If anyone is thinking of buying the 8GB version of the Sony Xperia M4 Aqua, then we wanted to make you fully aware that the handset will be severely limited when it comes to internal storage. Whilst the handset is marketed as having 8GB of internal storage, the amount of free space you actually get out of the box is around 1.25GB.
We have the European E2303 retail model of the Xperia M4 Aqua, which is SIM free so should have less bloatware than carrier versions. It is running firmware build 26.1.A.1.100 and the screenshots you see below are straight out of the box without installing any new apps. You can see that out of 8GB of storage, 4GB is taken up by Android 5.0 and just over 2GB of pre-installed apps. For our model, this leaves a paltry 1.26GB for our own apps, media, photos and videos.
No problem you might say – just delete some unwanted apps. However, most of the apps are baked in and cannot be uninstalled. Below, you will see the apps sorted by size (out of the box), the largest being Facebook.
Deleting some of the unwanted apps such as Facebook, Kobo Books, AVG etc. freed up around 470MB of additional space, but still left the amount of storage at a tiny 1.73GB. This is without downloading any additional apps as can be seen in the screen below right. Adding some of our essential apps such as Dropbox, Evernote, Swiftkey, Skype and others would quickly bring us back down again.
Frankly, this is not good enough. There is no reason why users should be shackled by such storage limits in a 2015 mid-range device. We think Sony realises this too, as why would the company launch 16GB variants (E2306, E2333, E2363) of the same handset too?
We cannot understand why it didn’t make 16GB of internal storage a standard for the Xperia M4 Aqua, much like it did for the Xperia C4. To launch the 8GB model into Europe, one of the Sony Mobile’s biggest markets, is crazy in our view. People need space and we’re not just talking about power users. You can try and move apps to SD card, but this does not enable you to move everything (APK and data) to the SD card.
Sony’s own guide of how much space is left to the user is also erroneous. Here is an excerpt from the company’s white paper for the Xperia M4 Aqua, which says 3GB is free to the user when in fact it is less than half that amount:
“The E2303, E2353 and E2312 have 3 GB of free memory available to the user for downloaded applications and their data, music, pictures and movies while each device has up to 8 GB of flash memory in total.”
Therefore, in its current state, we see the ‘8GB’ Xperia M4 Aqua as crippled. To get the most out of this handset, root is required (we know of no such working solutions right now). Users will need to install something like Link2SD to create the app partition on the SD card.
Internal storage issues aside, the Xperia M4 Aqua has a lot going for it. It is priced competitively and has decent specifications including water resistance with capless USB charging. Therefore it makes it even more galling how a big part of the usability of the phone has been gimped. Sony should never have launched an 8GB version of the Xperia M4 Aqua and if you are thinking about purchasing this model, be aware of what you are buying into.