Everything You Sould Know Before Buying an SD Card
It's almost hard to believe that something so small can cause so many problems, doubts or confusion. For some, how you choose an SD card is of little or no importance while to others it's the most important thing. If you are worried about choosing the right SD card, don't worry in the following guide you will know everything there is to know about choosing the right SD card.
Understanding The Types of MicroSD Cards
Unfortunately, you can't go to the store and simply as for an SD card without doing some research first. If you do, the questions that are going to follow immediately are, What capacity do you want it to have? Or Is the SD card for your phone, camera, Tablet, etc.? That's why it is always a good idea to do some research before heading to the store or buying it on sites such as Amazon.
If you look at an SD card right now, the only thing you will probably notice is if it's a 16GB or 32GB card. There is obviously more to an SD card than that, but most may not care about that. As long as it has the capacity you need, who cares about everything else, right?
Grab the SD card again and give it another look. You will notice that it has two symbols. You will either see a 2, 4,6 or 10 and the number will be inside a broken circle. Another symbol that you might see is the number 1 or 3 inside a U.
So, what do these symbols mean? They make reference to the Speed Class that they are in. In other words, these symbols help you understand the minimum writing performance to guarantee that the video is written as smoothly as possible.
So next time you shop online and search for your next SD card remember the following:
- Class 2 - The Minimum serial data is 2MB/s
- Class 4 - equals to the minimum serial data being 4MB/s
- Class 6 - With a minimum serial data is 6MB/s
- Class 10 - Minimum serial data of 10MB/s
If you aren't looking for anything fancy and want something for your basic consumer, an SD card from classes 2-6 should be okay. They have normal writing speed you should be happy with.
High-Speed SD Cards
If you have a need for speed and want an SD card with high writing speeds, then you'll need a speed class, UHS Card. UHS means Ultra High Speed, and there are two to choose from. You can either choose from a UHS 1 that has a minimum serial data of 10MB/s or a UHS 3 card that has a minimum serial data of 30MB/s.
If you're going to be using your SD card to store HD and Full HD videos, then you should be okay with a Class 4 or 6 SD card. If you are going to use the SD card to save standard quality videos, then you should be okay with a Class 4.
If what you are going to store on your SD are Full HD pictures from a DSLR camera and raw videos, then a Class 10 is the right choice. In regards to the UHC cards, the UHC 1 runs at 10MB/s is perfect for full HD picture and videos. UHC 1 cards are also the least you can get if you are going to be dealing with 2K content.
Since UHS 3 cards run at 30MB/s, you can easily use them for 4K2K videos.
SD Cards with WiFi Support
If you are not too familiar with the type of SD cards, you might be surprised that some support WiFi. The benefit of these kinds of SD cards is that you can connect to a cloud service with a device that's non-WiFi-enabled. You can easily save your images to the cloud and rest assure that your images are backed up.
Things to Consider Before Buying an SD Card with WiFi Support
Before you buy your SD Card with WiFi Supports, there are some things you need to know. First, you can't forget about the range of connection. Things may work great if you're in the middle of the city with your 4G+ at full speed, but things won't run as smoothly if you've decided to go camping.
Make sure that the device you are going to use the SD card on has a long battery life. I don't know if there is a way to know how much battery these types of SD cards use, but you can bet that it is going to be more than the usual amount.
Be Careful Not to Buy an Incompatible Card
You're probably already familiar with some types of SD cards, right? Off the top of your head, you could name an SD, SDHC, and an SDXC card. But there is more to SD cards than that.
It doesn't matter if they are average sized or of the micro SD format, both of them are based on the same spec. One thing to keep in mind is that SD card format is characterized in the SD spec, but they will not work in the same way.
In other words, the formats I have mentioned are not backward compatible. This basically means that you can't use a current SD card on a device that only supports older formats. That is why it's imperative that you know the specs of your device and what it can and can't support.
Let's take a look at how much each format can support:
- MicroSD Card - It can hold 2GB of storage. Micro means extremely small. You usually use a MicroSD card is a device such as your smartphone.
- MicroSDHC - This type of format can hold from 2GB to 32GB or files. You can use this kind of card in a device that specifies that it can support SDCX or SDHC.
- MicroSDXC - Has a limit of up to 2TD and a minimum of 32GB.
4 Things You Probably Don't Know About SD Cards
1. SD cards come in different sizes and Full sized SD cards will only work on laptops, computers, and digital cameras.
The Mini SD cards are a bit smaller but are only compatible with fixed digital cameras, tablets, and larger devices.
If you need to expand your smartphone storage, then you need to get a MicroSD card. If you ever need to transfer your files to your computer, you will need to buy the right adapter.
Keep in mind that adapters will work with different SD cards so there in harmony with standard SD card slots.
2. The kinds of files you want to store will define the kind of card you need to buy.
3. Don't forget about the transfer speed - The kind of SD card you get has to have enough writing speed for the type of files you have. If you want smooth playback for Full HD content, you can't get a Class 2 SD card.
- Class 2 Cards have basic speeds
- Class 4 and 6 are for HD content
- Class 10 is for Full HD content
4. If you're only going to use your SD card for everyday use, then you should be fine with an SD card. It's important that you remember that you can use an SD card on a device that supports SD and SDHC capacities. But, if you have a device that only supports SDHC and SDXC cards, you can't buy a regular SD card.
What Beginners Should Look Out For
If you love taking pictures, but don't consider yourself a professional, you should be fine with an SD card that ranges from 1GB to 8GB. If you go to the manufacturer's sites, they usually have information showing you how many pictures you can save on the SD card.
Keep in mind that the resolution, file type, and compression will determine how many videos and pictures you can save on the SD card.
Don't worry if there are things you didn't quite understand. Try to learn only what applies to you and forget about the rest. The secret to learning everything there is to know about SD cards is learning one thing at a time. If you try to learn too much too fast, you'll only end up with a headache.
Also, don't be afraid to ask as many questions as possible. The people that know a lot about SD cards had to start somewhere and you can bet they asked the same questions you have when they started.
Do as much research as possible on the kind of SD card you need and if you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments below.
I can never get enough of tech in general, whether it's Android or web apps, but helping others solve their tech problems also brings great satisfaction. I carry a device wherever I go and I'm always connected. Life without Internet just sounds too scary to me. :-).