
It’s an exciting way for me to see a lot of European cities and take in all the wonderful culture that comes with it, but the problem is that many folks (understandly) don’t speak English natively, and I don’t speak French, German, Italian or any European language. At least, I don’t think my C grade in GCSE French counts.
Regardless, that means I’m often left facing awkward conversations in broken English in restaurants, coffee shops and more, trying to act out what I’m trying to say – a situation I’m sure many tourists have found themselves in. I’ve used Google Translate in the past but unless I’ve been using a Google Pixel, I’ve always needed an internet connection – and that complicates things somewhat.
However, the Galaxy S24 Ultra’s ability to translate and transcribe 39 languages in real time without an active internet connection could be a game-changer for me. It should allow for a much more natural conversation with the Samsung Translate app offering a split view for each person in their native tongue.
That’s not just limited to the Translate app either; with real-time translation available in the Phone app I can now make reservations at nice local restaurants or book tickets to a local show without struggling to make myself understood. That sentiment alone hugely reduces the anxiety I usually feel going to a non-English speaking region.
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It’s not just the translation tech that could prompt me to pick up the Galaxy S24 Ultra on my next trip either; it’s, of course, the camera performance.
I’ve only been using the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra for a few hours so far, but I’ve been thoroughly impressed by the quality of the snaps I’ve taken of San Jose, not just from the main 200MP snapper but all four rear lenses. That includes both day and night shots, with the new 50MP 5x periscope lens performing particularly well in the latter.
It provides a versatility you don’t often find on a smartphone – without the use of digital zoom that tends to introduce digital artefacts, anyway – and negates the need to use a digital camera. In fact, I’ve not felt the need to grab my Sony Alpha A6400 out of my rucksack at any point on the trip so far.
Combine that with what looks to be pretty solid battery life (in my early testing, at least), a gorgeously bright 6.8-inch AMOLED screen and all the other fun Galaxy AI tech and, like I say, we might have a new go-to travel companion on our hands.