How to choose a memory card for your smartphone

The main parameters when choosing a memory card are its standard and speed. And the right ones can be determined by the technical characteristics of your smartphone and the planned conditions of use.


  1. How to choose a memory card for your smartphone: what to look for
  2. Main criteria of choice
  3. Additional features of memory cards
  4. The best memory card manufacturers
How to choose a memory card for your smartphone

How to choose a memory card for your smartphone: what to look for

The most important parameters for choosing a memory card for your smartphone are as follows:

  1. Standard (determines the compatibility and limit volume);
  2. Volume (determines the amount of information that can be written to this drive);
  3. Speed (determines the practicality of the drive for different purposes).
  4. The manufacturer of the device is also important.

It should be noted that this article describes the microSD memory card standard, because it is used in the vast majority of modern smartphones. Rare models, which are equipped with a slot for other types of drives (eg, MMC), occur once in a while and therefore the choice is limited to just find the right accessory.

Main criteria of choice

selection criteria

Almost all modern smartphones use microSD cards, which are highly practical and compact in size. These external drives are classified as follows:

  1. Standard (microSDSC, microSDHC, microSDXC);
  2. By volume (measured in “marketing” GB);
  3. By speed class (Class 2-10, UHS I-II).

All of these parameters are very important when choosing a memory card for use in a smartphone.

The standard is

There are three microSD card standards:

  1. microSDSC (Standard Capacity);
  2. microSDHC (High Capacity);
  3. microSDXC (Extended Capacity).

MicroSDSC(can also be simply called microSD) is one of the first memory card standards. It was introduced in the last century. These memory cards have a maximum capacity of 2GB, and are formatted in a slow and not very practical FAT16 file system.

Memory cards of this standard are almost never commercially available at this time. They are recommended for use only with the oldest smartphones.

microSDHC – The most common at the moment memory card standard, which provides the best price to volume ratio for mobile users. The capacity of such drives is from 4 to 32 GB, and the most optimal file system – FAT32, which has a high rate of access to the recorded information.

MicroSDHC memory cards are recommended for use in smartphones.

MicroSDXC– The most advanced memory card standard. The capacity of these drives ranges from 64 GB to a theoretical 2 TB (with the maximum currently available being 200 GB). They are formatted in the fastest file system exFAT.

It is recommended to use such memory cards in modern flagship smartphones.

Memory card standards are backward compatible. That is:

  1. A smartphone that supports microSDXC, microSDHC and microSDSC memory cards;
  2. You can install microSDHC and microSDSC cards in a smartphone that supports microSDHC. MicroSDXC, on the other hand, will no longer be compatible with it;
  3. In a smartphone that supports microSDSC memory cards, you can only install microSDSC. The others will not be compatible.

You can find out which type of memory card is supported by the smartphone from its technical specifications. Usually the standard is stated explicitly. If the specific name is not given, you can determine indirectly, based on the maximum capacity of supported memory cards:

  1. 64 GB or more – microSDXC, as well as all older standards;
  2. From 2 GB to 32 GB, microSDHC and microSDSC;
  3. 2GB or less – microSDSC only.

Almost all modern smartphones in the budget and mid-range support microSDHC, but the “upper middle” and the flagship – microSDXC.

Since the file system of the memory card indirectly determines the speed of access to information, you should also choose a standard based on the planned use. To store multimedia data, documents, etc.d. HC is fine, but for installing applications or using it as Adaptive Storage (a feature available in Android 6.0 i 7.0) it is better to use XC.

The speed of the memory card directly affects the speed of access to files.

The standard of the memory card is usually indicated in the description, on the package, or directly on the case of that storage device, with the appropriate icon.

Memory card speed class

Speed Class

There are several memory card speed classes, and they come in two generations.

The first generation is the “classic” Speed Class. Four types are most common:

  1. Class 2. Read and write speeds from 2 Mbps. Suitable only for documents, small pictures in poor quality, low bit rate music, etc.d. They can not be used comfortably with modern smartphones – for example, when taking photos, the delay in writing the picture will be a few seconds, as a consequence, there may be glitches or defects “picture”;
  2. Class 4. Reading and writing speed – from 4 Mbps. Suitable for medium bitrate music, low-resolution images, documents and files that don’t need to be handled “online” (documents, archives, etc.d.). Not suitable for video. Few are suitable for still photography;
  3. Class 6. Read and write speeds from 6 Mbps. Suitable for high bitrate music, medium resolution images (up to 13MP), other files. Can be used for video storage and playback. Limitedly suitable for still photography (up to 13 MP, no RAW, no HDR), not suitable for video shooting;
  4. Class 10. Reading and writing speed – from 10 Mbps. Suitable for virtually any purpose, including app install, photography (except RAW), video (no more than HD).

As it is clear, the best solution for use with modern smartphones will be memory cards of Class 6 and Class 10. But if you plan to record high definition video on this drive (F

    l HD, 4K) or “large” photos (RAW, HDR+), then you should pay attention to even faster standards:
    1. UHS-I. Reading and writing speeds from 10Mbps. Suitable for high definition video (F
        HD), high bitrate audio (Loseless, ALAC), storage of large files (movies, for example);
      • UHS-III. Reading and writing speeds – from 30 Mbps. Suitable for ultra high definition video (QHD, 4K) and any purpose.

    Most UHS speed cards are microSDXC (which makes sense), so be sure to check before buying one that your smartphone supports it.

    Card capacity

    The amount of data that can be written on the memory card has a direct impact on its capacity. Capacities in GB quoted on packaging do not correspond to reality.

    The most common types of memory cards are as follows:

    1. 2 GB (actual capacity 1.9GB). “Will fit” about a hundred songs in the format MP3320 kbps or about 200 photos at a resolution of 8 MP;
    2. 4 GB (actual capacity 3.72 GB). In addition to the above “will fit” a few more clips in 320p resolution;
    3. 8GB (actual capacity 7.44 GB). Enough for a couple of movies in low quality, a few hundred music files, documents and photos each;
    4. 16GB (actual capacity 14.9 GB). Enough for a few HD movies or even F
        l HD, as well as all of the above;
      • 32GB (actual capacity 29.8GB). Enough for large amounts of video in F
          l HD and lots of high-resolution photos;
        • 64GB (actual capacity 59GB).6GB). Enough for the average number of videos in QHD or 4K;
        • 128 GB (actual capacity 119.2GB). Enough for a lot of 4K or even 120 fps video.

    As is clear, it is worth choosing the required capacity of the drive on the basis of the planned use of. For photographers, a 32 GB to 64 GB card is fine, while mobile operators (especially in combination with a modern smartphone) would prefer a 64 GB to 128 GB accessory.

    Additional features of memory cards

    Some models of memory cards offer advanced functionality, which can be very useful for users. Among these features:

    1. Data recovery software included. A nice and useful “bonus” that will save your favorite photos, even if something happens to the memory card;
    2. Protection from extreme conditions(too high or low temperatures, shaking, contact with water, etc.).d.). The feature is quite useful, but only if you plan to travel a lot with the card;
    3. X-ray protection. Keeps the memory card “alive” after scanning luggage at the airport. Another useful feature for those who like to travel;
    4. Protection against water. Such memory cards can briefly immerse in a shallow depth. Another way to preserve your favorite photos in extreme conditions.

    More often than not, all these extra features “go” all together. For example, Kingston Industrial Temperature memory cards are protected against cold, heat, X-rays, moisture, even power surges when inserted into or removed from a running smartphone.

    Best memory card manufacturers

    Memory card manufacturers include the following companies:

    1. Samsung. Produces memory cards specifically optimized for smartphones;
    2. Transcend. Inexpensive but at the same time high quality memory cards;
    3. SanDisk. Produces both relatively inexpensive and premium models.
    4. In addition, Kingston and Si are worthy of mention
    5. The most suitable cards can be defined by their technical specifications.

    In the following articles, our experts tell you how to choose headphones for your phone and the secrets of choosing the charger for your phone.

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