Inexpensive and easy to find, the microSD memory card makes it easy to add storage, whether it’s for a smartphone, Nintendo Switch or your GoPro. To help you find your way around, we have chosen for you the best micro SD cards of the moment.
Launched in 2005 with a staggering capacity of 16 MB, the good old microSD card has come a long way! If its format has not changed, under the hood there are many developments, opening the door to ever higher speeds and capacities (64 GB, 128 GB, 256 GB and 512 GB have become commonplace). Sold at increasingly attractive prices, microSDs are a good way to increase the storage space of a smartphone, a camera or even serve as a memory card for Nintendo Switch.
Be careful though: the performance of the latter is much worse than that of internal storage. It will therefore be better to store non-critical data such as photos or music there and keep the internal storage for apps. However, we have a guide for moving apps and content from your Android smartphone to the microSD card.
Beware of counterfeits
Very popular, microSD cards are probably the most counterfeited high-tech product to date. Marketplaces are filled with cards sold at unbeatable prices and featuring the graphic identity of more well-known brands.
Buying them, however, will be a terrible miscalculation. Speeds are often mediocre, capacities not respected and cards tend to give up the ghost quickly. For more security, stay with resellers with a storefront, avoid marketplaces and do not hesitate to return any product that seems suspicious. A blurry print on the card or its packaging is a common clue.
If you are looking for a good external drive to copy data from your microSD card, check out our dedicated guide.
Sandisk Ultra from 16 to 512 GB: the micro SD card to do everything
The new Ultra range from Sandisk is today a very good choice to increase the storage of a smartphone. Now compatible with the A1 standard, they can quickly load applications installed on them and offer a read speed of up to 100 MB/s. The range is very complete and offers storage capacities of 16, 32, 64, 128, 200, 256 GB, 400 and 512 GB for prices ranging from 6 to 135 euros.
This very versatile card will fit many devices, from your smartphone to your Switch to your camera. That being said, if you are above all looking for performance, in particular to film in UHD at 60 frames per second, or to facilitate the transfer of many images from your SLR or to access them more quickly, it will be better to opt for more efficient cards. We advise you to go for UHS-3 (U3) compatible cards.
Depending on your uses, we advise you to go for the 64 GB, 128 GB or 200 GB references which display the best value for money in the range and which will undoubtedly be able to meet your needs.
Samsung EVO Plus: good value for money
If you are looking for more performance, while maintaining a contained price, we advise you to turn to Samsung and its Evo Plus range. These high-quality micro SD cards are UHS-3 (U3) certified. This certification allows them to reach a write speed of up to 90 MB/s, which will bring you more comfort for 4K videos.
As you will have understood, this range will appeal to video enthusiasts who are above all looking for additional storage space to record hours of rush in high definition. If it is especially in this area that you will benefit the most, you will also have a performance gain on Switch or smartphone.
Sandisk Extreme: the fast microSD card for everyone
The new Sandisk Extreme range has all the certifications one would expect from a modern micro SD card with UHS-3 and V30. Plus, it’s one of the first consumer micro SD cards to be A2-certified, ensuring it handles more operations per second for better performance for apps stored on it.
They are less affordable than the Ultra from Sandisk and EVO Plus from Samsung, but guarantee excellent performance and can be a worthwhile investment for those who use a micro SD card daily in a smartphone. You can do anything with it.
Sandisk Extreme Pro 64 GB: speed above all else
If you’re looking for the fastest card possible, you’ll often have to sacrifice capacity. 64 GB cards are indeed often faster than those with more storage. Among these, the Sandisk Extreme Pro caught our attention.
It indeed reaches 170 MB/s in reading and offers among the best IOPS performance on the market. To take full advantage of it, however, you will need a UHS-II compatible device and memory card reader.
Finally, the price is particularly high! But if you need the fastest, look no further.
What about microSD card readers?
The memory card reader is often a device that we forget and that’s a shame. The readers integrated into our PCs are indeed slow and will not be sufficient to fully exploit a fast card.
We therefore recommend the Sandisk Extreme Pro reader, which is available in USB-C and USB-A versions. Be careful though to connect it to a USB 3.0 connector, especially if you are using a front USB port.
What to look for before buying a micro SD card?
Which microSD card for which use?
Not all cards are created equal, quite the contrary. Two cards of the same capacity may have very different speeds and will therefore not meet the same needs. A 4K video enthusiast will favor a high write speed while a Switch will especially benefit from a good read speed.
To find our way around, we will use three types of certifications.
- The UHS speed class: it measures the speed of sequential writing and is in the form of a U with a number in it. A U1 will therefore correspond to 10 MB/s and a U3 to 30 MB/s.
- Video Speed Class: This measures sustained write speed and is in the form of a V followed by a number describing the throughput.
- Some cards have an application performance class label, designated an A1 or A2, which guarantees a certain number of IOPS as well as a sustained write rate of 10 MB/s.
If you plan to make video, choose at least a U3 or V30 compatible card. Faster cards exist, but they have limited compatibility due to a different number of pins. Make sure your device supports them.
For a Nintendo Switch on the other hand, no need to break the bank: it only supports U1 cards. Putting in more money won’t improve loading times.
How much storage capacity do I need?
Before buying a micro SD card to increase the capacity of your smartphone, tablet or game console, you must first know what storage capacity you expect from it. 32 or 64 GB is enough to store your music and some videos, but if you want to store more movies, applications and games, you will need more storage capacity. Today, we recommend taking 128 GB as the “default” capacity.
micro SD, SDXC, SDHC… does that change anything?
Yes, in theory… in practice, not much. Basically, these terms refer to different storage capacities. The SD(SC) card for “Standard Capacity” ranges from 128 MB to 2 GB, the SDHC (High Capacity) up to 32 GB, the SDXC (eXtended Capacity” up to 2 TB. other things like bus speeds, which involve different connectors.In practice nowadays almost every product supports every standard.You just have to look into that if you want to add an SD card in an aging device, i.e. from before 2010.
A new version of the standard was announced in 2018: the SDUC which brings the maximum capacity to 128 TB. At the same time, the SD Express 8.0 format was also defined, which allows cards to use a PCI-Express 4.0 link and therefore to reach speeds of 3.9 GB/s. Small particularity however: the SD Express, independent of the SDUC, can also be implemented on SDHC and SDXC cards. However, no commercial model is currently available.