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How to pick the best microSD card for your Android phone

As we find out each time a major manufacturer decides to release a flagship phone without a microSD slot (we're looking at you, Galaxy S6), Android enthusiasts remain passionate about our options to expand internal storage. But how well your microSD card performs depends on its class and speed, as well as the capabilities of your phone. Here, we tell you everything you need to know to help you pick the best microSD card for your Android device.

First, make sure your device supports microSD cards

Unfortunately, as we mentioned above, many smartphones don't have microSD slots and instead claim the on board internal storage is sufficient. And though from our perspective this seems ridiculous we need to ensure our device has a microSD card slot. 

You can inspect your device and see whether there is a microSD slot. If you need to, consult your phone's manual to open the device (or to find whether there is a microSD slot). If there is no microSD slot then, well, you can't use a microSD card. If you want a phone that supports microSD take a look at the phones linked below.

What's the difference between SDHC and micro SDXC?

When buying a microSD card, you'll notice that it's either a micro SDXC or SDHC card. The difference between these two microSD formats is simply the amount of data they can store. SDHC (Secure Digital High Capacity) stores up to 32GB of data, while SDXC (Secure Digital Extended Capacity) handles 64GB and above. 

Many lower-end devices don't support SDXC microSD cards, so it's crucial that you check your phone's compatibility before buying one. Most SDXC cards go up to 128GB, but in March 2015, Sandisk revealed the world's first 200GB microSD SDXC card.

Darth Vader micro SD ANDROIDPIT
Make sure you know the types of microSD cards before purchasing. / © ANDROIDPIT

What does 'class' mean on a microSD card?

This one's important. MicroSD cards come in several different classes - Class 2, 4, 6 and 10. While these numbers may mean nothing to you (and leave you wondering what happened to the other numbers up to 10), they in fact simply reflect the minimum rates at which these cards sustain data transfers. So a Class 2 card reads and writes data at 2MB/s, while a Class 10 card does so at 10MB/s. Suddenly it's not that complicated, right?

SDHC and SDXC speed classes
Class Minimum speed
2 2 MB/s
4 4 MB/s
6 6 MB/s
8 8 MB/s
10  10 MB/s

The 'Class' number directly reflects the minimum write speed of the card. However, top-quality cards can run much faster than this, with some of the best ones out there clocking read speeds up to 95 MB/s. One such card is the SanDisk Extreme Pro, which can be picked up for $33 at or £34 at

What does UHS mean on a micro SD card?

Since 2009, certain microSD cards are also UHS-1 or UHS-3-compatible. While in theory UHS cards can reach data transfer speeds of up to 312 MB/s, you are realistically only likely to attain the minimum transfer speeds listed below, because no smartphone currently supports the UHS standard. As such, UHS will make little difference to your micro SD card speed at this point.

UHS speed classes
UHS class Minimum speed
1 10 MB/s
3 30 MB/s


Will a better microSD card speed up my phone?

The most important question is whether picking one microSD card over another will improve performance on your phone, to which the short answer is 'Yes'.

If you store apps and photos on your microSD card (what else would you use it for?), then a higher-speed micro SD card will save photos faster, improve data transfer speeds when moving files between devices, and open apps stored on your micro SD card faster. Note that opening apps on microSD cards may be a bit slower than if you were storing them on your phone's internal memory, because there's an extra layer of communication between your phone and micro SD card that needs to be carried out.

microsd galaxy s4 closeup
MicroSD cards might not necessarily speed up your phone. / © AndroidPIT


As you can see, there are plenty of things to consider when buying a microSD card, and hopefully the above guide will give you an idea of which one to buy. It's also worth sticking to reputable brands for microSD cards, such as SanDisk, Samsung and Kingston. Use the prices of these brands as a guidelines as well - if you see a microSD card from another company that's five times cheaper than these, then you should be wary of its quality.

Do you use a microSD card? Let us know in the comments.


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  • Mr N 1 week ago Link to comment

    I just put in a 32GB class 10 sd card, and my phone now classes this as "internal storage". This means that things have slowed down a bit. I notice Whatsapp takes three times as long to open. I see that its storing photos etc to this SD card now.
    Dropbox is slower, so is ES File Explorer etc. Everyting seem to take longer to open.
    How do I find out if my phone supports UHS?

  • For people need to know what best microsd on market now is:
    Best Quality/Price
    Samsung EVO+ (red one)
    Sandisk Ultra

    Best Quality and fastest
    Sandisk Extreme

    Keep in mind that your phone probably can't reach the maximum speed of the card. Heat also slow the transfer rate.

    Good luck

  • I'm grateful I came across your article. I intend to buy a MicroSD card for my smartphone. I usually just search the Internet what the best brand is and what the consumer review is for each brand.

    Then your article made me search for the type of MicroSD card that my phone would support. The website of my smartphone manufacturer only states that it has a slot for MicroSD card (64GB). I have Googled if an XC would be OK with my smartphone instead of an HC and found nothing.

  • I Already using Smart phone is HUAWEI Y5-2 4G LTE .please recommend Micro sd card Brand and capacity for my phone.

    • that's a budget phone, just get any brand, you won't notice any speed difference
      according to gsmarena it supports up to 32gb

  • Im just now going to use my PNY 32GB (10) on my G4 for aps only. Ive had this sd card for 3mos, but reading your article about them has got me ready to do it! Thank you for al the valuable info you provide!!

  • Thanks for the informative article . I have a Samsung Galaxy S5 ..great phone dont feel I should upgrade however Im constantly running out of storage space due to ta li ng a large amount of photos ... which SD card would you recommend, as yet I dontbhave an external storage device to transfer old photos

  • Hi, i have a samsung SM-G900V what micro sd card should i use for apps and pictures.

  • Smartphone manufacturers...are so deceptive...they say the internal storage on your nice,new phone...has 32Gig internal memory...yet...they load their 12Gigs of BS bloatware and useless apps....Hopefully...the new Nougat update will allow folks to move large files and apps to the MicroSD card...not just music files and photos....(because most people use the cloud) to backup music and pics....I am a old school gamer...and use the android emulators to play games...that are SOOO much better than Google Play games..yet...I am maxed out on internal storage on my LG G4...even though I have a 32G MicroSD card...that I wish I could move some of my large file emulator games....

  • Reyn 3 months ago Link to comment


  • How will I check my sd card and know if its a high speed sd card?

  • yes i use sd card bud dont care about these things

  • Yeah I use an SD card for my Htc one m9 but I did buy the SanDisk Extreme Pro and replaced it with my regular SanDisk 32G SD card and the difference is almost nothing. I use my Sd card for photos and music. Thanks anyway for the headsup

  • vicky 3 months ago Link to comment

    Thanks for wonderful article, I am about to buy one for my moto g 4 plus and it'll help a lot 😇

    • Will p. 2 months ago Link to comment

      Hi Vicky
      Just read the article about choosing SD cards and spotted your comment. I too have a moto g4 4g lte ( not the plus but sure cards are same) wondered if you found a suitable card and if so is it working OK? I've just returned one that was very slow. If you've had success could you tell me what you finally purchased.

  • Very much informative and will help next time while buying data card.

  • Steven F. 3 months ago Link to comment

    I have a 32g Sandisk micro SD Card in my MOTO X PURE. I cannot now move any photos to it. I was lucky that at some point I was able to move my music onto it from my laptop but unlike the NEXUS 5 that I had before I cannot even use my Win 10 laptop to move the files, easily. If I can find any of the pics in Windows explorer and try to drag them to the SD card I get a window saying that the XT1575 is busy (endlessly). Even if I try to move a movie from one folder on the SD card to another I get the same endless message. The best I have found to do is copy the pictures to the laptop (desktop) and then to the SD card. This is not the way it should work. On 6.0 on this phone I cannot find a way to save camera output directly to the SD card. Does anyone have a suggestion on how to manage files between internal memory and the SD card?

    • Try formating your SD card altogether and because of the more permissions needed on the android 6.0 try to go to settings then security and check if you gave all the right permissions to your apps to use the external storage or maybe in application manager depending on your phone.

  • Android 5.0.1

  • Check setting I get option message where to store app

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