The 32 GB Microsoft Surface starts at the same price as Apple’s 16 GB iPad with Retina display, and now we may know why. The Surface actually has only 16 gigabytes of free space.
That means users who buy the flagship Microsoft tablet will only have about half the storage space that’s advertised to install their own apps and store movies, music, books and any other kind of content.
Microsoft explains that the lack of free space is a result of the storage needed to install the Windows RT operating system as well as pre-installed apps. Those apps include Internet Explorer, the Microsoft Office Home & Student 2013 RT as well as the various Xbox Media apps that come on the device.
“We believe in the value of our entire Microsoft ecosystem, so we have pre-installed certain core apps to ensure you get the most out of your Surface,” the Redmond, Wash.-based company told The Times.
“Even with this powerful operating system and suite of core Microsoft apps, Surface owners still have ample space to add content and store personal files on their device,” Microsoft said.
As Microsoft told The Times, having pre-installed software on tablets is a common occurrence throughout the tech industry. However, Microsoft’s competitors don’t do it to the degree that it does.
The 32 GB Nexus 10 tablet by Google, for example, has about 27 GB of storage space available when you first use it.
And when you look at 64 GB tablets, the same holds true. The 64 GB Microsoft Surface only has 46 GB of free space when you first use it, while Apple’s 64 GB third-generation 9.7-inch iPad comes with more than 56 GB of free space when you first start using it.
But Microsoft points out that its device, unlike the iPad and the Nexus 10, comes with 7 GB of free cloud storage through Microsoft’s SkyDrive service, and the Surface also has a microSDXC card slot that can easily expand the storage space of the tablet. The company also said users can free up 4 GB of space by deleting the Surface’s recovery partition and creating a backup bootable USB.