Sony Xperia 1 VI vs Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra: Which is best?

Sony has revealed its top-end flagship for 2024, the Xperia 1 VI, but how does it compare to the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra? It is considered by many to be the best smartphone of 2024, after all.

Despite both being camera-focused flagships, there are key differences between the two, from camera tech to the use of AI and much more, that could sway your opinion one way or the other. If you’re struggling to decide between the Xperia 1 VI and Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra for your next upgrade, we’re here to help.

Here are five key differences between the Sony Xperia 1 VI and Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra. If you’re curious about what’s new from this year’s flagship, take a look at our Sony Xperia 1 VI vs Xperia 1 V comparison. 

The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra has a more versatile camera setup

Both the Sony Xperia 1 VI and Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra are camera-focused flagships with capable camera setups, but the Galaxy S24 Ultra has the edge here.

That’s because it has an impressive camera setup comprised of four lenses; a 200MP main camera, 10MP 3x telephoto, 50MP 5x periscope and a 12MP ultrawide lens, essentially providing a range of 0.5x to 10x and beyond – all the way to 100x with Samsung’s digital zoom tech. 

It’s a capable system that we were very impressed with in our review, calling it one of the best camera systems of any smartphone in 2024. 

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra rear camera setupSamsung Galaxy S24 Ultra rear camera setup
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

The Sony Xperia 1 VI, on the other hand, sports a 52MP main camera alongside a 12MP 3.5x periscope lens and a matching 12MP ultrawide lens. While the periscope lens provides an optical range of up to 7.1x, it’s not quite as expansive as Samsung’s competing ultrawide. The main and periscope lenses are also of a lower resolution, limiting just how good its digital zoom offering can be in comparison. 

The Sony Xperia 1 VI is better for pro-level photographers

While Samsung has a more versatile camera setup overall, there’s no doubt that the Sony Xperia 1 VI is the one to go for if you’re a pro-level photographer or videographer.

Not only does the phone offer the ability to double up as extra storage, a wireless viewfinder and more for recent models of Sony Alpha DSLR, but it also offers a range of advanced on-device shooting modes to get the best out of the camera system.

These were previously split into various apps, including Camera Pro, Video Pro and even Cinema Pro, but they’ve all been bundled into the main Camera app on the Xperia 1 VI, making them even easier to access. 

The exact functionality depends on the mode in question, but it essentially provides granular control over every element of smartphone photography, and when it comes to video, it can make use of LUTs, record in LOG and much more. 

The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra does offer a Pro mode for camera capture, but it doesn’t quite go as far as Sony’s offering. 

The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra boasts Galaxy AI capabilities

One of the key features of the Galaxy S24 Ultra is Galaxy AI – so much so that it took centre stage over the hardware at the phone’s reveal back in January. It’s an impressive suite of AI-powered features that all take place entirely on device, allowing for cool functionality that’s fast and doesn’t need an internet connection to work.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra AI summarySamsung Galaxy S24 Ultra AI summary
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

The features range from AI transcription from voice notes to tech that’ll summarise chunks of text, as well as real-time translation tech for phone calls, advanced editing tools and much more. Though the results aren’t always perfect, it’s one of the best uses of GenAI on smartphones so far.

The Xperia 1 VI also has AI smarts, dubbed Sony AI, but it powers behind-the-scenes tech like the camera-focused human pose estimation tech and AI animal eye recognition, as well as improving connectivity and audio performance, rather than offering flashy big features users can call on at any point. 

The Sony Xperia 1 VI has a high-quality headphone jack

Headphone jacks were found on practically every high-end phone in the mid-2010s, but as wireless Bluetooth headphones surged in popularity, manufacturers began ditching the jack. 

Sony Xperia 1 VI colour optionsSony Xperia 1 VI colour options

Everyone, that is, apart from Sony (and a few budget smartphone makers). Sony has continued to include a 3.5mm headphone jack in practically every Xperia device around, and that continues with the Xperia 1 VI. 

In fact, Sony claims that this year’s flagship has a new premium audio circuit for its 3.5mm headphone jack that should further improve the high-res audio experience on offer. 

With that all said, it shouldn’t be surprising to learn that the competing Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra doesn’t offer a headphone jack, meaning you’ll have to get a USB-C adapter or opt for wireless headphones in future. 

The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra has better long-term software support

Another area where Samsung has Sony beat is with its long-term software promise for the Galaxy S24 Ultra. While previous Samsung phones already had one of the best promises around, committing to 5 OS upgrades and 4 years of security patches, that was boosted to a whopping 7 OS upgrades with the S24 series.

That means that the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra will eventually receive the Android 21 update, continuing to enjoy all the benefits that come with yearly OS upgrades.

The Xperia 1 VI, on the other hand, has a rather paltry promise of 3 OS upgrades and 4 years of security patches, matching that of phones that cost a fraction of the price.

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