Samsung responds to criticism of lack of usable storage on 16GB Samsung Galaxy S 4


As Samsung’s newest flagship device starts to land in the hands of retail buyers, some of them are discovering a nasty surprise lying in wait. New owners of the 16GB version of the Samsung Galaxy S 4 have discovered the device only has about 8GB of useable memory available. The other half is eaten up by the operating system and built-in apps. In a statement released in response to the criticism, Samsung says:

“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.”

Many buyers of smartphones look for the availability of a microSD card slot when making their buying decision, which gives Samsung a big advantage with those buyers versus a device like the HTC One. However, Samsung does not permit the installation of apps onto the SD Card, only files, photos, videos and music. If a user wanted to install something like Wikipedia Offline, which clocks in at 3.6GB, they could quickly run through their internal memory. Popular games also tend to be large in size, which could force users to become selective in which apps they install.

Since the discovery of this memory limitation, responses have varied from users. Some have been extremely irate going so far as to describe Samsung’s actions as amounting to a “scam.” Others are nonplussed as they “never got close to filling the internal storage” on their previous devices.

Do you think this is a major problem with the Galaxy S 4? Would it cause you to look at other devices or wait for something else to be released later this year?

source: CNET

About the Author: Jeff Causey

Raised in North Carolina, Jeff Causey is a licensed CPA in North Carolina. Jeff's past Android devices include an HTC EVO, a Samsung Note II, an LG G3, and a Motorola Moto X Pure Edition along with a Samsung Galaxy Tablet 10.1. He currently uses a Samsung Galaxy S8 and (very rarely) a Nexus 7 (2013). He is also using a Verizon-branded Motorola Moto Z Play Droid supplied by his job. Jeff used to have a pair of Google Glass and a Moto 360 Sport in his stable of gadgets. Unfortunately, his kids have all drunk the Apple Kool-Aid and have i-devices. Life at home often includes demonstrations of the superiority of his Android based devices. In his free time, Jeff is active an active runner usually training for his next marathon, owns a Mazda MX-5 Miata, and plays Dungeons & Dragons. Jeff has three grown kids and a golden retriever.

  • disqusroadpizza

    This Removes this Device From My Consider List.

  • Themask007

    ” leave FM for Network players, Leave no storage for better user experience “.
    Samsung is Out of my buying list. Another Nokia in the making.

    They are getting more cash than they can chew .

  • flamencoguy

    32 GB and 64GB models will be available though. You are getting lots of functionality though. Many people do not know that many apps cannot be moved to SD card. SD card and internal storage are not the same.
    Personally I would opt for the 32GB model.

    • Huyi diamond

      Europe and down under will never get the 32gb and 64gb versions unless they import unfortunately.

      • ojo

        It can be done now

  • Nian Banks

    Here in Australia, there is ONLY the 16Gb version, I’m wondering if the ACCC could do something about this, isn’t the Australian dollar good enough to get a 32/64Gb model… Are we second class citizens of the world.

  • RTWright

    If you think it’s much different on any other OEM Brand, then you’re just fooling yourself. All UI’s and Pre-Installed Apps and Features always take up a considerable amount of space. Which is why when certain people claimed 16GB is enough, I laughed because I knew of all this a long time ago. Internal memory gets eaten up fast on just 16GB, especially with how advanced games are becoming and the mass amount of music and video files people are starting to build up on their devices.

    This is also why when the 32GB model of the SIII was made available that is what I went with even though it has the microSD slot with it. I’m not sure about not being able to install to the SD card because you never really good without having an app that moved it to their for you or you went into App management and did it manually yourself. So in that it’s nothing new.

    You see this was the issue that HTC had with Sense version 3, it was so bloated that they would leave you with barely a 150MB on a 512MB internal. Which was their reason/excuse for never upgrading the original Evo 4G to ICS, even though I was already running it though without the FFC drivers. Which they could have developed or had and didn’t release them to the Dev community. Either way, this has been the same with them from day one as well. All of the OEM software, UI included is bloatware. It’s not till you slim it down to like Nova, Apex or Stock Android launcher that you see truly how much space you have, and leave off the crap apps they shove on us.

  • cdavis

    It’s a scam I thought I had 16GB to work with.

    • RTWright

      How in the hell is it a scam? For starters, you buy a computer, it has x-amount of GB on the Hard Drive, then you set it up and guess what? The OS, Bloatware, Software from setup all takes up space. They advertise it as the size of the actual drive, but you NEVER get that full value because of the default OS and all that comes with it after setting it up has taken up a pretty sizable chunk. It’s not false advertising, it’s not misleading, it’s just how it is. You would NEVER get the full 16GB no matter what it came with unless they put all of their stuff on a proprietary chip or another drive. This is WHY they give you the microSD option.

      • Luis

        you are missing the point- u can’t equate a pc hd taking up say 30 gigs on a 500 gb hd to losing amost half of the storage on a 16 gb unit-COME ON!!! The solution is simple just state on the freakin box how much USABLE memory will the consumer have out of the box-that is not asking for much it is a win situation for everybody-full disclosure for the companies that bloat up cells or whatever and the consumer knows right up front what they are getting as far as storage-this is a fair proposal and I don’t see why it can’t be implemented easily-if a company refuses to CLEARLY STATE HOW MUCH USABLE memory is left for the consumer then don’t buy from them-as it is now Samsung better b ready for returns because a lot of people are not feeling 8gbs of mem on a super cell in 2013 with some apps topping 1GB.

  • This is just a scam

  • Samsung should clearly state in their advertisement that users will just get 8 GB of usable memory and users cannot install apps in the SD card, they are basically doing false advertising

    • RTWright

      NO phone I’ve ever owned allowed installation straight to the SD card, you had to move it later IF the app allowed it. Some apps cannot be moved at all and have to stay internal. Again, not a scam, it’s been this way from the very start. Just till now it seems no one has been paying attention. This person’s article fails to mention this and in itself is misleading you all. Because anything with any kind of data storage will always get advertised at it’s full, unused size. Heh…..

      • GraveUypo

        uh no, my defy always installed directly to sd.

        • RTWright

          Who cares? I didn’t say what phone YOU used, I said any phone that I have used! Not You! This still doesn’t make this any kind of scam! And not all apps can be stored to SD either. Learn more before you complain next time.

          • GraveUypo

            you’re the one implying this has always happened when it clearly didn’t. no need to get all defensive about it either.

            • Genorok

              I believe most of the phones in the xperia series also offer moving most apps to the sd card without rooting. I know for a fact the xperia play did.

  • GraveUypo

    i think it’s stupid and they should let you install apps on the sd without having to hack the phone :|

    • RTWright

      It’s not a phone hack, you use the App manager. They don’t allow it off the start due to how some devs design their apps so they can’t be used anywhere but internal storage. Like some of the UI customization apps. Just open the App manager or get you one of the Apps that does this for you. As long as the App allows it to be moved, you don’t have to have root to do it. Then if you do root, some apps can be forced, but they can be negatively affected by such moves as well. As far as I know it’s because of how Android is built so modular that this is the case.

      • Samsung s3 and s4 does not allow apps to be installed or moved to the sd card. The only current way would be a rooted device. Sadly I had already done the research since Bards Tale takes up 4gb on it’s own.

  • Huyi diamond

    in the uk only the 16gb model is available, it was the same for the s3 when it came out here too, only 16gb (and still only 16gb model available), we never got the 32gb models from Samsung unless we import, its not fair that google and samsung is locking down the memory usage for apps to internal only, this is a good enough reason why we need more storage, a lot of gaming apps can take up to 2gb or more, plus add to that console games are getting ported to android, apps are only going to get bigger, if samsung keeps releasing their phones in 16gb to europe and down under for extortionate prices compared to the rest of the world then eventually people will stop buying their phones especially when they start to remove the micro sd slot too.

  • It is the same with all Android & other phones, as well as tablets and computers, which is why the 32Gb versions should always be offered when the next models of phones launches. I have NO games on my Note 2 16Gb and I have run out of memory totally, cannot even update any apps now!! Luckily I have a 32Gb removable micro-SD which I will now have to use to put downloaded movies and other large files on to free up internal space. I think manufacturers will soon have to look at making phones with a minimum of 32Gb internal storage, such is the amount of software preloaded on board. At least with Samsung and some others, you at least have the option of putting files on an micro-SD, unlike Apple, HTC, Nexus and many others. So it aint that bad!!

  • AndroidShiz

    The first Android with the most space available and smoothest long-term operation for me has been the Nexus 4. Would I like a 32gig? Yup. But the 16 has been fine.

  • rosse912003

    I think it is deceptive to make such a big deal about offering expansion memory and then not allowing apps to be placed onto that expansion memory card. It makes a mockery of the expansion capabilities of the S4.
    Yes pictures and music may be stored onto the expansion memory but so what, we have Google drive and Google Music for that. What we really need the expansion memory for is the storage of apps and that is exactly what the S4 doesn’t provide.
    This is a deal breaker.

    • Luis

      It is ridiculous to even produce a cell of that caliber and then turn around and say,”oops u only have 8 gigs for apps but u can expand with memory card that wont let u put any apps on them”. WHAT RUBBISH! Lets do the math and install MC4, RR3, and Dead Trigger and new s4 gets shot down to say 5 gb left-this is unacceptble on a cell in 2013 costing more than $600 USA If tmobile doesnt get 32 gig s4 soon ima jump all over the 32 gb htc one.

  • Krait

    That sucks, really over £ 500 phone does not allow to install apps on sd card , so tell me Samsung , why r u using awesome customization quality of Android … ? i will go to hTC one 4 over 20 gb storage , bye bye

  • FrillArtist

    What a load of crap. If they need the extra 7GB or so to put the OS and other pre-installed apps, then let them make 24GB phone. Use up 8GB for whatever and just call it a 16GB phone.

  • JAnderson

    I have the S4 and I am not thrilled about this at all. Why you can’t move games to your SD card is not good business in my book. Have had it 3 days and hate it for the lack of storage. It slows the phone down so much the key board doesn’t even know what to do half the time.

    • James B. Chua

      they will never allow anyone to save app on the external because I can buy a lot of app on the android store put all of them on my external memory and cloned them…. and you know what’s next… I can sell them on the market. imagine someone selling … “android external memory card with several excellent app inside” but wait there’s more… you can use the app without rooting you phone :D…. that’s a good business I think.

  • Just want storage

    Yeah it sucks. They know we can’t put apps on an external card. When I posted to the Samsung Facebook page, they simply responded, “we’re sorry you feel that way. We still think you would like the s4.” Being nice though doesn’t cover the lies.

  • Silvers silver

    , hated 16gb. Went through hoops to rid the phone. Bought a 32gb version of the galaxy s4. Love it again.

  • Jay Zapanta

    this problem is also apparent on some of their other devices. which is very annoying. Samsung should be sued for false advertising.