Jan 24 AT 3:16 PM Dima Aryeh 50 Comments

How much storage does your smartphone really offer?


Smartphones come with many nice features, and as time goes on, the software that’s loaded onto these devices continues to grow in size. We used to have storage bumps nearly every year, but more recently it seems as though 16GB has become the standard. Luckily, it seems we’re finally graduating to 32GB being the norm, but many folks still have a phone with a measly 16GB of storage. How much of that 16GB is actually available to you? Well, it depends on the device.

When it comes to Android phones, the Nexus 5 has a healthy lead with 12.28GB of available space thanks to stock Android and a lack of bloatware. Sony’s skin is surprisingly light, as the Xperia Z1 offers 11.43GB out of the box. And as you expected, Samsung did the worst by a healthy margin, offering just 8.56GB of space out of the box, which is a little more than half of what is built in. Of course, you do get a microSD slot, but that’s still insane.

The phones used in this chart are only 16GB phones, which is why you don’t see the HTC One or Samsung Galaxy Note 3 included. We’re starting to see more devices mimic the One and Note 3 by coming to market with 32GB of storage built-in, but manufacturer skins and formatting still take up a good chunk of that space. Now that you see how different manufacturers stack up to each other in terms of storage and bloat, what do you think? Leave a comment!

Via: Pocket Now

Dima Aryeh is a Russian obsessed with all things car and tech. His time is split between gaming and fixing his racecar. He also does photography in his spare time.

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  • Paul Atreides

    Samsung should be very ashamed of themselves. Do better Samsung!

    • Originalme8

      I’m sure they really care about that when they are at the top of the pile when it comes to android devices sold.

      Not that I am defending them, I prefer pure google or CM myself.

    • krym73

      They make up for it by still keeping the SD card slot in all their smartphones.Good enough trade off for me since I have a 64gb SD

      • Bre

        and that would be awesome if most apps would transfer to sd card ^.^

        • Greg Moore

          Yes, would someone who knows please address this? I just bought a 32 G micro SD and can’t transfer many apps to it, and can’t download to it. For example the free bit torrent app has something I can click to download to the SD but that doesn’t happen.

          I’d like to move everything to the SD card. It’s huge compared to the 1.3 G internal memory. Is that possible?

    • VanillaAndroidFTW

      Its called expandable storage buddy. What samsung does need to improve is build quality, dump that plastic

      • Chris

        Don’t the Nexus model have the same plastic? Which phone do you use?

      • Tommy

        I got no problem with my plastic phone with a removable back cover. It must not be that bad since the almighty apple followed in suit. Removable battery = no wait for charge

    • revs

      they did …its called an SD CARD SLOT ……WIN

      • ==

        Micro-SD card slot; not SD card slot.

        • Greg Moore

          Useless micro SD slot.

  • ranwanimator

    I don’t remember how much my Moto X had out of the box. Surprised that’s not on the list with as popular as it is. Also I’m not going to reset my phone to find out.

    • Adam

      Moto X has 11.88GB available out of the box.

  • Mel

    I have Optimus f6 and it’s awful.

  • xaeem

    12.92GB for my Nexus 4! A clear win..

    • aasif khan

      With no expandable memory

  • Miguel Chasco

    It’s a really pity fit me can’t understand why I bought a 16Gb Samsung S4 with 16G and only can use minus than 916Gb! It’s really bad, it’s a total lost of trust in the company that is lying to us trying to sell more and more and installing a lot of features that we cannot uninstall and don’t wasn’tI to use! I think that every customer can be the right to reclaim ask lest a memory of 8gb free to Samsung company. I don’t pull my friend to have Samsung anymore and it’s the best way to make bad publicity. :(

    • ZachG

      First of all, your grammer and spelling are atrocious, i had to read it a few time to get what you’re trying to say.

      Second, how is it criminal for you to only get a bit over 8gb? Where are they lying about space? Does the phone come with a 16gb chip?

      I had the 16gb Note II, and it wasn’t a problem. If i ever ran out of space I just deleted an old backup and i was good. Samsung puts micro sd ports in their phones, so you can’t really complain about space. If you need more, just put in a $10 16gb micro sd card.

      Sure they could do better, but there’s plenty of other things to get riled up about than storage space.

      • renzx

        You are either a master troll, or someone who is comfortable with people walking all over them. If a product is advertised as having 16gb of storage space, how can you suggest that a person shouldn’t be upset that they are getting only half of that? Would you be happy if you ordered a big mac and it came with one patty? I really don’t understand how you don’t understand the issue here…

        • Kevin

          I think a more accurate comparison would be if you were sold a 1/3 lb burger based on the weight of the raw meat and then after being cooked it ended being significantly less.

          Also the amount of space on smartphones is much smaller than desktop computers and laptops, so the OS and pre-installed applications take up a greater percentage of the space available.

          • SGB101

            When you buy a pc it will advertise a 120gb ssd or 1tb hdd, 20gb, give or take, will be taken for o’s and restore. This isn’t new it’s reality.

            This is no different, it’s only more apparent because they have smaller storage so the percentage used looks huge.

            We all know this happens and we all know before hand so no one is robbing no one.

            If you want a skin, it takes up space, so go Samsung, As it had an sd for media, so there is plenty of room. In reality your in a better position than a nexus. But that is a whole different argument for another day.

      • trollytroll


    • Educated Consumer

      Next time, maybe read the specs and do your research 🆚vs buying on impulse

  • jose

    What about my moto x?

  • mostafa

    lg vu 26.5 GB

    • SGB101

      That’s not great then, it takes up 5.5gb,so it would equate to 10.5gb on a 16gb model, so it’s to the lower end of the phones mentioned above. Bit at well ahead of the new Samsungs.

  • Evans

    Y du these android os eat up big space

  • Perry

    Part of the big problem is bloat and I’m not talking about the extra crap they put on the phones. I’m talking about the actual apps that we use and love; many are bloated and larger than they need to be. Look at the OS on any computer and it’s almost twice the size it used to be.

    Go to any picture message board and regular jpgs are now sometimes multiple megabytes in size. What happened to the 200k hi rez pic?

    Song files are bloated too. There’s a reason why the average HD is now 1 TB in size. Everything is getting bigger but not necessarily better.

    • SGB101

      You have it the wrong way round, everything is larger now, because space got cheaper, so coders could get more lazy.

      Regard 200k thumbs, 720p and up screens is the reason

    • H3X0

      Picture files are getting bigger because their resolution is increasing and they’re being compressed less so they don’t have as many blocky artifacts.

      Same with song files, they’re being encoded with higher sample rates and bitrates because they sound better.

      Here’s some food for thought: Take a 320kbps mp3 and re-encode it at 96kbps. (use an audio converter or something like that.) Now, using a good pair of headphones (not Beats), listen to the original 320kbps file, then listen to the smaller 96kbps file, and compare them. You’ll notice that the 96kbps file doesn’t sound as good, because more of the sound information is being discarded to make the file smaller.

      • Ryan Stith

        Your are correct, sir.

  • Nigel

    It isn’t “memory” you mean but storage. But you’re right in that bloated bigger software is significantly also related to bigger memory footprint which slows performance, larger files to load out of storage and more cpu consumed. So smaller has elements of faster.

    My phone (Nexus 4) was available 8GB or 16GB so got 16GB which is more than enough for me to have more than a battery life’s worth of videos stored on it and I can connect USB stick to copy anything larger off and then not really restricted by the phone’s storage.

  • redraider133

    Wish they would make 32gb the minimum standard. 16 is even a little low, especially with all the bloat and skins on certain devices.

  • Schleyseiner

    Somebody ever wondered why Samsung sells so good? They may have low internal storage capacity due to their blown up version of Android but you can use a micro SD card up to 64 GB. I do it on my Motorola RAZR. I think that’s the reason nobody buys that htc, Motorola or LG crap anymore. No expandable memory, no removable battery – - > no sales increases. Personally I think they should all go down for this stupidity. If the greedy carriers would still give us unlimited data we could outsource our data to the cloud but as it stands right now expandable memory is a must!

    • SGB101

      It’s the removal battery for me that swings it. I have a 16gb note with 16sd,all my sd does is keep backups of roms and game data on. I could live with 16gb only if I had to. It would just mean putting my back ups on pc, which I do anyway.

      Now I’m in a funny place atm regarding battery, I got stung with a HTC one x, and sid I’d never get an internal battery again, hence the note 2 and it’s huge, great and swappable battery, (talk about from one end of the spectrum to the other), but before Xmas I got my daughter a moto g, and tested a you do for a week, and was blown away at how good that battery was.

      It was the best battery I’ve seen on a smart phone, I’m a heavy user, and it would easily get a day or of it, a mid to light user easy get 2 days out of it, so I could see a day I would be happy with another internal only phone. Plus the back comes off, so it could be upgraded on the g.

      I also lasted a month with only 8gb (5gb) of storage, I had to be picky about apps but I survived.

  • Kevin

    LG Optimus L9 has 4GB of internal storage but 2GB are hidden so you are left with 1.8GB. Lucky for me it supports SD cards up to 32GB. It may not help with apps but I can at least use it for music and videos.

  • John Patrick

    Here’s a better one: Which of the phones listed allows you to add up to 64GB of storage AND which phone also allows you to install a new or spare battery?

    Er…how ’bout this: which phones will become paperweights when their sealed-in batteries stop recharging in 2 or 3 years?

  • Stu Gross

    With all the silly bloatware, a min of 32g is where it’s at. I have an HTC ONE and I have none of the storage issues I have had with 16g phones. There is no reason why these phones don’t come standard with higher storage capacities. Just another way to steal money from the consumer.

  • Chris

    A lot of the better phones do have the option of 32GB instead of 16.

  • Rohan Shah

    At least one thing that an iPhone is good at… JK JK!

  • G Ellis

    I have a 16gb zopo c3 I could use 13gb out the box and a 64gb sd card

  • Kamran Khalid.

    LG lte 2 (f160) 16gb and I have 12.75 Gb available..! Best phone :-)

  • John Sullivan

    What I want to know and can rarely find is not just how much storage is available for apps but how much of it is true “phone storage” and not an “internal SD”. Some apps, and many I use require they be installed in phone storage.

  • djh

    This “internal storage” is a complete joke, especially with phones at the cheaper end of the market.

    For example we bought my mother a cheap Huawei phone last year, thinking it would be fine for her needs, but she gets plagued EVERY DAY by “insufficient space!” warnings that I can’t get rid of for her.

    She keeps on getting these messages because the phone has like 200mb of internal storage and 180mb of that is taken up by Android. This leaves her with 20mb to install apps that HAVE to be on internal storage (the “move to SD card” option is greyed out on all of them)

    It’s a complete joke. I know “never buy cheap” is always a good life lesson, but I would have thought Google would have mandated at least some sort of minimum specification that manufacturers need to adhere to

  • Jesus

    Diagram is dumb.

    It doesn’t show whether the phones offer EXPANDABLE STORAGE or not.

    The LG G2 and the Galaxy S4 offer EXPANDABLE STORAGE… and so can have up to like 64GBs of unused storage.


  • surethom

    Its 2014 & memory is really cheap (is the mobile companies that increase the cost for profit), ALL high end phones should come with 32gb or 64gb options ONLY & low end phone should come in 16gb & 32gb.

    4gb & 8gb NEED to disappear.

  • Eben1277

    Also, manufacturers lie about capacity. They give you 16 billion bytes and claim its 16 gigabytes, when in actuality 16 gigabytes is 1028 bytes X 1028 (kilobytes) X 1028 (megabytes) X 16 (gigabytes) = 17,381,983,232 bytes. 16 billion bytes is actually only 14.73 (rounded up) gigabytes. From there go ahead and subtract OS, formatting and bloatware and that gives you a pathetic percentage of the advertised 16 gigs of storage. It’s gets worse the higher you go too. That 1 TB hard drive? Try 920 gigabytes. That’s a loss of 80 (well… 79.51) gigs off the top end.

    • http://www.androidandme.com Dima Aryeh

      It’s pretty shitty of them to do that. Always hated that.

  • McLovin

    I am a big fan of removeable storage. But the way Google has implemented it you can’t install apps on it, only data. So even if you have a 64 Gg ST card you are still limited by the internal installed memory.

  • donger

    Nice chart.