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HOW TO BUY THE BEST SD CARD FOR YOUR CAMERA, PHONE, TABLET

You just want to buy an SD (secure digital) card or microSD card for your DSLR, dash cam, drone, smartphone, or tablet. But one size doesn’t fit all. If the confusing array of memory card logos and specs has you pounding your head against a wall, we understand.

We’ll give you the quick answers for the most common memory card uses. (Pro tip: Check your device’s manual for memory card recommendations.) If your needs are very particular, we’ve also delved deep into SD card standards to help you understand the difference between Class 10, V30, UHS-I, A1, and U3, so you can make the right choice for any device or purpose.

SECURE DIGITAL (SD) CARD CHEAT SHEET

Here are the short answers to determine which SD card to buy for certain purposes:

Best SD card for video use: Concentrate on the Speed Class rating given for your device. Generally, a Class 10 card works for 4K video at 30fps. For anything higher, it’s recommended to invest in V30 and up. 

Best SD card for a GoPro Hero: For Hero 4 Black and older, a Class 10-rated card is generally fine but newer cameras such as the Hero 7 Black should be fed with U3- or V30-rated cards. 

Best SD card for a DSLR: Choose a card based on its maximum write speed. While there’s no logo for that (thank god), 40MBps to 50MBps is typically good enough for most consumer and even some prosumer DSLRs. 

Best SD card for an Android phone or tablet: Because of limitations in how these devices handle SD storage, storing apps on a card may frustrate you—though an A1-rated card may help a little. For storing photos or video, pay attention to the stated write speed. 

Best SD card for a Nintendo Switch: For the best deal, skip the “official” card and buy a high-capacity card that works for your budget. 

Best SD card for a dash cam or nanny cam: Ignore the write speeds and X-ratings and go for one that touts “High Endurance.” 

SD SPEED CLASS MARKS EXPLAINED

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