Buyers Guide to Smartphone Storage: Internal Storage, Micro SD & Cloud Storage

July 24th, 2013

Smartphones have several types of storage: internal, micro SD and cloud storage. Here’s everything you need to know.

Types of StorageWhen choosing a smartphone, one of the most important considerations is the amount of storage. The amount of storage determines the amount of “stuff” you can have on your smartphone. Storage is required by everything from applications and games to photos and videos. Bearing this in mind, this guide shows you how to choose a smartphone with enough storage.

On today’s smartphones, there are three types of storage you’ll need to look at. The first is internal storage: this is embedded inside your phone and is used for the operating system and applications. Any space that’s left over can then be used for photos, music files and videos.

The second type of storage is Micro SD (external storage). With Micro SD, it’s easy to add additional storage to your device. Micro SD comes at a low price (around £10 for 16GB of additional storage) and can be used for photos, music files and videos.

The third type of storage is cloud storage. These are web-based storage services that allow you to store your files on remote servers. There are a range of cloud storage services from companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Dropbox and Google. One thing’s in common: you’ll need a working internet connection to access files from cloud storage.

In this article, we look at the three types of storage. We’ll look at the uses, benefits and disadvantages of each type of storage. Armed with this information, you should be able to make an informed decision on how much storage you really need. Finally, we’ll look across the market and compare today’s latest smartphones. We’ll look at how much storage they have and whether that’s suitable for daily use.

Internal Storage

SmartphonesInternal storage comes built-in to your phone. It’s used for many things including the operating system that powers your phone. All of the files required by iOS, Android or Windows Phone can be found on the internal storage. Applications (both pre-installed ones and those you’ve downloaded yourself) are also saved to internal storage. Finally, the storage that’s left over can be used for other things such as photos, music files, videos and documents.

On most of today’s high-end smartphones, you’ll find 16GB of internal storage. Of this, between one-quarter and one-half of the storage will normally be used by the operating system and any pre-installed applications. The remaining storage is kept free for you to install your own applications. You can also use the space for other content (photos, music files, videos, etc.)

If you buy an iPhone 5 or a Galaxy S4, you’ll get 16GB of internal storage as standard. On the iPhone 5, Apple’s pre-installed software takes up 2.4GB. This leaves you with 13.6GB of user-available storage. As the iPhone 5 lacks micro-SD card storage, the 13.6GB will need to be shared amongst both applications and other types of content. For the Galaxy S4, Samsung’s pre-installed software takes up 6.8GB. This leaves you with just 9.2GB of user-accessible storage. As the Galaxy S4 includes a micro-SD card slot, it’s possible to keep this space solely for applications. Content (e.g. photos and music files) can either be stored on the internal storage or micro-SD.

At the budget end of the smartphone market, you can find entry-level devices with just 4GB of internal storage. These devices tend to give poor performance: once the operating system is accounted for, there’s very little storage left over for your own apps and content. For a good experience, we recommend choosing a smartphone with at least 8GB of internal storage. For optimum performance, go for 16GB or 32GB of internal storage.

Advantages of Internal Storage:

  • Internal Storage

    Internal storage is built-in to your phone. You can’t change it or upgrade it.

    Fast. Internal storage is fast, fast, fast. There’s never any lag to worry about – all of your photos, music files and videos will load instantaneously.

  • Allows you to install more apps. Under most circumstances, applications can only be installed to internal memory. As you can’t have apps on Micro SD or cloud storage, you’ll need to make sure you have ample amounts of internal storage. In particular, 3D games will use a lot of space. If you’re a heavy gamer, be sure to pick a phone with enough built-in storage.
  • Can be used as cache (will speed up your phone). Many applications use a technique called caching in order to improve performance. Caching involves the handset making a temporary copy of some data. To give an example, say you’re browsing the BBC News website. The first time you access the website, all of the files that make up the site get downloaded through your internet connection. A temporary copy of some of these files is made e.g. a copy of the BBC logo is made. The cached image file is saved on your smartphone’s internal storage. Upon your next visit to the BBC site, cached files can be loaded from your internal storage rather than being downloaded once again. This will reduce the load time and improve performance.
  • My Apps

    Your apps are stored on internal memory.

    Internal storage can be used for any type of file. After we’ve accounted for the operating system, applications and cache, the remaining storage can be used for any type of file. You can use the internal storage for photos, music files, videos and office documents. By default, all files are saved to your smartphone’s internal storage.

Disadvantages of Internal Storage:

  • Internal storage can’t be upgraded. There’s no way to upgrade your internal storage – you’re stuck with the amount that came with your phone. On certain devices (e.g. iPhone 5 and Nexus 4), you can choose the amount of internal storage. However, this must be done when buying the device – you can’t upgrade at a later date.
  • Large amounts of space taken by operating system & core files. Even before your phone leaves the factory door, large amounts of internal storage will already be in use. Your smartphone’s operating system lives on the internal storage. This reduces the amount of space that’s available to you. Pre-installed applications and additional features will also eat in to your internal storage. The actual amount of storage space that’s available to you is often significantly lower than the advertised figure. On the 16GB Galaxy S4, only 9.2GB is available to the user. For the 16GB iPhone 5, 13.6GB is available to the user.
  • Not backed up. Your internal storage isn’t backed up. If your phone is lost or stolen, you’ll also lose any data that’s stored on the internal memory.

Verdict: Choose a smartphone with at least 8GB of internal storage. For handsets that lack micro SD card storage, we would recommend having a larger amount of internal storage (16GB or more).

Micro SD Storage (External Storage)

Micro SD CardMany smartphones give you the ability to expand the storage by inserting a Micro SD card. Micro SD allows you to add 32GB of extra storage (64GB on some of the latest devices). It’s fast, cheap and comes with the additional benefit that cards can be switched around amongst devices to transfer files (i.e. you can use a card to transfer files from your camera to a smartphone).

When buying a Micro SD card, it’s important to pick a good quality card. Micro SD cards are split into several classes: Class 2, Class 4, Class 6 and Class 10. To cut a long story short: the higher the class number, the faster the card. Given the low cost of today’s memory cards, it’s always best to go with a Class 10 Micro SD card. This will give you the best possible speeds – it also makes sure that the SD card doesn’t slow down the rest of your phone. Expect to pay £10 for a 16GB Micro SD Card or £20 for a 32GB Micro SD Card.

Some smartphones lack support for Micro SD card storage. In this case, you’ll need to rely on the internal storage and cloud storage services. In practice, cloud storage is too slow for daily use and you’ll be relying on internal storage. In our view, it’s always best to choose a smartphone with Micro SD. Micro SD is a really easy way to add extra storage and it future-proofs your handset so you never need to worry about running out of space. There are also huge benefits in data portability with other devices. Micro SD makes it easy to share files between your camera and smartphone.

Advantages of Micro SD Storage:

  • Micro SD in Phone

    Data Portability: Micro SD cards can easily be switched around between devices.

    Fast. Like internal storage, micro SD cards are fast. Well, about 90% as fast. Still fast. You can store your files on a micro SD card and they’ll load in no time at all. To get the best performance, we recommend a class 10 micro SD card.

  • A cheap & easy way to upgrade your storage. Micro SD cards are a super-cheap way to add storage to your smartphone. One of the best places to find a Micro SD card is Amazon. We recommend class 10 cards as they give the best speeds and the best performance. For a good quality class 10 card, you’ll pay around £10 for 16GB of storage and £20 for 32GB of storage.
  • Can be switched between devices. Unlike internal memory, micro SD cards can easily be swapped around between devices. To take your files from one device to another, simply take the micro SD card out of the device and slot it in the other.
  • An easy way to transfer photos, videos and music. Micro SD cards are great for transferring multimedia files. For instance, imagine you’re on holiday. During the day, you could use your micro SD card in a camera. During the evening, once you’ve taken all the photos, eject the SD card from your camera and stick it in your smartphone. All of your holiday snaps will now appear on your phone. From here, you can review and edit the photos. You can also share the photos to social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Disadvantages of Micro SD Storage:

  • Not backed up. Files that are stored on your Micro SD card are not backed up. If your SD card malfunctions, all of the data stored on it will be lost.
  • Poor data security (if your phone is lost or stolen). Unlike internal storage, any data that’s stored on your micro SD card won’t be protected by your phone’s lock screen. Criminals can easily access your personal data by inserting the micro-SD card into another device.
  • Not suitable for installing apps. In the majority of cases, apps can only be installed on internal memory. A micro SD card will give you extra storage but this is only for multimedia files like photos, music, video and documents.

Verdict: There are huge benefits in choosing a smartphone with Micro SD card support. When buying a Micro SD card, choose a good quality “Class 10” card. A 32GB card will cost around £20.

Cloud Storage

Cloud StorageThe third type of storage you’ll need to consider is cloud storage. In the past few years, cloud storage services have rapidly grown in popularity. The accelerating pace of mobile internet connections has made cloud storage services more usable. That said, cloud storage is still a long way from matching the convenience and speed of local storage (internal and micro SD).

Cloud storage works like this: rather than storing files on your own phone or SD card, your files are stored on a web-based server in the “cloud”. Because your files are online, they’re easier to access: cloud storage services can be used from a range of devices including your PC, laptop, tablet and smartphone. This makes it easy to share files amongst your devices.

Although cloud storage is great on paper, it’s not that useful in daily life. There are just too many disadvantages when using cloud storage. For starters, you’ll need a working internet connection. This means you lose access to your files when you’re abroad, underground or outside your network’s coverage area. Following on from that, accessing files is slow and eats in to your monthly download allowance. Finally, there’s the privacy concern of entrusting your data to a third-party company.

On the majority of smartphones, you’ll now receive a free subscription to a cloud storage service. With the iPhone, Apple includes 5GB of free iCloud storage. With Windows Phone devices, you’ll get 7GB of free storage through Microsoft’s SkyDrive. On selected HTC devices there’s 25GB of free Dropbox storage and on selected Samsung devices there’s 50GB of free Dropbox storage. For other devices, don’t despair. You can always download a cloud storage application by yourself. This will have several gigabytes of free storage. We recommend Dropbox for Android – everyone who signs up will get 2GB of free storage.

Advantages of Cloud Storage:

  • Mobile Mast

    With cloud storage, files are downloaded over your mobile internet connection whenever you need them.

    Easy to share files with other devices & friends. Cloud storage can be accessed from multiple devices. If you use your smartphone to save a file in the cloud, it’ll automatically appear through cloud storage services on your tablet and laptop. The same is true vice-versa: files saved from your tablet or laptop will automatically show up on your smartphone. By synchronising files across multiple devices, you’ll have access to the same data wherever you are. Cloud storage services also make it easy to share files with friends and family. There may be applications to work collaboratively on a document.

  • Your files are backed up automatically. With internal storage and micro SD card storage, there’s no automatic back up for your data. If your phone gets lost or stolen, you can’t recover the data that’s stored on it. With cloud storage, your files are stored online. They’re also backed up by your storage provider. Even if you lose your phone, all of your cloud storage data will still be available.

Disadvantages of Cloud Storage:

  • Requires an internet connection to work. With cloud storage, all of your files are stored online. You’ll need a working internet connection to access files that are saved in cloud storage. This can make cloud storage unusable in situations where a data connection is not available (e.g. if you’re travelling abroad and data roaming is disabled, if you’re on the London Underground or if you’re outside your network’s coverage area).
  • Cloud storage is slow to access. Files stored in the cloud need to be downloaded before you can view them. Downloads can either take place on your home wi-fi network or your mobile internet connection (3G or 4G). Although mobile broadband speeds have been getting better, they’re still a long way from the speeds of accessing internal storage or micro SD. It takes around 4 seconds for a typical photograph to be downloaded from cloud storage services. On local storage, the photo will load instantaneously.
  • data-binary

    Cloud storage will eat into your monthly download allowance.

    Cloud storage will use your download allowance. When you access a file from cloud storage, that file will be downloaded from the internet. As with other types of downloads, cloud storage downloads will count towards your monthly download limit. If your mobile tariff has restrictive download limits, you can burn out your data allowance incredibly quickly. Accessing a folder with 100 photos will use up 250MB of data.

  • Privacy & security concerns. If you’re using cloud storage, you’ll be trusting a third-party company to store your files. Whether it’s Apple, Microsoft, Google or Dropbox that are hosting your files, there are potential privacy and security implications. In principle, your files are encrypted and only you should be able to view them. In reality, government agencies may be able to access your data without informing you. Your data can also be accessed if your account becomes compromised. In extreme situations, hackers could even wipe your device through a cloud storage service.

Verdict: Cloud storage is good for backing up non-sensitive data (e.g. photos and MP3s). You can add cloud storage at any time. When buying your smartphone, we’d instead focus on internal storage and micro-SD card storage. Cloud storage is not a suitable replacement for either of these.

Comparison of Storage Methods

The following table gives a summary of the three storage methods:

Internal Storage Micro SD Card Storage Cloud Storage
Access Speed: Fast Fast Slow (Internet Speeds)
Availability: Always available Always available Requires internet connection
Included with Phone: Between 4GB and 32GB No Between 5GB and 50GB
Upgradable? No Yes, at any time. Yes, at any time.
Cost for Extra Storage: N/A Very cheap.
Approx £10 for 16GB.
More expensive.
Subscription fees vary.
Storage Is Suitable For:
Applications Yes No (on most devices) No
Photos Yes Yes Yes
Music Yes Yes Yes
Videos Yes Yes Yes, but very slow.
Documents Yes Yes Yes
Other Features:
Sharing Across Devices: No Yes, can swap card between devices. Yes, can be accessed from multiple devices.
Automatic Backup: No No Yes, by cloud storage provider.

How much storage do I actually need?

So far, we’ve talked about storage in terms of gigabytes. But what do gigabytes actually mean? What can you do with a gigabyte of storage?

The following table shows the number of photos, music files and videos you could expect to store:

Amount of Storage 4GB 8GB 16GB 32GB 64GB
Number of Megabytes: 4,000 MB 8,000 MB 16,000 MB 32,000 MB 64,000 MB
Photos
5 Megapixel Photos: 2,700 photos 5,300 photos 10,700 photos 21,300 photos 42,700 photos
8 Megapixel Photos: 2,000 photos 4,000 photos 8,000 photos 16,000 photos 32,000 photos
13 Megapixel Photos: 1,000 photos 2,000 photos 4,000 photos 8,000 photos 16,000 photos
Music
Songs (MP3 Files): 800 songs 1,600 songs 3,200 songs 6,400 songs 12,800 songs
Video
Standard Definition:
3 hours 5 hours 11 hours 21 hours 43 hours
High Definition (720p): 40 minutes 80 minutes 3 hours 5 hours 11 hours
Full HD (1080p): 30 minutes 1 hour 2 hours 4 hours 8 hours

Estimates for the number of photos, music files and videos that can be stored. The estimates are based on typical file sizes. We’ve used the following estimates: 1.5MB for a 5 megapixel photo, 2MB for an 8 megapixel photo, 4MB for a 13 megapixel photo, 5MB for an MP3 file, 25MB/minute for a standard definition video recording, 100MB/minute for a high definition video recording and 135MB/minute for a full HD video recording. We’ve determined our typical bitrates through testing on a Galaxy Note II.

For internal storage, please remember that a significant amount of space will be occupied by your operating system and any applications that are installed. The amount of storage which is left over for your own files could be significantly lower than the advertised figure. For Micro SD storage and cloud storage, all of the available space can be used by your files.

Recommendations

When choosing a smartphone, our recommendations are as follows:

  • Internal Storage: Get 8GB or more. Internal storage is an important consideration when buying a smartphone. If you want to install apps or games, you’ll need to do this on internal storage. As an absolute minimum, we recommend 8GB of internal storage. If your handset lacks a Micro SD slot, you’ll need to have more than this. This is because you’ll need room for photos, music files and videos. For handsets without Micro SD, we reckon you’ll need at least 16GB of internal storage.
  • Micro SD Card Storage: Definitely worth having. If possible, buy a smartphone that supports Micro SD. Micro SD is a super-cheap way to add extra storage. It also allows you to share files amongst devices. When buying a Micro SD card, make sure it’s Class 10. It’s worth investing in a good card.
  • Cloud Storage: A nice bonus but less important. Cloud storage is good for backing up files and for sharing them. It can’t be used as a replacement for internal storage or for Micro SD card storage. It’s possible to add cloud storage from any provider at a later date. For this reason, don’t concern yourself too much about cloud storage when choosing a phone.

Comparison of Storage on Popular Smartphones

In the following table, we show the amount of storage available on popular smartphones today. For each device, we’ve given a “storage rating” out of five. A “5 star” rating indicates a best-of-breed smartphone with ample amounts of storage.

HandsetInternal StorageMicro SD StorageCloud StorageStorage Rating
Apple iPhone 732GB / 128GB / 256GB5GB Apple iCloud4/5
Apple iPhone 7 Plus32GB / 128GB / 256GB5GB Apple iCloud4/5
Samsung Galaxy S732GB / 64GB Up to 200GB50GB Dropbox5/5
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge32GB / 64GB Up to 200GB50GB Dropbox5/5
Apple iPhone 6s16GB / 64GB / 128GB5GB Apple iCloud3/5
Apple iPhone 6s Plus16GB / 64GB / 128GB5GB Apple iCloud3/5
Motorola Moto G4 Play8GB / 16GB Up to 256GB-4/5
Huawei Nexus 6P32GB / 64GB / 128GB-4/5
Apple iPhone SE16GB / 64GB5GB Apple iCloud3/5

Comparison of Storage (All Smartphones)

If you couldn’t find your handset in the list above, please refer to the full list below. As before, we’ve given a rating to each handset. This rating is based on the amount of storage on the phone. A “5 star” rating indicates a best-of-breed device. We would advise against buying any smartphone with less than 3 stars.

Please select your handset manufacturer:

AppleHandsetInternal StorageMicro SD StorageCloud StorageStorage Rating
Apple iPhone 3GS8GB / 16GB / 32GB5GB Apple iCloud2/5
Apple iPhone 48GB / 16GB / 32GB5GB Apple iCloud2/5
Apple iPhone 4S16GB / 32GB / 64GB5GB Apple iCloud3/5
Apple iPhone 516GB / 32GB / 64GB5GB Apple iCloud3/5
Apple iPhone 5c8GB / 16GB / 32GB5GB Apple iCloud2/5
Apple iPhone 5s16GB / 32GB / 64GB5GB Apple iCloud3/5
Apple iPhone 616GB / 64GB / 128GB5GB Apple iCloud3/5
Apple iPhone 6 Plus16GB / 64GB / 128GB5GB Apple iCloud3/5
Apple iPhone 6s16GB / 64GB / 128GB5GB Apple iCloud3/5
Apple iPhone 6s Plus16GB / 64GB / 128GB5GB Apple iCloud3/5
Apple iPhone 732GB / 128GB / 256GB5GB Apple iCloud4/5
Apple iPhone 7 Plus32GB / 128GB / 256GB5GB Apple iCloud4/5
Apple iPhone SE16GB / 64GB5GB Apple iCloud3/5
BlackBerryHandsetInternal StorageMicro SD StorageCloud StorageStorage Rating
BlackBerry 9720512MB Up to 32GB-2/5
BlackBerry Bold Touch 99008GB Up to 32GB-4/5
BlackBerry Curve 9320512MB Up to 32GB-2/5
BlackBerry Curve 9360512MB Up to 32GB-2/5
BlackBerry DTEK5016GB Up to 256GB-5/5
BlackBerry Leap16GB Up to 128GB-5/5
BlackBerry Passport32GB Up to 64GB-5/5
BlackBerry Porsche Design P'998364GB Up to 128GB-5/5
BlackBerry Priv32GB Up to 200GB-5/5
BlackBerry Q1016GB Up to 64GB-5/5
BlackBerry Q58GB Up to 32GB-4/5
BlackBerry Torch 98004GB Up to 32GB-3/5
BlackBerry Z1016GB Up to 32GB-5/5
BlackBerry Z38GB Up to 32GB-4/5
BlackBerry Z3016GB Up to 64GB-5/5
HTCHandsetInternal StorageMicro SD StorageCloud StorageStorage Rating
HTC 1032GB / 64GB Up to 200GB25GB Dropbox5/5
HTC Desire576MB Up to 32GB-2/5
HTC Desire 3004GB Up to 32GB25GB Dropbox3/5
HTC Desire 3104GB Up to 32GB25GB Dropbox3/5
HTC Desire 3208GB Up to 32GB25GB Dropbox4/5
HTC Desire 5004GB Up to 64GB25GB Dropbox3/5
HTC Desire 5108GB Up to 128GB25GB Dropbox4/5
HTC Desire 5208GB Up to 32GB25GB Dropbox4/5
HTC Desire 6018GB Up to 64GB25GB Dropbox4/5
HTC Desire 6108GB Up to 128GB25GB Dropbox4/5
HTC Desire 6208GB Up to 128GB25GB Dropbox4/5
HTC Desire 62616GB Up to 32GB25GB Dropbox5/5
HTC Desire 63016GB Up to 256GB25GB Dropbox5/5
HTC Desire 8168GB Up to 128GB25GB Dropbox4/5
HTC Desire 82016GB Up to 128GB25GB Dropbox5/5
HTC Desire 82516GB Up to 256GB25GB Dropbox5/5
HTC Desire 83032GB Up to 256GB25GB Dropbox5/5
HTC Desire C4GB Up to 32GB25GB Dropbox3/5
HTC Desire Eye16GB Up to 128GB25GB Dropbox5/5
HTC Desire HD1.5GB Up to 32GB-2/5
HTC Desire X4GB Up to 32GB25GB Dropbox3/5
HTC One A916GB Up to 200GB25GB Dropbox5/5
HTC One M732GB / 64GB25GB Dropbox4/5
HTC One M816GB / 32GB Up to 128GB25GB Dropbox5/5
HTC One M8s16GB / 32GB Up to 128GB25GB Dropbox5/5
HTC One M932GB Up to 128GB25GB Dropbox5/5
HTC One Max16GB / 32GB Up to 64GB25GB Dropbox5/5
HTC One mini16GB25GB Dropbox3/5
HTC One mini 216GB Up to 128GB25GB Dropbox5/5
HTC One S16GB25GB Dropbox3/5
HTC One S916GB Up to 256GB25GB Dropbox5/5
HTC One V4GB Up to 32GB25GB Dropbox3/5
HTC One X32GB25GB Dropbox4/5
HTC One X+32GB / 64GB25GB Dropbox4/5
HTC One X932GB Up to 200GB25GB Dropbox5/5
HTC One XL32GB25GB Dropbox4/5
HTC Wildfire S512MB Up to 32GB-2/5
HTC Windows Phone 8S4GB Up to 32GB8GB SkyDrive3/5
HTC Windows Phone 8X16GB8GB SkyDrive3/5
HuaweiHandsetInternal StorageMicro SD StorageCloud StorageStorage Rating
Huawei Ascend G3004GB Up to 32GB-3/5
Huawei Ascend G3304GB Up to 32GB-3/5
Huawei Ascend G5104GB Up to 32GB-3/5
Huawei Ascend G64GB Up to 32GB-3/5
Huawei Ascend G716GB Up to 32GB-5/5
Huawei Ascend Mate8GB Up to 32GB-4/5
Huawei Ascend Mate716GB Up to 128GB-5/5
Huawei Ascend P11GB Up to 32GB-2/5
Huawei Ascend P68GB Up to 32GB-4/5
Huawei Ascend P716GB Up to 64GB-5/5
Huawei Ascend W14GB Up to 32GB8GB SkyDrive3/5
Huawei Ascend W28GB Up to 32GB8GB SkyDrive4/5
Huawei Ascend Y5304GB Up to 32GB-3/5
Huawei Ascend Y5504GB Up to 32GB-3/5
Huawei G816GB Up to 64GB-5/5
Huawei G9 Plus32GB Up to 256GB-5/5
Huawei Honor 4X8GB Up to 32GB-4/5
Huawei Honor 5c16GB Up to 256GB-5/5
Huawei Honor 616GB / 32GB Up to 64GB-5/5
Huawei Honor 6+16GB / 32GB Up to 128GB-5/5
Huawei Honor 716GB / 64GB Up to 128GB-5/5
Huawei Honor 832GB / 64GB Up to 256GB-5/5
Huawei Honor Holly16GB Up to 32GB-5/5
Huawei Honor V832GB Up to 256GB-5/5
Huawei Mate 832GB Up to 128GB-5/5
Huawei Mate S32GB / 64GB / 128GB Up to 128GB-5/5
Huawei Nexus 6P32GB / 64GB / 128GB-4/5
Huawei Nova32GB Up to 256GB-5/5
Huawei Nova Plus32GB Up to 256GB-5/5
Huawei P816GB / 64GB Up to 128GB-5/5
Huawei P8 Lite16GB Up to 128GB-5/5
Huawei P8 Max64GB Up to 64GB-5/5
Huawei P932GB Up to 128GB-5/5
Huawei P9 lite16GB Up to 256GB-5/5
Huawei P9 Plus64GB Up to 128GB-5/5
Huawei Y34GB Up to 32GB-3/5
Huawei Y3II8GB Up to 32GB-4/5
Huawei Y6354GB Up to 32GB-3/5
LGHandsetInternal StorageMicro SD StorageCloud StorageStorage Rating
LG G Flex32GB-4/5
LG G Flex216GB Up to 128GB-5/5
LG G216GB / 32GB-3/5
LG G2 mini8GB Up to 32GB-4/5
LG G316GB Up to 128GB-5/5
LG G3 S8GB Up to 64GB-4/5
LG G432GB Up to 128GB-5/5
LG G4c8GB Up to 128GB-4/5
LG G532GB Up to 200GB-5/5
LG G5 SE32GB Up to 256GB-5/5
LG Joy4GB Up to 32GB-3/5
LG K38GB Up to 32GB-4/5
LG K58GB Up to 32GB-4/5
LG K88GB Up to 32GB-4/5
LG L704GB Up to 32GB-3/5
LG Leon8GB Up to 32GB-4/5
LG Nexus 48GB / 16GB-2/5
LG Nexus 516GB / 32GB-3/5
LG Nexus 5X16GB / 32GB-3/5
LG Optimus G32GB-4/5
LG Optimus L5 II4GB Up to 32GB-3/5
LG Spirit8GB Up to 32GB-4/5
LG Stylus 216GB Up to 128GB-5/5
LG V1064GB Up to 128GB-5/5
LG V2032GB / 64GB Up to 256GB-5/5
LG X cam16GB Up to 256GB-5/5
LG X mach32GB Up to 256GB-5/5
LG X power16GB Up to 256GB-5/5
LG X screen16GB Up to 256GB-5/5
LG X Skin16GB Up to 32GB-5/5
LG X style16GB Up to 256GB-5/5
MicrosoftHandsetInternal StorageMicro SD StorageCloud StorageStorage Rating
Microsoft Lumia 4358GB Up to 128GB8GB SkyDrive4/5
Microsoft Lumia 5358GB Up to 128GB8GB SkyDrive4/5
Microsoft Lumia 5408GB Up to 128GB8GB SkyDrive4/5
Microsoft Lumia 5508GB Up to 200GB8GB SkyDrive4/5
Microsoft Lumia 6408GB Up to 128GB8GB SkyDrive4/5
Microsoft Lumia 640 XL8GB Up to 128GB8GB SkyDrive4/5
Microsoft Lumia 65016GB Up to 200GB8GB SkyDrive5/5
Microsoft Lumia 95032GB Up to 200GB8GB SkyDrive5/5
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL32GB Up to 200GB8GB SkyDrive5/5
MotorolaHandsetInternal StorageMicro SD StorageCloud StorageStorage Rating
Motorola Moto E (1st Gen)4GB Up to 32GB-3/5
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)8GB Up to 32GB-4/5
Motorola Moto E38GB Up to 32GB-4/5
Motorola Moto G (1st Gen)8GB / 16GB-2/5
Motorola Moto G (2nd Gen)8GB / 16GB Up to 32GB-4/5
Motorola Moto G (3rd Gen)8GB / 16GB Up to 32GB-4/5
Motorola Moto G 4G (1st Gen)8GB Up to 32GB-4/5
Motorola Moto G 4G (2nd Gen)8GB Up to 32GB-4/5
Motorola Moto G416GB / 32GB Up to 256GB-5/5
Motorola Moto G4 Play8GB / 16GB Up to 256GB-4/5
Motorola Moto G4 Plus32GB / 64GB Up to 256GB-5/5
Motorola Moto X (2013)16GB / 32GB-3/5
Motorola Moto X (2014)16GB / 32GB-3/5
Motorola Moto X Force (2015)32GB / 64GB Up to 200GB-5/5
Motorola Moto X Play (2015)16GB / 32GB Up to 128GB-5/5
Motorola Moto X Style (2015)16GB / 32GB / 64GB Up to 128GB-5/5
Motorola Moto Z32GB / 64GB Up to 256GB-5/5
Motorola Moto Z Force32GB / 64GB Up to 256GB-5/5
Motorola Moto Z Play32GB Up to 256GB-5/5
Motorola Nexus 632GB / 64GB-4/5
Motorola RAZR HD16GB Up to 32GB-5/5
NokiaHandsetInternal StorageMicro SD StorageCloud StorageStorage Rating
Nokia Lumia 102032GB8GB SkyDrive4/5
Nokia Lumia 13208GB Up to 64GB8GB SkyDrive4/5
Nokia Lumia 152032GB Up to 64GB8GB SkyDrive5/5
Nokia Lumia 5208GB Up to 64GB8GB SkyDrive4/5
Nokia Lumia 5258GB Up to 64GB8GB SkyDrive4/5
Nokia Lumia 5304GB Up to 128GB8GB SkyDrive3/5
Nokia Lumia 6108GB8GB SkyDrive2/5
Nokia Lumia 6208GB Up to 64GB8GB SkyDrive4/5
Nokia Lumia 6258GB Up to 64GB8GB SkyDrive4/5
Nokia Lumia 6308GB Up to 128GB8GB SkyDrive4/5
Nokia Lumia 6358GB Up to 128GB8GB SkyDrive4/5
Nokia Lumia 7108GB8GB SkyDrive2/5
Nokia Lumia 7208GB Up to 64GB8GB SkyDrive4/5
Nokia Lumia 7358GB Up to 128GB8GB SkyDrive4/5
Nokia Lumia 80016GB8GB SkyDrive3/5
Nokia Lumia 8208GB Up to 32GB8GB SkyDrive4/5
Nokia Lumia 83016GB Up to 128GB8GB SkyDrive5/5
Nokia Lumia 92032GB8GB SkyDrive4/5
Nokia Lumia 92516GB8GB SkyDrive3/5
Nokia Lumia 93032GB8GB SkyDrive4/5
SamsungHandsetInternal StorageMicro SD StorageCloud StorageStorage Rating
Samsung Ativ S16GB / 32GB Up to 32GB8GB SkyDrive5/5
Samsung Galaxy A316GB Up to 64GB50GB Dropbox5/5
Samsung Galaxy A3 (2016)16GB Up to 128GB-5/5
Samsung Galaxy A516GB Up to 64GB50GB Dropbox5/5
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)16GB Up to 128GB50GB Dropbox5/5
Samsung Galaxy A716GB Up to 64GB50GB Dropbox5/5
Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016)32GB Up to 128GB50GB Dropbox5/5
Samsung Galaxy Ace158MB Up to 32GB-2/5
Samsung Galaxy Ace 24GB Up to 32GB-3/5
Samsung Galaxy Ace 38GB Up to 64GB-4/5
Samsung Galaxy Ace 44GB Up to 64GB-3/5
Samsung Galaxy Alpha32GB50GB Dropbox4/5
Samsung Galaxy C532GB / 64GB Up to 256GB50GB Dropbox5/5
Samsung Galaxy C732GB / 64GB Up to 256GB50GB Dropbox5/5
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime8GB Up to 64GB-4/5
Samsung Galaxy Fame4GB Up to 64GB-3/5
Samsung Galaxy J14GB Up to 128GB-3/5
Samsung Galaxy J1 (2016)8GB Up to 128GB-4/5
Samsung Galaxy J28GB Up to 128GB-4/5
Samsung Galaxy J2 (2016)8GB Up to 128GB-4/5
Samsung Galaxy J2 Pro (2016)16GB Up to 128GB50GB Dropbox5/5
Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016)8GB / 16GB Up to 128GB-4/5
Samsung Galaxy J58GB / 16GB Up to 128GB50GB Dropbox4/5
Samsung Galaxy J716GB Up to 128GB50GB Dropbox5/5
Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016)16GB Up to 256GB-5/5
Samsung Galaxy K zoom8GB Up to 64GB50GB Dropbox4/5
Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.38GB / 16GB Up to 64GB50GB Dropbox4/5
Samsung Galaxy Music4GB Up to 32GB-3/5
Samsung Galaxy Nexus16GB-3/5
Samsung Galaxy Note16GB / 32GB Up to 32GB-5/5
Samsung Galaxy Note 316GB / 32GB / 64GB Up to 64GB50GB Dropbox5/5
Samsung Galaxy Note 432GB Up to 64GB50GB Dropbox5/5
Samsung Galaxy Note 532GB / 64GB50GB Dropbox4/5
Samsung Galaxy Note 764GB Up to 256GB50GB Dropbox5/5
Samsung Galaxy Note Edge32GB / 64GB Up to 64GB50GB Dropbox5/5
Samsung Galaxy Note II16GB / 32GB / 64GB Up to 64GB50GB Dropbox5/5
Samsung Galaxy S8GB / 16GB Up to 32GB-4/5
Samsung Galaxy S II16GB Up to 32GB-5/5
Samsung Galaxy S III16GB / 32GB / 64GB Up to 64GB50GB Dropbox5/5
Samsung Galaxy S III Mini8GB / 16GB Up to 32GB50GB Dropbox4/5
Samsung Galaxy S III mini VE8GB / 16GB Up to 32GB-4/5
Samsung Galaxy S416GB / 32GB / 64GB Up to 64GB50GB Dropbox5/5
Samsung Galaxy S4 Active16GB Up to 64GB50GB Dropbox5/5
Samsung Galaxy S4 mini8GB Up to 64GB50GB Dropbox4/5
Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom8GB Up to 64GB50GB Dropbox4/5
Samsung Galaxy S516GB / 32GB Up to 128GB50GB Dropbox5/5
Samsung Galaxy S5 mini16GB Up to 64GB50GB Dropbox5/5
Samsung Galaxy S5 Neo16GB Up to 128GB50GB Dropbox5/5
Samsung Galaxy S632GB / 64GB / 128GB50GB Dropbox4/5
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge32GB / 64GB / 128GB50GB Dropbox4/5
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+32GB / 64GB50GB Dropbox4/5
Samsung Galaxy S732GB / 64GB Up to 200GB50GB Dropbox5/5
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge32GB / 64GB Up to 200GB50GB Dropbox5/5
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 38GB Up to 32GB-4/5
Samsung Galaxy Y180MB Up to 32GB-2/5
Samsung Galaxy Young4GB Up to 64GB-3/5
Samsung Galaxy Young 24GB Up to 32GB-3/5
Samsung Nexus S16GB-3/5
Samsung Z14GB Up to 64GB-3/5
Samsung Z38GB Up to 128GB-4/5
SonyHandsetInternal StorageMicro SD StorageCloud StorageStorage Rating
Sony Xperia C416GB Up to 128GB-5/5
Sony Xperia E4GB Up to 32GB-3/5
Sony Xperia E14GB Up to 32GB-3/5
Sony Xperia E34GB Up to 32GB-3/5
Sony Xperia E48GB Up to 32GB-4/5
Sony Xperia E4g8GB Up to 32GB-4/5
Sony Xperia E516GB Up to 256GB-5/5
Sony Xperia J4GB Up to 32GB-3/5
Sony Xperia M4GB Up to 32GB-3/5
Sony Xperia M28GB Up to 32GB-4/5
Sony Xperia M2 Aqua8GB Up to 32GB-4/5
Sony Xperia M4 Aqua8GB Up to 32GB-4/5
Sony Xperia M516GB Up to 200GB-5/5
Sony Xperia miro4GB Up to 32GB-3/5
Sony Xperia S32GB-4/5
Sony Xperia SP8GB Up to 32GB-4/5
Sony Xperia T16GB Up to 32GB-5/5
Sony Xperia T38GB Up to 32GB-4/5
Sony Xperia X32GB / 64GB Up to 200GB-5/5
Sony Xperia X Performance32GB Up to 200GB-5/5
Sony Xperia XA16GB Up to 200GB-5/5
Sony Xperia XA Ultra16GB Up to 256GB-5/5
Sony Xperia XZ32GB / 64GB Up to 256GB-5/5
Sony Xperia Z16GB Up to 32GB-5/5
Sony Xperia Z Ultra16GB Up to 64GB-5/5
Sony Xperia Z116GB Up to 64GB-5/5
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact16GB Up to 64GB-5/5
Sony Xperia Z216GB Up to 128GB-5/5
Sony Xperia Z316GB / 32GB Up to 128GB-5/5
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact16GB Up to 64GB-5/5
Sony Xperia Z3+32GB Up to 128GB-5/5
Sony Xperia Z532GB Up to 200GB-5/5
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact32GB Up to 200GB-5/5
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium32GB Up to 200GB-5/5

You'll need to have at least 8GB of internal storage to get a good experience. Applications normally need to be installed on your internal storage. Be wary of any devices with this warning icon. There'll be limited amounts of space - many of your applications might not work.

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About Ken

Ken Lo

My passion is helping people to get the most out of their mobile phone. I've been blogging at Ken's Tech Tips since 2005.

Aside from writing about mobile technology, my interests are in software development, digital marketing and physics. Outside of the blog, I work with numerous technology companies helping them to explain their product and helping them to market it to consumers. Please get in touch for more information.

Your Comments

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 10 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  1. spark73 said:

    Hi Ken.
    Good job.
    TQ for your info.

  2. Mani said:

    Hi ken,
    I have honor 4x mobile, in specs up to 32GB external mem is support.

    My question is if I install 32Gb, will you get performance issue. I heard installing 16 gb gives better performance but not for 32 GB.

    Looking forward for your reply.

    Thanks
    Subramani

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi Mani,
      Thanks for your comment. I don’t think there should be any intrinsic difference in the performance of 16GB and 32GB micro-SD cards. The main thing you should be looking out for is the class or speed rating of the micro-SD card. When possible, I strongly recommend choosing a Class 10 card.
      Hope this helps,
      Ken

  3. Htun htun htet said:

    Very very very helpful for mobile customers.thanks a millions.

  4. Jeet said:

    Hi ken,
    Can I use 64GB Micro sd class 10 in HTC 8S as I already purchased?
    Thanks

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi Jeet,
      Thanks for your comment. Officially, the HTC Windows Phone 8S will only support micro-SD cards up to 32GB in size. If you’ve already bought a 64GB card, you can of course try it in your phone (some handsets advertising support for up to 32GB micro-SD will also accept 64GB cards). There’s no guarantee the card will function fully but it’s well worth giving it a go!
      Ken

  5. Alexander said:

    Hi, Ken

    I wanted to know what micro SD you would recommend for an HTC Desire 610 I’m wanting to get 64GB if possible wi the best speeds possible.

    Do you know if the SanDisk Extreme 64GB will be ok or should I get the Extreme Plus from SanDisk.

    I’m most probably going to get a SanDisk because of reliability in the past but need a new and faster one for this Android phone.

    Kind Regards,
    Alexander

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi Alexander,
      Thanks for your comment! I wouldn’t have any specific recommendations when it comes to a brand or a type of SD card. That said, your choice of SanDisk sounds pretty solid to me. For me, the most important things would be choosing a fast card (Class 10 or even UHS-I). I’d also buy from a reputable retailer (e.g. if you’re buying on Amazon, choose the option to buy from them directly). Unfortunately, there’s a large number of fake micro-SD cards available in the market (these can give much worse performance than is advertised on the card).
      Hope this helps,
      Ken

      1. Alexander replied:

        Hi Ken,

        The SanDisk would be purchased front he directly because of fakes it’s just really to now the difference in which would be best for my HTC Desire 610, support have told me I should get a SanDisk Ultra 64GB microSDXC UHS-I however I’ve read that the Ultra from SanDisk is not good do you know what would be a better one from SanDisk with the specs given.

        Kind Regards,
        Alexander

        1. Ken Lo
          Ken replied:

          Hi Alexander,
          Unfortunately I’ve neither used a Desire 610 or either of the SanDisk cards you’ve mentioned in your comment. For this reason, I wouldn’t be able to give a specific recommendation. Sorry!
          Ken

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