iPhone 5C in Blue with iPhone 5

The allure of a 16GB phone is that it’s typically the most inexpensive subsidized option. But when you consider the amount of music, movies, apps and pictures you’ll be storing on your device, space can quickly become scarce. And then you see a chart like the one below, and you suddenly realize just how little space you get—and don’t expect companies to tell you that outside of the fine print on a spec page. The theme here seems to be just how much space an OS (and the skins on top of them) takes up.

Among the most popular 16GB phones on the market, Apple’s iPhone 5c ends up giving consumers the most space to play with—about 12.60GB, according to the chart provided by Which? And the least amount? Samsung’s Galaxy S4, which only leaves users just over half of the 16GB of internal storage. It appears all that TouchWiz customization takes its toll, much more so than any other handset listed. Of the devices listed, however, it’s the only one that supports microSD expansion, so it’s a give and take situation.

LG’s recent G2, which attempted to outdo Samsung with a healthy dose of customizations, unsurprisingly leaves users hardly any storage, while other devices such as the HTC One Mini and BlackBerry Z30 offer just over double-digit storage figures. The chart very clearly shows the mobile operating systems that haven’t been tampered with leave more space; I’d be curious to see what a device like the Moto X leaves when all is said and done—or even the Moto G, which has even less customizations, though that device admittedly isn’t “flagship” like the others that are listed.

Since you could simply go for the 32GB version of each device, the lack of storage isn’t necessarily a huge criticism, but it is important to understand just how much space you’re left with in a 16GB device. Apple seems to do the best job when it comes to overall space, while other devices might benefit from some software trimming. Music streaming and cloud services can definitely be your friend if you own a 16GB device.

2 Mobile storage space