SanDisk recently announced new microSDXC cards in 512GB and 1TB capacities that it claims are the fastest cards [soon to be] on the market. The SanDisk Extreme UHS-I micro SD cards conform to the C10/V30/U3/A2 speed classes (only USB-IF is more confusing heh) and are able to hit up to 160 MB/s reads and 90 MB/s write speeds reportedly thanks to Western Digital’s (who owns SanDisk) proprietary flash (though the PR and product page do not go into details on which version it is using it is likely some version of 96-layer BiCS flash).
In addition to transfer speeds, the micro SDXC UHS-1 cards offer A2 class enhanced application performance with up to 4,000 read IOPS and 2,000 write IOPS. As a result, the cards allegedly support faster load times and random access of applications run from the microSD card (e.g. Android applications installed to the expansion card rather than internal storage).
According to the product page, the cards are rated for temperatures ranging from -13F to 185F (cold is much worse for flash memory than heat) when in use and down to -40F when not in use.
It is impressive to see 1TB and even 512GB of storage available in such a small physical format when just a few years ago 64GB was considered large! Many smartphone do not even (officially) support higher than 256GB or less for their expandable storage though so long as the cards are formatted correctly these new cards should still work.
Brian Pridgeon, Director of Marketing for SanDisk at Western Digital was quoted in the press release in stating:
“People trust SanDisk-brand cards to capture and preserve their world. Our goal is to deliver the best possible experience so consumers can share the content that’s important to them,” said Brian Pridgeon, director of marketing for SanDisk-branded products, Western Digital.
4K UHD and soon enough 8K video recording on a smartphone or dedicated camera seems to be an obvious use case for these new higher capacity cards as well as the ability to sneakernet files and mail off data for offsite backups easily thanks to the tiny size and weight.
Note that a full card would take just over 2 hours to copy from card to computer and just over 3.5 hours to fill at maximum transfer speeds of 160 MB/s and 90 MB/s respectively. Western Digital's SanDisk Extreme UHS-I is slightly faster than Micron's 1TB microSD card in reads while the two are about even in writes with Micron's microSDXC card hitting up to 100 MB/s reads and 95 MB/s writes.
The increased storage space doesn’t come cheap though with MSRPs on the new micro SDXC cards being $199.99 for the 512GB UHS-I card and $499.99 for the 1TB model. SanDisk is offering the cards for pre-order on its website with wider retail availability expected April 2019.
Will you be picking up a 1TB microSD card? Personally, I’m still a ways away from filling up my 64GB mSD card though I do use Sync to copy my photos and videos off of my phone and regularly delete them from my phone. The wife might be able to make use of one of these high capacity cards since she’s constantly running out of space on her phone and needs to pay for cloud storage – if only she didn’t have an iPhone!