It’s highly likely that you will be the owner of one or more electronic devices which require memory cards. Whether you have a mobile phone, a portable gaming system, digital camera or camcorder, you’ll be needing to store data on it. There’s obviously a need to keep the weight and size of the storage units down to a minimum, so that’s where memory cards come in – you’d look pretty silly carrying a hand sized hard drive round with you and plugging it in every time you wanted to load or save data, wouldn’t you?
Cards like the SanDisk 32GB Micro SD are therefore pretty common at the moment. The 32GB size seems to have matured in the market – that is to say, it allows users to store an amount of data which meets their needs, neither offering space they’ll never use nor running out just when it is needed. It also drops into a nice price range, which means that the majority of customers can afford and are willing to pay for it, whether they are teenagers with mobile phones or grandparents with digital cameras.
Not all 32 GB cards are the same though. As mentioned above, they are used for a variety of different applications and therefore each manufacturer produces models to suit those applications. Obviously, they all store the same amount of data, but there’s more to it than that and you need to understand exactly how that affects the cards performance before you go out and buy one.
The SanDisk 32GB Micro SD card, if we use that as our benchmark for comparison, comes in four different models. The crucial difference between them is in the speed with which they can write data to the card, and read it back again if needed. The least quick version is called the ‘Standard’ model, then in increasing speed you’ve got the ‘Ultra’, ‘Extreme’ and ‘Extreme Pro’. In normal terms, the base model has transfer rates of about 5 mb / second, then it goes up to 15, 30 and 45 mb / sec. So how does that affect which one you should buy?
Well, the read / write speed isn’t too important on a mobile phone. The ‘Standard’ cards are really designed for mobile phones, as they provide a decent transfer rate without over-engineering the card. It’s extremely unlikely that your camera phone will be able to capture high quality video or have a need to load large amounts of data, so there just isn’t any need to go for a fast transfer speed – it is overkill, and your phone just can’t make the most of it. That speed only comes into its own when you are taking pictures in bursts or taking full HD video, when it’s important that the card is ready to record the next frame extremely quickly, so the fastest speed cards will be appropriate for high-end digital cameras.
So, if you want value for money from your memory card, make sure you get the right one for the purpose and look at the speed to help you make a choice.