We might only be in early parts of the year but some of the biggest phone releases have already happened. Two such examples of this are the OnePlus 12 and the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra.
There are plenty of areas where they’re similar, yet more than in other years there are many differences. OnePlus remains focussed on specs, Samsung, on the other hand, has other ideas.
The Galaxy S24 Ultra is all about AI
If you watched the launch of the Galaxy S24 series then you’ll know that the majority of the show was devoted, not to the specs of the series, but to Galaxy AI. Samsung’s AI system touches all parts of the phone, from the screen to the camera to the notes app and more. If you listen to Samsung, the future of the phone isn’t really about specs anymore – it’s all about AI.
There’s no doubting some of the S24 Ultra’s AI skills are great. The transcription tools are incredibly useful for those who need to take notes from a meeting and condense them down, while the generative features can turn photos you’d previously have wanted to delete into ones you’re happy to share.
Even though a lot of the AI features are made capable by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip – the very same chip you’ll find inside the OnePlus 12 – this phone has no AI features to be seen. An interesting omission we must say.
You get an S Pen with the Galaxy S24 Ultra
One of the other notable features that sets the Galaxy S24 Ultra apart from not only OnePlus 12 but just about every other phone is the included S Pen.
This dinky stylus, popularised by the now defunct Note series, can be used for navigation, note taking and more and for many is reason enough to choose the Galaxy S24 over the competition.
If value is key, the OnePlus 12 is hard to resist
If the value proposition is key, the OnePlus 12 is one of the best phones around. For £849/$799 you’re getting the latest Snapdragon chip, a minimum 12GB RAM and 256GB storage, a 120Hz 2K OLED display and a Hasselblad camera system that takes great snaps. It’s a very complete package.
As a comparison, the Galaxy S24 Ultra costs £1249/$1299 for the same chip and same amount of RAM and storage.
The OnePlus 12 is the best for charging speeds
There’s a clear winner when it comes to charge speeds with these two phones, and its the OnePlus 12. You can get a full 0-100% charge in a mere 26 minutes with the OnePlus 12, while it takes 71 minutes with the Galaxy alternative.
The S24 Ultra also supports slower wireless charging, 15w as opposed to 50w and there’s no included plug. OnePlus, on the other hand, includes the 100w charger you need to achieve the highest speeds.
Both have good cameras – but the S24 Ultra pips it for zoom skills
OnePlus has come a long way with its camera tech in recent times, far improving what was, for years, a real shortcoming. If we had to pick one though, the Galaxy S24 Ultra would still come out on top.
You can read our full thoughts on the cameras and go through all the specs in our OnePlus 12 review and Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra review, but the one area where Samsung continues to dominate is in zoom.
OnePlus might say the OnePlus 12 can reach high levels of zoom, but as our reviewer Lewis said in his review: “Anything above the 10x mark and you’ll start to see artefacting, and the 120x zoom is near unusable as with most extreme digital zooms – but stick to the lower ends of zoom and you’ll be pretty happy with the results.”
Full spec comparison
Compare all the biggest specs for the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra and OnePlus 12 below.