Not as much as you think. Buy a phone like the Samsung Galaxy S4 featuring 16GB of storage and you might expect to get, well, 16GB of storage but our tests have found that most phones give you much less than the amount advertised – in some cases half the amount.
Where’s your missing storage?
The operating system has eaten it. Every smartphone has an operating system – such as Google’s Android or iOS for iPhone – and this takes up a certain amount of storage. Throw in some built in apps – and most manufacturers do – and your storage size can be reduced to a shoebox.
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. We found some are far worse than others in hogging storage space – put your hand up the Samsung Galaxy S4.
All phone storage totals have been rounded up or down to the nearest whole number.
Is phone storage space a big deal?
It’s a poor performance from the Samsung Galaxy S4 – and the reason why the phone is being put on the naughty step in this weeks episode of Watchdog – but all phones are guilty of advertising more space than is actually available.
An operating system needs to take up some of the storage space on your phone – a better, more powerful operating system may – may – need to take up a little more room.
The problem is that manufacturers aren’t making people aware of how much space they’re really getting when they buy the phone. And it’s a bit of a lottery.
Essentially, any phone you purchase will have less space available than the amount advertised. And there is a lot of variation. You might be buying a 16GB phone but in reality you could be getting anything from 15GB of free storage with the HTC Windows 8X to just 9GB with the S4.
Are all operating systems created equal?
There is not even uniformity across operating systems. So the Google Nexus 4 has 13GB of available storage while the Samsung Galaxy S4 has just 9GB – yet both phones run on Android. Samsung has stuffed the device with extra apps.
We found the same issue across different types of phones – 8GB, 16GB and 32GB – as well as in tablet storage space – which we talked about last month.
Ultimately, it’s not fair. You aren’t getting the space you expected and you have no easy way of knowing how much you will actually get from phone to phone.
Is 9GB of free storage on a 16GB phone fair? Have your say on phone storage over at Which? Conversation.