It might say 16GB on the box but our lab tests have discovered you aren’t getting the amount of storage you might expect. On some phones you could be getting less than half the total advertised.
Last May we revealed that the 16GB Samsung Galaxy S4 actually has less than 9GB of usable memory. It’s now eight months on but despite testing a bagful of new phones we can confirm that Samsung’s celebrated smartphone powerhouse is still the biggest memory hog we’ve seen.
In fact, out of the Samsung Galaxy S4’s supposed 16GB, only 8.56GB (or 54%) is actually available for you to use.
Where’s all the memory gone?
The reality is every phone has to sacrifice some of its internal memory to the operating system – they never live up to the sales talk of 8,16 or 32GB. But many manufacturers further stuff their phone with pre-loaded apps, skins and bloatware. And no phone has more piping, braiding and frills than the Samsung Galaxy S4.
Running on Android, Samsung has heavily customised the S4 with their Touchwiz interface. This includes many of Samsung’s own features but, while it looks pretty and grabs headlines, most of the stuff is next to useless. Eye tracking technology that pauses video when you look away from the screen sounds attractive but in reality it works badly, gulps down your battery and monopolises your internal storage.
Below you’ll see some of the latest handsets we’ve put through our lab tests to discover their true storage space – read more about how we test mobile phones.
Apple gives you the most
Apple’s more affordable (relatively) iPhone, the 5c, is the most generous of the 16GB phones we’re recently tested, giving you 12.6GB of memory (79%) to play with. Meanwhile Google’s new Nexus 5, which runs on the Android operating system like the S4,, is relatively bloatware free with 12.28GB (77%) of usable space. The iPhone 5s is in bronze position, providing 12.2GB (76%) of usable storage.
Before you rush out to buy any of the three phones just named, you should note that none of them have memory card slots. So while they may have the largest usable internal memories, you can’t add to them by using a cheap memory card. In contrast, you can massively boost the S4’s memory, adding an extra 64GB of storage for only around £40. To combat the S4’s storage issues, Samsung allows you to install apps directly to its memory card.
Does claimed storage size matter?
If you can so easily add to the phone’s memory, does the advertised internal memory size really matter? Well, yes it does. Ultimately, it’s not fair; as you aren’t getting the space you expected or are being promised. And while it’s easy to check whether a phone has a memory card slot, there’s no easy way to find out much actual storage space they have to offer.
Do you agree? Tell us what you think in the comments below.