Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra likely loses top S23 Ultra feature

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra next to Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
(Image credit: @UniverseIce)

We could be weeks away from the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra, but that hasn't stopped speculation swirling about the device's specifications and features. With the smartphone expected to arrive in early January, more and more information about the flagship Ultra device is finding its way online through reliable tipsters and inside sources — well in advance of Samsung's official Galaxy Unpacked unveiling.

We've already caught wind of the S24 Ultra's expected generative AI tools and features coming with the One UI 6.1 update, many of which seem lifted straight from the Google Pixel playbook. Today, conflicting information has brought an older rumor to the forefront once more. And it all revolves around the Galaxy S24 Ultra's inclusion (or lack thereof) of a popular Galaxy S23 Ultra feature.

A closer look at the news

Samsung smartphones are well known for their excellent photography, and its Galaxy S-series of devices have become a favorite of shutterbugs the world over. It's one of Samsung's biggest strengths and something it took to new heights when making the defining feature of the Galaxy S23 Ultra an incredible 200-megapixel main camera.

However, the Galaxy S23 Ultra's photography prowess was a sum of its parts, with the smartphone also hosting a set of 10MP telephoto shooters. It's those telephoto lenses that added even further to the allure of Samsung's smart-snapper for many — with one featuring a 3x optical zoom and the other a whopping 10x optical zoom.

So, imagine the disappointment when ever-reliable tech tipster Ice Universe broke the news that Samsung would be ditching its high-spec 10x optical zoom for a more traditional 5x optical zoom as found in other iPhone and Pixel flagships.

A last minute twist?

However, recently, South Korean outlet The Elec gave telescopic togs hope to cling on to after it reported that the 10x optical zoom would carry over to the S24 Ultra. It was the news many were hoping for, and long-distance lens lovers rejoiced as all was put right in the world once again.

Sadly, not for very long.

The bad thing about the social media platform formally known as Twitter's torrent of tech tipsters is that you're very rarely able to enjoy a surprise as a company unveils its latest product. With a number of the more reliable leakers already having informed you of everything from the device's specifications to the color of underwear the person presenting them will be wearing on the day. They can be pretty remarkable like that.

The good thing about these clued-up canaries is that they're very quick to fact-check one another when something seems amiss. Just as the reputable Revengnus did, hours after the aforementioned article was published.

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It would seem that reports of the Galaxy S24 Ultra's 10x optical zoom were greatly exaggerated. Revegnus would clear things up by posting what he believes to be the 'final' camera specifications for Samsung's inbound flagship — and, true to previous murmurings online, it would appear to feature a 5x optical zoom.

Outlook

While Revegnus' revelation may taste like sour grapes to many, it's important to point out that the Galaxy S24 Ultra's optical zoom downgrade is paired with a megapixel upgrade. The previous 10MP sensor will be replaced by a much higher 50MP one, allowing for greater pixel density and more detail in each shot.

There are cases where similarly spec'd smartphones have been able to perform on par with Samsung's long-range lens, and we doubt Samsung would start cutting corners without good reason as iPhone, Pixel, and OnePlus devices begin clipping at its heels.

Of course, we can't say for sure how big of an impact this change will make until we get a hold of the device ourselves. But it is good to know that while Samsung intend to take with one hand, they're looking to give back with another.

Rael Hornby
Content Editor

Rael Hornby, potentially influenced by far too many LucasArts titles at an early age, once thought he’d grow up to be a mighty pirate. However, after several interventions with close friends and family members, you’re now much more likely to see his name attached to the bylines of tech articles. While not maintaining a double life as an aspiring writer by day and indie game dev by night, you’ll find him sat in a corner somewhere muttering to himself about microtransactions or hunting down promising indie games on Twitter.