How to choose the best MicroSD cards for your smartphone or tablet

If you run out of storage space on your phone or tablet, you’ll definitely want to find a way to get more. One of the simplest options is to insert a Micro SD card. Sadly, not all smartphones and tablets support Micro SD cards. If you have an iPhone or iPad, then you’re out of luck, but many Android smartphones and tablets do support them.

To see if your device accepts them, check the full specs for your phone on the manufacturer’s website, or look for a Micro SD card slot in your phone. On newer phones, they’re generally part of the SIM tray.

What to consider when buying a Micro SD card

There are a handful of things to consider when you’re choosing a new Micro SD card for your phone. Obviously, the price and capacity are going to be factors, but you also need to make sure that the type of card you buy is supported by your device and that it’s suitable for your needs.

SDHC and SDXC

SDHC stands for Secure Digital High Capacity and SDXC stands for Secure Digital Extended Capacity. The only real difference is the range of data they can store. You’ll find that SDHC Micro SD cards range from 2GB to 32GB in size, while SDXC Micro SD cards can range from 32GB up to 2TB in size, though the biggest Micro SD card we’ve seen so far is 1TB.

Class and UHS ratings

The Class rating of a Micro SD card refers to its minimum transfer speed. UHS stands for Ultra High Speed. The new V class is for video.

Most Micro SD cards are a lot faster than the minimum speed. A Class 10 card may offer 95 MB/s, for example.

Application Performance Class

The SD Association also has a standard, called App Performance Class, which is designed to highlight Micro SD cards that are suitable for use in smartphones and tablets. The A1 rating means that the card can manage random read input-output access per second (IOPS) of 1,500 and write IOPS of 500. The A2 rating indicates random read input-output access per second of 4,000 and write IOPS of 2,000. This is ideal for quickly opening apps and processing tasks. These A1 and A2 cards are worth looking out for if you intend to format your card as internal storage in an Android device, something Google calls “Adoptable Storage.”

How to choose a Micro SD card

You’re obviously going to want the highest speed, highest capacity Micro SD card you can get, for the lowest price. We would advise you to factor in the brand reputation and the reported performance and reliability. Check out the warranty terms, just in case something should go wrong. You also need to be careful where you buy. If you’re going to use Amazon or eBay, then read some customer reviews and watch out for fake Micro SD cards, because they’re disappointingly common.

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