While many smartphones advertise 16GB of capacity, none of them actually offer that much storage to the end user. But both Apple’s iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s offer among the most advertised space out of the box, while Samsung’s Galaxy S4 comes in last place. In fact, Which points out that 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.
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. 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.