It’s commonplace for Android handsets to have a reasonable chunk of their internal storage taken up by system files and pre-loaded apps. Typically we tend to see around 11-12GB of storage available to the user on a 16GB handset. However, recent handsets such as the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 seem to be taking up even more storage space with install files.
Droid Matters reports that its Samsung Galaxy S4 review device (from Sprint) has 9.62GB internal storage available out of the box, while Geek.com says its device has an even lower 8.82GB (carrier not specified). Different carriers load different bloatware onto devices, but the reality is that of the 16GB advertised internal storage, the SGS4 will have up to 9.62GB. Even then, performance tends to deteriorate slightly when the internal storage capacity is close to full, so you wouldn’t get the full 9.62GB either.
This isn’t a huge problem of the Galaxy S4 as it can take a microSD card up to 64GB, however external storage isn’t ideal for certain file types and when the handset is being advertised as 16GB internal storage, the average consumer will assume that they have this amount of memory (or something close to it) available for saving files.
The HTC One on the other hand has 25.29GB user-accessible internal storage, so also has a large chunk taken up by the install. This still leaves the user with a reasonable amount of storage space, but the One does not have a microSD card slot so the memory cannot be increased any further.
Really there should be tighter standards when it comes to advertising the internal storage of a handset. Adding a 16GB microSD card isn’t a huge expense, but for handsets such as the S4 which are already at a premium price, this should be made clearer to the consumer. We try to provide details on user-accessible internal storage where possible and if available you can find this information under our specification tab on a product page.