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How to choose the best micro SD card for your needs

If you have a smartphone, a dashcam, a drone, a home security camera, a car sat nav or other GPS type device, a handheld computer, a digital camera or camcorder, then you may be familiar with the micro SD cards which are used to capture, and if necessary to receive, information of any kind. This is then transferred to (or from) a computer via a micro SD card reader. So you may update your car’s sat nav by downloading updates from the computer, and upload footage from a dashcam or pictures from the camera to the computer – both via the card reader.

There are so many everyday items and gadget around that use micro SD cards these days it’s always worth keeping a supply handy at home. However, that doesn’t mean that the same type of card will do for all of these items. Instead, it is really important that you choose the right kind of card for your particular needs.

Here are some tips to help you do just that:

Tip 1 – Check the size is right

Not all devices using micro SD cards will accept cards of all sizes so always check what the maximum for each item is. Dash cams are a good example, typically being limited to a 32GB card at maximum – but they differ so some may need a smaller card. On the other hand, although phones also vary dramatically some can take say a 256GB card.

Tip 2 – Understand what the symbols mean

You may well find different brands of micro SD card use different ways to indicate capacity and speed, so take the time to check you are buying exactly what you think, and actually need. If you see standards using the initials V and A each will be followed by a number. That number shows you what the minimum performance standard is.

Example A – If you need a micro SD card for a video/camcorder you want to see at least V10 on the card. Here the number 10 indicates the MB (megabyte) write speed per second, and this is guaranteed. If you plan to record 4K video you need to up the ante and look for V30 or higher. (Some cards may not have a V + number so you will have to check the labeling carefully to find the number.)

Example B – Micro SD cards for phones and tablets are useful to boost their storage capacity, and here you are looking or the A + number combo. The A stands for ‘app’ as in application performance. A1 is the most common, and perfectly fine for games and apps etc. A2 is bigger but new, so less likely to be seen around and not completely necessary just yet.

Tip 3 – Don’t go for unknown brands of micro SD cards

Largely it’s best to stick to well known and reputable micro SD card makers like SanDisk, Samsung, Kingston, Lexar, Integral, Toshiba and Verbatim. These all offer a warranty on the cards, which is an important thing to have.

Some tips for buying

The SanDisk Micro SDXC 128 GB card for Nintendo Switch is a consistently well reviewed and all round popular choice for mobile devices like phones and tablets as well as the Switch. As is the Switch card (look for the mushroom picture on the front). This works fine with anything which will accept a micro SDXC card. Both are consistently fast and reasonably priced.

Another card which is easy to find the Samsung Evo Select 128 GB (previously the Samsung Evo Plus). It’s not strong enough in the write speed department to be the first choice if you want to run apps from it but it’s good enough for other things.  

128 GB micro SD cards generally offer the best value for money when you weigh up storage space against unit cost, but if initial spend is the main decider and you aren’t desperate for space then a 64 GB capacity micro SD card like the SanDisk Micro SDXC card for Nintendo Switch (top for speed), or the same size Evo Select, Canvas Go, Canvas React, or Kingston Canvas React.

Watch out for fakes

There are plenty of cheats out there who will happily sell you a supposed brand name micro SD card which is actually a fake, so use your common sense. Get the best deals by ordering large orders of micro SD cards from trusted sources, and remember the old saying – if it seems too good to be true then it probably is. Sure, cheap prices can catch your eye and tempt you, but why risk it?

Tip 4 – Do you have any extra requests?

Depending on the device it is for and how you plan to use it you may want to look out for micro SD cards that are, sa,y waterproof or shockproof. These are obviously useful in underwater cameras, and both helmet and dash cams.

Tip 5SDHC or SDXC – what’s the difference?

These two types of micro SD cards offer a different range of things.

SDHC have a storage capacity of 2GB to 32GB, while SDXC cards are made to accept from 32GB up to 2TB.

Tip 6 – Check the maximum possible speed of a micro SD card

The higher the speed of the card the faster the data will be transferred to it. Due to the nature of how they work a video camera, dash or bike cam, and cameras (if using them to shoot a lot of pictures in extremely fast succession) all need speedy card capacity to function properly.

Unless your device is quite old it is likely to work fine with any of the three main speed levels available in modern micro SD cards. These are:

·         Class 10 [10MBs, photo bursts and max 1080p video files]

·         UHS -1 Class 1 [10MBs, live video and max 1080p video files]

·         UHS-1 Class 3 [30MBs, live video and max 4K video files]

*UHS stands for ultra high speed

Both micro SDHC and micro SDXC cards work fine with all three options.

If you are just a regular person who takes selfies or the odd photograph you don’t need to worry about looking for extra speed, while a professional photographer would need to have that as a priority.

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