Low storage? Here's which microSD card you should buy

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© NextPit

Most phones sold today come with 16 GB or 32 GB of internal storage, but part of this memory is tied up with the operating system. Cheaper models offer less than 8 GB. If you store a lot of music, photos, videos or games on your phone, you may find you soon run out of storage space. The solution is either to buy a phone with more storage or invest in a good microSD card.

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Many smartphones have microSD card slots, except for some models such as the popular Moto X (2014) or Samsung Galaxy S6. Some of them allow the use of cards up to 128 GB, which far exceeds the needs of most users. So, what do you need to know before buying a microSD card? Which model is right for you? You'll find the answers below. Read on for the full rundown.

Differences between microSD cards

MicroSD cards are classified according to their storage capacity and transfer speeds. Cards classified as SD (Secure Digital) have capacities from 128 MB to 2 GB. SDHC (Secure Digital High Capacity) cards range in capacity from 4 GB to 32 GB. The capacity of SDXC (Secure Digital Extended Capacity) cards is up to 2 TB.

Cards are also split into classes based on their write speeds. There are six main classes: 2, 4, 6 and 10, UHS 1 and 3. The table below shows the minimum data transfer speeds for each class:

Category/ class Minimum data transfer speed Speed level Recommended maximum
UHS 3 30 MB/s High speed Records videos in 4K and 2K
UHS 1 10 MB/s High speed

HD video recording, Full HD and continuous photo shooting

Class 10 10 MB/s High speed

HD video recording, Full HD and continuous photo shooting

Class 6 6 MB/s Average speed Recording videos in HD and Full HD
Class 4 4 MB/s Average speed Recording videos in HD and Full HD
Class 2 2 MB/s Low speed

Recording videos in HQ

Is my device compatible with microSD cards?

As we said in the introduction, many phones accept memory cards, but there are some models that don't. To find out whether your phone has a microSD slot, follow these points:

  • Examine your phone and look for the description 'SD' or 'microSD'. This will indicate where the memory card slot of your phone is.
  • Refer to the manual and see if it has a section on memory cards. This will show where it is, what types of card it accepts and how to insert a card.
  • See the manufacturer's website for technical specifications of your device. They’ll show you if it has a microSD slot.
  • Check specialized sites that keep data sheets of phone specs, such as AndroidPIT.

How do I choose the best card?

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How do you choose a memory card? / © ANDROIDPIT

Choosing the right microSD card for your device is based on two criteria: size and speed. If you plan to buy a card just to save documents, 8 GB or 16 GB will be sufficient. However, if your intention is to store lots of photos and video, the higher the storage capacity, the better. At this point, your choice will be determined by your budget, because microSD cards with large storage capacities are usually more expensive.

If you plan to install apps on the memory card, we recommend that you buy one with a higher writing speed, Class 10 or higher. If you want to make videos in HD or Full HD, Class 6 or 4 cards are recommended. We don’t recommend Class 2 cards because they relatively slow. Whenever you can, get a card Class 4 or higher. 

Where to buy microSD cards

Here are some microSD cards available to buy right now that offer a good cost-to-benefit ratio:

Do you use a memory card in your smartphone? What kind is it? Let us know in the comments.

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  • kuldeep Jan 14, 2016 Link to comment

    Thanku so much.. this post cleared my doubts about sd cards.

  • surya kumar Jan 14, 2016 Link to comment

    How about a otg guys

  • Bill Brown Jan 13, 2016 Link to comment

    Highly recommend buying from a reputable source. I bought cards on eBay that my file explorer would say had 64gb capacity, but after reaching about 8gb or 10gb the videos/pics wouldn't open or play - they were essentially corrupted and irretrievable. Found out there's a way of making fake cards that say have certain capacity but really don't. They are also sold as name brand (mine was Samsung) with identical packaging as the real thing. Finally just ended up finding a sale at Best Buy because the eBay scams got me on both an SD card and a flash drive.

  • Michal Horna Jan 13, 2016 Link to comment

    everyone chooses the card, and its size
    I use a 64 gigabytes is enough for everything

  • Mark G. Jan 13, 2016 Link to comment

    Have always used Samsung memory, not to expensive and I know it's unlikely to fail thus losing my precious music collection (though it's backed up on Disk/USB stick /SSD/cloud just in case..)

    I'm considering upgrading my 64gb to 128gb as I love my music...

  • GT Ohh Jan 13, 2016 Link to comment

    Thanks Felipe this article was a good refresher.

  • Janusz Jan 13, 2016 Link to comment

    It would be better if you wrote something about the memory cards that have big capacity e.g. 64 or 128 GB. Are they really compatible with all devices and computers, too? Small capacity cards are no problem!

  • lianne john Jan 13, 2016 Link to comment

    Good article! It should help me in future investments!

  •   46
    Deactivated Account Jan 13, 2016 Link to comment

    Nice article but it is fast becoming a useless one with more manufactures dropping the Micro SD, and trying to push cloud storage on us to make more money. There is no cloud all your info is on somebody's server. They have access to your data, plus it can be hacked, lost or compromised.

  • AndroidPhreak Jan 13, 2016 Link to comment

    Thanks for this article it will help me find the best sd card for my second phone, I believe they are trying to do away with the sd cards in the near future.

  • Sergey Moraru Jan 13, 2016 Link to comment

    Also it would be helpful to note better brands out of many. Samsung ones are good and less expensive, so to speak.

  • storm Jan 13, 2016 Link to comment

    I can't imagine why you wouldn't set the floor at 32gigs. Comes fast and cheap. No reason to mess around with smaller cards unless they're legacy cards you already have.

  • Sergey Moraru Jan 13, 2016 Link to comment

    Samsung SD cards are good.

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