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Why the 32GB Samsung Galaxy S4 Matters

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While many consumers have gladly bought into the Samsung Galaxy S4 16GB, the only Galaxy S4 available in the United States at the moment, there are others that are holding out for 32GB and 64GB models and for good reason. The Samsung Galaxy S4 16GB isn’t really a 16GB device at all.

Earlier this month, the Samsung Galaxy S4 finally hit shelves in the United States after a lengthy wait and some delays that knocked the release date back a few days on several carriers. So far, AT&T, Sprint, U.S. Cellular and T-Mobile have put the Galaxy S4 up for sale and Verizon will be joining them in late May.

Read: Samsung Galaxy S4 U.S. Release Hits Another Snag.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 comes equipped with some serious hardware capabilities. It features a large 5-inch 1080p display, it has a quad-core processor to help with things like gaming and multitasking, it has a 13MP camera that can shoot good photos, even while it low light and it comes with a slim durable design.

It also comes with powerful software, the first Samsung device to run Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and the first to feature a multitude of new Samsung software features including several that allow owners to utilize the display without having to touch it. It also was announced in six different variants with black and white color options and 16GB, 32GB and 64GB variants. And while the storage space didn’t seem to be an issue at first, as we’ve pointed out, it’s quickly starting to become one.

All five carriers will have the Samsung Galaxy S4 16GB model on hand throughout the course of 2013. However, it’s still unclear just where the 32GB and 64GB models will be landing, if they ever do at all.

32GB & 64GB Galaxy S4 Variants Missing in U.S.

The Galaxy S4 possesses far less than the advertised storage.

The Galaxy S4 32GB and 64GB remain non-options for U.S. consumers.

Thus far, only AT&T has confirmed that it will be releasing a 32GB Galaxy S4, a variant that still isn’t out on shelves, and is said to be coming soon. AT&T has refused to comment on a release date when asked and a representative informed Gotta Be Mobile that there don’t appear to be any immediate plans to release a 64GB model on its 4G LTE network.

Sprint, when approached about the possibility of a 32GB and 64GB model, completely ignored the question. T-Mobile has yet to confirm anything to us though right now, it only sells the 16GB model and hasn’t said anything about any future plans. U.S. Cellular hasn’t confirmed any plans for 32GB or 64GB models either.

Verizon on the other hand has confirmed to Gotta Be Mobile that it will never sell a 32GB Galaxy S4, which means that it likely won’t have a 64GB model on hand either.

While this doesn’t seem to be much of an issue, Verizon played it down when it confirmed to Gotta Be Mobile that it wouldn’t be carrying the larger models, it actually is a problem and it’s going to be a problem for many of those that buy the 16GB model.

16GB Galaxy S4 Isn’t a 16GB Galaxy S4

Right now, the only Samsung Galaxy S4 variant available in the U.S. is the 16GB model. And right now, it seems as if AT&T may wind up being the only carrier to offer anything larger. Verizon told us that it has heard that other carriers will follow its lead and not offer 32GB and 64GB models though as of this time, none of the others are willing to confirm that.

As Verizon explained to us, the 16GB model is fine for users as they can simply pop in a 64GB microSD card slot and take advantage of the various cloud storage options available. 80GB of storage is likely plenty for a lot of people out there. However, problem is, 80GB isn’t going to be how much that 16GB Galaxy S4 owners have access to, even after installing a microSD card.

AT&T, and other carriers, don't come right out and say that 16GB isn't on board.

AT&T, and other carriers, don’t come right out and say that 16GB isn’t on board.

That’s because the 16GB Galaxy S4 doesn’t possess 16GB of storage. In fact, as Geek has pointed out, and we have confirmed, the 16GB Galaxy S4 only possesses a fraction of the advertised space. Specifically, it comes with about half of its advertised storage space available, space that is necessary for files like photos, videos, apps and more. The other half is unfortunately taken up by Android, bloatware and more.

Manufacturers and carriers bury disclaimers and post vague language like “Up to 16GB” of storage space to absolve themselves of claims of wrong doing. Yet, in the big print and on the box, it clearly says 16GB, something that can easily confuse consumers.

So instead of the advertised 16GB of internal storage, the device comes with just over 8GB of storage space. This means that most customers are going to have to shell out money for a microSD card or look into cloud storage. And for many, that was likely a cost that they didn’t want to incur after paying the steep prices for the Galaxy S4, its data plan and more.

Why the Missing 32GB & 64GB Galaxy S4 Models Matter

The larger models matter to those who need a lot of smartphone space.

The larger models matter to those who need a lot of smartphone space.

Simply put, the fact that the Galaxy S4 16GB comes with just over 8GB of storage space is the reason that these larger models matter. Sure, users can root their phone to wipe bloatware, or buy a microSD card, or invest in cloud storage, but not all users want to do that. Some users simply want to use the advertised internal storage space. And we’d be willing to bet that all users want a figure that is at least close to the advertised internal space.

In a world where apps, photos and video take up an absolute ton of space, users need as much storage space as they can get. It also doesn’t help that burst shot photos can’t save onto the Galaxy S4′s microSD card, only to the internal storage, making for a very fragmented experience.

Without the 32GB and 64GB options, some users are going to find themselves severely limited and out extra money that they maybe didn’t plan on spending.

We still aren’t sure if the 32GB and 64GB models will be coming to users in the U.S., but it’s clear that they are going to matter to some people, especially in the light of this issue which unfortunately isn’t confined to the Galaxy S4, but affects many popular smartphones including the HTC One.

For many, this won’t be a deal breaker, but it’s something to keep in mind before buying the 16GB model. And with no guarantee that 32GB and 64GB models are heading to the U.S., it could be that this is the only route that users buying the Galaxy S4 in the U.S. will be able to take.

33 Comments

  1. Bryan

    04/30/2013 at 12:00 pm

    I’m holding out for a larger version. Very annoying they haven’t released it yet. My current phone HTC evo 3d is destroyed and near impossible to use. I’m due for an upgrade but I don’t want to settle for a 16gb version.

  2. ukandroid

    04/30/2013 at 12:01 pm

    There’s no sign of the 32GB or 64Gb models here in Europe either. I won’t be buying a 16Gb model so unless Samsung deliver the product they announced at their launch, they will be losing another sale.

  3. Jeff

    04/30/2013 at 1:03 pm

    Stuck with Verizon in the US due to my location.. So the S4 is a no go for me at 16gb. Guess I’ll wait for the Next NextBigThing

  4. zootsuitbryon

    04/30/2013 at 1:12 pm

    Yep, I’m holding off, also. I’m not getting a 16GB one, especially when it comes with less than 9 actual GB free. I wish more S 4 reviews would bang on this and maybe pressure the carriers a bit to make the larger sizes available. The SD expansion is nice, but if you can’t easily put your apps on it, then it’s not sufficient.

  5. Ria

    04/30/2013 at 1:31 pm

    I sincerely hope Samsung USA is taking note of what’s going on. The debut of their phone has been BOTCHED by cheap, lazy American service providers. Loyal Samsung fans are being turned off to the company due to (presumably) no fault of Samsung’s own. Ryan Biden busted his ass to get Samsung the name recognition and prestige that it currently has and now Sprint, Verizon and Tmo are trashing all his hard work. Someone at Samsung needs to hold these guys’ feet to the fire. They’re used to screwing around with American consumers but they need to realize that Samsung is just as powerful as Crapple. Do you think for one moment that the execs at Apple would allow AT&T to refuse to offer the 32gb version?? Even Sprint sells a 64gb iPhone so the answer is NO, they wouldn’t. Yet Samsung is allowing all these companies to screw them over by not offering a 64gb S4, and not even a 32GB! Get it together Samsung. You will ultimately be held responsible.

    • Bryan

      04/30/2013 at 4:10 pm

      Agree completely. I highly doubt very many consumers would chose this 16 GB version of given the option of 16/32/64. I really don’t understand the logic to this. They charge a fair amount more for larger internal storage even though it probably costs a couple dollars more for them. They are losing money and potential client base. I’ve personally never owned a Samsung and my eyes were set on this since it was first introduced. I’ve always gotten HTC in the past. But what kind of stunt is this? I am literally on the brink of changing my mind in trying a Samsung device when it could have very well be my smartphone company of choice from now on. If only they knew the damage they inflict upon themselves…

    • Steven

      04/30/2013 at 9:40 pm

      I agree, HTC doesn’t have the power of Samsung or Apple, but they just got around the carriers by eliminating the 16GB.

  6. Ben

    04/30/2013 at 1:51 pm

    I have been reading reviews and specs for this phone for the last three weeks. This is what it says on the Verizon site :
    16GB on board memory + 2GB RAM (actual formatted capacity is less).
    This is always the case, in any phone, tablet or mobile device using flash memory. Unless people have been living under a rock for the last 10 years they shouldn’t be complaining. And writer look for actual flaws that would help us determine if we should be buying the phone or not. SD cards are so cheap now, I picked a 32GB at Amazon last week for 23 dollars.

    • ukandroid

      04/30/2013 at 2:30 pm

      You miss the point. Card memory can’t be used for apps on later Android versions so the base internal is very important for power users/gamers.

      • Ben

        04/30/2013 at 2:55 pm

        So if you are using more than 8GB for your games or office style software check this out. Or go get a phone that has more memory. http://www.sebertech.com/helpline/samsung-galaxy-s3/2013042411846.html Not saying that it will work with a S4, but worth a shot. If and when I run out of room I will be trying it.

        • Steven

          04/30/2013 at 9:37 pm

          Okay, I see someone pointed it out. Really, though at these prices this shouldn’t even be an issue. I just don’t like the idea of spending a small fortune and then having to spend more money on parts or work-arounds to make it, well, work.

        • JDH1969

          05/01/2013 at 2:18 pm

          Ben, thank you, but we’re not looking for you to come up with a solution as to why the 16GB device is sufficient, because it simply isn’t. The expandable memory cannot be used in unison with the internal. With only 8-9GB available internal on todays heavy data use devices, we will be spending ALL our time moving memory over from internal to external. That takes time and takes away from what makes these fun and valuable to consumers. I’m with the majority, we all should not settle and let the manufacturer and carriers decide if they want to make money and happy customers or lose their asses on a poor business decision.

      • dassaer

        08/03/2013 at 11:35 pm

        sd card can store apps now :)

    • Steven

      04/30/2013 at 9:34 pm

      Ben, you must have been living under a rock all this time, because you can’t run apps on the SD card. Not since Gingerbread anyway.

      • asdfsadf

        05/01/2013 at 11:35 am

        I’m running apps off my SD card on Gingerbread, (and my HTC phone is not rooted or hacked). Its not android causing this limitation, its Samsung.

        • Bob

          05/02/2013 at 12:52 pm

          Of course you can as the comment says above you. After Gingerbread you’re not able to unless you root. So yes it is android Google is not a fan of sdcards.

  7. Romberry

    04/30/2013 at 5:52 pm

    Another thing to keep in mind – if someone hasn’t already commented on it – is that you cannot install apps to the MicroDS card. They must be installed to internal storage. Some games are about 2Gb in size. It doesn’t take long before you have reached your app capacity limit when you only have 8Gb in play with. Considering most people are going to have their phone for at least 2 years. Good luck with that.

  8. Sean Franzen

    04/30/2013 at 5:53 pm

    APP2SD does not work on these phones. Before you post something, make sure you know what your talking about. The original supposition was correct. The removable storage can’t be used for apps unless the phone is rooted. This is a serious limitation.

  9. KeenCat

    04/30/2013 at 7:37 pm

    I’m holding for the 64 other than that I will stick with my gs3 which is a 32gb and I can’t downgrade to less internal memory. Samsung you need to keep your word to keep your fans

  10. redeyedfly

    04/30/2013 at 9:14 pm

    As i see it the available alternative is next iphone. Haha samsung..how can you expext to gain market share from apple if you cant even provide a competative product? Ill wait for next iphone that will offer 128gb.

  11. anthony

    04/30/2013 at 10:26 pm

    This is ridiculous. I’m a huge fan of the GS3 and couldn’t wait for the S4. I have a 32GB already why the hell would I wanna go Down to a 16Gb. I’m not buying it unless its 32GB or higher. Get it together SAMSUNG AND VERIZON WIRELESS

  12. duff

    05/01/2013 at 1:55 am

    Open up the doors Verizon… put 32 or 64 as a special order if you don’t want them on the shelf but do not REFUSE to carry an option that customers want. It is a great way to loose a sale and customers.

  13. S3man

    05/01/2013 at 1:45 pm

    Agreed, I started with a 32GB S3, and them only releasing the S4 in the US with 16GB is a deal breaker for me, think I will keep my S3 for now..

  14. o_so_sie

    05/01/2013 at 5:48 pm

    UGH….I so wanted to switch to verizon but 16gb will not cut it, been waiting on this release!!! So frustrated

  15. joe brown

    05/02/2013 at 7:16 pm

    This is a bunch of bull &$#% I’M NOT BUYING A LOUZY 16 GB S4……. IT’S 32/ 64 OR NOTHING …. I’LL ROLL WITH MY S2 TILL DOOMS DAY

  16. triadwarfare

    05/05/2013 at 5:34 am

    I feel your pain… Even in our country, they never officially release higher capacity models, prompting us to resort to buy on grey markets w/c has virtually no warranty.

    We do urge Samsung to release 32GB as the minimum standard and not the 16GB. Remember, you can’t put apps in the microSD card and many of the applications default to the internal memory (some you can’t even change). Looks like I’ll be waiting for the Note III or the SV.

  17. Jikiri

    05/05/2013 at 10:48 am

  18. Lazer

    05/05/2013 at 10:13 pm

    And doesn’t email also only exist on the phone’s internal memory!!
    Lots of email and lots of app make for an almost dead phone!!

  19. clsav

    05/06/2013 at 9:12 am

    Google Motorola Phone will be my buy then.

  20. Terry Walker

    05/14/2013 at 10:25 am

    Adam,

    I agree completely. I don’t want to buy a great feature packed smartphone only to play the app ‘shuffle’ game in a few months. Having to figure out what app I can remove so that I can try a new app. I’ve had enough of that with my HTC Shfit.

    I am hoping Sprint announces they will sell at least the 32gb version.

    I encourage everyone that wants larger capacity S4′s, especially if you use and would like to stay on Sprint, to sign the petition by following the link below:

    http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/sprint-should-sell-the-samsung-galaxy-s4-32gb-and/

    Or, visit DancindDroid.com and find the link to the petition on the right (for PC’s) or at the bottom (for smartphones and tablets)

    Let’s show Sprint and other carriers that there is demand for these higher capacity S4′s.

  21. Steve

    06/27/2013 at 12:42 am

    I’ve always hated Samsung for not giving the US the 64gb s3 and the 32/64gb Note II’s. I love my note II but have been jockying files around the whole time. My new love/hate relationship is with Google. They go to all of the trouble of arranging for google play editions for the one and the s4, essentially nexus devices, and they only offer the 16gb models. Why not get them all? If the carriers were the barrier before, this was Google’s chance to circumvent them. Plus, anyone who would go to the trouble to buy a full price nexus device just for the pure android experience, might also like the freedom of 32 or 64 gb of storage. Big fail on their part.

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