Compare and Recycle

Top Phones with Expandable Storage: Never Run Out of Space for Photos, Videos and Apps

Image of microSD cards laid out next to a smartphone

It’s no secret that our smartphones really are our best friend and trusty companion wherever we may be. In this digital age, capturing experiences, keeping up to date and connected with the world, is something we all heavily rely on. Ever been on holiday and that dreaded ‘Your storage is full’ message shows up to ruin your video mid take? Well, we’re here to break down a few things so when you’re shopping for your next mobile phone, having enough storage checkbox will be ticked.

Let’s take a look at the top phones with expandable storage as these can be a life-saving option to consider, and can stop you from overpaying for a phone that will struggle with all the apps and media files you might accumulate during a few years of use. Because at the end of the day, buying your next mobile phone requires a future-proof thought process, not only for your pocket, but also for the environment.

In this article:

Top Phones With Expandable Storage In 2023

In recent years, phone prices have gone up significantly, and no one will blame you if you can’t shell out on the phone with the highest internal storage capacity. Especially when the price difference between a base storage and the highest one can be mind-blowing. We’re talking £550 in the case of the iPhone 14 Pro. Who wouldn’t prefer their budget allocated on a new phone to stretch further? That’s where smartphones with expandable storage come in handy.

It’s even more obvious that our storage needs are important for work, social and personal lives. In such an internet social climate, the need to capture memories and adventures has intensified and most of us want to avoid running out of space on our phones. So what phones actually offer expandable storage and which ones are your best bet to satisfy your need to store games, photos, apps and more?

1. Moto G Stylus 5G (2023)

This phone already comes with either 128GB or 256GB of internal storage with the option to expand further with a microSD card slot. With the features it offers, it’s easy to forget that it’s an entry level device because it offers 3 years of security updates, a solid screen and a two day battery life.

2. Galaxy A53 5G

Another great budget phone that offers expandable storage with a microSD card slot which supports up to 1TB of storage. It’s a good alternative to the OnePlus Nord N300 5G that is unfortunately not available in the UK.

3. Sony Xperia 5 IV

Although this phone is on the higher end of the spectrum in terms of price, it starts at 128GB of internal storage. This can be expanded up to 1TB by using a microSD card. Not only do these features make it a fantastic choice for photography enthusiasts, Sony's reputation for multimedia capabilities speaks for itself.

4. Poco X5

If you are looking for a phone with expandable storage but still at a modest price point, then the Poco X5 could be for you. With a max internal storage capacity of 256GB, it also has the option of picking up a 1TB microSD card and not worrying about ever running out of space to store files and games. The Poco X5 has a high refresh rate of 120Hz for a mid-range mobile phone, so you can expect a quick and responsive experience when navigating through social media or playing games.

5. OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite 5G

This is a great budget phone with impressive 108MP main camera quality and the option of expanding your storage. Although it is only a small step up from its predecessor Nord CE 2 Lite 5G which had 6GB RAM, this model now offers 8GB. With the rear lens camera now bumped up from 64MP, it gives you even more reason to put that expandable storage to good use!

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Does Apple Offer Expandable Storage?

Apple have always been different with their approach in how they operate. Not only have they never offered a ‘traditional’ expandable storage option, by incorporating an SD card port, but instead they allow their users to purchase storage plans starting from 50GB at £0.99 per month.

With iCloud, you have the flexibility to choose a device with a lower storage capacity. Instead of paying a premium for iPhones with 512GB internal storage, iCloud gives you the option to store your data remotely. So as you can imagine, this will significantly reduce the upfront cost of purchasing a new device, ultimately allowing you to choose a more pocket-friendly option. Traditional expandable storage is typically limited by the amount of space that can be physically stored on a microSD card or other storage device. So, what are the pros and cons of iCloud storage in comparison to traditional?

Pros and Cons of iCloud Storage

👍 Accessible from any device with internet connection.
👍 Protects your data with the use of end-to-end encryption.
👍 Can help lower the cost of how much you initially spend on your mobile phone.

👎 Dependence on the Apple ecosystem.
👎 Limitations of what file types you can upload.
👎 If you delete something from one device, it will disappear from all your other devices when the next sync occurs.
👎 Monthly payment plan depending on your cloud storage package.

Pros and Cons of Physical Memory Cards

👍 It allows you to extend your existing storage and store larger applications e.g. files, games etc.
👍 You can install apps on a microSD card.
👍 Allows you to free up space on your device and transfer other apps and data.

👎 Limited to the amount of space that can be physically stored on microSD.
👎 Only accessible from the device that the microSD is physically inserted into.
👎 It’s possible for someone to access your data if they have physical access to the SD card.

Ultimately, the best option for you depends on your individual needs and preferences. If you’re looking for a lot of storage space and want to be able to access your data from any device, then iCloud may be a good option for you. However, if you are after an option that doesn’t require you to commit to monthly payments or you need to access your data offline, then traditional expandable storage may be the better choice. But if you are a diehard iPhone user, iCloud is your only expandable storage solution.

The Future Of Expandable Storage

It’s clear to see that expandable storage has become less common which is slowly being phased out from the specifications lists. Last time Samsung had a microSD card slot on its Galaxy S lineup was in 2020. When it comes to the higher-end smartphones, we have seen that some just haven’t offered it at all. For example, iPhones and the Google Pixel lineup have never incorporated expandable storage in their devices. Back in 2015, Samsung used the excuse that the reason they removed the microSD port was because it performed a lot slower than internal storage capacity and the usage had rapidly decreased. Is this really the truth or do major smartphone brands just want to create another income stream for themselves, ensuring their consumers continue to buy their expensive phones. It’s obvious why Apple may be reluctant to ever introduce this because their whole product approach is to ensure its consumers become heavily reliant upon their ecosystem. This ensures that an Apple owner will find it extremely difficult to ever transition to any other brand's device. A reason why Google may also avoid promoting and incorporating SD cards in their devices, is because they potentially want to focus more on Google Drive which essentially makes the SD card pretty useless in their eyes.

Relevant reading:


So as you can see, having the option for expandable storage is super important, not only from a financial perspective but also because it ensures you never run out of space for photos, apps and videos especially when it comes to the crucial seasons / celebrations. It gives you the option to store larger files that you may not necessarily want on your mobile phone’s internal storage capacity. Although consumers are still on the lookout for mobile phones with expandable storage, it seems to us that it’s an option which is becoming a rarity, especially within the realm of higher-end phones.


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