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back to article Review: HTC One

A year ago, I finished off my review of HTC’s One X by predicting great things for it and its maker. And then Samsung’s Galaxy S3 merrily outsold it ten to one. Thing is, that wasn’t a case of me being a colossal twit. The One X is the better phone - it’s better made, better looking and better to use. Luckily for HTC, the new …

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No microSD AGAIN

I was well up for getting a One S or One X last time round, but the lack of microSD killed that. Realise it doesn't matter to everyone, but I need that feature. So my money went on a Galaxy S3.

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Re: No microSD AGAIN

On my current phone (Droid RAZR MAXX HD, imported to the UK at some cost); I have the camera to save snaps to the external microSD card. Maybe this doesn't matter to everyone, but if you drop your phone in the toilet, or somehow it gets corrupted and you can't boot it, at least with the external card, you can pop it out and get the photos off. It's just simple, cheap, replacable NAND. If you, say, wanted to watch many different videos each day, if you had a long commute, would you want to risk wearing out the internal NAND by writing several GB/day to it? with the card it's a cheap swap out.

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Re: No microSD AGAIN

If I could edit this, I would, by qualifying "I don't want to upload my photos to an online service" - just in case someone argues that might be a good idea.

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Re: No microSD AGAIN

So, transfer them onto your computer? I have to say with a 64GB phone the amount of people who would need to add storage to that must be incredibly niche.

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Re: No microSD AGAIN

If 64GB is too litte, HTC is willing to sell an external drive you can connect to the phone, and if you add the external battery to that it may even get as inconvenient as carrying a laptop

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Re: No microSD AGAIN

No, I mean what happens if you drop your phone in a puddle, and it's knackered?

MicroSD, no problem, pop it out, dry it off, pictures intact. Simple.

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Re: No microSD AGAIN

"No, I mean what happens if you drop your phone in a puddle, and it's knackered?

Or even just keep it in the wrong pocket in the rain as a friend has discovered.

For me waterproofing and removable storage are high up the wish list.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: No microSD AGAIN

These phones come with 50gig Dropbox accounts, with auto-sync over wifi.

You don't need a MicroSD slot, unless it's suddenly the 1990s again.

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Re: No microSD AGAIN

Surely a "Full HD" screen means HD video, which means a lot of data. Between apps, music, photos and a few video files of between 1-4GB a pop, 32GB or 64GB actually doesn't go as far as you'd think. Unless you want to be changing the videos on it every couple of days, and you know what it is you fancy watching before you fancy it, then the option of a bit of extra memory would be good.

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FAIL

Re: No microSD AGAIN

Thanks for telling me what I need. And all this time I've just been thinking for myself.

App data, offline maps, HD video, photos, misc useful files...all things I keep on my microSD. If the phone dies (as it did recently) I can just swap out the card. Plenty of us do not trust cloud storage, plus the 50GB Dropbox accounts are time limited.

We're in the 21st century now where components are cheap. HTC could have included a microSD slot at minimal cost.

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Unhappy

Re: No microSD AGAIN

NO Microsd is one, sense is another.

I burned my fingers once to many in the past on HTC "phones" to ever buy another. I guess that is their biggest problem: the complete junk they made in the past. My past experiences are a big no no and I go out of my way to tell everyone that HTC... well... maybe not. mkay? Maybe the One is the One. but it's too late to matter.

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FAIL

Re: No microSD AGAIN

What wait is this some kind of Stealth Nexus or something?

We have a Fail Button, but sometimes ya really need an EPIC FAIL Button, to properly express it though...

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Re: No microSD AGAIN

I have mine sync to dropbox over wifi, it's simple, free and thoughtless...and doesn't depend on the memory card surviving the toilet dunk..

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Anonymous Coward

Re: No microSD AGAIN

"On my current phone (Droid RAZR MAXX HD, imported to the UK at some cost); I have the camera to save snaps to the external microSD card. Maybe this doesn't matter to everyone, but if you drop your phone in the toilet, or somehow it gets corrupted and you can't boot it, at least with the external card, you can pop it out and get the photos off."

This is an article about an Android phone so I'm sure I will get reamed with downvotes immediately for mentioning the iPhone, but the entire contents of my iPhone (not only photos but also apps, app data files, contacts, songs, videos, etc.) get backed up to my home computer wirelessly every time I'm within wifi range, i.e., every time I'm at home.

So if my phone is broken or stolen, I can just go and buy a new (or used) one, click on "Restore from backup" in iTunes and the new phone will be indistinguishable from the old one after about half an hour. At worst I will have lost about half a day's worth of data. No need to muck about with waterlogged MicroSD cards, no need to use online/cloud services, and no worries if the phone (and MicroSD card) are stolen.

I don't understand how Apple has been doing this since the very first iPhone (although you did have to plug it in to the computer, wifi sync was only added a couple years ago) yet it's still not a standard feature of Android or Windows Phone.

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Re: No microSD AGAIN

Depends I just been visiting friends abroad and in a lot of places we went wifi was patchy or not always available.

Admittedly I was also suprised at the ease of wi fi access in some places I haven't been for years and whose normal internet used to be patchy at best.

But it turned out that the phone acted as a really handy usb drive for swapping files with mates. If I had been out their longer I could see me having bought a spare card to fill.

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FAIL

Re: No microSD AGAIN

there not their, sorry been a long day.

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Re: No microSD AGAIN

Not that fussed on the MicroSD or Sense (which looks less intrusive this time around), but same as you past experiences with HTC phones and their build quality - including the time they have spent in warranty service instead of my pocket - means I give people the same recommendation as you. I don't care if HTC claims the thing can cook you dinner and massage your feet; wait 6 months and see what the quality reports are like.

Corollary: Never buy the latest and greatest phone. Give the market a few months to determine what it's like beyond the tech reviewers' standard "one week with...." article.

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Boffin

Re: No microSD AGAIN

> No, I mean what happens if you drop your phone in a puddle, and it's knackered?

> MicroSD, no problem, pop it out, dry it off, pictures intact. Simple.

Phone, no problem. Rinse thoroughly in changes of distilled or deionised water, shake, dry. Next?

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Re: No microSD AGAIN

If waterproofing and external sd are important to you go for the Xperia Z. Camera is excellent, especially with tweaking, the screen is gorgeous and it's very comfortable to hold (better for large hands).

I've had sd cards and removable batteries on previous phones (except for my iPhone). Almost always I've ended up putting an sd card in the phone and not changing it - so whilst I like the idea of an sd card I don't use that feature. Battery wise I bought replacement batteries which I carried round, but again nowadays I don't even bother with that. If I'm away for a few days I use an external battery pack, otherwise I just charge up at night or during the day - so again a removable battery is academic for me. Most phones these days (not all) can get a decent charge pretty quickly. And the benefits in terms of design flexibility and robustness make a sealed battery something I'm happy to live with.

I did have a n s3 get wet and stop working (even tried the out it in a bowl of dried rice- no luck). I took the sd card out but that didn't work either (a 32gb Samsung sd). So now nowadays,I just sync my photos with picassa over wifi when at home (the iPhones auto upload at home, using photo stream is how it should be- dies it without asking me when on wifi).

For me it's a close run between getting the htc one and the Xperia Z. Both of those give me more that matter to me than the S4.

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Re: No microSD AGAIN

Just to point out that on any modern phone your photos are already on about 3 different cloud services about 2 secs after you've taken them...photo recovery is not the reason for removable storage:)

It would have been great to take my existing sd of music and just shove it in the new phone...but then again all of the music's on Google anyways, so might as well just let it organise where its stored.

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Re: No microSD AGAIN

A common complaint but, I'm not sure these days it matters so much, and I think it's only likely to get more common.

I used to have an HTC Desire, before moving to a Galaxy Nexus (no SD, 16Gb storage) and you know what? I've been fine.

I simply don't need to cart that much stuff around. I've got space for all the apps I need including offline maps of a few countries for Sygic, a few albums for the odd occasion I'm travelling, and I've yet to run out of space.

I get that some people may travel more and want their entire music collection on the device but for a lot of people it won't matter.

The other problem with SD cards is they are a pain in some situations. Do you install an app internally or externally? If you move widgets to the sd card (like I did on my Desire when I ran out of space) then every time you plug into a PC and the SD card gets mounted, they all crash and vanish.

And no one ever complained the iPhone had no SD card...

I was one of the "deal breaker" people before I got my Nexus, but took a punt, and looking back I don't know what I was worried about :)

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Re: No microSD AGAIN

This is correct, the uissue od SD card slot is a complete red herring. Only a hard core of inverterate fiddlers use it & I suspect that enven the, the reality is that it goes in & is never changed,

I have had, HTC Legend & Desires S, both superb. The card went in and never came out. I also have had a Galaxy S3 & it was rubbish. Useless battery life, forever freezing and not use as a phone. Swapped by O2 for the HTC One S and never looked back. Sure I had to ditch a few mp3 files but that is all, I do not miss them.

A few words on replacable batteries:

There are huge numbers of replacement batteries out there claiming all sorts of high capacities. Based on tests almost all these quoted capacities are totally unrealistic. I tried higher capacity aftermarket batteries in the Desire S and the S3, no difference in life, and one was actually worse although quoting a higher capacity. I then did meaured discharge tests on them, the OEM ones were close to the published ratings, the aftermarket woefully short, e.g 1830mAh coming in at 1400mAh.

My current One S will last up over 2 days between charges with my normal moderate use.

This looks like a seriously cool piece of kit.

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Re: No microSD AGAIN

I thought u needed a sd slot. But I didn't I've had a HTC one X for 8 months never needed it. If I need to transfer to my laptop or other device's it's easy with Bluetooth or WiFi.. much better the Samsung better build, faster. Also got free space with drop box. I've tested it against mates Ifones and Samsungs and it knocks the balls off each time.. Htc only and biggest problem is they keep changing models. They need to keep one form factor and allow the market to generate third party gadgets like the iPhone market. That's the main reason that Apple dominates. Took me 3 months to find a cover for my HTC.. then they bring out a new one it pissed me off... But best fone out there

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Re: No microSD AGAIN

Wow downvoted for correcting my own grammar, there's some harsh taskmasters out there. :)

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Pint

Re: No microSD AGAIN

So everyone thinks, but i can guarantee by the time your looking to upgrade your HTC One you will have some how managed to use up all that lovely space you had when you bought it....

Such us the law of "ever decreaing disk space" ..

Sounds great now but you what about in two years ?

Beer because its friday lunchtime!

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Re: No microSD AGAIN

" the reality is that it goes in & is never changed,"

That may be the case ... but I'd prefer to have the option to do so if I want (or need) to.

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Re: No microSD AGAIN

> no problem. Rinse thoroughly in changes of distilled or deionised water, shake, dry. Next?

Except it doesn't usually work out like that. Sure sometimes it works perpetually, sometimes it works for a few months, most times they die in a couple of weeks. Usually what we do here (phone repairs, electronics level) is strip the boards down, coarse scrub with isopropylene and a toothbrush, ultrasonic wash, rinse in distilled, dry in dehumidifier, examine with stereo-microscope, cross fingers and hope for the best. However quite often the damage is already done, tracks have been corroded away, small 01005 parts eaten, fuses blown, caps shorted, PMICs brain dead. Admittingly, it's the phones that you cannot remove the batteries from that are the biggest problem. Quick removal of the battery is frequently the difference between the phone living, or dying.

We have about a 20% success rate with non recurrence of issues. In the end, unless it's specifically demanded by the client, we just suggest they go get a warranty refurbished replacement. It's less trouble in the end.

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Re: No microSD AGAIN

I've been buying HTC phones for many years and never had any problems with build quality. On the contrary, they're very solid.

My current One X is a joy and O look forward to 12 months from now when my contract renews to see what they've got by then.

I too sync dropbox Wi-Fi only and never even think about storage.

Google Play Music is pretty ace too. Just pin any album and it syncs to you phone. Much easier than the awful iTunes.

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Go

Re: No microSD AGAIN

Good point to be fair. That aside, my last phone was a 16Gb HTC Sensation Xl. I left the shop not knowing it had no sd card slot (it was new in, and the assistant told me it had). I could have returned it as a case of mis-selling but quickly grew to really like the phone. HTC say that keeping all memory on the main board keeps things simple and allows for more efficient processing. This might be a cop-out of course, especially with once-new super fast quad core processors becoming almost standard now. In the eighteenth months since owning the XL though, I have never once frown short of storage (apart from the first day when I quickly realised I couldn't fit my entire music collection on it). So the new HTC one with 32Gb will be more than enough for me. Good point about the potential for list data in a disaster though which I'd not thought about.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: No microSD AGAIN

Ugg, Android. The OS looks so dated - like the iPhone OS. Shame because the phone itself looks nice. Think I will hang on for the new top of the range Lumia...

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RAS

Re: No microSD AGAIN

With my iPhone all my pictures are backed up to iCloud automatically, as I take them. Pretty spiffing feature.

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Re: No microSD AGAIN

yeah, I like HTC, but at the same time, I gotta say: boykott that crap with no SD card and no battery slot.

If we don't teach HCT now, next thing they'll follow Crapple on trying to eliminate the SIM card, cutting still more of our freedom on how to use our phones.

Kudos to Samsung for always including SD slots, and an S4 model with dual SIM card slots!

HTC, I've liked some of your metal cases for years now, yet your other priorities are all wrong, leading me to always buy something else.

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FAIL

Re: No microSD AGAIN (Auto-sync over wifi)

Android phones have lots of auto-sync options over cable or wifi available, including apps from the phone manufacturers, but that is not a valid alternative to an SD card:

1) you talk about "waterlogged SD cards", that's wrong to boot, Samsung's SD cards are waterproof.

2) you are usually not near your computer when something happens to your phone, so your latest photo / video will not have been synced.

3) if an iPhone is full, while you're on vacation, you're stuck! you can't quickly put an empty SD in, to keep taking video or whatever.

4) safe backup isn't the only purpose of an SD card: I have one SD card I keep Music, Audio books and electronic books on, I have several SD cards to record video on, which I can swap out as needed.

5) I also travel with more than one battery, which is great when traveling, you can actually use your phone without worrying that it will be empty when you get to your destination and need to make a phone call.

So, HTC is copying Apple's worst non-features here...

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Re: No microSD AGAIN

No, but it supports USB OTG.

So, seriously, why would you need to change the SD card? It's actually far easier to plug in a USB stick than fiddling around swapping SD cards for your additional storage needs, not to mention that loads of apps make dynamic use of the SD card and if you swap the card then suddenly half your apps lose their data.

Welcome to 2013, you appear to be stuck in 2009.

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Re: No microSD AGAIN

"Phone, no problem. Rinse thoroughly in changes of distilled or deionised water, shake, dry. Next?"

BTDT - doesn't work if the "water" is seawater or a 8 foot deep brackish tidal lagoon (which was clear enough to watch the thing slowly drift to the bottom) - and especially doesn't work if the employee who did it waits 3 days before bringing it in and asking for it to be repaired.

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No SD card slot, no removable battery

It's like they rifled through the iPhone spec sheet and picked the worst features to copy.

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Re: No SD card slot, no removable battery

One could argue the Nexus series share those traits?

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Re: No SD card slot, no removable battery

"One could argue the Nexus series share those traits?"

Yes, but there you suspect that Google don't want something that would totally dominate the market and hack off the other manufacturers.

Also the lack of removable storage, with the inherent hardware variability it introduces, is important for a reference device.

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Re: No SD card slot, no removable battery

>"One could argue the Nexus series share those traits?"

The Nexus 4 doesn't support USB OTG for external storage, this HTC phone does. True, it is no use for the 'drop phone in puddle, retrieve photos from uSD card' scenerio outlined above, but does provide a storage option.

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Re: No SD card slot, no removable battery

So, the Sony Xperia Z give you a uSD card support, waterproofing and charging via an optional drop-in cradle.

This HTC trades those for a better screen, better speakers, a longer lasting battery (possibly) and an IR remote.

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Re: No SD card slot, no removable battery

"One could argue the Nexus series share those traits?"

They certainly do and they cost half the price of this phone. Is it unreasonable to expect the Rolls Royce of phones to feature an SD slot when its such an important feature for many people?

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Re: No SD card slot, no removable battery

same two bad features, but half the price!

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Re: No SD card slot, no removable battery

Agreed!

I'm going on a long motorcycle ride today and need to swap my battery as I'll be using the phone as satnav and GPS tracking.

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Re: No SD card slot, no removable battery

You called it. If they want to get my next phone purchase instead of Apple, you just called the two features they would need. Its a pity really.

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FAIL

Re: No SD card slot, no removable battery

Another high-quality outfit like HTC is called Asus. And like HTC, Asus doesn't chuck vast amounts into advertising. What it does do is produce tablets like the TF201 Prime and the TF701 Infinity which leave Apple way, way behind in terms of practicality (docking keyboard) and expandability (storage) and connectivity (USB sticks.)

So here comes HTC with its latest phone and not a single person in the company's senior management has heard of Asus or, more to the point, has the slightest understanding of why millions have gone the Transformer route as their tablet choice rather than the Apple iPad.

I'm a HTC Desire HD owner. I am not about to go buy a HTC One which wants me to tailor my expectations to the limitations of the device. I and countless others refused to do that with a tablet purchase; HTC must be institutionally crazy if it thinks those same consumers are going to roll over now and just accept *not* what they're given, but what they're expected to pay a very high price for.

El Reg needs to start obsessing less about the techno-gloss of devices such as this and think a darn sight harder about value-for-money and all-round quality of offering. On which basis, the HTC One isn't any kind of 'killer' at all -- and definitely not worthy of the rave review given here.

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Re: No SD card slot, no removable battery

"El Reg needs to start obsessing less about the techno-gloss of devices such as this and think a darn sight harder about value-for-money and all-round quality of offering. On which basis, the HTC One isn't any kind of 'killer' at all -- and definitely not worthy of the rave review given here."

Vulcan, value is a slippery concept in the UK when it comes to mobile phones because the majority are bought on contract. I'll grant you that compared to an 8GB Nexus 4 the One is expensive as an outright purchased. But compared to the direct competition (iP5, Lumia 920, Galaxy S3, LG 4X HD etc) it's par for the course.

As for "techno-gloss", well, the excellent screen, state of the art speakers, respectable battery life, impressively powerful yet cool-running chipset, quality camera and very good Wi-Fi reception are all core features from my point of view and not "gloss" at all.

Combine that with - in my eyes - a stylish design and very well made body and the One is worth every part of the praise I've leveled at it.

It's clear from many of the comments that a user replaceable battery and a memory card slot are desirable features for some but I have to say that I find a portable power pack and USB OTG are more satisfactory answers to the problems of extended run times and access to large media libraries.

In my opinion when it comes to value the HTC One is acceptable if not outstanding while the all-round quality of design, manufacture and presentation is very high.

Al

(another onetime Desire HD owner)

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Re: No SD card slot, no removable battery

Yup. First thing I thought. No chance they'll be able to even be a competitor without these two things in mind....

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Re: No SD card slot, no removable battery

Surely a Desire HD owner remembers said device, also a HTC 'flagship' (the most flaggy of flagships infact) was left twiddling its thumbs on a seriously outdated version of Android (2.3.5 iirc) come the end of its contracted life? What makes you think the One is going to be any different?

Software > Shiny Shiny

D.

(another burned Desire HD owner)

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Re: No SD card slot, no removable battery

Why oh why can't vehicle chargers keep up with battery drain?

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FAIL

No SD no sale

"A year ago, I finished off my review of HTC’s One X by predicting great things for it and its maker. And then Samsung’s Galaxy S3 merrily outsold it ten to one ... The One X is the better phone - it’s better made, better looking and better to use."

Not sure about everyone, but for me the following paragraph explains why;

"Before I wrap up I should make it clear that the One lacks anything in the way of storage expansion, but with only 32GB and 64GB versions available that’s not too much of an issue"

...unless you play a lot of games, or watch a lot of videos, or want to have full offline maps on your GPS on your phone, or have lots of MP3s (or cloudy music service cache files).

The reason I bought an S3 over a One X was the expandable memory. That and a removable battery are very important features for me. Judging by comments and reviews I've read I'm not the only one.

True, Samsung managed to bork their implementation of the S3's expandable storage up by inexplicably mounting the internal storage space as "sdcard" (the external SD card is "extSdCard"), which means that helpful apps like Spotify, Garmin and most games that try to put large data files on your SD card end up putting those data files on your internal memory instead. But at least with the S3 I can still shove video and MP3 files on a large cheap external card.

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