/ Technology

Is the Samsung Galaxy S4 suffering from memory loss?

Smartphone phone storage compared

Fancy a Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone with 16GB of storage? Then you’ll need to buy a 32GB version. Confused? I was when our tests found that the 16GB Galaxy S4 only has 8.6GB of free storage out of the box.

Why is the Samsung Galaxy S4 suffering from memory loss? First stop is the operating system. Just like computers, smartphones come installed with operating systems. And whether it’s Android, iOS or Windows, each of these operating systems take up some of your storage space.

But that’s not it. Many phones also come loaded with pre-installed apps – some of which can’t be removed – and these reduce your storage further. That means, in the case of the S4, there’s just 8.6GB left for your own files. That’s not much storage and if you’re expecting 16GB, you’re going to feel a bit short-changed.

And just to show that it’s not all about the operating system, the Galaxy S4 looks even worse when you compare it to another Android phone – a 16GB Google Nexus 4 leaves you with 13GB to play with. You can see how the S4 compares to other phones in our infographic:

Smartphone memory storage compared. Is Samsung Galaxy S4 the worst?

Shoebox storage

We expect to do more with our phones than just make phone calls – and manufacturers certainly promise as much with their all-singing all-dancing handsets.

I record videos, take photos and load the odd TV programme or film onto my phone, and I rarely have enough room on my 4GB for all of this. So, if I was heading to the shops today, I’d be looking to buy a 16GB handset – and I’d expect it to have 16GB for my own content.

You can plug more storage into your phone with an SD card, but why should you have to?

Just give me a number

It’s not just the Galaxy S4 that’s been stacking boxes in the garage. While the S4 is one of the worst offenders, all phones will hog some of your storage.

Yes, phones do need to come with operating systems and pre-installed apps and, yes, these do need to take up some of your storage – but shouldn’t we know how much free space we’re actually getting when we buy the phone?

Buying a 16Gb phone that has just 8GB of usable storage is a bit like buying a car and finding you can’t use the back seats. You aren’t getting what you expected.

I don’t want to guess how much free storage I’m getting when I buy a phone, I want to know. I don’t object to some of the space being taken up – although 8GB seems excessive – but I want to know how much is actually free so I can choose the right phone and the right, real amount of storage for me.

Should mobile phone manufacturers tell you how much phone storage you really get?

Yes (91%, 424 Votes)

I don't mind either way (7%, 33 Votes)

No (2%, 8 Votes)

Total Voters: 465

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Andy says:
9 June 2016

I bought a new Iphone 6 (iOS 9.3.2) with 16Gb. It actually only has 11.7 Gb useable space. Thats 28% space taken up by operating system. When I contacted sales company, they were completely unaware of this issue. Apple are being fraudulant not warning buyers. It’s like buying a car that won’t let you fill up the tank.