- How do memory cards differ from each other
- Card Formats
- Memory Card Generations
- Speed Classes
- Best Memory Card Ranking
- Best MicroSDHC memory cards
- SanDisk Extreme Pro MicroSDHC UHS Class 1
- Samsung MicroSDHC EVO Plus 95MB/s + SD Adapter
- SanDisk The SanDisk MicroSDHC Class 10 UHS-I
- Best MicroSDXC memory cards
- SanDisk Extreme MicroSDXC Class 10 UHS Class 3 V30 90MB/s
- Samsung MicroSDXC EVO Plus 100MB/s + SD Adapter
- Kingston SDCA10/64GB
- Samsung MB-MC256GA
- The best Compact Flash memory cards
- SanDisk Extreme Pro CompactFlash 160MB/s
- Transcend CompactFlash (TS * GCF800)
- The best Secure Digital HC memory cards
- Transcend TS*SDHC10
- SanDisk Extreme Pro SDHC
- Sony SF-G32
Memory cards – useful accessories for all mobile device owners. They are essential for smartphones, tablets, hybrid computers, still cameras, MP3-players, video recorders and other devices whose internal storage capacity leaves much to be desired.
We’ve ranked 13 of the best memory cards that will prove useful for any electronics.
How do memory cards differ from each other
Memory cards are an entire class of external storage devices. And, of course, differentiate between the individual models not only by manufacturer and capacity. Cards are classified as follows:
- By format (MicroSD, CompactFlash, Secure Digital HC);
- By generation (MicroSD, MicroSDHC, MicroSDXC);
- Speed Class (Class 2-10, UHS I-III).
Let’s briefly analyze these main differences, as they affect the compatibility of the drive and mobile device.
The format of the card determines its hardware compatibility with your mobile device. Cross-compatibility is not possible, so choose your external drive based on the specifications of the device you want to use it with.
For example, microSD drives are used in most modern mobile devices – smartphones, tablets, hybrid computers, even laptops, video recorders, etc.d. This format is compatible with SD, but only with a special adapter.
CompactFlash is often used in cameras due to its high speed of both sequential and random writes.
Secure Digital HC (SDHC) is similar to MicroSD, only with larger dimensions. In principle, this memory card can be replaced with a MicroSD card with the appropriate adapter, but please note that in this case the recording speed may drop.
Memory Card Generations
Different generations of MicroSD cards determine the capacity of this external drive. Right:
- MicroSD (MicroSDSC) – maximum capacity up to 4 GB;
- MicroSDHC up to 32GB;
- MicroSDXC – up to 2TB.
Compatibility between these generations is only backwards. So, if your device supports MicroSDXC, you can install both HC and SC. But if the device is only compatible with MicroSDHC, an XC card simply “won’t see” it.
The maximum write speed of this external drive depends on the class of the drive. Right:
- Class 2 – up to a maximum of 2 megabytes per second, suitable for small files;
- Class 4 – up to 4MB/s, for video and music;
- Class 6 – up to 6MB/s, for high resolution video
- Class 10, UHS I – up to 10 MB/s, for videos over 30 fps and HDR photos;
- UHS III – up to 30 MB/s, for 4K video at 120 fps.
So, it is recommended to choose the speed class based on your needs.
Best Memory Card Ranking
|Best MicroSDHC memory cards||1||SanDisk Extreme Pro MicroSDHC UHS Class 1||1 590€|
|2||Samsung MicroSDHC EVO Plus 95MB/s + SD Adapter||627€|
|Best MicroSDXC memory cards||1||SanDisk Extreme MicroSDXC Class 10 UHS Class 3 V30 90MB/s||–|
|2||Samsung MicroSDXC EVO Plus 100MB/s + SD Adapter||1 355€|
|3||Kingston SDCA10/64GB||2 195€|
|4||Samsung MB-MC256GA||5 529€|
|Best Compact Flash memory cards||1||SanDisk Extreme Pro CompactFlash 160MB/s||3 450€|
|2 210 €|
|The best Secure Digital HC memory cards||1|
|2||SanDisk Extreme Pro SDHC||990 €|
|3||Sony SF-G32||4 590€|
Best MicroSDHC memory cards
SanDisk Extreme Pro MicroSDHC UHS Class 1
Why Come First: High Speed and Secure Memory Card.
Description: The SanDisk Extreme Pro series includes high-speed memory cards that offer more performance than the class indicated. For example, the model MicroSDHC UHS Class 1 can write data at 90 megabytes per second (maximum for sequential block filling), and read information – already at 95 megabytes per second. That’s 9 times the class-recorded minimum speed threshold – and the highest performance in our ranking.
The card is in a secure configuration. It can survive static shock, shaking, drops, brief drowning, and contact with dust. In addition, it is X-ray-protected, so data will not be affected even during airport security searches.
Two 8GB and 16GB versions are available on the market.
- High speed. Can be used with cameras and camcorders;Protected configuration;
- Relatively fast random write speed for small files.
- Relatively high price;
- Poor packaging;
- Performance slowdown when copying small files.
Samsung MicroSDHC EVO Plus 95MB/s + SD Adapter
Why coming in second place: Slower write speed than the leader, no protection.
Description: Samsung EVO Plus with speed class UHS I is a good storage device for almost any mobile device. This drive writes at 20 megabytes per second and reads at 95 megabytes per second. Minimal interference with accidental writes. Also compatible with older, non-UHS enabled devices. On these devices, it works in Class 10 speed class, no performance degradation.
32GB capacity maximum for microSDHC standard. Device is in a “minimally protected” configuration – survives dust drops and electrostatic discharges. It’s good enough for most users.
In addition to the memory card itself, it comes with an SD form factor adapter specifically optimized for use with this drive. No performance degradation.
- Reliability (Samsung is the leader in flash card manufacturing);
- High read and write speed;
- Reasonable price-performance ratio.
- There is still a drop in speed when randomly writing, albeit slight;
- Perceptible heat when used in some card readers;
- No X-ray protection, best not to pass through airport scanners.
The SanDisk MicroSDHC Class 10 UHS-I
Why fourth place: High speed reading and writing, but relatively low reliability.
Transcend TS *USDHC10U1 is part of a proprietary high-speed line
- The performance is comparable to the leaders in the rating. For example, sequential writing to this drive at 45 megabytes per second, sequential reading at 90 megabytes per second. Performance is noticeably degraded if accidentally accessed, but not noticeable in daily use.
- High reading and writing speed;
- SD form factor adapter included;
- Low price.
- Requires careful handling;
- Standard warranty from the manufacturer – 24 months;
- Marked drop in performance with occasional writes or heavy use.
- High speed reading and writing;
- 10-year warranty with full support from the manufacturer
- SD form factor adaptor included.
- Comparatively expensive;
- Hardwearing, included adapter;
- Just one memory capacity configuration.
- High read and write speeds, in some cases faster than advertised;
- 10 year official warranty from the manufacturer (the maximum in the rating);
- Good combination of price and capacity.
- Fragile, you need to insert and remove with care;
- Slight performance degradation when writing to random segments and handling small files;
- Adapter reduces read and write data transfer.
- High read and write speeds;
- Rugged and secure design;
- New type of adapter included.
- Often there are fakes with less reliability and performance;
- Perceptible heat when actively used;
- Marked drop in performance when copying small files and writing to random sectors.
- Extremely fast, actual speeds are higher than rated;
- Five-year warranty from the manufacturer;
- Rugged and durable base
- It gets noticeably hotter when using it in a card reader;
- Slight performance degradation when writing to sectors with random access;
- Not compatible with UHS-II standard.
- Ultimate speed;
- Wide temperature range of operation;
- Lifetime warranty.
- Comparatively high price, especially for the 128GB and 256GB versions;
- No protection against water and dust;
- No X-ray protection.
- Optimal price/performance ratio;
- High write speed;
- Built-in error correction system.
Limited warranty (5 years and “with reservations”);
No protection against extreme temperatures;
- Fast transfer speed;
- Reliability and durability;
- Best-in-class combination of price, capacity and performance.
- “Wear and tear” – Over time, write speeds can begin to drop;
- Five-year limited warranty (SanDisk, for example, has a lifetime warranty);
- Rugged enclosure that can crack when inserted and removed frequently.
- High Speed, Suitable for 4K UHD
- Protected, shock-resistant housing;
- Lifetime Warranty.
- Relatively expensive;
- Loose record lock design;
- Noticeable drop in speed on random writes.
- Maximum read and write speeds;
- Protected design;
- Useful software included.
- Limited warranty;
- Frequent forgeries.
No security system in this memory card. So you need to use it carefully. Ideally, install in one device and remove only when power is turned off. Only with this kind of usage, it will last a long time.
Compatible with both traditional Class 10 and the latest UHS-I speeds. SD form factor adapter included. Available in 8GB, 16GB and 32GB on the market.
Best MicroSDXC memory cards
SanDisk Extreme MicroSDXC Class 10 UHS Class 3 V30 90MB/s
Why first place: The Video Speed V30 secure memory card
Description: High-performance memory card, which is certified by Video Speed Class V30. Thanks to this, it supports 4K video recording at up to and including 120 frames per second. Can be used in camcorders and other mobile devices.
Sequential write data transfer on this UHS memory card is at least 45MB/s. Reads 90 megabytes per second. The memory card comes with an adapter for SD, which does not reduce the data transfer work when using.
The model is made in a protected configuration. It survives static, can briefly sink and fall into the dust. The memory card is also protected against X-ray radiation, which is used, for example, in airports during security inspections.
The device is presented in one configuration – for 64GB.
Samsung MicroSDXC EVO Plus 100MB/s + SD Adapter
Why Second Place: High read and write speeds, but no V30 certification and relatively expensive.
Description: One of the fastest memory cards from Samsung. EVO Plus series offers 90 megabytes per second sequential writes and 100 megabytes per second sequential reads! However, performance is slightly slower with random access memory segments, but this card is designed more for camcorders, DVRs, cameras, and similar devices. And they write mostly sequentially.
The card is equipped with UHS-III high-speed bus, which guarantees a minimum sequential write speed of 30 megabytes per second. The drive is made in a “partially protected” configuration that offers resistance to static electricity, unexpected shutdown, water, and dust.
Comes with a proprietary SD form factor adapter. Available configurations are 64, 128 and 256GB.
Why third place: UHS-I bus, but high reliability.
Description: The memory card Kington SDCA10 does not offer the mass of modern technology, as the two previous models in the ranking. But it is characterized by high reliability, so you can safely take it with you on travels – even in the taiga. The device is certified for Class 10 and UHS-I speed classes, but serial writes at 45 megabytes per second and reads at 90 megabytes per second.
Rugged enough. It “survives” unexpected ejections, static shocks, low and high temperatures, and dropping into dust or dirt. Also protected against X-ray radiation.
Card is available in one capacity configuration – 64GB. SD form-factor adapter is included, which does not reduce data transfer speed.
Why the fourth place: Very fast, but relatively expensive memory card.
Description: The Samsung MB-MC256GA is one of the most expensive memory cards in the ranking. But its price is well worth it. First, the capacity of this card is 256GB. Second, it has a sequential write speed of 90 megabits per second. Reading is even higher – about 100 megabits per second. The card is certified for Class 10 and UHS-III speed standards. This means that it is quite possible to record 4K 120 fps video.
Rugged drive configuration prevents damage due to unexpected ejection, static discharge, contact with extreme temperatures, moisture and dust. Radiation shielding is also present.
SD form-factor adaptor included. The adapter is a new generation, so when you use it, the speed of reading and writing does not change. This configuration features 256GB of memory, but there are 64GB and 128GB models.
The best Compact Flash memory cards
SanDisk Extreme Pro CompactFlash 160MB/s
Why first place: Maximum data transfer speed.
The SanDisk Extreme Pro CompactFlash format is suitable for professional still and video cameras that store footage in RAW or high bitrate. The performance of the drive is 150 megabytes per second on sequential writes, 160 megabytes per second on reads. Actual data transfer rate is 1067x.
One of the possible usage scenarios shows the high performance of the memory card. Canon EOS 5D Mark III professional camera can record up to 50 RAW images on this drive in continuous shooting mode without loss of information.
It’s worth mentioning, not every card reader can cope with this speed (actually it’s the highest in the rating). Therefore, when copying to or from a computer, performance will be limited by the bandwidth of the interface.
Available in five configurations of 16, 32, 64, 128, and 256 GB.
Transcend CompactFlash (TS * GCF800)
Why Second Place: Fewer read and write speeds than the leader.
Transcend CompactFlash (TS*GCF800) is designed for semi-professional still and video cameras of middle class. Performance is less than its predecessor – maximum sequential write speed is 60 megabytes per second, read maximum 120 megabytes per second. In practice, this means that you can write F
- l HD video with a bitrate of less than 20 MB/s (30 or 60 fps, depending on the codec used) without the risk of crashes.
When it comes to photography, for example, this memory card can capture up to 26 full resolution images with HDR on the Nikon D700 camera in 10 seconds. Not bad and sufficient for most operators.
The main advantage of this card is the ECC error correction system, which prevents failures during data saving on this medium.
The drive is available in five versions with capacities from 16 to 256 gigabytes.
The best Secure Digital HC memory cards
Why rank #1: Best price/performance combination.
Transcend TS*SDHC10 is suitable for cameras, camcorders and similar entry-level recording devices. It’s certified to the Class 10 speed standard, which means guaranteed recording at 10 megabytes per second. But with sequential saving this increases to 20-30 megabytes per second, and reading – up to 45 MB/s.
High reliability is an important advantage of this memory card. It’s well protected against accidental removal, electrostatic discharge, dust, and moisture. The card is backed by a five-year limited warranty.
The memory card is available on the market in four configurations, differing in memory capacity – 4, 8, 16 and 32 GB.
SanDisk Extreme Pro SDHC
Why second place: Faster, but also more expensive memory card than the leader.
Description: Just like the other SanDisk Extreme Pro cards, the SDHC offers extreme read/write speeds. In particular, saving to this external drive runs at 90 megabytes per second (sequential), playback at 95 MB/s. Slightly slows down the performance if accidental recording.
Class 10 and UHS-III certified. Besides, V30 Speed Class (Video Speed Class 30) guarantees that you can record 4K movies at 36 or 60 fps, depending on the codec used.
The drive is suitable for use in extreme conditions. It withstands high and low temperatures, brief drowning and dust immersion. It is also protected against X-rays, which are used in airports for screening.
SDHC version card is only available in one configuration – with 32 GB of memory.
Why third place: The fastest in the ranking, but unreasonably expensive.
Description: Sony SF-G32 is a memory card designed for professional photographers, videographers and cameramen using related equipment. It has a maximum transfer rate – sequential writes at 299 megabytes per second, reads at 300 MB/s. Random access to memory segments degrades performance – by 30%, but still unbeatable.
In addition, the memory card is made in a protected configuration: shock-resistant housing, waterproof plugs, X-ray-resistant screen. Temperature range of the drive includes both serious heat and extreme cold.
The card comes with Sony proprietary software to recover deleted or corrupted files and to scan the drive for overwrite cycles.