Is 8GB Enough Memory for a Modern Android Device?

Originally Posted by howard:
8GB isn’t that much, especially if part of that 8GB is eaten up by Android. Let’s assume there’s 5.5GB of usable space. That fills up really fast unless you never download anything interesting to the device.

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It’s understandable that iPhone users would balk at a smartphone with such a relatively tiny amount of on-board memory. Because the iPod begat the iPhone, the Apple mindset would have a user expecting to carry around their music library and a large collection of photos local to their device.

And in the case of Motorola’s Moto G it’s also quite true, as Howard pointed out later in that same thread, that target users in developing nations probably won’t have a fat data plan that allows for the constant backing up their media to Google’s servers.

So yesterday I put Howard’s claim to the test, trying as best I could to fill up the meager 8GB of storage on the Moto G. Here’s how it went…

First Boot

Moto G First Boot

I took this screen grab after booting the Moto G for the first time and signing in with my Gmail account. Howard’s estimate of usable storage space was almost bang-on, at 5.01GB.


The first step was to install a basic collection of apps to make the Moto G usable as a daily driver. For me, the downloads were as follows:

Once all that was installed, I took another screen grab:

Moto G Basic Apps

So two dozen or so apps ate up less than half a gigabyte of storage. Not bad.


Next I took to the mean streets of downtown Toronto for a graffiti walk, taking 20 or so photos and a sixty-second HD video — you can see some samples in this Google+ album.

Immediately after that, another captured screen:

Moto G Photos

And another 30MB used up.

Obviously, an entire month’s worth of captured photos and videos would eat up a lot more space, but Google has a handy auto backup feature built into Google+. It’s fairly compelling, and can be set to back up over WiFi only, which is great for backwards nations where impoverished citizens have no choice but to pay for outrageously expensive data — like Canada, for example.


I’m pretty fickle with music and mostly listen to podcasts or streaming radio. But I do enjoy a casual game or two. So as a last step, I loaded up the Moto G with some of the better titles I’ve played:

Once everything was loaded up — including the additional files that some of the games require — I grabbed a final screen:

Moto G Games

Almost 3GB of space left, with the Moto G showing no signs of lag whatsoever.

Good Enough?

While a one-day test is in no way representative of long term use, it went a lot better than I expected. And for the moment, it does indeed seem like 8GB of on-board storage is sufficient for a modern-day Android device.

Had I also downloaded the latest episodes of the half-dozen podcasts I’m currently subscribed to another 300 or so MB would have been gobbled up. But by the same token, I probably wouldn’t have games and their sequels running on my device at the same time.

In my own experience the only thing that ever needs to be wiped from my Nexus 4 is ROM installers and TWRP backups — with those weighing in at anywhere from 150 to 350MB each the Moto G could stand to carry that extra weight, at least temporarily.

Now that I think of it, an unlocked Moto G with dual SIM support and an unlockable bootloader would pretty much be my dream device — even with only 8GB of storage. Of course, I wouldn’t say no to 16, either. 😀

3 thoughts on “Is 8GB Enough Memory for a Modern Android Device?”

  1. Please reply fast Dx
    So I really want this phone but I’m afraid those 5 gb wont be enough xc
    I really don’t download much Alps
    For example if I get Facebook, Whatsapp, Line, Clean Master, Picsart, Facebook Messenger ,Pandora… and about 2 games .. Zombie Smasher, subway surfers, will it be enough? Also I only like about 30-35 songs .. and I keep about 800 pictures? Is it enough? Thanks

    1. I think some basic math will answer your question. You can go to either the Play Store or AppBrain and figure out the size of the apps you’re interested in.

      I’ve no idea what the size of your music files are—they can vary wildly according to the format and sample rate. As for photos, the average file size I got from the Moto G was about 1.2 MB.

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