How much storage space does your 16GB smartphone actually have?

BY Abhijeet Mishra

Published 27 Jan 2014


If you’ve bought and used a couple of smartphones, you’re probably aware that no device makes the full amount of advertised internal storage available for use, but have you ever wanted to compare how much usable storage space popular devices in the market offer? Which? magazine decided to do just that, and the results reveal that Samsung’s Galaxy S4 is still the biggest offender when it comes to the ratio of total vs. available storage.

When the Galaxy S4 was launched, users were quick to cry out that it gobbled up almost half of its 16GB internal storage for system files, offering only around 9 GB of available storage. Well, eight months have passed since then, and no other smartphone has close to Samsung’s 2013 flagship, which takes up 46 percent of the internal storage. That’s a lot of bloatware any way you look at it, and it doesn’t help that quite a few of it can’t be removed. Samsung does offer a workaround by allowing the user to move all apps to the external storage, but that doesn’t change the fact that 16GB of on-board storage is simply not enough for the company’s flagships, which is likely why the Galaxy Note 3’s basic model offers 32GB out of the box.

To make matters worse for Samsung, Apple’s iPhone, takes the top spot in the comparison, with 12.60 GB of storage usable on the iPhone 5c. That’s not unexpected, as Apple follows the “less is more” philosophy and doesn’t fill its devices with any feature it feels doesn’t improve the experience for the end-user. Google’s Nexus 5 comes next, while the LG G2 offers the least after the Galaxy S4. Basically, the two Korean manufacturers are packing in everything on their smartphones except for the kitchen sink, and while they do help differentiate the software experience, it ultimately leaves the user wanting for storage space that could have been better spent on apps, music and other media.