Exploring The Best Samsung Phones, with a Focus on the New Galaxy S24 Ultra!

All of the Samsung Galaxy phones, including the recently released Galaxy S24 range, have been evaluated by ZDNET. These are the Samsung phones that we believe are the best available.

Samsung is a constant innovator and technological leader in the ever changing smartphone industry. Together with performance, the top Samsung Galaxy phones also offer a look into the direction that mobile technology is going. Join us as we explore them today. We also look toward the highly anticipated Galaxy S24 Ultra, which is the star that will be our flagship after this one. Come along as we examine the most innovative features, unmatched performance, and the core characteristics that make these gadgets genuinely remarkable.

Samsung may have the strongest phone lineup among all phone makers. Do you want a phone with a stylus built right in? That’s what you have. Do you want a phone that can become a tablet? You also own that. Do you want a phone that you can use for swimming? Continue reading.

That is to say, your individual requirements, use cases, and design choices will determine which Samsung phone is perfect for you. Additionally, three new top-tier smartphone options—all with AI capabilities and better displays, batteries, and other features than their predecessors—are available to you with the launch of the new Galaxy S24 series in January.

I’ve personally tested the majority, if not all, of the newest Galaxy phones that Samsung has to offer in order to simplify the shopping process. I’ve put together a list of the best options for you to choose from, which includes the more recent Galaxy Z Flip and Z Fold series, the budget-friendly A-series, and my current top pick, the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra

Best Samsung phone overall

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra specs: Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 | Display size: 6.8 inches | Storage options: Up to 1TB | Rear cameras: 200MP main, 12MP ultrawide, 50MP telephoto (5x), 10MP telephoto (3x) | Front camera: 12MP | Battery: 5,000mAh

The S24 Ultra is the most expensive phone available, and Samsung is the first to fully embrace AI with its recently launched Galaxy S24 series. Numerous generative capabilities are brought to the device by the new Galaxy AI model embedded in it. These include real-time translations of phone calls, the ability to perform image-based Google searches by circling an object on the screen, AI-assisted transcription and photo editing, and a Chat Assist feature that can determine the appropriate tone for a message.

The S24 Ultra, like its predecessor the S23 Ultra, comes equipped with a sturdy 5,000mAh battery and a big 6.8-inch AMOLED display. Despite costing $100 more than the S23 Ultra, the phone’s improvements make the $1,299 price increase worthwhile: Unlike last year’s aluminum frame, the S24 Ultra is composed of a lightweight yet sturdy titanium frame and is equipped with Corning’s latest Gorilla Armor technology. It is notably more durable, feels lighter in the hand, and has increased grip.

Its internal components include a 12GB RAM bump from last year’s 8GB, an enhanced Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset for better graphics and AI features, and 2,600 nits of brightness, which is a significant gain over 1,750 nits last year. The 50MP telephoto lens with 5x optical zoom added to the four-camera setup improved the clarity of photographs of far-off objects and made images crisper and easier to see in low light.

pros & cons


  • Most complete smartphone experience money can buy, with AI built in
  • Reliable quad-camera setup
  • 256GB base storage leads the competition
  • Integrated S Pen stylus for enhanced functionality


  • Phone can be unwieldy for some, especially with a case
  • Fast charging is still capped at 45W
  • Pricier than most Android phones

Best Samsung phone for most people

Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus specs: Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 | Display size: 6.7 inches | Storage options: Up to 512GB | Rear cameras: 50MP main, 12MP ultrawide, 10MP telephoto (3x) | Front camera: 12MP | Battery: 4,900mAh

The Galaxy S24 Plus may not be as flashy as its S24 Ultra sibling, but it remains a formidable pick-up for shoppers eyeing a meaningful upgrade. The core experience of the Ultra model is present on the Plus, including Samsung’s new Galaxy AI model and all of the useful features it brings (like real-time phone call translations and the ability to circle an object on screen to perform an image-based Google search), the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset, 256GB of base storage, and the flexible camera system. 

For many people, the Plus-sized Galaxy S24 is the best option. Its 6.7-inch display is a great size for both casual consumers and power users. The S24 Plus also has several noticeable upgrades over the S23 Plus, including a brighter screen, larger battery, and better cameras. What sets it apart this year is its display resolution: For the first time, Samsung has equipped the Plus variant with a QHD, 1440 x 3088 resolution display, putting it in the same tier as the Ultra. As I noted in my hands-on review, that’s a major upgrade if you watch movies and videos on your phone, edit photos and videos, or read pages of text like this because everything looks sharper.

Another big factor is the price: The Galaxy S24 Plus starts at $999, the same as its predecessor — even with all of the hardware and software upgrades. On top of that, Samsung is now promising up to seven years of operating system updates for all Galaxy S24 models. 

pros & cons


  • More wieldy 6.7-inch display
  • Snappy performance with an Ultra-level processor and display
  • Excellent battery life


  • Samsung’s software can be overbearing
  • No Qi2 charging support

Best Samsung foldable phone

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 tech specs: Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 | Main display: 7.6 inches | Cover display: 6.2 inches | RAM/Storage: 12GB RAM with 256GB/512GB/1TB internal options | Cameras: 12MP ultrawide, 50MP wide angle, 10MP 3x telephoto, 10MP cover screen, 4MP under main display | Battery: 4,400mAh 

The 2020 Galaxy Z Fold 2 set the bar for foldable devices that also serve as mini tablets. The Z Fold 3 improved on that phone with two of the most highly requested features from Fold users (S Pen support and IPX8 water resistance), while the Z Fold 4 improved the rear cameras and form factor of the phone. 

And now, with the Z Fold 5, you’ll get an upgraded processor in the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, which should improve the phone’s overall performance, from battery efficiency to camera capture. This year’s model is also notably thinner than the last, and thanks to the no-gap hinge mechanism, ZDNET’s Jason Hiner said in his review that “the Fold 5 feels like the way foldables always should have been.”

Also Read : The Clash Between Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra & iPhone 15 Pro Max!

The Android 13 software found in the Z Fold 5 gives the phone some serious productivity upgrades, especially in terms of multi-app usage thanks to the improved Taskbar and wider support for gesture navigations that ease the transition from multiple active windows.

Like the Z Fold 4, the Fold 5’s cameras are not quite as good as the S23 Ultra’s suite, but the hardware is clearly superior to any foldable predecessor, and the competition. And it certainly helps that the Z Fold 5 is not as heavy and bulky as its predecessors.

pros & cons


  • An innovative gapless folding design
  • Armor Aluminum material for a lighter and sleeker phone
  • High IPX8 water resistance
  • S Pen support
  • Improved processor and software optimized for foldables


  • Still expensive, but generous trade-in offers abound
  • S Pen purchase and store separately

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5

Best compact Samsung phone

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 tech specs: Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 | Main display: 6.7 inches | Cover display: 3.4 inches | RAM/Storage: 8GB RAM with 256GB/512GB internal options | Cameras: Two rear 12MP, 10MP selfie | Battery: 3,700mAh 

While the Z Fold 5 is the best Samsung foldable, it’s the new Z Flip 5 that will likely sell the most and appeal to the masses. Not only is the clamshell handset less expensive than the Z Fold, but it’s more compact and portable and has a more user-friendly learning curve.

Shape-shifting displays aside, the Z Flip 5 is very similar to the standard Samsung Galaxy S-series flagship, with a large 6.7-inch AMOLED panel that’s crisp and bright, up to 512GB of RAM for those high-resolution pictures and videos, and a healthy 3,700mAh cell powering it all.

I tested the flip phone for weeks and was left impressed by how many refinements Samsung had made when compared to the last-gen Z Flip. Thanks to the new 3.4-inch outer display, the gapless hinge design, and improved durability, I noted in my full review that “unless Samsung unveils some form of XR headset later this year, the Z Flip 5 is without question the company’s most ambitious product of 2023.”

Folks who thrive in social media and content creation especially will love the Z Flip 5’s ability to switch between shooting styles like camcorder mode and flex mode, much like its predecessor, the Z Flip 4. The camera system on this is not on the level of Samsung’s Ultra and Plus phones, but it’s reliable enough for everyday captures.

pros & cons


  • High-quality materials, fit, and finish
  • IPX8 water resistance
  • Larger external display is game-changing
  • The most pocketable Galaxy phone yet


  • No telephoto camera
  • Battery is reasonably underwhelming compared to larger phones

Best Samsung phone under $450

Samsung Galaxy A54 5G tech specs: Processor: Samsung Exynos 1380 | Display: 6.4 inches| RAM/Storage: 6GB/128GB | Cameras: 50MP wide, 12MP ultrawide, 5MP macro, and 32MP front-facing camera | Battery: 5,000mAh

While the flagship Galaxy S and Z fold series provide compelling options, they are flagship phones priced in the $900 and higher range. To offer customers another alternative, Samsung created the Galaxy A series, led by none other than the A54 5G.

There are three key reasons why you should buy the Galaxy A54 5G over any other sub-$500 phone: For $449, you get a fantastic 6.4-inch AMOLED display that ramps up to 120Hz refresh rate, a triple-camera setup that includes a 50MP main sensor, and a beefy 5,000mAh battery. 

Clearly, Samsung knows what features users value the most, and if you have preferences beyond that list, then there are plenty of other picks above and below.

The A-series of smartphones also fall under Samsung’s five-year commitment to software and security updates, which is rare for devices in this price range. As I put it in my review of the device, “This $450 phone absolutely nails the essentials — things like a large display that feels as smooth as it looks, battery life that lasts, and software stability that similarly-priced phones simply can’t match.”

pros & cons


  • Price is more than reasonable
  • A ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ smartphone
  • Reliable 5,000mAh battery
  • Up to five years of software and security updates


  • Low-band 5G support
  • Plasticky build quality
  • Cameras are not as capable as flagships

Samsung Galaxy A14 5G

Best cheap Samsung phone

Samsung Galaxy A14 5G tech specs: Processor: Mediatek Dimensity 700 | Display: 6.6 inches| RAM/Storage: 4GB/64GB | Cameras: 50MP wide, 2MP macro, 2MP depth sensor, and 13MP front-facing camera | Battery: 5,000mAh 

The flashiest of smartphone features tend to exist only on flagships, but many will find appeal in Samsung’s humble Galaxy A14 5G, which boasts 5G connectivity, a massive 5,000mAh battery, and a budget-friendly $200 price tag. That’s a compelling new package at a time when consumers are cutting down on spending.

And don’t let the lower cost fool you; the Galaxy A14 5G has all the specs you’d want for a feasible mobile companion, from the relatively large 6.6-inch 90Hz display — a rarity in this price range — to the expandable storage (up to 1TB) to Samsung’s four-year commitment to security patches. Oh, and the front-facing camera is higher resolution than ever for the selfie-lover in your life.

I spent time with the A15 5G just a week ago as my partner was upgrading to the Z Flip 5 mentioned above. The phone won’t feel like a million dollars, but it was surprisingly sturdy to hold — devices in this price range tend to feel more hollow and toy-like — and the 90Hz display looked great for app browsing and navigating around.

pros & cons


  • Affordably priced and available unlocked
  • Large 6.6-inch display with all-day battery life
  • Extensive software support


  • Plastic build is not for all
  • Macro and depth cameras are unreliable
  • Only one color option: Black

What is Samsung’s top phone?

While the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra sits at the top of this year’s ranking list, here’s a wider scope of ZDNET’s best picks and their respective feature sets. 

Samsung phonePriceDisplayCamerasBattery
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra$1,2996.8 inches200MP wide, 50MP with 5x optical, 10MP with 3x optical, and 12MP ultrawide, 12MP front-facing camera5,000mAh
Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus$9996.7 inches50MP wide, 10MP with 3x optical, and 12MP ultrawide, 12MP front-facing camera4,900mAh
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5$1,7997.6 inches and 6.2 inches50MP wide, 10MP with 3x optical, and 12MP ultrawide, 10MP cover screen, 4MP under main display4,400mAh
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5$9996.7 inches and 3.4 inches12MP wide, 12MP ultrawide, 10MP front-facing camera3,700mAh
Samsung Galaxy A54 5G$4496.4 inches50MP wide, 12MP ultrawide, 5MP macro, and 32MP front-facing camera5,000mAh
Samsung Galaxy A14 5G$1996.6 inches50MP wide, 2MP macro, 2MP depth sensor, and 13MP front-facing camera5,000mAh

Which Samsung handset would be best for you?

It was much easier to choose a Samsung phone option in the past when just the S and Note series were available, along with some low-range, basic phones. Samsung has significantly expanded its offerings with the A Series, Fold, and Flip options. So, the first thing you should now consider is your desired form factor.

First, decide if you want a standard “glass rectangle” smartphone or if you want a folding device. For maximum screen real estate, get a Z Fold 5. Or, for taking up the minimum space in your pocket and providing that extra bit of style, get a Z Flip 5 or Galaxy S23.

With Samsung’s current lineup, you have phones priced from under $200 to over $1,200. Your budget should quickly help you figure out which price point is right for you. From there, begin comparing individual features, like stylus support, or which device has the best camera array. 

Choose this Samsung phone…If you want…
Samsung Galaxy S24 UltraThe top-of-the-line flagship Samsung phone with all the bells and whistles in a traditional form factor. It’s pricier than most but is worth the money if you want a no-frills handset that can do just about everything.
Samsung Galaxy S24 PlusA Galaxy phone capable of accomplishing 80% of what the Ultra model can do and costs less. The Galaxy S23 Plus is also slightly smaller, making it easier to manage.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5A tablet/smartphone hybrid foldable and one of the most innovative Samsung devices available. It’s arguably the best foldable phone on the market, too.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5A stylish and pocket-friendly smartphone that doesn’t compromise performance. If you’re shopping for your first foldable phone, this is the best place to start.
Samsung Galaxy A54 5GYou’re shopping on a $500 budget. Even then, you’ll receive a generous suite of premium features like the 120Hz OLED display, triple-camera setup, and long-lasting battery.
Samsung Galaxy A14 5GYou’re shopping on a $200 budget, but still want a good handset. It’s difficult to impress in this price range, but the A14 5G gets the job done.

How did I select the Samsung phones that I own?

ZDNET writers spend upwards of months with every phone in this best list, while sourcing opinions and recommendations from industry experts and analysts who have also tested the devices. Here are the key factors that we look for when curating the top picks.

  • Design: Unlike how we would compare the best Android phones, comparing Samsung phones across different price points mostly boils down to the hardware. How a phone is designed, what material choices the manufacturer makes, and whether or not the device can take a hit or two are considered when picking the very best.
  • Cameras: The camera systems on Samsung phones have gotten really good over the past few years, so much so that you’re well off even if you opt for a mid-ranger like the Galaxy A54.
  • Special features: If there’s one thing that differentiates most Samsung phones from other manufacturers, it’s unique features. From the S23 Ultra with its built-in stylus and 200MP camera to the foldable screens of the Z Fold and Z Flip, you’ll feel a sense of wonderment when using something that’s built differently. 
  • Availability: Samsung has a reputation for bringing the wildest phones to the press, even if they’re not readily available. That’s why, every pick on this list can be purchased at the time of writing, whether that’s on Samsung’s website or at a local carrier store.

What is the newest Samsung phone?

The newest Samsung phones are the Galaxy S24, S24 Plus, and S24 Ultra, all of which include upgraded hardware and software, and several generative AI features.

Which Samsung phone has the best camera?

The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra has the best camera of any Samsung phone and one of the best overall cameras on the phone market. It features a 200MP main camera along with four accompanying cameras, which allow it to take extremely high-quality shots including close-up images and ones that are ultrawide. The S24 Ultra can also video record in up to 8K UHD quality at 30fps, making it one of the most capable phone cameras money can buy.

Which Samsung phone is the best value for money?

There’s beating around the Galaxy A54 5G and its wealth of flagship-killing features and specs. As flagship smartphones continue to creep up in price — no thanks to inflation — a $450 that does everyday tasks well is both a surprise and a blessing. As mentioned earlier, the value package of the A54 5G only looks better when you compare it to other smartphones in its price range, like the iPhone SE (2022) and now Google Pixel 7a.

Are there alternative phones to consider?

Be sure to check out ZDNET’s comparisons of the best phones and Android phones available. We’ve also listed the top (non-Samsung) picks from both those guides below for your convenience.