Samsung Galaxy S10: Which storage size should I buy?

Samsung Galaxy S10
Samsung Galaxy S10 (Image credit: Android Central)

Best answer: Most people will be happy with the base model of the Galaxy S10 or S10+ with 128GB of storage and 8GB of RAM. That's plenty of storage and more than enough memory for all but the most hardcore users. The extra cost of moving up to 512GB of storage just isn't worth it for most people, unless you're currently maxing out a 128GB phone.

Which storage and RAM options are available?

Both the Galaxy S10 and S10+ come with a base of 128GB of storage and 8GB of RAM, which is a healthy amount. In either case, you can pay extra to quadruple your internal storage to 512GB, while the RAM stays put at 8GB. In either case you can of course add a microSD card for up to 512GB of additional storage.

1TB of storage, 12GB of RAM and a ceramic back are purely lustworthy.

The Galaxy S10+ also has an even higher spec model available, which comes with an astonishing 1TB of internal storage and an equally amazing 12GB of RAM. This model also comes with an exclusive ceramic back to help justify the cost, which just makes the whole thing extravagant.

With some exceptions, you can expect to find both 128 and 512GB models of the Galaxy S10 and S10+ at most carriers and retailers. The 1TB storage Galaxy S10+ is going to be a bit more exclusive.

Decide how much storage you need first

Choosing whether to pay extra for 512GB of storage on the Galaxy S10 or S10+ is easy: just look at your current phone. Chances are your phone has 64 or maybe only 32GB of storage, and in the latter case that's probably feeling pretty tight. If you're happy, or at least managing, with your current storage, the base 128GB model will be more than enough for you. Out of the box you'll have over 100GB of free space to use as you wish.

If instead you already have a 128GB phone, or a 64GB phone with an SD card for overflow, and are running out of options for holding onto all of your apps, video and pictures, you should eyeball the upgrade to 512GB. That's particularly true if you're hoping to install lots of apps or big games, because they often don't work properly with a microSD card and need to be installed on internal storage. Or if you go all-out with Netflix downloads or shoot a lot of 4K video on the phone. That extra room also just offers peace of mind knowing that you'll basically never have to worry about storage — for some, that benefit is worth $100.

Extra RAM is just a bonus

Let's talk about that crazy Galaxy S10+ with 1TB of storage and 12GB of RAM again. As discussed with the Note 9 and the OnePlus 6T, you should make your choice to buy the Galaxy S10+ with 1TB of storage based on your need for the storage and its exclusive ceramic back, not for the 12GB of RAM. There is effectively no real-world benefit to having 12GB of RAM instead of 8GB in the lower models.

8GB of RAM is enough — only buy this model for the storage and ceramic back.

Samsung's software is being optimized for these new Galaxy S10 models with 8GB of RAM, which are going to sell in dramatically higher numbers than the 12GB RAM model — and let's also remember the Galaxy S10e has just 6GB of RAM. So when it comes to system-level utilization of RAM, don't expect Samsung to carve out any extra capabilities for your extra 4GB. Android apps, too, don't really know what to do with that much RAM nor do any of them actually really need that much. 8GB is already a massive amount of RAM for 2019 and well into 2020 or even 2021, and as we've seen with even the Galaxy S8 series (using just 4GB of RAM) Samsung can keep a base-model phone running well for a couple years without issue.

Your decision to buy the top-end Galaxy S10+ should start and end with a decision on whether you value the massive 1TB of internal storage and the great-looking ceramic back.

Andrew Martonik

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.