Comparison shows how much internal storage you actually get with popular smartphones

Comparison shows how much internal storage you actually get with popular smartphones
Which? magazine, known for its comparisons meant to help consumers with picking electronics, has published a new study of sorts that aims to debunk how much internal storage left-over you actually get with 8 popular smartphones. As many of you have come to expect, smartphones are usually marketed as carrying an option of 16/32/64GB internal memory, and yet a very sizable portion of that promise is actually taken up by the operating system itself, along with all of its fluff. As you can imagine, this is a particularly annoying issue when you get your hands on a carrier-branded model, which usually comes with an unhealthy dose of non-removable bloatware. So how much is there left for you, if you look at your typical 16GB device?

Well, according to the folks behind Which?, the answer is simple: Samsung's heavy TouchWiz gets the 'award' for the most bloated piece of firmware, and its Galaxy S4 is, accordingly, able to store about half of its advertised capacity. The rest of the smartphones on the list are fairly close together, offering from 10 to a little over 12GB of usable storage, with the iPhone 5c getting the crown, with 12.6GB of available memory.


Now, lest you cry foul, we actually double-checked some of the results ourselves, and largely arrived at the same numbers, with very little variation. The reason for this actually simple: the folks behind the blog are UK-based, so their regional models come pre-loaded with a different sort of bloatware.

source: Which

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44 Comments

1. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

What? 8,56!! Wow Samsung lighten your skin please. And I'm surprised to see that Android doesn't really take any more space than iOS.

28. jaytai0106

Posts: 1888; Member since: Mar 30, 2011

I wonder if they taken account for the carrier bloatware also. That's why I'm rocking a Nexus 4 still haha I love the pure android experience. But I'm sure you could just unlock, root, and flash a rom to your phone to get rid of those bloatware.

38. Psykotik_Dragon

Posts: 81; Member since: Dec 21, 2013

That's got to be regional bloatware for UK...I work w/ Samsungs all day long at Best Buy here in the US & they usually have around 10-11GB of storage space available on 16GB devices not 8.5...That's just crazy...I wonder which carriers they were specifically checking those numbers on...I'm curious to see what bloatware they come w/ to have THAT little storage available to the user.

2. MC1123

Posts: 1256; Member since: Nov 12, 2012

Ugly skin and laggy UI! Ew Samsung-dong!

10. ihavenoname

Posts: 1693; Member since: Aug 18, 2013

Don't look at LG skin... You will throw up.

22. tedkord

Posts: 17346; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Ugly is a matter of opinion. Laggy depends on the device. Not on the Note 3.

23. ihavenoname

Posts: 1693; Member since: Aug 18, 2013

Agreed. Note 3 is lagless, smooth and fast.

31. district11

Posts: 126; Member since: Apr 17, 2011

Not on the Galaxy S4 either ;)

27. decent4u

Posts: 75; Member since: Apr 26, 2012

Samsung's skin is not laggy on NOTE 3,and it may be ugly for u but I bought the Note 3 because of samsung's skin otherwise I would have bought Sony's Z1 Just a matter of choice,Everybody is different. :)

3. amansingal14

Posts: 309; Member since: Sep 08, 2012

12.55* in my 16 GB nexus5

6. Chris.P

Posts: 567; Member since: Jun 27, 2013

Ours too.

4. darkkjedii

Posts: 31002; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Ouch Samsung. For the amount of features (some gimmicky some not) that Samsung crams into their phones, 32 gigs should be their bare minimum. Nice that apples simplistic approach allows for the most user available storage..kudos apple

11. ihavenoname

Posts: 1693; Member since: Aug 18, 2013

Hopely GS5 is more cleaned up. This is not good.

30. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Hell no, as long they keep giving the SD slot it's fine, the majority of space is taken by pictures and songs/movies stored on the phone and putting those in SD is much better and cheaper (better because it can easily be swapped and moved around).

32. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

While SD card is good I still think spec should include user usable memory of 8.5Gb out of 16Gb. It help us make an informed choice whether to pickup the 16G or 32G model.

39. Psykotik_Dragon

Posts: 81; Member since: Dec 21, 2013

but at the same time for the amount of features they cram in their phones it actually seems to take up less than you might think on the US models ( as it's generally only about 5GB taken up by the OS/skin/bloatware...this is based on UK models. I'd be very interested in a US version of this test to see the differences.

5. goojman

Posts: 56; Member since: Oct 29, 2012

I just root & throw a custom rom on my phone & bye bye bloat.

8. darkkjedii

Posts: 31002; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Shouldn't need to do that, bloat should automatically be removable, especially since customizability is so highly touted.

15. JewBakaUCFG

Posts: 176; Member since: Sep 25, 2012

As much as I enjoy Android, this is something that I agree with. Perhaps all phones should come stock android and give the users the option to download carrier/manufacturer stuff.

17. darkkjedii

Posts: 31002; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Agreed +1. I also own a note 3, and there's sooo much stuff I'd remove if I could, I'm just not into rooting/jail breaking my devices.

40. Psykotik_Dragon

Posts: 81; Member since: Dec 21, 2013

unfortunately the carriers are trying to make as much money off your purchase as possible so they include bloated carrier versions of many features/apps that tend to get disabled (or just left on there to take up storage) so they can make a few extra $$ each month by trying to force you to use theirs w/o giving you access to the free version of it that most likely came preloaded in the OS/ Skin

7. buccob

Posts: 2968; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

Considering that the top three phones are the only ones (besides HTC One Mini) that does not offer a microSD card option it comes at no surprises for me... Though I would love to have 32GB internally and microSD slot

35. Psykotik_Dragon

Posts: 81; Member since: Dec 21, 2013

Note3 has you covered on that...starts off w/ 32GB onboard. On the US S4/S3/etc you usually get around 10-11GB of usable storage on a 16GB device when you include bloatware from the carriers...not 8.5GB like they're saying here. That's most likely just their regional carriers adding on their own huge package like he mentioned. I work in Best Buy selling Samsung so I've had lots fo time to play w/ them & troubleshoot, etc.

37. buccob

Posts: 2968; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

Yeah I also thought they were exaggerating... I had the 16GB S3 and it also had ~11 GB free... My current Acro S also has 11 GB internally... and to be honest that is the minimum internal battery I would buy... thats why I never upgraded to the Xperia ZR (better overall than Z, and smaller size which was a plus for me but only 8GB internally with around 5 GB free) Waiting for the Z1 Compact... I will stay the same with probably 11GB free... but the size, ram, processor, ip58 and cam is what im looking for... Also just so you know, the New PadFone Infinity (A86) has 16 or 32GB variants with microSD slot... and those PadFones come with a really light Skin on top of Android, so it usually have more GB free..

43. buccob

Posts: 2968; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

*internal memory

9. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

Shame they didn't show WP8 phones in the results, I was kinda curious about those.

20. darkkjedii

Posts: 31002; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Google em, they'll be available.

24. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

I'm lazy, I wanted them here ;)

26. darkkjedii

Posts: 31002; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

They should've been IMHO

41. Psykotik_Dragon

Posts: 81; Member since: Dec 21, 2013

while I don't personally care for the WinPhones (the interface just doesn't appeal to me) I think they should've been included in this as well, I would've been interested in seeing the differences re: storage.

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