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Best MicroSD Cards for 2018

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Last Updated: December 1, 2018.
-Added MicroSD cards for drones.

As a photographer and tech lover, I tend to gravitate towards the best of the best when it comes to the technology products I own, which is why I found myself on the quest to find the best MicroSD cards out there. I want reliability, speed, and something that will let me push my equipment to its limits.

I use my phone mostly for taking photos and videos of my adventures. Having a MicroSD card that can meet my demands and have enough storage for my 1-2 week travels of photo and video taking all day long is crucial.

I currently test and use these cards for real world use on a Samsung Galaxy S9 and GoPro Hero 6.

This is my quest to find the ultimate MicroSD cards.

Table of Contents

Best MicroSD Cards

The Problem with Finding the Best MicroSD Cards

UHS, UHS-I, U1, UHS-III, and U3 are all buzzwords and jargon to look for on the packaging. The UHS signifies the speeds up to – up to being the operative phrase. This is important if you’re shooting HD or 4k video. Faster write speeds are needed in order to produce high quality video.

Even if you’re not shooting video, but running apps or games off your MicroSD card, a fast write speed will keep things running smoothly.

A lot of cards are advertised as UHS1 / U1 and support 4k, but this simply is not true. Manufacturers claim 10MB/s write speed is sufficient, but it isn’t! You’re going to start running into overheating problems and video that stops recording before you’re done. I’ve even encountered dropped frames in video I was hoping to be spectacular.

You’ve probably seen UHS-I and Class 10 on just about every MicroSD card you’ve checked out already. The SD association has come out with speed classes relevant towards video, too.

What Are The Differences Between SD, SDHC, SDXC, and SDUC?

SDXC devices are backwards compatible, so they accept SD and SDHC memory cards. SDXC memory cards must only be used with SDXC devices and should never be used in non-compatible devices.

sd memory cardsSD standard – Up to 2GB SD memory card using FAT 12 and 16 file systems
sdhc memory cardsSDHC standard – over 2GB-32GB SDHC memory card using FAT32 file system
sdxc memory cardsSDXC standard – over 32GB-2TB SDXC memory card using exFAT file system
sduc memory cardsSDUC standard – over 2TB-128TB SDUC memory card using exFAT file system
SDSDHCSDXCSDUC
Capacityup to 2GBmore than 2GB
up to 32GB
more than 32GB
up to 2TB
more than 2TB
up to 128TB
File SystemFAT 12, 16FAT 32exFATexFAT
SD Logosdsdhcsdxcsduc
Card SpecificationsSD32 x 24 x 2.1 mm, Approx 2g
microSD11 x 15 x 1.0 mm, Approx 0.5g
Speed ClassesNS modeC2, C4, C6
HS modeC2, C4, C6, C10,
V6, V10
UHS-I
mode
C2, C4, C6, C10
U1, U3
V6, V10, V30
UHS-II
mode
C4, C6, C10
U1, U3
V6, V10, V30, V60, V90
UHS-III
mode
C4, C6, C10
U1, U3
V6, V10, V30, V60, V90

MicroSD Card Speed Classes

MicroSD Card Speed Classes
MicroSD Card Speed Classes – Credit: SD Association

For my own uses, I’ve found UHS-III / U3 and V30, V60, and V90 to be ideal for recording 4k video from my phone. Below are the fastest 128GB and 200GB micro SD cards. Anything else simply hasn’t made the cut for size, speed, and reliability.

MicroSD Card Video Speed Classes

Video classes have been assigned to better support high resolution video recordings. Supported formats for video recordings on MicroSD cards include:

  • 4k (V6, V10, V30, V60, V90)
  • 8k (V60 and V90)
  • 3D (V60 and V90)
  • 360 degree (V60 and V90)
MicroSD Card Video Speed Classes
MicroSD Card Video Speed Classes. Credit: SD Association

Best MicroSD Card Brands

There are really only 6 brands you should consider when shopping for a MicroSD card. There are faster cards out there, but I like to consider reliability as an important factor. I don’t want a card to become corrupt with a vacation full of video and photos.

All in all, Delkin is my go-to MicroSD card brand. They have performed incredibly well across a multitude of scenarios and devices.

Delkin – MicroSD cards support up to 8k, includes amazing customer service , lifetime warranty [with a 48 hour replacement policy], and all their products are incredibly fast.

Lexar – I’ve used this one over the years and have never had a failure. Nikon also recommends this brand for their cameras.

Samsung – One of original favorites, based on speed and price.

SanDisk – Nikon recommends this brand for their cameras.

Sony – This is a brand I’d purchase when on sale, otherwise I’d choose another brand first.

Transcend  Great budget options for the price.

The Best MicroSD Cards by Size and Speed

Best 512GB MicroSD Cards

The largest MicroSD card available, a whopping 512GB, is available by both Kingston and PNY.

Kingston Digital SDCR/512GB Canvas React 512GB microSDXC

Kingston Digital SDCR/512GB Canvas React 512GB microSDXC

  • Class 10 UHS-I U3 speeds up to 100MB/s read, 80MB/s write.
  • Made for Android1.
  • Waterproof, shock and vibration proof, x-ray proof, and temperature proof.

PNY Elite Performance 512GB SDXC P-SDX512U3H-GE

PNY Elite Performance 512GB SDXC P-SDX512U3H-GE

  • Class 10 UHS-I, U3. Up to 95MB/sec speed, Full HD and 4K Ultra HD video recording
  • Magnet Proof, Shock Proof, Temperature Proof, Waterproof
  • Lifetime Limited Warranty

Best 400GB MicroSD Cards

Sandisk Ultra 400GB Micro SDXC – SDSQUAR-400G-GN6MA

Sandisk Ultra 400GB Micro SDXC - SDSQUAR-400G-GN6MA

  • Class 10 UHS-1. Data Transfer: Read Speed 100 MB/s Maximum. Write Speed 10 MB/s Minimum. Up to 100MB/s transfer speed.
  • A1-rated performance. 
  • Shockproof, temperature extremes, waterproof, x-ray proof

Best 256GB MicroSD Cards

PNY Elite-X microSD 256GB – P-SDU256U3100EX-GE

PNY Elite-X microSD 256GB – P-SDU256U3100EX-GE

  • Up to 100MB/s Read Speed
  • Class 10, U3, V30 performance
  • A1 (App 1) performance allows for apps to run from microSD card

Samsung 256GB U3 MicroSDXC EVO Select – MB-ME256GA/AM

Samsung 256GB EVO Plus Class 10 UHS-I microSDXC U3 – MB-MC256GA

Samsung 256GB EVO Plus Class 10 UHS-I microSDXC U3 - MB-MC256GA

  • Same cards, different branded name based on where you buy.
  • Up to 100MB/s & 90MB/s read & write speeds respectively; Class 10 UHS-1.
  • Certified waterproof with IEC 60529 and IPX7 rating.
  • 10-year limited warranty.

SanDisk Ultra 256GB microSDXC UHS-I – SDSQUAR-256G-GN6MA

SanDisk Ultra 256GB microSDXC UHS-I - SDSQUAR-256G-GN6MA

  • Class 10 UHS-1. Data Transfer: Read Speed 100 MB/s Maximum. Write Speed 10 MB/s Minimum. Up to 100MB/s transfer speed.
  • A1-rated performance. 
  • Shockproof, temperature extremes, waterproof, x-ray proof.

Kingston Canvas React 256GB microSDHC –  SDCR/256GB

Kingston Canvas React 256GB microSDHC -  SDCR:256GB

  • Class 10 UHS-I U3 speeds up to 100MB/s read, 80MB/s write.
  • Made for Android1.
  • Waterproof, shock and vibration proof, x-ray proof, and temperature proof.

Best 200GB MicroSD Cards

The Lexar 200GB is my all time MicroSD card favorite at this size. For the price, speed, and reliability, this was one of the easiest purchases of my tech life. I happily recommend this card to anyone who has similar demands as my own.

Lexar High-Performance microSDXC 633x 200GB – LSDMI200BBNL633R

CrystalDiskMark Benchmarks:
Sequential Read: 88.97 MB/s
Sequential Write: 33.69 MB/s

SanDisk Ultra 200GB MicroSD – SDSDQUAN-200G-G4A

CrystalDiskMark Benchmarks:
Sequential Read: 86.32 MB/s
Sequential Write: 42.1 MB/s

MacBook Pro Benchmarks
2.4GB Read: 0:48 (minutes:seconds)
2.4GB Write 2:41 (minutes:seconds)

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Benchmarks
Sequential Read: 20.61 MB/s
Sequential Write: 17.31 MB/s
Random Read: 7.86 MB/s
Random Write: 0.77 MB/s

Best MicroSD Cards 128GB

Lexar Professional 1800x microSDXC 128GB UHS-II – LSDMI128CRBNA1800R

CrystalDiskMark Benchmarks:
Sequential Read: 272.322 MB/s
Sequential Write: 222.227 MB/s

Samsung 128GB EVO Plus Class 10 Micro SDXC – MB-MC128DA/AM

CrystalDiskMark Benchmarks:
Sequential Read: 88.70 MB/s
Sequential Write: 26.98 MB/s

SanDisk Ultra 128GB microSDXC UHS-I – SDSQUNC-128G-GN6MA

CrystalDiskMark Benchmarks:
Sequential Read: 46.93 MB/s
Sequential Write: 13.89 MB/s[

Sony 128GB Class 10 UHS-1 Micro SDXC – SRG1UY2A/TQ

CrystalDiskMark
Benchmarks
:
Sequential Read: 44.17 MB/s
Sequential Write: 21.48 MB/s

We have a clear winner out of the best MicroSD cards. The Lexar 1800x is incredibly faster than the runner up, Samsung’s Evo Plus. The Lexar MicroSD card is geared for the uber professional and priced accordingly. If you are shooting a ton of 4k video, this is the card for you. Your phone should handle recording like a champ without hitting buffer limitations.

Samsung, a distant second, is a great choice if you’re recording 4k in short bursts and need a more economically priced option.

Best MicroSD Cards for Android

The best MicroSD card you can use with your Android phone is going to be the highest capacity, especially cards which support A1. A1 means you can put apps on your card and it will run incredibly fast. This is especially useful if you play games on your phone.

Look up your phone specs which you are using, see the max capacity MicroSD card available, and then start going down my list above, starting with the highest. Most flagship phones as of writing this paragraph in 2018 will support 200GB size cards.

Best MicroSD Cards for GoPro

GoPro HERO microsd cards
The latest GoPro Hero 7 Black comes with a free MicroSD card, but you might want some more for extra recording storage. With the ability to record 4k video and RAW, having a fast MicroSD card is going to make a world of difference, especially now that the new GoPro Hero 7 Black can support UHS-III. Your card will fill up fast!

GoPro Hero 7 Black MicroSD Cards – Up to 256GB

GoPro Hero 6, 5, and 4

The GoPro Hero5 Black’s biggest MicroSD card is going to be 128GB. Here are some great 128GB MicroSD cards for your GoPro HERO5 Black. These are only cards which support UHS-III and nothing less:

Best MicroSD Cards for Drones

mavic 2 pro best microsd card for drone

If you are flying a DJI Mavic 2 Pro or similar drone, documentation recommends: UHS-I Speed Grade 3 rating microSD card is required due to the fast read and write speeds necessary for high-resolution video data. Card sizes officially supported by the Mavic 2 Pro are 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB.

There is no reason to buy less than 128GB – you will not want to risk running out of space mid-flight or while recording a series. These are the best options for your drone MicroSD:

Lexar Professional 1800x microSDXC 128GB UHS-II – LSDMI128CRBNA1800R

Samsung 128GB EVO Plus Class 10 Micro SDXC – MB-MC128DA/AM

SanDisk Ultra 128GB microSDXC UHS-I – SDSQUNC-128G-GN6MA

Sony 128GB Class 10 UHS-1 Micro SDXC – SRG1UY2A/TQ

Best MicroSD Cards for 4k Video Recording and Playback

Best MicroSD Cards based on Video Speed Classes

I’m still gathering info on v90 and v60 certified MicroSD cards. Some manufacturers have claimed equivalent speeds, but have not received an official certification, so I won’t list them until that happens.

Best MicroSD v90 Cards

Best MicroSD v60 Cards

Best MicroSD v30 Cards

SanDisk Extreme 128GB microSDXC UHS-I Card with Adapter (SDSQXVF-128G-GN6MA) – $69

Lexar Professional 1000x microSDXC 256GB UHS-II/U3 – LSDMI256CBNL1000R – $260

SanDisk Extreme 64GB microSDXC UHS-I Card with Adapter (SDSQXVF-064G-GN6MA) – $30

Best MicroSD v10 Cards

SanDisk Ultra 256GB MicroSDXC UHS-I Card with Adapter (SDSQUNI-256G-GN6MA) – $151

Transcend 128GB MicroSDXC Class10 UHS-1 Memory Card with Adapter 60 MB/s (TS128GUSDU1) – $69

Fastest MicroSD Cards

If you’re looking for the fastest Micro SD cards, regardless of size, this is the chart for you. These are all MicroSD cards I have personally tested on my Samsung Galaxy S9 in real world conditions and everyday use.

Tips on MicroSD Card Care and Maintenance

Tips on MicroSD Card Care and MaintenanceDeleting Files and Formatting MicroSD Cards

  1. Format your new MicroSD card as soon as you plug it into the device.
  2. Always perform future formats in the device, whether phone or camera.
  3. Format when putting your MicroSD card into new devices.

If you’ve ever had a corrupted MicroSD card, you know how devastating it is to lose all of your data. The absolute best way to ensure your MicroSD cards stay healthy is to only use the device, whether phone or camera, to delete files off the card. NEVER use your computer. The same goes for formatting. Always use your phone or camera to perform the format function. Using your computer to delete or format data off your MicroSD card greatly increases the chances of the card becoming corrupted over time. Just be sure you want to format, as it is not reversible.

Transferring Files off MicroSD Cards from Phone to Computer

I use Dropbox to easily and quickly move files back and forth from my phone to computer. Whether Android or iPhone, this has always seemed to be the easiest method. Dropbox will automatically upload new photos from my phone while on WiFi, then download them to my computer immediately.

Every now and then, or immediately upon returning from a vacation, I’ll hop on my computer and move the photos out of the Dropbox folder and into my Photos folder. Its a couple steps to get used to, but if you’ve tried saving photos off your phone, you know a couple steps is a lot easier than constantly pulling out hair, losing photos, or having to delete photos to make more room on your phone.


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3 Comments
  1. Wow, what an indepth review of SD cards. I always wondered about the differences between the different brands and identifications and now I know. Although, I have to admit I’m still confused about RAW and 4K benefits. Thanks for this review.

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