Memory cards are basic accessories for photography and video recording so it is important to make sure that you have a fast and reliable option. This will allow you to prevent loss of the data captured and to ensure that you can record every shot without issues. Consider for instance the continuous shooting in RAW that gives you the possibility of taking up to 8-9 shots per second with files that can reach between 50 to 100MB each. It is also worth remembering that there are cams that record full HD video/ 4k video and in these cases, a fast, good quality card is a must-have.
In order to help you to understand better the speed in the card’s performance, we’ll take a look at the meaning of Speed Classes and UHS-I classes.
Class 10 means that the card offers write speed of at least 10MB/s
UHS-I U1 indicates that the card’s speed ensures that it can support full HD video recording at 1080p, which is 10MB/s constant writing.
If you see UHS-I U3, that means that the card allows you to shoot videos in 4K Ultra HD, that is 300MB/s constant writing, with devices that offer the UHS-I standard.
To make things easier for you as you look for the best option for your needs, the micro SD cards have been organized in different categories: Standard, Economic, Pro and Plus.
- Standard – These cards offer a read speed of 30MB/s or less, they are ideal for Full HD action cameras (like SJ4000 or to the GoPro at medium resolution), SRL cameras (but not for pictures in continuous shooting) as well as all types of mobile devices.
- Economic – These are budget options, but that doesn’t mean that they offer lower performance. Although they are most likely manufactured in the same facilities in which popular brands are produced, they don’t have any brand. They can be used as standard cards.
- Pro – You can get a read speed of 90MB/s from these cards, which are suitable for camcorders 4k, 2k and fullHD, mobile devices of any kinds, as well as all full frame professional DSLR, GoPro Hero 3 + at all resolutions.
Plus – These are suitable for full frame SLR cameras (but not fast continuous shooting), GoPro Her 3 + when used in fullHD, as well as mobile devices of any kind.
We’ll keep in mind the most important aspects as we go through some of the best micro SD cards available.
Pro SD Cards
SanDisk Extreme Plus microSDHC Class 10 UHS-I 600X 32GB
The SanDisk comes ahead many competitors thanks to its outstanding performance in both reading and writing speeds. In reading, it can offer more than 95MB/s, while the writing speed can reach up to 80MB. Its excellent writing speed makes it the perfect choice for GoPro Hero 3+, GoPro 4 Black, mobile devices like tablets and smartphones of any kind, as well as fullframe SLR cameras. The UHS Speed Class 3 (U3) and Class 10 can support 4K Ultra HD video and full HD video. It comes with an SD adapter that allows you to use the microSD card with SLR cameras and more.
SanDisk Extreme Pro SDSDQXP-032G-G46A microSDHC Class 10 UHS-I U3
SanDisk is a well-known brand and this microSD card doesn’t disappoint as it offers great performance in both reading (95 MB/s) ad writing (up to 90MB/s), making it one of the best options available. It is ideal for tasks that require fast writing, including GoPro Hero 3 + or GoPro 4 Black, Sony X1000v, Sony AS200v, Xiaomi Yi 2K, fullframe SLR cameras, as well as 4K and mobile devices. Its UHS Speed Class 3 (U3) and Class 10, can handle 4K Ultra HD video and full HD video. This microSD is available in capacities of 16GB, 32GB and 64GB and the price is competitive with other cards of its type. It features Deluxe one year media recovery, SanDisk Memory Zone and an SD adapter. It can resist shock, temperature changes, shock, water and more.
Kingston SDCA3/32GB, UHS-1, Class 10 UHS-I U3
With read speed of near 95MB/s and write speed of 90MB/s, this microSD card by Kingston is another good option. It is compatible with SLR, GoPro 3+, GoPro4, fullframe, Action cam, compact cameras and mobile devices, even those in the latest generation. It has a speed class of UHS-I U3, Class 10 and it can reach the performances of SanDisk Extreme Plus. Since it is a class U3, it can be used while recording 2k, 4k and fullHD videos. It offers solid performance and good value for money.
Samsung MB-HC PRO MG32D, UHS-1 Class 10
This card is part of one of the most recent line of Samsung Pro, which strives to offer high performance products. The card has read speed of 90MB and write speed of 80MB and it works with GoPro 4 Black, GoPro Hero 3+, tablets, smartphones and SLR cameras with the help of an adapter for microSD. It comes close to the speeds offered by the SanDisk Extreme Plus and the current price is very convenient. Keep in mind that although it supports great performance, it is not U3 class, which means that it is not certified for Ultra HD videos.
Lexar HIGH Performance Micro SHDC UHS-I U3 1000X 32GB
If you are looking for truly remarkable reading speed, this option from Lexar may be exactly what you need. It can provide up to 150MB/s of reading speed, while the writing goes to 50MB/s. This ensures that the micro SD card provides efficient performance for GoPro 4, GoPro Hero 3+, SLR cameras and mobile devices such as smartphones that can record in 4k. The downside is that the writing speed doesn’t get near to other options in the list. However, it is certified to record movies in Ultra HD 4k and the price is in the same bracket as other cards in the Pro category. It comes with a lifetime copy of downloadable Image Rescue software and a USB adapter.
Lexar HIGH Perfromance Micro SDHC UHS-I 633X 32GB
Another Lexar card that can offer fast reading speed and reliable performance. Its reading speed can deliver up to 95MB/s and although the writing speed is considerably slower, it allows you to deal with large volumes of data after shooting. It includes a practical and efficient USB 3.0 reader. It is suitable for anyone who needs fast performance to use GoPro Hero 3 +, SLR and fullframe cameras. Although it works really well, it is not U3 class so it doesn’t work with Ultra HD videos.
SanDisk Extreme SDSDQXL-032G-G46A Micro SD Mobile
This high quality micro SD card is in the Plus category, in which you can expect read speed of up to 45MB/s. The writing speed (also 45MB/s) nearly matches what you can get from some Pro cards, but you would pay less for this option from SanDisk. It is suitable for fullframe, SLR cameras, action cams, GoPro 3+, GoPro 4, mobile devices and more. The card comes with SD adapter, SanDisk Memory Zone downloadable software and 1 year of RescuePRO Deluxe media recovery software. The Speed Class is UHS-1 grade 1, Class 10, 300x.
Samsung EVO MB-MG32D / EU microSDHC UHS-I, 32 GB, Class 10
This is one of the best options available in the mid-range Plus category and it offers remarkable performance in reading speed with 48MB/s and even in the writing speed, where it reaches up to 40MB/s. This is one of the most popular micro SD cards in Amazon and while it is significantly cheaper than Pro cards, it offers great quality and performance. The EVO series by Samsung is set to offer reliability for use in digital cameras camcorders, SLR cameras, GoPro 3+, mobile devices and more. Its Speed Class is UHS-1 grade 1, Class 10. The card is waterproof and can resist shock, magnets and extreme temperatures.
Samsung MB-MPBGC Plus microSDHC UHS-I, 32 GB, Class 10
Before EVO, there was Samsung PLUS and the convenient price and efficient performance of this card ensures that it still deserves a place in the list. While it is not ideal for SLR cameras, it works well for smartphones and SJ1000 Economic Action Cam. It provides reliability and a reading speed of 45MB/s, along with a writing speed of 30MB/s. It comes with a 10-year warranty and it is suitable for devices that don’t need top speed. Its Speed Class is UHS-1 grade, Class 10, 300x.
Qumox 32GB UHS-I Class 10
If you are in a budget, you can still enjoy solid performance and reliability thanks to this card by Qumox. It has a reading speed of 70MB/s and a writing speed of nearly 20MB/s. In spite of its low price, the card can be used with full HD action cams, SLR and camcorders, although it is not ideal for fullframe and movies in GoPro 3+ and 2k. Since it is produced by the same company, it works really well with action cam SJ1000 and SJ4000. SD adapter is included and you can also use the card with mobile devices.
The best option when it comes to micro SD cards will depend on your needs and the amount that you are willing to pay. If you need to do continuous shooting with fullframe SLR, GoPro 3 and 4, or are looking for filming at high resolution with your mobile, a micro SD card that falls in the Pro category, would be the best option. The same applies for cameras with high resolution Ultra-HD, 2K or 4K.
The cards in the Plus category will suit full HD cameras, SLR fullframe in single-shot or continuous for 4-5 shot, as well as mobile phones that record FullHD. The Standard/economical cards would work well for SLR cameras up to 15Mpx, HD ready cameras, compact cameras and basic mobile phones.