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Galaxy S24 hands-on: Everything you want from mobile AI

By Jo He-rim

Published : Jan. 18, 2024 - 15:41

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An employee demonstrates using the Samsung Galaxy S24 Interpreter feature at Galaxy Unpacked 2024 event in San Jose, California, on Wednesday. (Jo He-rim/The Korea Herald) An employee demonstrates using the Samsung Galaxy S24 Interpreter feature at Galaxy Unpacked 2024 event in San Jose, California, on Wednesday. (Jo He-rim/The Korea Herald)

SAN JOSE, California -- Samsung Electronics' much-anticipated Galaxy S24 series has debuted to present what artificial intelligence can offer to change our daily lives. Combining on-device and cloud-based AI technologies, the latest smartphone models showed off some competitive new features with decent performances in image editing and translation, presenting competition for third-party apps.

At the SAP Center, a hands-on experience zone was prepared, where visitors could check out the AI features of the Galaxy S24 series.

What caught this reporter's attention was Google's Circle to Search, which the Galaxy S24 series is the first phone to feature. This latest feature allows the user to look up any image, video or text on their screen without switching between different apps to use Google's search engine.

To find out what brand of shoes the person in front of me was wearing, I took a picture of one of their shoes. In the photo album, I pressed the home button and drew a circle on the shoe on the screen, and the Circle to Search immediately identified the shoe and offered the list of online stores where I could buy them at the lowest prices.

The quick and intuitive feature will come as handy for those with endless curiosity. Those flipping through Instagram, for instance, will be able to identify where a cool-looking venue in a photo is simply by pressing the home button and circling the venue on the screen.

The Live Translate for phone calls begins by pressing the Call Assist button on the screen after initiating a call. To make a call to a Spanish speaker, one must manually select the two languages for translation, English and Spanish. Before the call began, the AI informed the participants on both sides that the call was being translated and live-captioned.

When asking a question in English, Live Translate transcribes the words into text and translates them immediately. Then a voiceover reads out the translation to the receiver like a real human interpreter.

The Interpreter function is also useful, allowing on-the-spot translation of live conversations. Using the feature in split-screen view, the feature transcribed and translated what someone standing in front of this reporter said from English into Korean.

Since the feature works without using cellular data or Wi-Fi, it will be useful when traveling, or in important meetings where there is no interpreter. The audio transcription feature supports 17 languages, with five of them being different dialects of English and Spanish -- English for India, the United Kingdom and the United States, and Spanish for Spain and the US.

At the experience zone, Luciana Fuster, the winner of the international title of Miss Grand International 2023 and a TV personality from Peru, expressed anticipation about how the live translation feature would help people living overseas, recalling her experience of living in Thailand for one year.

"The translation in real-time when you are talking on the phone (is the most impressive feature), because it's very important. We have to communicate with people and it has been a little bit difficult because of the language differences," Fuster told The Korea Herald.

Samsung Electronics' Galaxy S24 Ultra Live Translate feature displayed at Galaxy Unpacked 2024 in San Jose, California, US on Wednesday. Samsung Electronics' Galaxy S24 Ultra Live Translate feature displayed at Galaxy Unpacked 2024 in San Jose, California, US on Wednesday.

The Live Translate features, utilizing on-device AI, made some mistakes and were somewhat slow. Still, they nevertheless performed decently, presenting good competition with other translation service providers, such as Google Translate, Naver Papago and DeepL Translator.

Samsung's AI features have an edge as its AI technology utilizes both on-device and cloud servers, reducing security concerns about the potential leakage of private data.

The Chat Assist feature supported translation as well as grammar correction. What was interesting was its offering of different styles and tones of texts for different occasions.

In a messenger, I typed in, "Yo, what do you want?" then pressed on the AI pen icon. The smartphone automatically rephrased the message in four different modes for me to choose: professional, casual, #social and polite.

The professional message read, "Hello, could you please clarify your inquiry?"

The camera and image editing tools got a boost with the AI technology, making a full-fledged entry into the third-party app market in the photography field.

The camera's zoom-in function, resolution and image editing features have also been upgraded with AI technology. The Provisual Engine and Generative Edit features for photo editing were attractive, offering recommendations on how to revise a photo, and allowing users to make alterations easily with a couple of taps of one's finger.

“When feature phones first came out, its services to users were limited to what the machines provided. Then in the smartphone era that followed, people became active users to get apps that they need for themselves,” an industry official said.

“In the era of AI, it will be the AI technology that will identify what the user would need in advance, and then provide the service for them.”

This reporter removed a shadow covering a face and a telephone pole in a photo, and the smartphone automatically changed or filled in the background in the image. It was also easy to move the subject of a photo to a different spot and the background naturally blended in. The AI-modified picture has a watermark on its left corner.

Alexane Pelletier (left), a content creator from Canada, attends Galaxy Unpacked 2024 held at SAP Center in San Jose, California in US on Wednesday. (Jo He-rim/The Korea Herald) Alexane Pelletier (left), a content creator from Canada, attends Galaxy Unpacked 2024 held at SAP Center in San Jose, California in US on Wednesday. (Jo He-rim/The Korea Herald)

Alexane Pelletier, a content creator from Canada, picked out Quick Share as an impressive feature, as it will help content creators to switch easily among different devices for their work.

"We all know Airdrop (from Apple) and this is the thing for content creators, for photographers, for everyone. It's just easy from your Mac to your iPhone. Now, I'll just have Quick Share -- it's perfect," Pelletier said.

"For the camera for content creation, I think AI will help. If my boyfriend takes a picture of me and does it to crop, I want the AI to zoom out (in the picture) and fill the void. I think it's really useful for us," she added.