In this article, we’ll go into what a memory card is, what it’s used for, and how you can choose the right one for your gadget.
In this article:
- What Is a Memory Card?
- Who Uses Memory Cards?
- When Do I Know That I Need to Buy a Memory Card?
- What Is the Best Memory Card for My Gadget?
- Where Do I Buy a Memory Card?
- How Do I Install a Memory Card in My Gadget?
- Why Should I Be Picky When Buying a Memory Card?
How to Choose a Memory Card | 7 Questions Answered
1. What Is a Memory Card?
A memory card is digital storage device. Think of it as a simpler, flatter, and smaller USB flash drive.
Memory cards are often installed in portable and hand-held devices, such as smartphones and cameras. They act as an additional external storage unit in case the internal memory of your device gets full.
People also refer to a memory card as a flash card. Here’s a list of the most popular kinds of memory cards available in the market today:
- CompactFlash (CF) card
- Memory Stick
- microSD memory card
- MultiMediaCard (MMC)
- Secure Digital (SD) card
2. Who Uses Memory Cards?
Photographers don’t just pack extra batteries with them during their photo shoots. They’re also known to bring additional memory cards to make sure they have enough storage in their cameras to take more photos.
YouTube vloggers also carry around an extra memory card or two for when they’re out filming their vlogs. Having an extra memory card helps to make sure all footage filmed on the video camera is saved and can be edited into the final vlog or video later on.
Memory cards are also useful to graphic designers. They often install a memory card on their tablets for when they’re editing and saving their drawings and illustrations onto the device.
Gamers also use a memory card for their video game consoles. Players use memory cards to preserve their saved games so they can pause and resume play whenever they please.
In general, anyone who wants extra storage for their smartphone or smart device can use a memory card. For example, you can even put one in your phone right now as long as it has a memory card slot built into it.
3. When Do I Know That I Need to Buy a Memory Card?
You’ll most likely need to get a memory card for your device when its internal storage is filling up. Your phone, tablet, camera, or smart device will likely prompt you with a message along the lines of “storage almost full” or “phone running out of storage” to tell you its internal memory is almost used up.
When you see these kinds of messages pop-up on your device’s screen, you can try deleting some of your old files to make room for more files. If the message continues to pop up even after cleaning your device’s memory, it may be time to get a memory card.
4. What Is the Best Memory Card for My Gadget?
If you’ve decided to get a memory card, the next step is to determine the best one to put into your device. To know which among the many memory cards available in the market is compatible with your gadget, you need to read up on your device’s specifications.
Manufacturers nowadays make it their standard practice to list the types of memory cards that are compatible with your gadget. You can usually find this list on the part of your gadget where the batteries go in.
Don’t worry if you don’t find the list of compatible memory cards printed right on your gadget. Manufacturers also list these in the user manual that your device came with, so make sure to check that out before buying a memory card.
When manufacturers decide on which types of memory cards are compatible with your gadget, they usually consider these three factors:
- Speed class: determines how fast the card is able to save the data your gadget collects
- Storage capacity: describes how much data the card can store, which nowadays starts at 1GB and goes all the way up to 1 Terabyte.
- Physical size: your gadget’s card slot can fit one of three different memory card sizes: standard (32 by 24 by 2.1 mm), mini (21.5 by 20 by 1.4 mm), and micro (15 by 11 by 1 mm)
5. Where Do I Buy a Memory Card?
You’re likely to find the best memory card for your gadget in the same place you bought your device. Sometimes, your gadget can even come with one for free, so make sure to ask the sales representative about the accessories bundled with your device.
You can also check out gadget accessory stores to look for a memory card compatible with your device. Make sure to bring the gadget and its user manual with you when you go to the store so the salespeople can help you find the best one for your device.
If you can’t find a good one for your gadget in a physical store, you can always find and order one online. There are huge selections of branded memory cards available on online retail stores like Amazon, eBay, and Wal-Mart.
6. How Do I Install a Memory Card in My Gadget?
Memory cards are usually easy to install into any gadget. Most devices have a built-in card slot. In this case, you just have to push it into the slot until you hear a click sound.
Here’s a list of gadgets that usually have a built-in memory card slots:
Some devices, especially smartphones, have card trays that have a slot for a sim and memory card. When your device has this, all you need to do is to remove the tray, place your card in its designated slot, and push the tray back into your phone.
7. Why Should I Be Picky When Buying a Memory Card?
When selecting a memory card for your device, it’s important to be somewhat picky about what you’re getting. There are a lot of fake memory cards going around the market nowadays, and it’s easy to be tricked into buying one especially if you’re not looking carefully enough.
Fake memory cards pose a lot of risks for your device and your data. A fake one can tamper with your device’s settings and even destroy your precious data files.
One of the characteristics of a fake memory card is its unbelievably cheap price tag. While you can definitely find a budget-friendly one for your gadget, try to stay away from the ones that are way too cheap.
For example, be wary if someone is selling you a 512GB memory card for less than $10. Chances are the card is too good to be true.
Another way to tell whether or not a memory card is fake is to take a look at its brand. When it comes to memory cards, it’s better to stick to these trusted brands:
- SanDisk memory card
- Verbatim memory card
- Transcend memory card
- Samsung memory card
- Kingston memory card
When someone’s selling you a memory card with a storage capacity higher than 512 GB, it’s most likely a scam. SanDisk did release a statement last 2016 saying they unveiled a 1TB memory card prototype, and only now are these incredible cards available.
Understanding all the numbers and symbols on memory cards in this video from Camber Motion:
By answering the seven questions listed above, we hope you know more about what a memory card is. Remember, when selecting one, it’s best to follow the recommendations made by your device’s manufacturer. This’ll help you choose the best memory card for your gadget, whether it be a camera, gaming console, or phone.
Are you currently using a memory card on any of your gadgets? Tell us about the kind you’re using in the comments section below!