4 facts you should know before buying an SD memory card

March 2, 2015

Secure Digital (SD) memory cards let you safely store music, photos, movies and more. When looking to get an SD memory card, here are four facts you may not know.

4 facts you should know before buying an SD memory card

Memory card basics

SD memory cards are available in standard, high capacity and extended capacity formats.

SD memory card: Standard Secure Digital memory cards come in three sizes and feature storage capacity up to 2GB. Although SDHC and SDXC cards are more popular, older devices may only be compatible with SD cards.

SDHC memory card: Secure Digital High Capacity memory cards feature storage capacity that ranges from 4GB to 32GB. They also offer higher speed ratings than standard SD cards.

SDXC memory card: Secure Digital Xtended Capacity memory cards offer the largest capacity, between 32GB and 2TB. They also transfer data at faster rates.

Four facts you may not know

When looking to get a memory card, consider the card's size, compatibility, capacity, speed and the type of files you plan to store. Why? Because:

1. Both physical size and compatibility matter

  • Full-size SD memory cards are generally used with larger devices such as computers, laptops and digital cameras.
  • Mini SD cards are smaller and typically work with tablets, some phones and certain digital cameras.
  • Micro SD cards are smaller and thinner and are generally used with cell phones.
  • Memory card adapters work with different cards to make them compatible with standard SD card slots.

2. Capacity limits what kinds of files you save

  • Choosing the right storage capacity depends on the type, size and number of files you want the card to hold.

3. Transfer speed is important

The speed in which a memory card can read and write data is important for capturing video so that you get a smooth playback of your recording. SD cards are available in Speed Class or UHS Speed Class. Speed class is indicated by a number.

  • Class 2 indicates standard speed; classes 4 and 6 indicate HD speed; and class 10 indicates full HD speed.
  • SDHC and SDXC cards featuring an UHS-I bus-interface are available in the UHS (ultra-high speed) Speed Class, but will operate at lower speeds unless the device is also UHS compatible.

4. File type restricts how much you can store

Determine the types of files that you want to store.

  • If you plan on capturing quality HD videos, you'll need larger capacity with a faster speed rate.
  • A standard SD card is great if you're storing a few family photos or for everyday use.

Remember, not all SD memory cards work with all devices. Check the user manual to find out which type of card is compatible with your device. SD cards may work with SDHC card slots, but SDHC and SDXC cards won't work with SD slots. Once you determine the type and quantity of files you plan on storing, you'll be able to determine which SD memory card will work best for you.

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