If you use a smartphone, then in all probability you are not a stranger to microSD cards. SD is an abbreviation of the term “Secure Digital”. At the moment, microSD cards used to be the smallest commercially available memory cards for a long time, but nanoSD cards have been introduced now. Our microSD card buying guide shows you what to look out for when buying your microSD card.
Different Types of Memory Cards
There are different sizes of memory cards, including:
- Standard SD card;
- MiniSD card;
- MicroSD card: this is currently the most popular size of memory cards, and what this article is about.
- NanoSD card: this was introduced by Huawei in late 2018. Huawei Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro are the first smartphones to support this size of cards.
This is what a microSD card looks like:
Why you should pay attention to that MicroSD Card
Despite their tiny size, microSD cards do pack a wallop, with 8GB and 16GB cards being available. Cards with smaller disk space are available too – 512MB, 1GB, 2GB, and 4GB. But unknown to lots of people, these cards are not only about disk size. Perhaps you have seen different retailers offer cards of the same disk size at significantly different costs, and naturally just went for the cheaper option?
Well, you might be shooting yourself in the foot. You see, microSD cards are rated by class. As such, you can have two 4GB cards with two different ratings, and one will perform better than the other. In some cases, some smartphones’ performances are impacted if you use a lower rated microSD card than it requires.
This are the reasons why you will find this microSD card buying guide useful.
MicroSD Card Buying Guide: Ratings
- Class 2 -speed of 2 MB/s or higher is guaranteed at the best fragmented state where no memory unit is occupied
- Class 4 – speed of 4 MB/s or higher is guaranteed at the best fragmented state where no memory unit is occupied
- Class 6 – speed of 6 MB/s or higher is guaranteed at the best fragmented state where no memory unit is occupied
- Class 10 – speed of 10 MB/s or higher is guaranteed at the best fragmented state where no memory unit is occupied
For example, if you have a smartphone that does full HD video recording, you are better off with a card rated Class 4 or above.
Be sure that you know what the requirements of the device that you will be using a microSD card with, and check the card for a rating before buying. For many of today’s smartphones, I recommend that you do not use a card rated below Class 4. Not worth it.
Take a look at the close-up picture above. See the circled figure that the red arrow points to? That’s the rating of that card. That card is a Class 4 card. Not all manufacturers provide this information on their cards. Of course, if they don’t, you have no way of knowing.
As a rule, purchase microSD cards made by reputable manufacturers. One well known brand is SanDisk. Another is Kingston. If possible, avoid nameless cards.
MicroSD Card Buying Guide: Size/Capacity
What size of memory should you buy – 16 GB, 32 GB, 64 GB? It depends on your phone. Phones have maximum card capacities they can handle, so you need to look at the specs of your phone and then buy the largest capacity you can afford.
In 2015, SanDisk introduced the world’s first 200 GB microSD card. The same brand came up with the first 400 GB microSD card in 2017, and 1 TB cards are already on the way, as announced in February 2019 by Micron.
MicroSD Card Buying Guide: Conclusion
Why should you care? Because it matters. Some of the complaints about some smartphones freezing up or hanging stem from the user putting in lower rated cards. Because the device requires something faster, each time info is to be accessed or lodged in the card, the device stutters, freezes or slows down significantly.
Video recording and/or viewing is another case, especially high definition video. Higher rated cards guarantee you good quality recording and smoother playback.
Now you know. If you found this microSD card buying guide useful, do share it with others. Happy shopping.
Founder of MobilityArena. Yomi’s journey in mobile started in 2001. Besides obsessing over mobile phones, he also started creating WAP sites (early mobile-friendly websites created with WML). He began writing about phones in 2004 and has been at it since then. He has owned over 200 devices, from Symbian, Palm, PocketPC/Windows Mobile, BlackBerry/BB10, webOS, Windows Phone, Firefox, Ubuntu Touch, to Android, iOS, and KaiOS operating systems.