Micro SD Card Class Specifications Explained

Micro SD cards are used in music players, digital cameras, smartphones, tablets, laptops and many other portable electronic gadgets. However, not all micro SD cards are created equal. These tiny removable storage cards come in different speed classes, sizes and storage capacities.

Different gadgets require different types of micro SD cards. Knowing exactly which type of removable storage card suits your gadget is important so that you do not end up making the wrong decision during purchase.

SD Card Classes

What many people do not know is that micro SD cards are categorized into different classes depending on their speed.

Simply put, not all SD cards offer the same data transfer speeds. The speed of your removable storage medium can matter or not matter at all depending on the area of application.

For instance, if you are a professional photographer who captures high resolution photos and video in short periods of time, you will need a really fast SD card so that your camera is able to store everything you capture in the fastest time possible.

On other hand, if you are just a normal camera user who takes a couple of photos here and there, the speed of your SD card will not matter that much.

SD card manufactures came up with classes as a measuring mechanism for the speed SD cards. Each class encompasses a range of data transfer speeds and not one exact speed.

The SD Association is the body tasked with the responsibility of offering guidelines related to micro SD card classes. Each class has its own unique specifications. Some classes are definitely older than others.

Newer classes come with advanced features and improved storage technology. They are also incredibly faster and more efficient than their predecessors.

Today, there are four major speed classes for micro SD cards: class 2, 4, 6 and 10.

The speed increases from the lowest number to the highest meaning class 2 is the slowest and class 10 is the fastest. The lower classes (2 and 4) are suitable for standard or normal video recording.

The upper classes (6 and 10) are suitable for high definition or HD video recording. However, class 10 is more preferred for HD video recording as it offers extra features such as "HD still consecutive recording" and "Full HD video recording".

On top of this, there are two more speed classes that are newer but less common in the market. These two classes fall under the category of Ultra High Speed or UHS classes.

Their common labels are UHS 1 and UHS 3. SD cards that fall under these classes are essentially more advanced and come with the latest removable storage technologies in the market.

They are also more expensive and designed for professional use. It is important to note that UHS SD cards can only be used on devices that support the UHS technology.

Which Micro SD Class Is Best For You?

Well, this is a question that is bound to arise when you are looking to purchase a micro SD card. The easiest way to find out which class is best suited for you is to consider your storage requirements and needs.

If you are an ordinary smartphone or tablet user then you will be okay with a class 4 or 6 micro SD card. This also applies to casual photographers who have digital cameras and camcorders.

On the other hand, if you are looking to shoot high resolution photos or video with your camera or smartphone, a class 10 is more suitable. Class 10 cards offer the most reliable speeds for a good majority modern electronic gadgets.

The fact that most smartphones out there today can record HD video shows you that a high speed storage card is the best choice. Make sure to stay away from class 2 micro SD cards as these are quite slow on modern devices and are only recommended for low-end digital cameras and music players.

There are also those who are looking for removable storage options for their professional use. The UHS classes are best suited for people with extremely demanding storage needs.

How To Distinguish One Class From The Other

A micro SD card's class is in most cases highlighted on the SD card itself.

If this is not the case, you can look at the packaging that the card comes in. SD card manufacturers also highlight classes in the product documentation and safety manuals.

Common labels you will find are SDCS (SD), SDHC, SDXC and UHS. The respective class number will feature next to these labels to tell you exactly which class your card falls under.

Alternatively, you can use online listings where you search for your micro SD card model number to find out which speed class it belongs to.

If you are not able to find any speed class information on your SD card, there is a possibility you may have a class 0 micro SD card.

These cards were produced and designed before the class system was put in place. They are outdated and thus slower than class 2 SD cards.

Storage Capacities

Like other types of removable storage mediums, micro SD cards come in different storage capacities. A card's storage capacity determines how much data or information it can hold.

Standard SDCS or SD cards are 1MB to 4GB in size. SDHC cards are 2GB to 32GB in size. SDXC cards are the most recent and are 32GB to 2TB in size.

Depending on your storage needs and requirements you can choose any of the above classes depending on their storage capacities in addition to their speed specifications.

Standard SDCS or SD cards are 1MB to 4GB in size. SDHC cards are 2GB to 32GB in size. SDXC cards are the most recent and are 32GB to 2TB in size.

Depending on your storage needs and requirements you can choose any of the above classes depending on their storage capacities in addition to their speed specifications.

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