False advertising? Samsung Galaxy S4 16GB version actually only has 8GB usable

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What does Microsoft’s Surface tablet and Samsung’s recently released Galaxy S4 have in common? False advertising about storage space.

Users that purchased the 16GB version of Samsung’s latest flagship phone have discovered that half of that advertised memory is already taken up by the phone’s operating system and built-in apps, leaving them with around 8GB for personal use. This is exactly like a problem that Microsoft faced late last year, when it was discovered that their 32GB Surface tablets only had 16GB usable for the user.

In a response to CNET, Samsung doesn’t quite make things any better for disgruntled users looking for answers:

“For the Galaxy S4 16GB model, approximately 6.85GB occupies [the] system part of internal memory, which is 1GB bigger than that of the Galaxy S3, in order to provide [a] high resolution display and more powerful features to our consumers. To offer the ultimate mobile experience to our users, Samsung provides [a] microSD slot on Galaxy S4 for extension of memory.”

And just like Luke Westaway of CNET wondered, I have to ask, is the phone’s high-resolution display even a valid excuse? There are many other phones on the market with high-resolution displays that don’t seem to have this storage problem. Finally, while it’s great that the Galaxy S4 has a microSD slot, only photos and videos can be loaded onto it — Samsung does not allow you to install apps on microSD, meaning apps are limited to the 8GB of internal memory.

Should Samsung be advertising this phone as an 8GB phone instead? Let us know in the comments!

[via CNET]

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16 comments

  1. Bill Davis

    You forget that, since Ice Cream Sandwich, Google Android has disallowed moving any apps to sd card storage. You can’t move ANY apps to the sdcard. You can’t download any apps to the sd card either. So, the “external storage” is useless, for apps. All you can do is store “user content” but that’s not the topic of this article.

  2. Frank

    [@Briley Kenney] on a rooted device:
    d/l Terminal Emulator
    mount -o remount,rw -t yaffs2 /dev/block/mtfblk3 /system
    rm /system/app/Bloatware1.apk

    rm /system/app/Bloatwaren.apk
    reboot the phone.

    But it’s much easier and cleaner to just re-flash to sth clean and useful like CM.

  3. Ashraf
    Mr. Boss

    [@leland] That explanation makes sense; apps would need to be larger to scale to higher resolutions. However, the screen itself? Nope, not buying it. Also, it should be mentioned SGS4 is hardly unique with its resolution so…

    [@Frank] You may do it but most people don’t and it should *not* be a requirement to use a phone as advertised.

    [@Briley Kenney] >>On an unrelated note I think Samsung’s response is hilarious, they pretty much said “deal with it, that’s what the MicroSD expansion port is for.”

    …with the added bonus that you can’t still apps on the microSD. LOL! I’m a Samsung fan (all smartphones to date have been Samsung, starting from WinMo) but this is pathetic.

  4. Briley Kenney

    [@Frank] With Android you actually need access to the bootloader to flash most Roms. A simple root will not do it. In many cases, you’re stuck with the bloatware on the phone.

    Take my Droid Bionic for example, the bootloader will probably never be unlocked thanks to Moto and Verizon. I did root my device and freeze a lot of the bloatware thanks to Titanium Backup but even so- when I get an OTA update I usually have to wait for a while before I can root my device again.

    On an unrelated note I think Samsung’s response is hilarious, they pretty much said “deal with it, that’s what the MicroSD expansion port is for.”

  5. leland

    Samsung has a point in the high res screen causing apps and stuff to take up more space. Look up the iPad upgrade to the 3 last year. With it came apps that took up more than double the space due to the high resolution graphics needed to make them look good on that screen. I expect much the same is happening on the S4. Also the TouchWiz interface makes the interface of Android look nicer but also takes up considerably more space. What Samsung should do is include a way to uninstall unneeded features to save space. I expect Samsung will be named in a class action lawsuit and maybe at the conclusion we will get some relief. More likely though they will just pay up and move on…

  6. Frank

    [@Frank] BTW, dear Ashraf: Which sane guy would /not/ re-flash his mobile with sth like CM to get rid of the Google spyware.
    It sure /is/ effort to put/port apps to a clean device but honestly: Is your (my) privacy not worth that tiny effort?

    I was holding on to my WinMo device until it died (RIP, my dear!) only for privacy reasons. Now I have CM and some software to do the same. WHAT a shame, one has to /actively/ and knowledgeably work to protect his privacy (and, BTW, to follow/abide privacy LAW, to not commit felonies like data leakage to ‘wrong’ parties)

  7. rizal

    I hate those BS patronizing explanation where by there trying to divert their mistake into trying to say that the whatever mistake or lacking is for the consumer benefit. It seem that Samsung had learn it from Apple. Just make direct and honest statement – people don’t like to be patronized but perhaps fanboys does.

  8. Frank

    [@Ashraf] Dear Ashraf,
    aren’t /you/ operating this site? Aren’t /you/ into IT since years?
    Why such a naive sight?
    Rooting was and /will/be/ /the/sole/and/only/ solution to vendors bloatware.
    On Androids as well as on PCs/laptops with WinWhatever*.

    Yours, Frank

    *When was the last time you bought a new device and did /not/ format it and re-setup what you need? For me it’s at least 8 years. I even ‘rooted’ WinMo devices (RomEOs were great ROMs back in these days)

  9. MarkQ

    Must be all those “more powerful features” that are taking up that space. It’d be interesting to know the details of that extra power and how it translates into GBs.

  10. Ashraf
    Mr. Boss

    What the hell is Samsung loading on these phones to take up that 8GB? Unlike Windows, Android itself isn’t that large. I don’t know the exact number but I’d think Android is only taking about 1GB. The rest is bloatware courtesy Samsung. Sure some of this bloatware is useful but the rest isn’t.

    And I agree with Enrique. Maybe my technical knowledge isn’t up to par but what does resolution of a screen have to do with taking up 1GB of storage?

    Call me a fear mongering but this is not a good sign for Samsung’s future.