When you buy a 16GB Samsung Galaxy S4, keep in mind that you’re actually getting something closer to an 8.5GB device. British consumer product testing website Which? has conducted a study of several leading smartphones to determine just how much usable storage you actually get when you pay for a 16GB device. The website found that the device that gives you the lowest return is none other than Samsung’s Galaxy S4… and it’s not even close.
According to Which?, the 16GB Galaxy S4 in reality only delivers 8.56GB of usable storage, or roughly 54% the advertised total. The next-lowest device on the list is the LG G2, which still delivers 10.37GB of usable storage, or around 65% of the advertised total. On the other side of the ledger, Which? found that the iPhone 5c delivered an industry-best 12.6GB of usable storage while Google’s Nexus 5 delivered 12.28GB of usable storage.
What makes the Galaxy S4 so hungry for storage? Which? says to blame on all the features that Samsung preloaded onto the device.
“Running on Android, Samsung has heavily customized the S4 with their Touchwiz interface,” Which? explains. “This includes many of Samsung’s own features but, while it looks pretty and grabs headlines, most of the stuff is next to useless. Eye tracking technology that pauses video when you look away from the screen sounds attractive but in reality it works badly, gulps down your battery and monopolizes your internal storage.”
The good news, though, is that Samsung may tone down its feature spam for future releases. When BGR reviewed the Galaxy Note 3, we noticed that Samsung had noticeably stopped trying to pack as many new gimmicky features into the device as it could. If Samsung brings this approach over to other flagship devices in the future then the 16GB version of the upcoming Galaxy S5 may actually deliver something more than 60% of its advertised storage.