Skip to content

The Best MicroSD Cards (up to 1TB) — Reviewed and Ranked for 2024

Choosing the Best MicroSD Card in 2024: An Expert Guide

If you‘re shopping for a microSD card, whether for your smartphone, tablet, action cam, drone, or gaming device, the options can be overwhelming. With so many brands, speeds, and capacities to choose from, how do you know which one is right for you?

As someone who has tested numerous microSD cards for a variety of devices over the years, I know firsthand how important it is to choose a high-quality, reliable card. Especially if you‘ll be using it for resource-intensive applications like recording 4K video, capturing high-resolution photos, or storing large games and apps.

A good microSD card can expand your device‘s storage and improve performance, while a bad one can lead to sluggish speeds, file corruption, and even complete data loss. That‘s why it pays to do your research and invest in a reputable brand from the start.

In this guide, I‘ll walk you through the key factors to consider when choosing a microSD card, provide an overview and recommendations for the top brands, and help you find the best microSD card for your needs and budget. I‘ll also share some tips on how to use and care for your card to keep your data safe.

What to Look for in a MicroSD Card

Here are the main features and specs to compare when shopping for a microSD card:

Storage Capacity
MicroSD cards are available in capacities ranging from 32GB all the way up to 1TB. Higher capacity cards cost more, so think about how much content you realistically need to store. For example:

  • 32GB is enough for casual smartphone use (apps, photos, 1080p video)
  • 128GB and 256GB are better for more demanding phone and tablet use, storing Nintendo Switch games, recording action cam footage, etc.
  • 512GB and 1TB are ideal for professional photography/videography, extensive offline media libraries, etc.

Read/Write Speeds
Measured in MB/s, read and write speeds indicate how quickly data can be retrieved from and saved to the card. Speeds are crucial for tasks like recording high-res video, burst photo capture, gaming, and running apps. There are several speed classes to look for:

  • Video Speed Class – V6, V10, V30, V60, V90 – Ensures minimum write speeds for video recording. V30 is good for 4K, while V60 and V90 are better for 8K.
  • UHS Speed Class – U1 or U3 – U1 supports at least 10MB/s write for full HD video, while U3 supports at least 30MB/s write for 4K.
  • Application Performance Class – A1 or A2 – Shows minimum random read/write speeds for quickly loading and running apps. A2 is better.

Check your device‘s manual to see what speed classes it supports. For the best performance, I recommend cards rated U3, V30 or higher, and at least A1.

Durability and Reliability
Since microSD cards are so tiny and often used in portable devices, it‘s important that they are built to withstand some wear and tear. The best microSD cards are thoroughly tested and rated for protection against factors like:

  • Water/moisture
  • High and low temperatures
  • Shock, vibration, and X-rays
  • Magnetism

Another key aspect of a microSD card‘s reliability is the technology used to store and manage data. I recommend sticking with major, reputable brands that use high-quality flash memory and include error correction features to maintain data integrity.

Brand Reputation and Warranty
Speaking of brands, it definitely makes sense to choose an established, well-known manufacturer over an obscure or generic one. The top microSD card brands have proven track records of performance and reliability, and offer strong 5-10 year (or even lifetime) limited warranties. They cost a bit more, but provide priceless peace of mind that your data is in good hands.

The Best MicroSD Card Brands

Founded in 1988, SanDisk is one of the oldest and most respected names in flash memory. The American brand helped popularize microSD cards and continues to lead the way in terms of innovation, performance, and quality.

SanDisk offers a very wide range of microSD cards for different use cases and budgets, from basic cards for portable devices up to professional-grade models for demanding photo and video applications. Their cards consistently rate highly in performance tests and user reviews.

Some of SanDisk‘s most popular microSD card lines include:

  • Extreme – Fast read/write speeds up to 160/90 MB/s, V30, U3, 4K UHD video, A2, 64GB – 1TB
  • Ultra – Good all-around speeds up to 120/10 MB/s, 1080p video, A1, 32GB – 512GB
  • High Endurance – Long lifespan for write-intensive uses like 24/7 recording, 32GB – 256GB
  • Max Endurance – SanDisk‘s longest lasting microSD card, designed for constant overwriting
  • Nintendo Switch – Licensed for optimal Switch game storage and performance
  • Industrial – Specially built and tested for harsh conditions and heavy workloads

The renowned Korean electronics giant is another top player in the microSD card market. Samsung brings their expertise in memory engineering and manufacturing to produce high-performing, reliable, and cost-effective cards.

Samsung‘s microSD cards are known for their fast read and write speeds, ample capacity options, and solid feature set for a range of applications. Their EVO and PRO models are among the most popular and highly rated by consumers and reviewers.

Key Samsung microSD card families include:

  • PRO Plus – Top of the line, up to 160/120 MB/s read/write, 128GB – 512GB
  • PRO Endurance – Built for constant recording up to 43.8K hours (128GB), 32GB – 128GB
  • EVO Plus – Great all-around performer, up to 130/100 MB/s read/write, 64GB – 512GB
  • EVO Select – Excellent value option, up to 100/90 MB/s read/write, 32GB – 512GB

Another well-established American flash memory brand, Lexar has been producing high-quality, affordable microSD cards since 2012. While not quite as prevalent as SanDisk or Samsung, Lexar has earned a loyal following, especially among photography/videography enthusiasts.

What sets Lexar apart is their focus on offering pro-level performance and features at reasonable prices. Many of their cards include an SD adapter for use in cameras and laptops. They are one of the few brands making 1TB cards.

Notable Lexar microSD cards include:

  • Professional 1066x Silver Series – Up to 160/120 MB/s read/write, V30, U3, 4K, 64GB – 1TB
  • Professional 1000x Gold Series – Up to 150 MB/s read, 4K, 32GB – 256GB
  • 667x Silver Series – Solid all-around performer, up to 100/90 MB/s read/write

Best MicroSD Cards for Samsung Galaxy S7

Now that we‘ve covered the key considerations and top brands, let‘s look specifically at the best microSD card options for the popular Samsung Galaxy S7 smartphone. The S7 supports microSD cards up to 256GB in capacity. For optimal performance and reliability, I recommend sticking with cards rated U1/U3, V10 or higher, and at least A1.

Best Overall: Samsung EVO Select 128GB
The Samsung EVO Select offers the ideal balance of performance, capacity, reliability, and value for S7 owners. Its 100 MB/s read and 90 MB/s write speeds provide snappy performance for capturing photos/4K video, gaming, running apps, and transferring files.

The EVO Select‘s U3, V30 rating means it can handle 4K video with ease. Its A2 rating enables fast app loading and performance. And Samsung engineered the card to be water, temperature, magnet, and X-ray proof. The 128GB capacity is ample for most users, providing space for thousands of photos, hours of 4K video, and plenty of games and music.

At around $20, the EVO Select costs considerably less than some other 128GB U3/V30 A2 cards, making it an excellent value. It comes with a full-size SD adapter and 10-year limited warranty. If you need more space, the 256GB version is also a great choice.

Best High Performance: SanDisk Extreme 256GB
If you want the absolute best performance in a microSD card for your Galaxy S7, the SanDisk Extreme is hard to beat. With maximum read/write speeds of 160/90 MB/s, the card makes short work of whatever task you throw at it, from burst photo capture to recording 4K video to moving large files.

The Extreme‘s U3, V30 rating provides professional-grade video capabilities, while its A2 rating delivers fast, smooth app performance. SanDisk built the card to withstand harsh conditions, so you can confidently take it on all your adventures.

With a 256GB capacity, the Extreme has room for a massive amount of content – up to 14 hours of 4K video, 24 hours of full HD video, or over 50,000 18MP photos. SanDisk also offers an exceptional lifetime limited warranty and free data recovery software. Priced around $28, the Extreme costs more than the EVO Select, but is a worthwhile investment for those who want the best possible microSD performance in their S7.

Best Value: SanDisk Ultra 128GB
If you‘re on a tight budget, the SanDisk Ultra is one of the best value microSD cards you can get for the Galaxy S7. It costs under $15, yet still delivers very good performance for everyday use and casual content creation.

The Ultra‘s 120 MB/s read speeds allow for fast file access and transfers, while its A1 rating enables quicker app launches and performance. It‘s rated U1 for reliable recording of full HD video. SanDisk offers a 10-year limited warranty.

The 128GB size hits the sweet spot for many users, and larger 200GB and 256GB versions are also available. Just keep in mind that the Ultra isn‘t ideal for very demanding uses like 4K video. But it‘s a reliable, wallet-friendly option for most S7 owners.

Best for Extreme Conditions: Samsung PRO Endurance 128GB
If you frequently use your Galaxy S7 in harsh environments or tend to be rough on your devices, consider investing in the ultra-durable Samsung PRO Endurance microSD card. It‘s specially designed to meet the demands of extreme conditions and constant use, like in dash cams, body cams, surveillance systems, and more.

Samsung built the PRO Endurance with high-grade components for long-lasting performance and data protection in the face of water, extreme temperatures, magnetic fields, X-rays, and shocks. The card is certified for up to 43,800 hours of continuous video recording, which equates to 5 years of non-stop use!

The 128GB card offers read/write speeds up to 100/30 MB/s, U3 and V10 ratings for 4K video support, and a solid 5-year limited warranty. Even if you don‘t necessarily need this level of endurance, the PRO Endurance can deliver some extra peace of mind when you‘re out shooting photos or footage. It‘s priced around $30.

How to Choose the Right MicroSD Card for Your Needs

We‘ve explored some of the best microSD cards for the Samsung Galaxy S7. But how do you go about choosing the right card for your own needs, device, and budget? Here are a few tips:

  1. Check your device‘s requirements and limitations. Consult your user manual or manufacturer‘s website to find out what capacity and speed classes your device supports. Using a card that‘s too advanced for your device (like a V60 in a V30 max device) will not improve performance.

  2. Consider your usage. If you mainly use your device for basic tasks (web browsing, social media, casual photos), you can probably get by with a budget-friendly card with lower speeds. But if you‘re a power user, gamer, or content creator, you‘ll probably want a high-performance card with fast speeds, 4K support, and app acceleration.

  3. Think about the content you need to store. The best capacity for you depends on the types and amounts of files you typically save. For reference, 128GB can hold around 6 hours of 4K video, 11 hours of full HD, or 27,000 18MP photos. Double that for 256GB. When in doubt, err on the side of more storage.

  4. Don‘t buy more than you need. There‘s no need to overspend on features or performance levels your device can‘t take advantage of. Stick to well-known brands, but don‘t pay for specs you can‘t use.

  5. Look for deals and bundles. Around big shopping events like Black Friday and Prime Day, you can often find great discounts on name-brand microSD cards. It‘s also common to see bundles that include SD adapters and other accessories.

Tips for Using and Maintaining Your MicroSD Card

Finally, here are some best practices to get the best performance, longevity, and data security from your microSD card:

  1. Always format a new card in your device before using it.
  2. Avoid removing your card while data is being written to it.
  3. Don‘t expose your card to liquids, dirt/dust, or extreme temperatures.
  4. Use the "safely eject" option before physically removing your card.
  5. Keep your card in a protective case when not in use.
  6. Back up your card‘s contents regularly to another location, like the cloud or your computer.

By following these tips and investing in a high-quality microSD card from a trusted brand, you can greatly expand your Galaxy S7‘s storage and capabilities while safeguarding your precious data.

The bottom line is that not all microSD cards are created equal. You often get what you pay for in terms of performance, reliability, and support. Spending a little more on a reputable card is a small price to pay for the massive inconvenience and disappointment of lost data down the road.

For most Galaxy S7 owners, I highly recommend the Samsung EVO Select 128GB as the best all-around choice. But if you have more advanced needs, the SanDisk Extreme 256GB and Samsung PRO Endurance 128GB are stellar high-performance options. And if you‘re on a budget, the SanDisk Ultra 128GB offers very good bang for your buck.

I hope this guide has been helpful in your search for the best microSD card for your Samsung Galaxy S7 or other device. Let me know if you have any other questions!