It is easy to get confused in a tech retail store when looking for a memory card. Whether it is for cameras, camcorders, smartphones, or laptops, you will need memory cards one way or the other.
Many factors confuse getting SD cards (Secure Digital cards) not surprising, which we will discuss so that you understand. Online communities do not help the matter because of their non-relatable posts. Due to this, users become disengage, and they get any SD card unaware of the disadvantages of doing so.
To combat it, this article will dive into the different SD card class speeds discussing their properties, advantages, and disadvantages. After reading through it, we expect you to be familiar with it. In other to do that, discussed below are some things you should know about your SD card.
Many factors determine what SD card you should buy for your device. Therefore, what a camcorder might require might be different from a smartphone. What a smartphone can use will also be different from a simple phone. The three factors majorly used are the SD card size, capacity, and speed class.
The most common size of the SD card in the present world is the microSD card. However, this does not mean that there are no other types. There are three types of SD cards. They are microSD, miniSD, and the regular SD card.
You won't see them alone, because manufacturers combine them with other factors. Therefore, there will be regular SDHC cards or standard SDXC cards.
It is the common SD card size used on laptops, digital cameras, and desktop computers. They are large and can fit into the "Full-size SD card ports" found on the mentioned devices. They look like card readers, but they are not the same. The difference is that card readers will have space at the bottom to hold an SD/SDHC/SDXC card.
They are less popular than the other types. Sincerely few people aside, photographers and video editors know about its use. They have a smaller dimension than the regular SD card. They are the storage device for some mobile phones, but they became lost in time due to the advent of microSD cards.
They are the most common SD cards nowadays, functioning in various devices such as smartphones, tablets, and some computers. Manufacturers also call them TransFlash cards, and they are ideal for the mentioned device based on their sizes.
There are four types of SD cards in terms of capacity. They are SD cards, SDHC cards, SDXC cards, and SDUC cards (Not popular).
The file system of any of the four types is how they store and retrieve files. The way SD cards store files are different from SDXC cards. Also, the way SDXC cards store files differ from SDHC.
This subsection will enlighten you on SD card capacity and the file system. In chronological order, it is from SD card to SDHC to SDXC card. However, there is something unique about each SD card capacity which is in the ability to backdate.
Therefore, devices that support SDXC can support SD and SDHC cards. Devices that support SDHC can only support SDHC and SD cards. Devices that support SD cards can only use SD cards.
SD(Secure Digital) cards are the oldest of the three major types. They have a capacity of 1Mb to 2Gb. However, there are some SD cards with 4GB space, albeit this is not standard. The file system of SD cards is the FAT12 and FAT 16. This file system allows users to transfer files up to a speed of 25Mb/s
Based on the storage size issue, do not choose such memory cards if you have large files.
SDHC (Secure Digital High Capacity) cards are the next in line. They support the FAT32 file system, which allows users to transfer files at about 50Mb/s. They have larger space than the previous one amounting to 32Gb. Therefore, any SD card in between 2Gb to 32Gb capacity is an SDHC card.
SDXC (Secure Digital Extended Capacity) cards from the name have a large storage capacity. They have a space of 32Gb to 2TB. In other to accommodate such large files, they use a different file system. The official file system supported is exFAT. However, due to incompatibility with some devices, you can format exFAT to FAT32.
SDUC (Secure Digital Ultra Capacity) cards are the newest memory cards having a large storage capacity. Their storage capacity ranges from 2TB to a stunning 128TB of space. However, they are not that common with people due to their cost. They utilize the exFAT file system.
For every SD card, the file system present already occupies space on the SD card. Therefore, if you buy a 64Gb memory card, you don't expect to see exactly 64GB storage size.
The SD card speed class is the core of this article, but talking about it is always full technical terms, which sometimes puts readers off. This section will explain what speed class is and how to integrate it in layman terms to understand.
SD card speed class is the term memory card manufacturers use to denote an SD card's writing speed. The writing speed of any storage device indicates the speed of storing and retrieving data. To further understand the SD card speed class concept, you must know about the three categories, each with its properties.
The three are Standard speed class, UHS speed class, and Video Speed Class.
The standard SD card speed class comprises 4 different writing speed categories: class 2, class 4, class 6, and class 10 SD cards.
Class 2 speed class is the slowest of the speed class under this category, with a minimum write speed of 2Mb/s. Class 2 SD cards are ideal for devices such as standard recorders that do not require fast write speed. If your device requires an SD card speed class "2", check for SD cards with "2" coming after the "C" as in the picture above.
Class 4 speed class is the next in line with this category. SD cards under this have a minimum speed of 4Mb/s. They are ideal for smartphones and some digital cameras. If your device requires an SD card speed class 2, check for SD cards with "4" coming after the "C" as in the picture above.
The class 6 and class 10 SD card speed classes are the next one after class 4. SD cards under this have a minimum speed of 6Mb/s and 10Mb/s, respectively. They are ideal for smartphones and some digital cameras. If you want an SD card for recorders that deal with 4Kcontent, you should go for Class 6 or Class 10. However, if you are dealing with Full HD recordings, Class 10 is the ideal SD card. You can recognize Class 6 and 10 by checking for "6" and "10" after "C," as in the picture above.
Aside from the standard SD class speed, there are also two additional SD speed classes known as the Ultra High-Speed classes (UHS). Even though there is not much difference between them, they are costly.
SD cards with UHS speed class are majorly for .professional use. They are ideal for shooting 4K video contents because the 4k rated device requires a faster writing speed than the standard SD card speed class.
UHS SD Card speed class has two categories: UHS 1 and 3, and only devices that support them can function well when used.
The UHS 1 speed class is the lowest of the two, with a minimum speed of 10Mb/s. If your device requires a UHS 1 SD card speed class, check for SD cards with "1" in the "U" as in the picture above.
The UHS 3 speed class has a minimum speed of 30Mb/s. If your device requires a UHS 3 SD card speed class, check for SD cards with "3" coming after the "U" as in the picture above.
Some devices that produce high-quality files require better writing speeds than those offered by SD cards under the UHS and standard speed class. To combat this, there is a need for SD cards under the video speed class categories.
There are five categories of SD cards under this speed class. Each category has a name relating to the write speed. The categories are V90, V60, V30, V10, and V6.
V90 will have a write speed of 90MB/s, V60 will have 60MB/s, and so on.
Unless you are a professional using a device that produces 8 K-rated video content, you don't need to get an SD card belonging to this class.
Below is a pictorial representation of the three SD card speed classes.
After understanding the various terminologies related to SD cards, you are ready to know how to choose the right SD card for your device. This section will shed light on things to do before you can choose your SD card, the effect of choosing the wrong SD card, and tips needed to choose the right SD card for your device.
Choosing the right SD card should be based on your device. It is your device that will determine what SD card you will be using. Below are the necessary things that will determine the right SD card you will be using.
Your device's SD card slot will show you the right type of SD card size to buy. You already know about the types of SD card sizes. The only thing that remains is to check the slot size and get one with the right size.
If your device specifies a microSD card, get it. The reason is that there can be issues when you choose the wrong size of an SD card for a device.
For now, microSD cards are the major SD card size supported by smartphones.
You already understand the categories of SD card speed classes. However, every device has what it can support. Smartphones will majorly be in the regular/standard speed class. The device used in recording 4K videos requires high write speed and will require a Class 10 or UHS speed class.
Unless you are a professional video maker, we doubt that you will need an SD card with Video class speed. Video class speed is only ideal for devices used in shooting 8K videos.
Nowadays, we have different names for memory cards. There are SD, SDHC, SDXC, and SDUC cards. We already explained each one.
Check for the maximum data that your device says it can store and look at the range you need. For example, if your smartphone supports up to 256Gb memory cards, you should start looking for a 256Gb SDXC card.
Sometimes, you might choose the wrong SD card for your device. This is possible in terms of SD card write speed, size, and capacity.
If you choose an SD Card with the wrong size, all you have to do is return it and get the right SD card. Some people try to use a card reader, but using an SD card will affect the write speed.
When you choose the wrong SD card based on capacity, you lose in two ways. One on hand, you overpaid for an SD card whose space you might not be able to access. If the space is available, it can affect the write speed of such a memory card.
If you choose an SD card with a higher speed than required, you are overpaying for a speed you do not need. However, if you choose an SD card with a lower write speed, it will slow your device down.
Aside from the general SD card speed class, capacity, and size, here are some tips that can help you get a good SD card.
Reputable companies that make SD cards are Samsung, SanDisk, Lexar, etc. If you purchase SD cards with no name, you increase the tendency to have issues such as corruption of files.
Durability can come in the form of dustproof, waterproof ability. With a durable SD card, you have protection from many things that can result in physical damage to the card.
SD cards are tiny creations capable of storing information in their tiny body. However, not understanding some things about these tiny cards can be frustrating.
Even trying to learn about them is also frustrating because of the technical terms associated. This article tries to explain the SD card speed class and other scenarios. We hope you now understand how you can choose your SD card based on these factors.
1. Do I need to worry about Speed Class when choosing my SD card?
2. What if I choose the wrong SD card?
3. Will my SD card work if I use another Speed class?