How to choose a memory card for a smartphone

The main parameters when choosing a memory card are its standard and speed. And suitable ones can be determined from technical smartphone features and planned operating conditions.


  1. How to choose a memory card for a smartphone: what to look for Attention
  2. Main selection criteria
  3. Additional features of memory cards
  4. Top memory card manufacturers

How to choose a memory card for a smartphone

How to choose a memory card for a smartphone: what to look for Attention

The most important options for choosing a memory card for a smartphone the following:

  1. Standard (determines compatibility and maximum volume);

  2. Volume (determines the amount of information that can be recorded to this drive);

  3. Speed ​​(determines the usability of the drive in various goals).

  4. The device manufacturer is also important.

It’s worth mentioning right away that the article describes memory cards microSD standard, as it is used in the vast most modern smartphones. Rare models that equipped with a slot for drives of a different type (for example, MMC), meet once in never and therefore the choice for them is limited just finding the right accessory.

Main selection criteria

Criterias of choice

Almost all modern smartphones use cards microSD memory, which are highly practical and compact sizes. These external drives are classified in the following way:

  1. According to the standard (microSDSC, microSDHC, microSDXC);

  2. By volume (measured in “marketing” GB);

  3. By speed class (Class 2-10, UHS I-II).

All these parameters are very important when choosing a memory card for use in a smartphone.


There are three microSD memory card standards:

  1. microSDSC (Standard Capacity);

  2. microSDHC (High Capacity);

  3. microSDXC (Extended Capacity).

MicroSDSC (also called simply microSD) – one from the first memory card standards. It was introduced in the past. century. The maximum capacity of such memory cards is 2 GB, and they are formatted into a slow and not very practical file type FAT16 systems.

Memory cards of this standard are practically not currently found on sale. They are recommended for use unless what’s with the oldest smartphones.

MicroSDHC – the most common at the moment memory card standard providing the best for mobile users price-volume ratio. The capacity of such drives ranges from 4 to 32 GB, and the most optimal file system is FAT32, with high speed access to recorded information.

For use in smartphones, memory cards are recommended. MicroSDHC standard.

MicroSDXC is the most advanced memory card standard. The capacity of such drives is from 64 GB to theoretically 2 TB (in this case, the maximum represented at the moment is 200 GB). They are formatted in the fastest file system. exFAT.

The use of such memory cards is recommended in modern flagship smartphones.

Memory card standards are backward compatible. I.e:

  1. In a smartphone that supports microSDXC memory cards, you can install microSDXC, microSDHC and microSDSC;

  2. In a smartphone that supports microSDHC memory cards, you can install microSDHC and microSDSC. But microSDXC is no longer with him will be compatible;

  3. In a smartphone that supports microSDSC memory cards, you can install only microSDSC. The rest will be already incompatible.

You can find out what type of memory cards your smartphone supports. from the technical characteristics of the device. Normally specified straight. If a specific name is not given, then determine indirectly based on the maximum amount supported memory cards:

  1. 64 GB or more – microSDXC, as well as all older standards;

  2. From 2 GB to 32 GB – microSDHC and microSDSC;

  3. 2 GB or less – microSDSC only.

Almost all modern smartphones are budget and medium price range support microSDHC, but the “top medium “and flagship – microSDXC.

Since the file system of the memory card indirectly determines speed of access to information; choosing a standard is also based on from intended use. For storing multimedia data, documents, etc. HC is suitable, but for installing applications or Adaptive Storage (feature available in Android 6.0 and 7.0) it is better to use XC.

However, directly affects the speed of access to files directly the speed of the memory card.

The memory card standard is most often indicated in the description on the package or directly on the case of this drive corresponding pictogram.

Memory card speed class


There are several classes of memory card speeds, moreover they come in two generations.

The first generation is the “classic” Speed ​​class Speed Class The most common are four types:

  1. Class 2. Read and write speeds – from 2 Mbps. Fit exclusively for documents, small images in poor quality, low bitrate music, etc. They will not work comfortable to use with modern smartphones – for example, when photographing the delay when recording a picture will be several seconds due to glitches or defects “Pictures”;

  2. Class 4. Read and write speeds – from 4 Mbps. Suitable for medium bitrate music, low resolution images, documents and files that do not need to work “online” (documents, archives, etc.). Not suitable for video. Few fit for taking pictures;

  3. Class 6. Read and write speeds – from 6 Mbps. Suitable for high bitrate music, medium resolution images (up to 13 MP), other files. Can be used for storage and video playback. Limited for photography (up to 13 MP, without RAW, without HDR), not suitable for video recording;

  4. Class 10. Read and write speeds – from 10 Mbit / s. Suitable for almost all purposes, including installing applications, taking pictures (except for RAW), video shooting (no more than HD).

As you know, the best solution for use with modern smartphones will be memory cards of classes Class 6 and Class 10. But if it is planned to record high-quality video on this drive resolution (Full HD, 4K) or “large” photos (RAW, HDR +), then you should pay attention to even faster standards:

  1. UHS-I. Read and write speeds – from 10 Mbps. Suitable for high definition video (Full HD), high bitrate audio (Loseless, ALAC); storage of large files (films, for example);

  2. UHS-III. Read and write speeds – from 30 Mbps. Suitable for Ultra-high-definition video (QHD, 4K) and any purpose.

It should be noted that most memory cards that have a class UHS speeds are performed in the microSDXC standard (which is quite logical), therefore, before purchasing such a drive is make sure that the smartphone will support it.

Memory card capacity

The amount of data directly depends on the size of the memory card. which can be recorded on it. Moreover, the capacity in GB that indicated on the packaging does not match the real one.

The following memory card volumes are most common:

  1. 2 GB (actual 1.9 GB). “Get in” about a hundred songs in MP3 format 320 kbps or about 200 photos in resolution 8 MP;

  2. 4 GB (actual 3.72 GB). In addition to the above “fit” a few more clips in the resolution of 320p;

  3. 8 GB (actual 7.44 GB). Enough for a couple of films in low quality, several hundred files of music, documents and Photos

  4. 16 GB (actual 14.9 GB). Enough for a few HD movies or even Full HD, and all of the above;

  5. 32 GB (actual 29.8 GB). Enough for the big the number of videos in Full HD and a lot of photos high permissions;

  6. 64 GB (actual 59.6 GB). Enough for the average videos in QHD or 4K;

  7. 128 GB (actual 119.2 GB). Enough for the big the number of clips in 4K or even with a frequency of 120 fps.

As you know, choosing the required storage capacity is based on intended use. For photographers, memory cards are suitable for 32-64 GB, for mobile operators (especially in combination with modern smartphone) accessory 64-128 GB is desirable.

Additional features of memory cards

Some memory card models offer extended functionality that can be very useful for users. Among these features are:

  1. Data recovery software included. A pleasant and useful “bonus” that will save your loved ones photos, even if something happens to the memory card;

  2. Protection against extreme conditions (too high or low temperatures, shaking, contact with water, etc.). Function quite useful, but only if a lot is planned with the card travel;

  3. X-ray protection. Save the memory card “alive” after scanning baggage at the airport. Another useful function for travel enthusiasts;

  4. Water protection. Such memory cards may briefly dive to a shallow depth. Another way to save your Favorite photos in extreme conditions.

More often than not, all these additional features go together. For example, Kingston Industrial Temperature memory cards are protected from cold, heat, x-rays, moisture, even drops voltage when installed in a working smartphone or removed from him.

Top memory card manufacturers

Among the manufacturers of memory cards are the following company:

  1. Samsung Releases memory cards specifically optimized for smartphones;

  2. Transcend Inexpensive, but at the same time quite high quality memory cards;

  3. SanDisk Produces both relatively inexpensive and premium models.

  4. Also worth mentioning are Kingston and Silicon. Power, which also produce high-quality and in most cases budget memory cards.

In the following articles, our experts tell you how to choose earphones for the phone and secrets of choosing a charger for phone.

Attention! This material is subjective opinion of the authors of the project and is not a buying guide.

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