Modern devices, from digital cameras to smartphones, tablets, music players, laptops, and even Nintendo Switch, require storage.
If your device’s built-in storage isn’t enough to store all of your media such as photos, videos, games, music, and more, it might have a microSD card slot that allows you to expand the storage to your liking. For this reason, manufacturers are now releasing microSD cards with higher capacities and faster transfer rates.
If you’re looking for the best microSD card for your device, you’ll quickly find that not all of them are created equal. Different sizes, capacities, speed classes and even brands should be considered.
In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to consider when choosing the right microSD card for your device, some common mistakes to avoid, and the best microSD card options.
Features to look for when purchasing a MicroSD card
Different microSD cards have different storage capacities, but the size of a microSD card will depend on how much you need and what you need it for, depending on your device. Smaller cards tend to fill up faster than larger cards, but you need to check the maximum size your device can support before you run out of cards and buy a larger card.
However, you’re better off investing in some of the best mid-sized microSD cards instead of one or two high-capacity cards for better organization, damage protection, and card safety.
Besides storage, you need a microSD card that will read and write data quickly, especially if you are watching movies, copying data, loading game levels, or shooting videos. Check the sequential speed of the card, which shows how quickly large amounts of data can be read from the card if you shoot high-resolution videos and photos or copy media to it.
The card also needs to be fast when reading and writing data in random locations, so random speed matters, especially if you’re using them to run operating systems, apps / programs, or load games.
Rating / speed class
The card speed rating system is also important when choosing the best microSD cards as it relates to its transfer speed characteristics. If your device does not require a lower speed class (measured in MB / s) such as Class 2, 4, or 6, look for a card with a rating of at least Class 10, U1, or U3 as they can write at least 10 MB / s or higher serial data.
There are faster microSD cards rated V60 or V90 (video speed classes), but they are more expensive and require a rare, higher UHS bus speed standard that can transfer data in both directions at higher speeds.
UHS Bus Speed ??
Ultra High Speed ??(UHS) Bus Speed ??is a measure of how data is transferred between the contacts on the microSD card and the connector on your device. There are three versions: UHS I, which moves data up to 104 MB / s, while UHS II and UHS III move data up to 312 MB / s and 624 MB / s, respectively.
Some manufacturers list the speed rating and UHS bus speed on their cards, so we’ve divided two categories so you know what to look for when choosing the best microSD card for your application.
SDHC and SDXC
MicroSD cards can be either Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) or Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), which vary in storage capacity. SDHC are small capacity microSD cards that offer 4-32GB, while SDXC are larger capacities ranging from 64GB to 2TB. Many devices, especially phones, work with SDXC microSD cards, but fewer devices, such as mobile consoles, can only accept SDHC microSD cards.
Other factors to consider include the card warranty as manufacturers offer a shorter warranty while others offer a 10 year limited or lifetime warranty. Also, make sure the microSD card you are considering is from a reputable brand or retailer such as Sandisk, Samsung, Kingston, Lexar, Transcend, etc. to avoid buying counterfeit cards. Some cards also claim to be waterproof, shockproof, X-ray resistant, and work in extreme temperatures.
Mistakes people make when purchasing MicroSD cards
Knowing what to look for when buying a microSD card can help you avoid some common mistakes that can cost you money. You may also have poor performance on the card not working at all.
The most common mistakes people make when buying microSD cards:
1. Purchase from a third-party seller on major trading floors. These sellers may not have a good reputation even if they sell items through a large retailer. MicroSD cards are often counterfeited. Such fakes are slower, do not have the same stated capacity, and are not guaranteed. Buy directly from a reputable retailer, such as a brand manufacturer, if possible. When shopping on Amazon, search for “Shipped & Sold on Amazon.com” and select the original packaging.
Always choose major brand microSD cards as they are more reliable and offer better performance, warranty, water, shock, extreme temperature and X-ray protection. Some also offer access to image recovery software as a standard feature.
2. Do not check device compatibility. Not all microSD cards are created equal; some are compatible and suitable for certain devices, while others are not. Device compatibility ensures that you get a card that fits and works with your device. For example, some are designed for Raspberry, while others are suitable for Android gadgets, Nintendo Switch and so on. Check for a microSD card slot before purchasing, or buy a microSD card with an adapter if your device has a full size SD card slot.
3. Choosing the wrong card for your task. MicroSD cards are designed differently, so you’ll need to choose the one that suits their intended use. Check capacity and speed rating / class to get one with enough memory and high speed depending on use case. For example, taking videos with a digital camera or storing apps and media files on your phone requires different microSD cards.
Samsung EVO Plus MicroSD Card
Best MicroSD Cards of 2020
Samsung EVO Plus MicroSD Card
The Samsung Evo Plus microSDXC card offers 128GB of storage that supports read and write speeds up to 100MB / s and 90MB / s respectively. You can store 4K and FHD videos, thousands of photos or music and audio files and use them on multiple devices.
A class 10 microSD card with UHS 3 compatibility is also resistant to water, temperature, X-rays and magnets, comes with a 10-year limited warranty and an SD card adapter. The Evo line also offers one of the largest microSD cards on the market with a whopping 512GB storage capacity for up to 78 hours of video, over 75,000 MP3 files or over 150,000 photos.
SanDisk 64GB Ultra MicroSDXC
SanDisk is another respected and popular brand offering microSD cards in economical capacity, with good speed and performance. This microSD card has a UHS I rating. You can quickly capture, store and transfer your data thanks to its fast read and write speeds of up to 100MB / s (transfers up to 1200 photos in one minute) and 60MB / s respectively.
Plus, you can save a few dollars if you don’t need a 128GB microSD card and will still use it on your smartphone, tablet, or MIL camera. It has a speed class 10, ideal for recording and playing Full HD video, a memory zone application for easy file management, and it can operate in temperatures up to 85 degrees Celsius. Designed for higher application performance, this A1 comes with an adapter and a 10-year limited manufacturer’s warranty.
3. Lexar Professional 1800x
It is one of the fastest microSD cards on the market. It is designed for digital photography and video with its fast capture rate of high quality images and extended 4K, 3D and FHD video length.
Its high-speed performance uses UHS III technology, delivering read and write speeds up to 270MB / s (1800x) and 250MB / s respectively. It is well suited for photographers and videographers using personal or professional recording devices.
The card comes with an SD adapter for easy transfer of data between devices so you can get back to action shooting faster.
Find the perfect MicroSD card
Find the perfect MicroSD card
We hope you now know what to look for when buying the best microSD card for your situation, as well as some of the common mistakes to avoid before buying. Did your favorite microSD card make the list? Unmute in the comment below.