Best MicroSD Cards 2017: MicroSD Card Reviews

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Just about everything with a memory card slot takes microSD these days. From phones and tablets to action cameras, dash cams and drones: they all use microSD for storage.

Just any old card won’t do though, especially if you’re trying to record HD or 4K video – you need the right one for the job. Here we explain how to choose a card and recommend those that you should buy.

You can jump straight to:

MicroSD card buying guide

Frustratingly, there are at least four different ‘standards’ for microSD cards which makes it extremely confusing when trying to compare them. Here’s the kind of thing you can expect to see:

Some markings refer to speed, others to capacity. Here’s how to figure them out.

Storage capacity

Before you buy a card, check the maximum size that your device can accept. Really, though, it’s only dash cams which are limited – most will take up to 32GB. This is the limit of the SDHC standard.

Cards with bigger capacities can be used with SDXC devices, which go right up to 2TB, though the biggest microSD cards you can currently buy are 512GB.

Do I need a specific card for a camera or a phone?

Short answer: yes. Longer answer: some cards are so good, they’re capable of recording 4K video in your GoPro but will also give great performance in your phone.

Basically, if you’re buying a microSD card for any device that records video, you’ll want one with a high ‘sequential’ transfer speed. There’s a new rating system starting to appear on cards for video to help identify them.

You’ll see something like V90 or V60. The number refers to the write speed in megabytes per second. The higher the better, but for 4K video, you should aim for at least V30. The SD Association has recommendations for speeds you need for recording at different video resolutions.

If there’s no ‘V’ number, check the packaging or specifications to find out the write speed. Watch out because the biggest number is usually the read speed, not write.

On the other hand, you might be buying a card to expand your phone or tablet’s storage. Here you need good performance for reading and writing small files. 

That’s why the other new rating system is ‘App performance’, denoted by an A, followed by a number. 

It works in a similar way to the video class, and you’ll see an A1 logo on a card which meets the minimum requirements which are:

  • Random Read Input-Output access Per Second (IOPS) of 1500
  • Write IOPS of 500
  • Sustained Sequential performance of 10MB/s.

The logo looks like this:

Best microSD cards App Performance

What is UFS? The new microSD card explained

Confusing things even further, Samsung has unveiled the ‘successor’ to microSD, known as UFS or Universal Flash Storage. These cards come in 32-, 64-, 128- and 256GB capacity and are much faster (five times faster, in fact) than microSD, with sequential read speeds up to 530 megabytes per second.

Samsung says UFS can read a 5GB full-HD movie in around 10 seconds, whereas it would take a UHS-1 microSD card around 50 seconds. 

Write speeds are also lightning-quick, up to 170MB/s. That’s almost double the speed of the fastest microSD cards available today.

No gadgets today support UFS cards, but the technology will be coming in the near future. You should note, though, that microSD and UFS cards are not interchangeable – you must buy the type of card listed in your device’s specifications.

So which card should I buy?

Stick to the well-known brands which will offer a warranty on their cards. Reputable brands include: Toshiba, Samsung, SanDisk, Lexar, Kingston and Verbatim, among others.

There are plenty of fakes and counterfeit microSD cards, so make sure you buy from a trusted seller. If you see a card on ebay that’s a lot cheaper than you expect it to be, there’s probably a reason!

How we test microSD cards

We use CrystalDiskMark to test the read and write speeds of each card. This tests both the sequential speeds (reading and writing large blocks of data) and small-file performance, using 4KB reads and writes.

Tests are carried out on our Intel Core i7-based test rig over USB 3.0. We use the full-size SD adaptors which come with cards and a Lexar Professional USB 3.0 Dual-Slot Reader. If a card comes with its own USB 3.0 adaptor, as with Lexar’s own card, we use that instead.

Benchmark results

Best microSD card reviews

Samsung Evo microSD


Samsung Evo microSD

SanDisk Extreme Plus microSD


SanDisk Extreme Plus microSD

Kingston microSD Action Camera


Kingston microSD Action Camera

Verbatim Pro+ microSD


Verbatim Pro+ microSD

Lexar Professional 633x microSD


Lexar Professional 633x microSD

Toshiba Exceria M301 microSD


Toshiba Exceria M301 microSD

Transcend Ultimate microSD


Transcend Ultimate microSD

PNY Turbo Performance microSD card


PNY Turbo Performance microSD card

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