The best memory cards are highly versatile, quick and spacious little storage devices. They are adopted widely in the tech market, with compatibility appearing on everything from smartphones and laptops to drones and gaming consoles. Matching their broad application is a broad selection of memory cards, with options coming in formats, sizes and speeds.
One of the most general applications for memory cards is smartphones and tablets. With the addition of a memory card, these devices gain extra storage space for more music, photos and video. The same goes for small and affordable laptops, notebooks and Chromebooks - such portable PCs typically forgo large and heavy storage options, which can be tricky for anyone dealing with masses of files. A quick memory card expansion can solve this problem.
It’s a similar story with the Nintendo Switch. With its vast digital library, the 32GB internal storage of the Switch and Switch Lite soon fills up. Even the upcoming OLED model is likely to fill quickly, even with its upgraded 64GB internal storage. Thankfully, the Switch console supports microSD memory cards up to 512GB - that’s more than enough space for even the most dedicated Nintendo fan.
Then there are more specialist applications. Without one of the best memory cards, digital cameras, photographic drones and action cameras cannot perform to their fullest. In such applications, greater significance is placed on the speed, size and durability of a memory card.
Below, we have rounded up the best memory cards, with options suiting everyday smartphone use through professional photography applications.
What to look for in the best memory card:
Capacity refers to the amount of storage space a memory card carries. The best size for you depends on how the card will be used and the maximum capacity a device can handle.
Capacity is measured in gigabytes (GB) and terabytes (TB). 1GB can store roughly 130 photos taken by a 22MP camera or about 230 MP3 music files. 1TB is equal to 1,000GB.
The type of memory card you need depends on the intended use and device compatibility. The three most popular types of memory cards are SD, SDHC and SDXC. These cards are also available in standard and 'micro' formats. We discuss the differences in detail at the bottom of the page.
A memory card is nothing without speed. The rate at which a card can read and write information will determine how useful it is. If you are looking to take burst photographs and film in 4K, higher speeds will prevent prolonged buffering. The read and write speeds of a memory card are measure in megabytes per second (MB/s).
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The Best Memory Cards
Sizes: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB A favourite among photographers, the SanDisk Extreme PRO
Sizes: 32GB, 64GB, 128GB As the name suggests, the Lexar Professional Class 10 UHS-II 2000x is
Sizes: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB As a microSDXC UHS-I, this card from SanDisk provides Switch
Sizes: 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB For simple microSD needs, the Samsung EVO Plus is here.
Sizes: 32GB, 34GB, 128GB, 256GB, 400GB, 512GB, 1TB The SanDisk Extreme microSD card is a
Sizes: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB Affordable and reliable, the Integral ultimaPRO micro SD is a
Memory Card Types
SD and microSD (SD: Secure Digital)
SD cards are the oldest type of memory card and have a storage limit of 2GB. Though superseded, the term has lived on as a catch-all phrase for memory cards.
SDHC and microSDHC (SDHC: Secure Digital High Capacity)
SDHC cards can carry up to 32GB of storage.
SDXC and micoSDXC (SDXC: Secure Digital Extended Capacity)
SDCX cards can range in sizes up to and including 2TB. The fastest SDXC will carry a USH designation (USH-I, USH-II) which refers to the speed class, with USH-II being faster than USH-II.
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