There are several smartphones out in the market that are pretty much great except for the fact that they do not have expandable storage (e.g no microSD expansion slot). This may or may not be a deal breaker for you. Besides, higher end phones that do not offer such expansion options do have a fair amount of internal storage space available (usually 16GB or more). That said, people that use local multimedia files, be it videos or music, will find that it is simply not enough. I do have a workaround that is slightly more troublesome but definitely works. More on that after the break.
Before we begin, your phone must support OTG (On-The-Go). What it does is basically allow your phone to act as a “host”, enabling it to read connected devices say a USB thumb drive, SD card etc. Most phones should support such a feature especially those higher end or newer ones (Google Nexus phones, Motorola Moto G, HTC One etc).
What you will then need is a gadget that enables you to plug in your USB thumb drive, storage cards etc. Such devices are readily available on eBay, Aliexpress, Amazon etc. What I will recommend is a microUSB microSD card reader. I bought this gadget off eBay for a really cheap price (<$5 USD) and it is of the smallest footprint. You simply search “MicroSD OTG” on eBay and you should get the exact same product in your search results.
There are several other variants available but none of them matches the sheer tiny size of the one that I’ve found. Unfortunately for iPhone users, the only option available is much larger in size (at least from my search). The gadget is so well designed that there is just no reason to find it to be a hassle to your mobile device setup. It has this tiny plastic 3.5mm plug that strings to the microSD card reader. What this does is basically allow you to dangle it off your phone when not in use by simply plugging in your phone’s 3.5mm audio jack. When you’re ready to use it to watch your videos or listen to your music, simply plug in to the phone’s microUSB slot and then plug your earphones into the now unoccupied audio jack.
When the card reader is plugged into the phone, it should be detected (if it supports OTG) and you can simply access it with popular file manager and or media player apps. If your phone is rooted, there are even more options available. When you’re done consuming your media content, simply “safely remove” the card reader and unplug it.
I’ve used such a setup for quite some time already and I found it to be extremely useful and hassle free. It doesn’t add much in size or weight and is extremely easy to keep. It is simply awesome especially for people (like myself) that do not have the luxury of streaming services or large data plans. The ability to consume your content on the go is definitely a huge benefit for people that spends some time travelling.
Hopefully this workaround will encourage buyers to overlook the expandability option aspect of a phone. There are amazing phones out there that simply lack such an option. One great example is the extremely value for money Motorola Moto G. The price you pay is simply way too little for such a great piece of hardware.