Samsung Lies Again: 16GB Galaxy S5 Only Has 7.86GB Usable Storage

samsung-galaxy-s5-storage

When you buy a 16GB iPhone 5c, you get 12.60GB of storage space left over after taking into account iOS 7’s default install size. Comparatively, the Samsung Galaxy S4 was the worst bang for the buck, storage-wise, in smartphones: a paltry 8.56GB of internal space was available to the user to store apps and media upon.

Even the S4, though, was roomy compared to the newly announced Galaxy S5. A 16GB Galaxy S5 comes with less than eight gigabytes of usable memory.

Android Central notes:

And what you can see is that on the 16GB model of the Galaxy S5, half of the on-board storage is used up before the owner even turns on the phone. It’s not quite as dire on the 32GB model of course (and remember that there’s a little bit of funky math anyway, and you never get as much storage as manufacturers say), and Samsung will quickly tell you that’s why you have the option to use a microSD card for expanded storage.

Which is true! You can install apps, media and more to the card in the Galaxy S5’s microSD slot. But they will never run as quickly or as well as they run on the Galaxy S5 itself. At the end of the day, a 16GB Galaxy S5 only has 7.86GB of usable storage to play around with.

There’s worse offenders, though. Don’t forget that Microsoft’s 64GB Surface Pro came with less than 23GB of usable storage. Ouch.

  • http://www.CravingTech.com/ Michael Aulia

    I wonder if there’s a way to uninstall all the S-apps if you don’t care about seeing your heartbeat or steps history

    • PMB01

      Only by rooting.

  • digitaldumdum

    I’m no fan of Samsung or Galaxy devices, but how is this a “lie?” As you, yourself point out, every device has less storage than advertised. Are you saying Samsung “lied” because they offer even less storage than other brands?

    I guess if Samsung said “You get 16 gigs of storage with every phone, regardless of what’s needed for the operating system”, then it would be a lie. Of course, that’s what advertising is: lying.

    • At

      I think the average user doesn’t know that the OS takes up some of that space, I bet most people think they are getting 16 gigs of space to use, not sure where the Lieing part comes in because like you said, every company is the same way. But ouch, over half that 16 gigs take up is ridiculous, and even more so with the windows surface. Pay for 64 gigs and get less than 23, wow!

      Samsung should give up in their ugly UI and stick with stock android and give that space back to the user. regardless, I will not be getting any Samsung device.

      • digitaldumdum

        I, on the other hand, think most buyers of fancy phone already have a pretty good idea of how much (or little) memory will be available to them. In any case, relying on advertising of any kind, including highlighted specs, is foolish.

    • deasys

      The lie is in the pretense that the Galaxy’s “16 GB” is the same as the iPhone’s “16 GB”. As this article attests, that is clearly not the case.

      • JS

        Can you show us an example of where that pretense is being made?

      • deasys

        Right on its spec page, JS. Nowhere does it mention that there is only 7.9 GB available for user storage.

      • JS

        Sorry deasys, that’s not an answer. Putting the device’s total storage space in the specs is what every phone/tablet/computer/gaming console maker in existence does. Are they all making a pretense that their available space is equal to the available space on some other device with the same total storage? If so, then by your definition, they’re all lying.

        Where does Samsung actually suggest that the available space on their phone is equivalent to the iPhone’s? If they’re not doing that, there is no lie. Maybe you need to go learn what the word “lie” means.

      • deasys

        “Where does Samsung actually suggest that the available space on their phone is equivalent to the iPhone’s?”

        By failing to state what the useable space is or even that useable space differs from gross capacity.

      • JS

        Sorry, that’s still not an answer to my question, which you clearly have no intention of answering, because you can’t. Good day, sir.

      • deasys

        Do you have a comprehension problem, JS? I provided a clear and direct answer to your question. Why run away?

  • hary536

    How many apps does Apple bundle by default and how many does Samsung?

    • hkgsulphate

      ask people if they use those samsung apps

      • hary536

        Ask people how many of the 500,000 apps in Apple store do they use?
        saying since people often argue about number of apps in one platform vs other platform. How many apps from Apple on iPhone by default do people use?

      • Disasterpiece

        How many “features” do people actually use as compared to the apps already available on Android? That is why the 8GB looks ridiculous on a flagship device.

      • lucascott

        Those 500k apps are beside the point because they aren’t loaded into the OS and unable to delete.

        To go to the pertinent question there are several apps but even more bits of data in iOS that could be removed and handled in other ways. Apps like weather, stocks, compass. There are plenty of free options for those that want them. And on the data side, how about all the language support. Many folks only need one, a bit more perhaps 2-3. Rarely does anyone need all of it. So remove it and let us download what we need when we need it.

    • Disasterpiece

      Hey hary536 Android is an OS without all the craptacular bloatware Samsung adds to it. That is the difference between Samsung vs Apple, HTC, etc.

  • FKR

    Wow, that’s gotta be one of the lamest excuses for an article I have ever seen. When users unwrap their shiny new iPods and iPhones they are already missing 1.5GB. But fanboy would say “look – Samsung is so much worse”! Not sure where fanboy’s cutoff is but it must be somewhere beyond 1.5GB. At least Samsung gives the *option* to add more memory. Cards will run $50 for an additional 64GB, or $100 for 128GB. There is not even an iPhone out there that comes with that much RAM and if there was it would cost $499 before subsidies. So time to get off the high Apple horse. Remember the lawsuits over display sizes (now disclosure of actual “viewable” size is required) and hard drives (a 1TB drive won’t really hold 1TB of data)? I’m surprised there hasn’t already been one over this. It’s time all manufacturers become more honest about how much memory they steal from the consumer. But I guess a 14GB iPhone doesn’t sound very sexy.

    • PMB01

      But as John says, things aren’t going to be nearly as zippy when running off a microSD card. At least Apple offers a 64GB phone to begin with (regardless of how much it costs)!

      This article isn’t even about Apple. There’s definitely some link bait; but the point is that Samsung is giving consumers even less usable space than before!

      • FKR

        Zippy or not, when someone has that much RAM, it most likely will hold lots of music and video. Any SD card will keep up just fine with streaming such content. And lets face it, having to fork out an additional $100 for just 16 more GB is simply highway robbery. Apple’s built-in RAM can’t be that much better than competitors’ who charge half that. I’d rather pay $100 and add 128GB instead even if it is slower.

      • PMB01

        I thought you mommy only let you use the computer for schoolwork. This is the Internet, not your Word document.

        You lost all credibility in the first sentence and weren’t even on topic.

      • FKR

        Wow, you make absolutely no sense and you just made yourself sound like a jerk. That reflects solely on you. Time to move on. I have no time for trolls.

      • PMB01

        If you had any sense of logic and reason at all, you’d know how idiotic you sound. You’re the only troll here. Piss off and educate yourself before making moronic comments on the Internet.

      • FKR

        Yawn… go away troll. Your obsession with me is becoming a little creepy.

      • PMB01

        Why are you on Cult of Mac again? Oh right, cause you’re an insipid, moronic troll who likes picking fights with nonsensical statements. Go upstairs; I think your mom is calling.

      • FKR

        Looks like someone has an anger management problem to say the least. I’m sure this is not the only thread you get off on. Get a life.

      • PMB01

        I’m glad you recognize that. The first step to recovery is realizing you have a problem. Step two is knowing the difference between storage and RAM.

      • FKR

        Judging by the fact that you are hovering over this thread waiting to submit your responses within minutes of my posts, it has become very obvious that you have a desperate, almost sad, craving for attention. Now all your mommy comments make a lot of sense. I won’t feed your need anymore, instead I will give you one chance to prove who the troll his. How about the last person to leave a comment here is the troll? This is your chance to prove to the world that you are in fact the better and smarter person. I don’t think you can do it. Good luck!

      • PMB01

        It’s called email notifications, dumbass.

        Since when do you make the rules on who’s a troll? Oh right, cause you are one. Got it.

    • deasys

      What “high horse,” FKR? The problem (and lie) is Samsung pretending that the Galaxy’s “16 GB” is the same as the iPhone’s “16 GB”. As this article attests, that is clearly not the case.

      • FKR

        My point: both of them lie about getting a full 16GB of storage. Apple fans just want to decide where it crosses the line – and somehow Apple always seems to be in the acceptable range. Silly.

      • JS

        Can you give us an example of where Samsung pretended that their 16 GB is the same as Apple’s?

      • deasys

        Right on its spec page, JS. Nowhere does it mention that there is only 7.9 GB available for user storage. Apple, on the other hand, actually spells out how much free space is available to the user.

      • JS

        Could you show us where Apple spells that out? I don’t see any mention of it on their webstore besides a vague mention of “actual formatted capacity less” in tiny, low-contrast text waaay at the bottom of the page.

      • deasys

        Good for you—you found it!

        Is there anything comparable on Samsung’s pages for the S5?

  • http://haneez.me/ Haneez Haroon

    Does it really matter? Caz you can pop in a SD card and expand as much as 128GB now.. I saw SanDisk wiith a latest release..

    • PMB01

      As he says in the article, apps and such won’t be nearly as zippy running off the card than off the built-in storage.

  • AAPL_@_$101_Is_A_Done_Deal_:)

    No Droid fanboy cares about that because they figure they’ll just go out and buy a 128GB microSD card, stick in the the S5 and gloat they’ve got far more memory than any iPhone could possibly have.

    • PMB01

      And a majority of that storage will be slower and cause more lag that iPhones don’t have to deal with!

      • Luky

        Android is slower than iOs because of the programming language, Android comes with the Java-Runtime Dalvik, than iOs is written in obj-c.
        This means that java run on a virtual machine, that will be always slower
        The difference is almost imperceptible in internal / exsternal storage

      • PMB01

        Every little bit counts. The read/write speed of these cards is pretty slow compared to what the internal storage can do. Apps definitely run slower off of the card though.

    • http://www.powrsurg.com/ POWRSURG

      I think most Android fanboys will know the difference between storage space and memory. :p

  • Antony

    I see what you did there CultOfMac, you bashed Samsung and then kicked MS Surface in the nuts.

  • Paul Sawers

    But…but…yeah, that’s a MASSIVE deficit over the advertised figure, however every single operator in this space does the same thing…including Apple. Granted, it’s all to varying degrees, but why doesn’t Apple advertise 12.60GB on its box, rather than 16GB? Is that a lie? Or is it okay because “It’s Apple”?

    • deasys

      Those “varying degrees” are meaningful, Paul. The lie is in the pretense that the Galaxy’s “16 GB” is the same as the iPhone’s “16 GB”. As this article attests, that is clearly not the case.

      • Paul Sawers

        This still doesn’t address the fact that Apple advertises 16GB and only gives about 12GB. This makes them liars too, and every other company. The ‘varying degrees’ are certainly meaningful from a consumer’s perspective – anyone would rather have 12GB than 8GB. But my umbrage was at the use of ‘Samsung Lies Again’ – I mean, really? They’re all liars. And at any rate, why the hell is an Apple website reporting on Samsung? The connection with Apple here is so tenuous. #rantover. ;)

      • JS

        deasys, please show us an actual example of Samsung promoting that pretense, or stop repeating the same argument over and over.

      • deasys

        Okay, here you go: Nowhere on the S5’s spec page does Samsung note that there is only 7.9 GB available for user storage. Apple, on the other hand, actually spells out how much free space is available to the user on the iPhone spec page.

      • JS

        You must have found some iPhone spec page I don’t know about, because the one I found doesn’t say how much free space is available.

      • deasys

        You need to look on Apple’s Web site, JS. I thought that was clear…

        Go to Apple’s page on the iPhone, click the Tech Specs link, and note the note regarding storage capacity.

      • JS

        I was looking at Apple’s web site. A vague, hard to find note about “actual formatted capacity less” does not constitute “actually spell[ing] out how much free space is available”, so if anyone’s being dishonest, it’s you.

  • Luky

    Look at “miscellaneous files(2,3GB)” “used space” “cached data” and the icons in the status bar, in the top left

    That means that the phone isn’t out of the box but it’s used, with data downloaded and various apps installed

    (Sorry for my bad english)

  • Whocares

    Once for all: android apps dont run on SD card. So F the extended menory excuse. You gets 16 GB version and you’ll end up with less than 8GB which is enough for a few games and apps…suck balls Samsung.

    • JS

      I have apps installed on the SD card of my Android phone. Not all of the apps allow installing to the SD card, but some do.

  • http://nicholasorr.com/ Nicholas Orr

    how is this any different to buying a Dell laptop with a 128GB SSD and having 60-80GB usable?

  • lucascott

    Samsung is NOT lying. It’s standard form to label using the size of the drive. Not the user available space

    if Samsung is guilty of anything it’s bloating. But heck even Apple is guilty of that to some degree.

  • RyanT

    So there’s actually 10.7gb of useable space on the S5, turns out the extra was due to demo software installed just for MWC.

  • Android Developer

    OK, some things to say about this, commenting to all people who wrote here :

    1. The system takes 5.28GB. The rest is used by apps/content that can be cleared/uninstalled , especially the miscellaneous files (2.33GB) , which consist of videos and pictures (probably used for demonstrations).
    This leaves 10.72 GB of storage, way higher than was is talked about here.
    takes quite a lot, but still…
    If you don’t believe me, just try it out. It’s the same as on any other Android device. This screen shows how much space each component takes, while only the upper one is of the OS itself.

    2. Apps can usually be installed on the SD card. When using this method, only their internal, private data will be stored on the internal storage (assuming that the developers know this should be done this way).

    3. Sadly, SD cards aren’t working the same now as they worked before. Now that third party apps can’t write anywhere they want . Still, it’s better than nothing. More info here:
    http://www.androidpolice.com/2014/02/17/external-blues-google-has-brought-big-changes-to-sd-cards-in-kitkat-and-even-samsung-may-be-implementing-them/

    4. each Android app can hold up to 50MB of storage (rest is used by what’s called “expansion library” which can add up to 4GB of storage), so you can still put a lot of apps on the internal storage, while the rest can reside on the SD card.
    More information here:
    http://developer.android.com/google/play/expansion-files.html

    5. SD cards are slower than internal storage, but SGS5 actually supports the new ones which are much faster than previous SD cards models.

    Can’t find where I’ve read about it.

  • Jane

    perhaps it is you who is lying. Since it actually comes with over 10GB free space… a typical apple centric critisism.

  • Ro

    Biased much? My S5 had 11.4 gb free after the 4.6 taken by the OS.

  • james fitch

    Just bought an s5 with 16 gb of internal memory. Ive already downloaded a ton of apps and still have 9.6 gbs left. Your info is wrong.

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John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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