Sep 262020

Tech manufacturers make it quite possible to buy inadequate hardware

Whether you are buying a computer (laptop, desktop, Windows, Mac), a smartphone or tablet (Apple or Android), it is possible to spend a lot of money on something that will soon be inadequate because there isn’t enough space to store all your stuff.

Android - Storage FullThe phrase that comes to mind is “spoiling the ship for a ha’porth of tar”. You spend hundreds of pounds on some sparkling new kit with all the gizmos, only to find three months later that you are running into difficulties because there isn’t enough room for your needs. The only devices that I can think of that don’t let you fall into this trap are iPhones and iPads. The smallest storage capacity in a new iPhone/iPad is 64gb. For most people, 64gb in a smartphone or tablet is adequate (though plenty, like me, would like much more).

With Android phones and tablets, on the other hand, the situation is frankly ridiculous. Many is the person who has bought a small capacity Android phone believing that you can just move apps and data to the optional SD storage card. In older versions of the Android operating system many apps could not be moved onto the external SD card. I understand that the situation has changed somewhat, but that the app developer has to have written the option into the app if it is to be movable to the SD card. For further information on this, see this Android Developers’ web page. The reason that I say that the situation is ridiculous is that our old friend Google (who are now the force behind Android) fill the device with so much rubbish that you can’t remove, that an 8gb Android device is almost dead in the water before it’s even sailed out of the showroom – irrespective of the size of your micro SD card.

Samsung SSD

Samsung Solid State Drive

The danger with Windows PCs (including laptops) starts from the fact that SSDs (solid state drives) are preferable to the old style hard drives as they are faster, and probably more reliable. However, byte for byte, they are more expensive. So, instead of the now standard 1tb of space (1000gb) on a hard drive, it’s possible to buy a laptop that is fit for purpose in other respects, but with as little as 128gb of SSD capacity. That situation is hardly ameliorated for average and “light” computer users by adding a hard drive as well since it either needs to be configured appropriately from the start (and they never are) or the user needs to learn more about file organisation than would otherwise have been the case.

Micro SD Card

Micro SD Card

I do, of course, understand that all products have to be priced competitively and at a price that will produce the company a profit. Nevertheless, it has often crossed my mind when I encounter yet another frustrated user of an inadequate device, that there must surely be a case for being able to obtain a refund under the Sale of Goods Acts (or other consumer legislation) on the basis that the product is not fit for the purpose for which it was bought.

So, as a rough guide, and assuming that your needs are “average”, my recommendations for the minimum size of storage space for different devices is as follows. If in any doubt, try to discuss first with the vendor (not easy with online shopping, I admit) what you intend to use the device for. That makes your case stronger if the device fails to live up to your needs.

AvoidNot RecommendedOK for Average UseOK for Average UseShould be Fine
and Tablets
(if SD also available)
(iPhone, or Android without SD)
64gb with SD card, or 128gb
Windows and
Apple Computers

Note: All of these recommendations may be insufficient if you wish to store large collections of music, images, or video files.

© 2011-2019 David Leonard
Computer Support in London
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