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Last updated: July 1, 2020

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We live in an incredibly fast-paced world where everyone seems to be constantly sprinting toward an invisible finish line. In order to live at this pace, we require increasingly smaller, lighter devices that are built to withstand each day’s challenges. At the same time, there is an ever-growing need to store more and more information.

That’s where MicroSD cards come in. They’re extremely small flash memory devices upon which any sort of digital file can be stored. They’re compatible with a wide range of different electronics, including smartphones, cameras and tablets. Keep reading to find out more about this incredibly versatile technology.

Key Facts

  • MicroSD cards are very lightweight and practical—ideal for storing files in the modern world.
  • Their memory capacity has continued to increase since the very first models were developed.
  • MicroSD cards are commonly used for internal memory in smartphones, and they’re designed to withstand the most extreme conditions.

Our Selection: The Best MicroSD Cards on the U.S. Market

In this section, we’ve gathered some of the very best microSD cards available on the US market. Each one stands out for certain features, but all offer superb value for your money. We hope you’ll find one that suits your needs!

Best High-Capacity MicroSD Card

South Korean multinational company Samsung is known worldwide for its electronics and smart appliances. Their Evo Select memory cards are among the best options available, offering both quality and affordability. The 512 GB model is Amazon’s Choice, and comes packed with great features including ultra-fast read and write speeds of up to 100MB/s and 90MB/s respectively.

With this amazing card, you can transfer a 3GB video to your computer is well under a minute. And with 512 GB, you’ll be able to store up to 24 hours of 4k UHD video, 150,300 photos or 77,300 songs. You won’t need to worry about storage any more! This card is compatible with a wide range of devices, and comes with an SD adapter for ease of use.

Best Mid-Range MicroSD Card

SanDisk is a company dedicated to the manufacture of flash memory products including USB flash drives, solid-state drives and, of course, memory cards! The SanDisk 64GB Ultra microSDXC UHS-I memory card offers up to 100MB/s transfer read speeds, which will allow you to move up to 1,000 photos in a minute.

The A1 rated performance also means you’ll be able to load apps quickly, and the Class 10 allows for Full HD video recording and playback. With SanDisk, you also get the SanDisk Memory Zone app, which will help with seamless file management, in addition to a 10-year limited manufacturer warranty. At under $15, this item is certainly a steal.

Best MicroSD Card for Buyers on a Budget

Getting a high-quality new microSD card doesn’t have to empty your wallet. Samsung makes the incredibly affordable 32GB EVO Plus Class 10 Micro SDHC card, which customers love. This card offers 80MB/s transfer speeds that can support Full HD recording, high resolution photos, gaming, music and much more. It’s perfect for your smartphone or tablet.

The Samsung EVO Plus is also incredibly durable, so it’ll keep your most important information safe and secure. It’s water proof, temperature proof, x-ray proof and even magnetic proof!

Best MicroSD Card for Professionals

If you’re not willing to compromise on quality, then the SanDisk 128GB Extreme microSDXC UHS-I memory card may be just the right thing. This impressive card can reach unbeatable read speeds of up to 160MB/s and  write speeds of up to 90MB/S, as long as you have a compatible device. This card is ideal for making 4K UHD and Full HD videos.

The Extreme microSD card is built for operating in difficult and unpredictable conditions. It will resist damage from extreme temperatures, water, shock and x-rays. It also boasts an A2 performance rating so that you can load apps, record and shoot faster with C10, U3 and V30. On top of all that, this product has a manufacturer lifetime warranty.

Buyer’s Guide: Everything You Should Know About MicroSD Cards

It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the many different kinds of MicroSD cards prior to purchasing your own. As you saw in our selection above, these cards come with a range of features and at various prices. To help you out, we will now address some of the most frequently asked questions from buyers just like you.

Great mood for working good. Handsome young man working on his laptop and looking at camera over shoulders while sitting at his working place

MicroSD cards allow you store large quantities of information in a very compact way.
(Source: Gstockstudio: 41262256/ 123rf.com)

What exactly is a microSD card?

The microSD format is the smallest flash memory on the market today. Its dimensions are 15x11x10 mm. The microSD card was developed by American company SanDisk and later adopted by the SD Association. Due to the benefits of its extremely small size, the microSD card immediately achieved widespread use.

What are the primary uses of microSD cards?

Currently, microSD cards are most commonly used with smartphones. They allow you to store a large amount of files, save backups and even boost your phone’s internal memory. MicroSD cards are also frequently used in compact digital cameras and drones.

Another increasingly common use for microSD cards is for gaming console memory. For example, microSD cards can be used with Nintendo’s newsest console, the Nintendo Switch.

The applications of microSD cards have continued to proliferate as their storage capacity similarly rises.

What are the pros and cons of microSD cards?

One of the most important advantages of microSD cards is that allow for a significant amount of information to be stored within a very small amount of space. Using these cards, documents, photographs and other digital files can be easily transported. Furthermore, the relatively low price of these cards also continues to decline, making them readily available to most consumers.

Nonetheless, one disadvantage of microSD cards is that won’t provide as much storage capacity as other similar devices, such as thumb drives or larger external hard drives. Still, that gap has shrunk in recent years. Additionally, due to their small size, microSD cards are easy to lose. So if you tend to misplace things, be extra careful with these tiny cards.

What kinds of microSD cards are available?

Firstly, you may see the original microSD cards, which have a maximum memory of 2 GB. Those cards are generally considered obsolete though. The next generation is called the microSDHC card, and it has a maximum capacity of 32 GB. Lastly, the microSDXC cards can hold up to 2 TB of content, a huge increase over the original!

  • MicroSD (maximum capacity of 2 GB)
  • MicroSDHC (maximum capacity of 32 GB)
  • MicroSDXC (maximum capacity of 2 TB)

MicroSDXC cards are ranked according to ‘class’. Each class indicates the card’s writing speed. Class 2 cards, for example, have a speed of 2 MB/s, while class 4 cards have a speed of 4 MB/s, and so on. There is also the UHS (Ultra high Speed) class, which has its own sorting system. The UHS class includes the following subclasses: UHS-I, UHS-II and UHS-III.

SD card with laptop computer background

MicroSD cards are made by a handful of reputable brands at reasonable prices.
(Source: Vitthayanukarun: 84805912/ 123rf.com)

What do the logos on microSD cards indicate?

The logos found on microSD cards can reveal important information about their specifications. The logos may indicate which devices they’re compatible with, their speed and which interfaces they’re compatible with. The storage capacity is normally shown as well.

How do I use my microSD card?

Using a microSD card is pretty easy. Just insert the card into the dedicated slot found on whichever device you’re using. You may need to wait a few seconds before the device recognizes that a card has been inserted. It’s a good idea to insert or remove the card while the device is off. Never force the card into a slot. If it doesn’t seem to fit, you’re probably inserting it the wrong way.

If your device doesn’t have a microSD slot, there are some adapters that convert microSD cards into a more common, standard SD size. For computers that don’t have a built-in microSD card reader, you can get a USB adapters that will allow you to read the card.

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Always read the instruction manual for tips on proper use.

What are the new specifications for video and applications?

The SD Association recently added two class variables to SD card specifications: the Video Speed Class and the Application Performance Class. The former indicates a card’s compatibility with video recording. The latter, meanwhile, shows how suitable the card is for use with applications.

The values used for the Video Speed Class range from V6 to V90. The associated speeds range from 6 MB/s for V6, to 90 MB/s for V90, which allows for 8K video to be recorded.

The Application Performance Class includes classes A1 and A2, indicating how suitable the card is for storing applications and their data.

Who should get a microSD card?

MicroSD cards are great for anyone looking to expand the memory on their smartphone or camera, in addition to those looking for a lightweight, space-saving storage unit.

Advantages
  • Small and light
  • Practical and versatile
  • Affordable price
  • Useful
Disadvantages
  • Can be lost very easily
  • Limited storage capacity

How do I care for a microSD card?

Like most electronic items, microSD cards require some care from their users. Luckily, these cards are very durable, and some could even withstand going through the washing machine. We don’t suggest trying that though!

MicroSD cards should be kept in low humidity environments. As we mentioned earlier, it’s best to remove and insert them while the device is off to avoid any damage or loss of data. It’s also a good idea to store microSD cards in a case when they’re not in use in order to prevent the card from getting bent or broken.

Shopping Criteria

Before you go out to buy your new microSD card, there are a few more important factors that you should keep in mind in order to make the best possible decision. We don’t want you to be disappointed with your new purchase after only a few months!

Personal Use

You may need a microSD card for your smartphone, eReader, tablet, camera, computer or gaming console. Maybe you want one just to move information between devices. Whatever it is, your intended use will determine which card is best for you.

Generally, any kind of microSD card is suitable for storing pictures. However, if you’re planning to record high quality video, you should certainly look for a card that’s compatible with video. The same applies if you would like to install mobile applications on the card.

For HD video, you’ll need a class 4 or higher card,  while Ultra HD calls for a U3 card or higher.

Memory Capacity

A card’s memory is normally measured in gigabytes (GB). As you probably know, not all microSD cards offer the same storage capacity. More memory means you can store more information. But you should also consider the maximum capacity supported by the device in which you plan to use the microSD card.

Writing and Reading Speed

The speed class of a microSD card indicates its minimum sustained writing speed. This speed is measured in MB/s. Do note, however, that with development of the SDHC and SDXC models, the SD Association established the new UHS Speed Class. The table below outlines various speed classes.

Class Minimum speed
Class 2 2 MB/s
Class 4 4 MB/s
Class 6 6 MB/s
Class 8 8 MB/s
Class 10 10 MB/s
UHS-I Class 1 (U1)  10 MB/s
UHS-I Class 3 (U3) 30 MB/s
Video Speed Class V60 60 MB/s

This factor is essential to a smooth experience on your smartphone. These days, we recommend looking for a class 10 card minimum. For video recording, you should use higher classes like the V60, which allows for recording in 4K and 8K format.

File Formats

The format, which is also known as the file system, is the way by which a memory unit organizes stored content. That’s why it must be formatted prior to using any kind of storage unit. There are a handful of different formats, including FAT32, NTFS and ExFAT.

Don’t overlook this feature when picking out your microSD card, because not all devices or computers support the same kinds of formats. For example, the new SDXC cards will only function with the exFAT format, and that’s only compatible with Windows XP SP2 and higher.

Durability

The durability of a microSD card is crucial, since it’s often used to store important content or information. There’s nothing worse that losing your files, especially if you don’t have a backup!

Luckily, the top brands offer highly resistant, secure microSD cards. These cards are made to withstand shocks and resist the impact of magnetic forces or X-rays. Some can even withstand immersion in water without damage. Accidents certainly can happen, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Some memory cards on a table

High-end microSD cards can cost hundreds of dollars.
(Source: Moreno Lopez: 147547323/ 123rf.com)

Brand

The brand of a microSD is important because it’s often linked to quality, warranty and cost. Some of the biggest microSD manufacturers are: SanDisk, Panasonic, Samsung, Toshiba and Kingston.

A good manufacturer will guarantee that the specifications are accurate and that the card will function as needed. When buying a microSD, always make sure it’s not counterfeit, because there are many fake cards out there.

Summary

MicroSD cards have become increasingly widespread in recent years. This is largely due to the growing demand for more storage capacity on smartphones and other popular devices, such as digital cameras.

The capacity of microSD cards has steadily improved and new models are constantly being released. So if you’re considering buying a microSD card, be sure to take note of its brand, capacity and recording speed. The price is, of course, also key.

We hope you found this guide on microSD cards helpful. If so, please share it with your friends and family via social media, and feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts below!

(Source of Featured Image: tanaonte:121380028/ 123rf.com)

Why you can trust me?

Brett Holmes Technology Geek
Brett is a keen observer of the latest technology trends and knows his way around the industry because he runs an electronics store. He writes about it in his spare time and wants to help others learn more about the technology industry.