As smartphones have evolved into consumers’ default music players, cameras, and all-around multimedia storage devices, memory capacity has become an increasingly important smartphone commodity. However, the smartphone memory capacity advertised by the vendor does not accurately reflect how much memory is actually available to use on the device. The smartphone’s preloaded operating system as well as extra memory-consuming apps can drastically lower the actual amount of storage space that is available on a device.
UK-based consumer advocate charity Which recently took a look at eight of the most popular 16GB smartphones on the market today in order to determine which devices give consumers the most usable memory. According to Which, Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) 16GB iPhone 5C gives consumers the largest amount of usable memory at 12.6GB, or 79 percent of the total memory capacity. On the other end of the scale, Samsung’s (SSNLF.PK) 16GB Galaxy S4 gave consumers the least amount of free storage space with only 8.56GB, or 54 percent of the supposedly available 16GB.
While the 16GB iPhone 5C was the top-ranked device, Apple’s 16GB iPhone 5S also scored high in the study with a third-place ranking. The California-based company’s basic flagship device gives consumers 12.2GB of usable memory, or 76 percent of the total advertised capacity. Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android-powered Nexus 5 barely edged out the iPhone 5S for second place with 12.28GB, or 77 percent of usable storage.
Apple’s iPhone 5S was followed by Sony’s (NYSE:SNE) Xperia Z1 that provides 11.43GB of free storage space. The BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) Z30 took fifth place with 11.2GB of usable storage, followed by HTC’s One Mini with 10.44GB, and LG’s G2 with 10.37GB.
Although Apple’s latest iPhone models and Google’s Nexus 5 provide consumers with the largest amount of available internal memory, it should also be noted that none of the three top-ranked devices have expandable memory capacities. On the other hand, Samsung’s last-ranked Galaxy S4 allows consumers to expand the device’s storage space with a memory card.
The Galaxy S4 also allows users to install apps directly onto the memory card. As noted by Which, consumers can add 64 GB of memory to the Galaxy S4 for around $70.
So why does Samsung’s 16GB Galaxy S4 offer so little usable internal storage space? Which noted that the Korea-based manufacturer’s device comes preloaded with many memory-consuming extras. For example, the Galaxy S4 has a “Smart Scroll” feature that allows a user to scroll by looking at the screen and tilting the phone. It also comes preloaded with the eye-tracking “Smart Pause” feature that automatically stops video playback if the device detects that the user is no longer looking at the screen. Both features use a relatively large amount of memory space and battery power.
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