2014-04-01

AH Primetime: How Much Internal Storage Do You Actually Have At Your Disposal?

April 1, 2014 - Written By Justin Diaz

It seems that storage space is always an issue for some. Coincidentally it’s also a huge deciding factor for many people when choosing which new phone to upgrade to or select for their first device. The problem with all smartphones, is that they don’t have the exact amount of storage space they’re advertised with. No smartphone is exempt from this factor, and that’s OK, so long as most of the storage space is still available to the user. Some OEMs give more storage space to users than others, and at least one reason is due to how much space is taken up by software from those companies. There are plenty of options out there when choosing which smartphone should be your next, and we have just about every size model under the sun that is reasonable including 4/8/16/32/ and even 64GB models for smartphone hard drive space. Not all of that of course is usable by the owner, which begs the question of how much storage space does your smartphone actually give you? You might be surprised to learn at how much space(or lack there of) you get with certain devices. If anything it puts into perspective just how much space some thing from various OEMs take up.

Although space is a problem for some, there are many users who don’t run into any issues with storage for the simple fact that they spend time managing it. Some more than others, and some not all either because they just choose to deal with what they have or the fact that they don’t need to bother since they might be set up with expandable storage via a microSD card. The lack of storage compared to what you think you’re getting may not bother you, but it might when it begins to hinder what you can save and what you can’t. Having been greeted with this problem on more than one occasion myself with multiple devices that had “8GB” of storage space, had caused me to lose(or rather be left without) around one to one and half GB of space from the actual amount of the hard drive, which led to me making decisions down the road that I didn’t care to make, like choosing what to get rid of so I could install the next app I was curious to try. This of course seems trivial compared to the amount of space lost due to OEM software today, but you get the idea. This problem becomes less and less of a concern to me now, as I’m more well equipped and versed in the matters of cloud storage solutions, the art of backups, and physically having a phone with a larger hard drive than 4-8 gigs. Of course having strictly Nexus devices with the most bare bones version of Android one could ever acquire doesn’t hurt the overall results.

The biggest issue we should be able to attribute to less storage space than what is advertised to users, is the custom UI that most OEMs choose to add as an overlay on top of the Android OS. While this is well within their right to do so and many UI’s have an elegance about them that makes things unique and enjoyable to many, in the end it begins to look a little ridiculous when half of the physical drive space is used by some of these custom OEM user interfaces. For anyone who is using a more recent Samsung or LG device, you might know this to be true, and anyone who is unaware should have a look at the image below just to help put things into perspective. It doesn’t seem like much, since there are many other storage options available to users besides onboard storage, but some people prefer to keep everything on a physical drive space. To them it’s safer, and it’s just how they get things done.

According to this chart, Samsung’s flagship from last year, the Galaxy S4 only has just over half of the allotted amount that is physically on the drive(16GB) with only 8.56GB available to the user. Yes, there is a microSD card slot built in, but some people don’t like expandable storage. Yes, there’s cloud storage, but some are unaware of how or are unable to use it. Other phones on the chart had surprisingly low amounts available to the user as well, like the LG G2, with only 10.37GB of the 16 that is physically built in available to users. At the top, are the Apple iPhone 5C with 12.6GB of the 16GB built in available to users, and the Nexus 5 at number two with 12.28GB of the 16GB built in available to users. It’s an eye opener that causes some to feel that they aren’t getting what they pay for. While we wouldn’t go so far as to make that claim ourselves since we already understand that there will need to be some space on the drive used for the software, it just seems a little excessive to have almost half of the drive space allocated to software such as UI skins, apps, etc. The amount of storage for devices in some cases seems to be getting larger, but in turn so is the amount of space needed by OEM software. This isn’t true in every case though.  What do you think about the amount of storage space available on our phones today? How much storage space do you have on your phone? How much of that storage space can you actually use? 

storage