If you buy a 32GB tablet, you’d probably expect to have around 32GB to fill with files. I certainly would. That’s why I was surprised to see Microsoft’s 32GB Surface tablet only has 16GB of free space to use out of the box.
All computers need software to work and that software takes up space, but when the software eats up 50% of the hard disk space I think manufacturers need to be more upfront with their advertising.
Buried in the FAQs on Microsoft’s website, the company explains that the 32GB model has approximately 16GB free hard disk space, with the 64GB version having only 46GB available to use.
Microsoft explains the shrinking hard drive space as follows:
|Surface with Window RT (decimal system)||32GB||64GB|
|Total disk size as reported by Windows (binary system)||29||58|
|Reserved space for Windows recovery tools||-5||-5|
|Size of hard drive reported by File Explorer||24||53|
|Windows RT, Microsoft Office and built-in apps||-8||-8|
|Free space reported by File Explorer||16GB||45GB|
Even if this is also printed in small writing on the tablet’s packaging, I’m not sure Microsoft is being upfront enough.
When asked how much free storage space you’d expect to get on a 32GB tablet, most people would probably look perplexed and answer ‘32GB, obviously’. They’d also expect the 32GB badge emblazoned on the front of the box to corroborate this.
To me it’s like buying 500g of minced beef and finding that 250g is packaging, or buying a pint of milk and finding that the carton is half empty (definitely not half full).
Perhaps what we need is a clearer gross and net figure for total storage and available storage. At least this way we’ll know exactly what we’re getting.
Interestingly, the 32GB Surface costs the same as the 16GB iPad. I think this could lead many to feel that in terms of storage, Microsoft’s Surface represents better value for money. The truth, however, is that the storage size on the two tablets is nearer than most people would probably think.
When buying a 32GB tablet, how much free storage space would you expect?
A little less than 32GB (taking into account pre-installed software and apps) (77%, 234 Votes)
32GB (as it says on the box) (19%, 57 Votes)
16GB (I expect it will be half the advertised size) (4%, 12 Votes)
Total Voters: 303