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      • Published 22 Nov 2022
      • Last Modified 29 Aug 2023
    • 6 min

    A Complete Guide to Micro SD Cards

    Micro SD cards: Let’s find out what they are and how they’re used in this comprehensive guide.

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    What is a Micro SD Card?

    Micro SD cards are small removable memory cards in which data can be stored. They are a specific type of SD (Secure Digital) card. There are many different models of SD cards available in a range of sizes, both in terms of physical dimensions and storage capacity. However, all SD cards are designed for use with typically portable digital electronic equipment which creates or produces data and features special slots designed to hold SD cards.

    SD Card Sizes Diagram

    SD Card Sizes & Dimensions

    Micro SD cards are compact, measuring just 15x11mm. This makes them ideal for use with smaller devices where space is limited, such as mobile phones. Despite their small size, micro SD cards have the same function as standard SD cards and, depending on their capacity, can contain large amounts of data.

    Browse All Micro SD Cards

    Micro SD Card Uses

    As they are portable memory cards, SD cards are typically placed inside hardware devices where additional or external memory is needed to manage and store data.

    This includes:

    • Digital cameras, video cameras, and action cameras e.g. GoPro
    • Mobile phones and tablets
    • Computers such as Raspberry Pi
    • Small GPS devices and satellite navigation systems
    • Portable PCs
    • Portable media players

    Micro SD cards can be used to store a wide range of different data types. This includes photos, videos, music files, documents, app data, and even device processing data.

    How Does a Micro SD Card Work?

    Micro SD Card

    Micro SD cards work the same way as standard SD cards. The contacts on the reverse of the card are used to send and receive data from the device. The cards use a small-scale processor and NAND flash memory chips (either one or multiple, depending on the specific card). These electronic components allow for data flow management, ensuring the card can speedily read and write data.

    It should also be noted that many micro SD cards have a standard SD adapter. This means that they can also be used on devices that work with standard SD cards.

    Types of Micro SD Cards

    What are Micro SD Card Speed Classes?

    Another way to classify micro SD cards is by the speed at which they process data.

    Transfer speed is a parameter that indicates the minimum speed at which data is written on the memory card. Generally, the faster the speed, the more modern and higher performing the card.

    These speed classes are designed to standardise memory card speed ratings by referring to the minimum sustained write speed for a micro SD card.

    Speed class types include:

    Micro SD Cards Size & Capacity

    Micro SD card size typically refers to the card’s storage capacity or the amount of data it can hold.

    Values can vary significantly but common options include:

    • Micro SD card 32GB
    • Micro SD card 64GB
    • Micro SD card 128GB
    • Micro SD card 256GB
    • Micro SD card 512GB

    When data is stored, it takes up a certain amount of space within the card, depending on the file size. For instance, a video file will be larger than a single image file. Therefore, the file sizes and the amount of data stored will determine when the micro SD card will ‘fill up’ or run out of available memory to store additional data.

    Popular Micro SD Card Brands

    What is the Difference Between Micro SD Card Types?

    Although they broadly perform the same function, it is important to select the best micro SD card for your device or usage requirements. There are several key features on which performance depends:

    • Device compatibility
    • Security features
    • Speed class
    • Storage capacity

    When choosing a micro SD card, it is therefore important to ensure it has suitable speed, storage capacity, and security features to meet your needs.

    What is the Difference Between Micro SD and Micro SDHC Memory Cards?

    The differences between micro SD and micro SDHC cards are as follows:

    • Capacity: Micro SD cards have a maximum capacity of 2GB, whereas micro SDHC cards have a maximum capacity of 32GB
    • Compatibility: Micro SD cards work in any micro SD slot, whereas micro SDHC works only with devices that support either SDHC or SDXC

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