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Microsoft Surface 32GB may only have 20GB of free space

The 32GB Microsoft Surface tablet could only have about 20GB of storage, thanks to a hefty Windows operating system hogging the space.

The upcoming 32GB Microsoft Surface is unlikely to actually offer that much storage, thanks to a hefty operating system that could leave owners with only around 20GB of free space.

The dismaying news was revealed in a Reddit ask-me-anything session with the Surface team, BGR reports. One Ricardo Lopez, test manager for the tablet, wrote on the site that, "After the OS, OfficeRT and a bunch of apps, you will still have more than 20GB."

That's a fairly upbeat spin on news that Microsoft's own Windows RT software is likely to account for a large chunk of the Surface's total capacity. Microsoft's own guidelines for Windows 8 suggest you'll need 16GB of space for the 32-bit operating system, or 20GB for the 64-bit option.

It's possible that when Lopez talks about "a bunch of apps" that these are just a few downloadable goodies that the Surface team has been installing for fun, rather than obligatory Microsoft apps that will hog space. Losing roughly a third of a device's space to its operating system is still likely to rankle, however.

Unfortunately the Surface compares unfavourably with the iPad in this regard --Apple's tablet's operating system takes up about 1GB of space. This could be the reason Microsoft opted not to make a 16GB version of the Surface, as once Windows RT and its associated apps were in place, there would be hardly any room left for your movies, music and everything else.

Despite a chunky operating system, Surface still offers more gigabytes for your buck than Apple's alternative. The cheapest Surface and iPad both cost £399, but for that you get a 32GB Surface and only a 16GB iPad.

Does the notion of less storage space put you off Microsoft's gadget? Or is 20 or so gigabytes still plenty of space? Tell me in the comments or on our Facebook wall.