Galaxy S4

More features mean more spaced used for their files, and the Galaxy S4 takes about twice the storage space as the previous model

Morris writes in, 

I just got myself a Samsung Galaxy S4 (16GB). Upon further storage checking, I noticed the Total Space is only 8.82GB. I am confused. How much memory space actually does Jelly Bean 4.2.2 take?

There sure has been a lot of discussion about the remaining storage on the Galaxy S4's 16GB "disk" after the factory software is accounted for. We're used to seeing a bit of discrepancy between what is advertised and what's really available, but this go 'round the difference is huge and has quite a few people a bit concerned. Morris gets to the root of the issue with his question, once you have a look at what's going on.

The Samsung Galaxy S4's system folder, the one where all the magic happens and the factory installed "stuff" resides takes over 2GB of space (2,235,535,360 bytes for those that like numbers). Compared to the Jelly Bean system files on the Galaxy S3 at 1.1GB, and the Nexus 4 at 495MB, that's quite a bit of difference. By the time you take the rest of the OS into account, and partition space reserved for things like the system cache, that leaves you with about half the advertised space left to use for your own stuff.

We're not going to knock on Samsung for using so much space for the operating system. When you want features included as part of the OS, you need to have the files somewhere. Samsung brings features to the Galaxy S4 that you won't find anywhere else, and the cost of those features is reduced storage left for the user. You also won't find these features on Google Play, so this is the trade-off you have to make. 

Also, there's the SD card slot to remember here as well. While this won't help you when you run out of space to install applications, you can store all your multimedia and documents there. 13MP panorama pictures and 1080p video can take a lot of room, so storing your camera shots on the SD card is a good idea. 

Right now, nobody seems to be selling the 32 or 64GB versions of the Galaxy S4. We're not sure if Samsung is at fault here, or the carriers around the world, but no matter who we point a finger at they just aren't available. In the meantime, 8.8GB is enough for some folks, and for some it's not. Until we start to see the models with more storage become available, this is how it is.

We can't tell you that this does or doesn't matter to you, you'll have to decide that one for yourself.