BBC Watchdog to investigate Samsung Galaxy S4 storage issue

BBC Watchdog to investigate Samsung Galaxy S4 storage issueI was saying around a week ago that almost half of the Samsung Galaxy S4’s 16GB internal storage is claimed by the phone out of the box, leaving users with around 9GB to play with.

Samsung has officially played it down, but now sanctimonious old BBC Watchdog is about to stick its beak in.

The South Korean manufacturer told CNET: "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.”

The world’s top mobile manufacturer was also keen to stress that the microSD slot welcomes a further 64GB, though it’s not possible to install some apps on the card without root access, which raises warranty concerns.

At the end of last week’s BBC Watchdog, resident Beeb hottie Anne Robinson purred: “Samsung claims its brand new Galaxy phone has an extra large memory, but what did it forget to mention?”

There is clearly an issue here, but my problem is people like BBC Watchdog getting consumers riled up unnecessarily. Would your average user know - or care - otherwise? On the other hand, the fact is: just over half of the advertised storage is available.

It’s a tricky one. Should it be advertised as an 8GB phone instead?

BBC Watchdog is on at 8pm next Wednesday.

via: Engadget

Read more about: Samsung Galaxy S4Android

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24 comments

barrybarryk  May. 11, 2013 at 19:01

The advertised storage is what hardware is in the phone, trying to force manufacturers into writing **** usage case specific figures is absolutely moronic and far, far worse than we have now.

If people want to investigate anyone over it they should investigate Google on why they pulled the plug on proper android SD support just because they don't use SD card slots on their devices. Seems more than a little anti-competitive to me, especially for a company that parades itself around as some sort of do no evil internet nanny

TJ Skywasher  May. 11, 2013 at 19:12

On one hand they should advertise it as having 16GB of storage as that's what's technically inside the phone, but they should have to include some sort of disclaimer saying what the actual amount of free storage is. If I buy an iPhone or iPad and it's advertised as having 16GB of storage I expect a couple of gigabytes maximum to be taken up with the OS, but abnormally large uses of the internal storage such as the MS Surface Pro and Galaxy S4 should let customers know what's actually free and usable.

krogothnx  May. 11, 2013 at 20:43

If its a 16gb model that offers 9gb of free space, they should advertise it as 8gb and then people will talk about how cool it is that it comes with more storage than advertised. Problem solved and free marketing.

JanSt / MOD  May. 11, 2013 at 20:55

The HTC One I had last week had 23.4GB available - of 32GB!!!! (it was a sim-free, relatively bloatfree model)... 8GB or a quarter less than your average ding-dong might expect from a 32GB handset WITHOUT SD expansion.
And more space poof than on the SGS4.

JanSt / MOD  May. 11, 2013 at 20:55

Also, who is that woman? Judge Judy's frown-double?

timy  May. 11, 2013 at 21:12

Watchdog? I am watching a bloody dog!

matt101101 / MOD  May. 11, 2013 at 22:11

Also, who is that woman? Judge Judy's frown-double?
Anne Robinson: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anne_Robinson

Mainz  May. 11, 2013 at 22:12

The advertised storage is what hardware is in the phone, trying to force manufacturers into writing **** usage case specific figures is absolutely moronic and far, far worse than we have now.

If people want to investigate anyone over it they should investigate Google on why they pulled the plug on proper android SD support just because they don't use SD card slots on their devices. Seems more than a little anti-competitive to me, especially for a company that parades itself around as some sort of do no evil internet nanny


Fanboys these days!

Google doesn't make phones, nor do they profit from selling them. The OS does therefore Samsungs and other manufactures sales affect Googles revenue.

PS The Nexus line is not built by Google therefore your point of anti-competitiveness is irrelevant.

JanSt / MOD  May. 11, 2013 at 22:39

Also, who is that woman? Judge Judy's frown-double?
Anne Robinson: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anne_Robinson

Ah... right... I remember her vaguely.

barrybarryk  May. 11, 2013 at 22:40

Computers have been sold on the exact same terms for decades, everything with digital storage is sold the exact same way. Pulling Samsung out of the crowd to pick on is just plain harsh.

And I'm not a "Fanboy" I think pretty much all companies are soulless evil pricks

an1  May. 12, 2013 at 00:06

I remember the good old days when people didn't understand why you couldn't fit a whole 20gb on a 20gb hard drive, and that some space was taken up by formatting itself.

dcx_badass  May. 12, 2013 at 03:08

Similar to my Xperia U, although Sony point it out on their site:
http://www.sonymobile.com/gb/products/phones/xperia-u/specifications/

•Internal phone storage: 8GB (up to 4GB user-accessible memory)
•RAM: 512 MB


Although they don't mention the 512mb ram is actually 380mb after the crappy Mali GPU has stolen loads.

Mainz  May. 12, 2013 at 03:24

Computers have been sold on the exact same terms for decades, everything with digital storage is sold the exact same way. Pulling Samsung out of the crowd to pick on is just plain harsh.

And I'm not a "Fanboy" I think pretty much all companies are soulless evil pricks


The reason I called you a Fanboy is because of your shots at Google and the defending of Samsung.

Sure computer manufactures do the same thing, but not to this extent. Normally manufactures usually take about a maximum of 25% for system use. Now how you going to advertise 16GB without stating that 50% is system used. HTC One is cheaper than the S4 yet has a higher build quality + 32GB. So no excuse especially since Samsung are the largest manufacturer of memory.

I think they are right to pick on Samsung. If nothing is said it will just get worse, do you want future where 128GB phones have 64GB usable space just because storage has been sold as you put it ''on the exact same terms for decades''' Think about it.

Plus the games this phone was designed to play are coming in at over 1GB each, now how long is 8GB going to last. Not well thought out by Samsung.

JanSt / MOD  May. 12, 2013 at 14:01

Mainz...
Kinda agree with you. There's a difference between a 120GB Laptop with 'only' 110-ish GB or a 250GB one with 'just' 235GB free, and a phone advertised as 32GB (like the HTC One I had) only having 23.5GB available.
But I think there is also a slight difference between phones with and without SD-expansion.
Mind you, the bloat on the SGS3 I had last year was stunning!

Lastly: I'm not a fan of the customers-are-to-blame nonsense. There's a trillion dollar advertising industry whistling and screaming at us 24/7/365... For many many people phones and PCs are NOT hobbies but, they've been told, necessities. They have no time to research. Compare. Etc...

To the people who say: "Oh, people are just dumb etc" - tell me what you had for breakfast and I'll tell you how much cancer-potential, diabetes threat and arteriosclerosis you consumed. I dare say, being ignorant about electronic storage is relatively harmless in the greater scheme of things.

barrybarryk  May. 12, 2013 at 14:21

I just see it as a non-issue moaning over a few GB of storage is pointless, especially when any alternative that'll be proposed will be more complicated than it currently is.

You're talking about phones needing to list the available user accessible memory, how do different network providers that add their own apps feed into that? How does 'cloud' storage work in that context? How do you take into account future software updates? How about restore partitions? Optional installed applications? Apps/OS features that reserve their own storage space? Apps that take up more space the more they're used?

It's just such a pointless argument, you're buying hardware, you need to know what hardware is in the phone. Any attempt at trying to clearly define the "free space" for the user will just be completely made up based on some ridiculous usage case scenario.

JanSt / MOD  May. 12, 2013 at 14:49

how do different network providers

By lying and not training their staff properly in favour of the quick sale, e.g.?! Have you ever heard a sales person in a phone store explain to a customer without any knowledge that 32GB means 23? That 16 means 9?

I agree re feasibility. Your points in that regard are valid ones.
But heck, if we can have big frigg*ng ginormous health warnings on cigarette packs (the content of which is universally known to be cancerogenic), how come a little space for "User available storage space may vary" on the box and the store display is unthinkable?! How about NOT listing 16, 32 or 64 GB?!
And curiously: the stores and networks have ZERO PROBLEM with stressing 'added value' - wow, it haz megapixels and access to Vodafone Live!

But yeah, whatever... There are bigger issues, that is for sure.

barrybarryk  May. 12, 2013 at 15:40

How about NOT listing 16, 32 or 64 GB?! But that number isn't made up, it's not an estimate, that's the hardware in the phone it's unchangeable, informative for those that take into account what it actually means and most of all it's accurate.

how come a little space for "User available storage space may vary" on the box and the store display is unthinkable?How would that help anyone? That's a get out of jail free clause for manufacturers, it provides no meaningful information to a consumer at all.

JanSt / MOD  May. 12, 2013 at 16:41

How about NOT listing 16, 32 or 64 GB?! But that number isn't made up, it's not an estimate, that's the hardware in the phone it's unchangeable, informative for those that take into account what it actually means and most of all it's accurate.

how come a little space for "User available storage space may vary" on the box and the store display is unthinkable?How would that help anyone? That's a get out of jail free clause for manufacturers, it provides no meaningful information to a consumer at all.

Yeah... maybe you're right.

ascen  May. 12, 2013 at 23:02

How about NOT listing 16, 32 or 64 GB?! But that number isn't made up, it's not an estimate, that's the hardware in the phone it's unchangeable, informative for those that take into account what it actually means and most of all it's accurate.

I liken this all to canned fruit: The can advertises it has 500g weight, with a note saying "drained weight 300g". This exists in law to offer consumers protection from naughty companies and their inventive marketing departments. By not having a drained weight the manufacturer is essentially saying "this can will have anything between 1g and 500g of canned fruit" - a useless and deceiving statement. This same problem applies to cellphones and storage,others have suggested "user usable space" and what other manufacturers do, it's Samsung simply being naughty.

Another analogy being:
A car advertises 5 seats, but the back seat has no leg and head room making them useless. People can see in this example can see that the back seat is rubbish and the car is actually a 2 seater - but with a cellphone you cannot.



Computers have been sold on the exact same terms for decades, everything with digital storage is sold the exact same way. Pulling Samsung out of the crowd to pick on is just plain harsh.

The base-2 and base-10 issue with measuring storage is not decades old. It is a somewhat recent issue (7 or so years) whereby everyone before that did it by base-2 until one marketing department realised that by using base-10 it would appear like their hd was slightly bigger than their competitors. From that point on all had to use base-10 over the more sensible base-2 method given the context of use.


how come a little space for "User available storage space may vary" on the box and the store display is unthinkable?How would that help anyone? That's a get out of jail free clause for manufacturers, it provides no meaningful information to a consumer at all.[/quote]

I agree, but rather than using that wording, simply saying "free space usable by the user" keeps everyone happy.

JanSt / MOD  May. 12, 2013 at 23:31

yeah...

barrybarryk  May. 12, 2013 at 23:59

I liken this all to canned fruit...
Another analogy being...
I get the analogies it's just any figure for "user usable space" on a modern device will be unreliable, there just isn't a measurement for it and if you can't get an accurate figure you really shouldn't be telling people estimations that may or may not be the case for a particular user.

The base-2 and base-10 issue...In my 30 years I have never seen a PC (Desktop or Laptop) sold with a "user usable space" figure, a breakdown of restore partition size or even just the OS preinstall size. Even on laptops where we had this issue a few years ago (and again fairly recently with netbooks and Ultrabooks with tiny HDDs/SSDs). It's just growing pains where the OS happens to have swollen before the tech (Higher density flash memory) becomes the norm, in the next year or so the average storage space on a phone will double (8GB and 16GB is already getting pretty 'unfashionable'), Android won't proportionally swell and it wont be so much of an issue. But pushing the issue to consumer groups is just going to end up the same way external HDDs ended up, another set of meaningless figures stuck onto the box to appease people who already forgot they had a problem. "Storage capacity is equivalent to 300 Movies or 1000 MP3's or 10000 Pictures", great, because that's not entirely arbitrary

I agree, but rather than using that wording, simply saying "free space usable by the user" keeps everyone happy.until someone gets less than the figure plucked out of thin air

JanSt / MOD  May. 13, 2013 at 00:05

In my 30 years I have never seen a PC (Desktop or Laptop) sold with a "user usable space" figure, a breakdown of restore partition size or even just the OS preinstall size. Even on laptops where we had this issue a few years ago (and again fairly recently with netbooks and Ultrabooks with tiny HDDs/SSDs). It's just growing pains where the OS happens to have swollen before the tech (Higher density flash memory) becomes the norm, in the next year or so the average storage space on a phone will double (8GB and 16GB is already getting pretty 'unfashionable'), Android won't proportionally swell and it wont be so much of an issue. But pushing the issue to consumer groups is just going to end up the same way external HDDs ended up, another set of meaningless figures stuck onto the box to appease people who already forgot they had a problem. "Storage capacity is equivalent to 300 Movies or 1000 MP3's or 10000 Pictures", great, because that's not entirely arbitrary

2 wrongs don't make a right.
And there's order of magnitude :p I find there's a difference between 210GB instead of 250 and 9GB instead of 16. Call me a softie.

barrybarryk  May. 13, 2013 at 00:13

tell that to someone with a 60GB SSD Ultrabook preloaded with Windows 7, restore partition and Office trial though lol

Edit:Or even more recently, someone who bought a 64GB Surface Pro lol

acepoker  May. 13, 2013 at 15:34

Problem is it's such an easy fix for Samsung!!! Listen to your customers and put in 32gb as a minimum. I personally will NOT shell out $200.00 for an 8gb phone, I don't want to worry about down loading apps or games and available space on my new expensive phone. Samsung over something as simple to fix as adequet memory you have lost a customer

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