01
Apr
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Last Updated: April 30th, 2012

I've got a 16GB microSD card that I primarily use in my phone for local music playback. It's about half full - I really only keep my most recent music picks and a workout playlist on it, and stream everything else. Which brings us to a bit of a hiccup given that this is a review of a 64GB microSDXC card. In our Android-specific case, do you really even need a large amount of storage now that you can stream just about everything and anything on your Android device, and most ship with enough on-board storage to satisfy the app space of all but the most insane power users?

Well, actually, yes. There are three main reasons for this: wireless speeds, bandwidth caps, and coverage. Sure, the ability to stream movies instantly from just about anywhere is cool in theory, but what happens when I'm trying to do it while in the car on a 500 mile trip? Can I maintain adequate download speed the entire way to ensure proper playback? Probably not. And if I do manage to, I have a pesky bandwidth cap to worry about before I either get charged overages or throttled back to the 1980s. Alternatively, my WiFi-only tablets obviously have no cell coverage, so they definitely can't stream while I'm traveling (tethering excluded for the reasons listed above). All this is excluding power users (with their hundreds of apps), and the obvious non-Android use cases, such as with digital cameras or camcorders, where more storage means more pictures or videos.

wm_IMG_0231 wm_IMG_0232

Trust me when I say: even if you get a card that is 4x larger than you think you need, you'll probably still utilize a lot more storage than you think. Part of it is that you realize it's just flat-out more convenient to store stuff locally rather than streaming it (and in the case of a 64GB card, when I say "stuff" I actually mean "almost everything you could ever need on your phone"). The other part is just the sheer luxury of having plenty of space; you no longer need to consider "which playlist would I rather listen to" or "what movie am I going to want to see more?" Instead, it becomes "hell, maybe I'll throw a few movies on here for the kids to watch in the car" or "you know, I think I'll just put every album I've downloaded in the past 6 months on here."

wm_IMG_0233 wm_IMG_0234

At $100, the SanDisk 64GB microSDXC Class 6 memory card definitely falls more under the luxury category, especially when you consider that a 32GB microSD card can be had for a street price of about $25 - a whopping quarter of the price. But, again, if you can afford to splurge, you probably won't regret having all that space once you take advantage of it.

Not only does the aforementioned card open up a whole new world of portability, but it also packs some speed compared to its less well-endowed brethren. For those who don't know, speed class ratings determine the minimum write speed of a card. Thus, my 16GB class 10 card should be faster than the 64GB class 6 card I'm reviewing here. Let's take a look at the benchmarks.

My 16GB class 10:

SC20120325-212342 SC20120325-212447 SC20120325-212736

The SanDisk 64GB class 6:

SC20120325-215114 SC20120325-215203 SC20120325-215448

Rather depressingly for me (though good for SanDisk), the higher capacity card is also faster across the board despite its lower class rating.

There's a second concern here beside speed, though: compatibility. See, not all devices support the microSDXC format. Newer gadgets should, but the more dated your tech, the less likely it is to support the standard. My Galaxy R (the Tegra 2 variant of the SGSII) supported things just fine (after I formatted the card via my phone's storage settings), as did the Prime (again, it didn't work until it was formatted properly), and we've heard accounts of mSDXC cards working in devices that reportedly don't support them. In other words, check your specs and purchase at your own risk.

One last note about compatibility with Android devices: as mentioned, you'll have to format the card from within Android. Make sure you yank off the files SanDisk pre-loads on the card before you format it, because otherwise you'll lose them. (Common knowledge? Sure. But some people are silly enough to forget these things). The most notable file you'll want is the ready-to-roll version of SanDisk's Media Manager, so that you can just run it from the card rather than having to install it on your PC.

wm_IMG_0235

To put it simply and directly: the SanDisk 64GB microSDXC card has capacity, speed, and features going for it. Just about the only shortcoming is the price; then again, while $100 is a fair chunk of change, it's not unreasonable for what you're getting.

Aaron Gingrich
Aaron is a geek who has always had a passion for technology. When not working or writing, he can be found spending time with his family, playing a game, or watching a movie.

  • Branimir

    hi there! can you tell me will all 64 gb work on my galaxy s2 since on gsmarena it says: memory- cardslot- microSD up to 32 gb. but it also says for your Galaxy R...
    thanks! :)

    • Aaron Gingrich

      Yup, it'll work in the standard SGSII as well :)

      • Branimir

        now I only need to find it somewhere where shipping to Croatia is cheap! thanks! :)

  • wgasa

    awesome bit of kit, works in the htc sensation, although not officially supported. i've been using it since january, worth it!

  • http://zackeryfretty.com Zackery Fretty

    I used to have a 32GB SD for music myself, but since Google Music came out I find myself only saving my top artists on my internal storage and streaming the rest.

  • Martin

    Most devices which have a (micro)SDHC compatible slot will support SDXC. The slots for the two card types are basically interchangeable, bar a single pin which SDXC can use for high-speed transfer. Apart from that, functionally they are the same.

    The show-stopping difference however comes with the software. More specifically the default partition format used for SDXC cards, which is exFAT. This format is heavily patented by Microsoft, and thus only licensees will be able to use this technology (sad fact here, exFAT is technologically even behind ext2). A "Yay!" for the patent system is required here. So you can just simply format the card to something that any OS (such as Android) will read, like FAT32. Or even better, ext4 without journalling if your OS supports it.

    Problem solved.

  • Barton

    I have this exact card in my Desire Z. It's quite decent. But I had one of the first 16-gig SanDisks on the market in 2008 and it was class 2 officially and was even faster.

  • CT

    Great review! What files does SanDisk preload on your android device?

  • http://about.me/povilasg Bomberlt

    Hmm.. Your card speeds are slower than mine Patriod 32GB Class10 :?

    Why are only Class number on card package? Manufacturers should show users that some cards are faster..

    Or is it because of phone (HTC Sensation)?
    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/501212/Pics/2012-04-01%2023.34.23.png
    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/501212/Pics/2012-04-01%2023.34.23.png

  • Tyler C

    I'm really not sold on the whole class ratings any more. I got an 8GB class 10 transcend microsd card instead of the 16GB class 6 for the same price, speed just seems like every other SD card I used, so I should have went for the 16GB even though she doesnt need that much space.

  • Edd

    I've got very little time for the cloud services, except in ways like DropBox and contacts synching etc. I've got all my movies and msuic on my PC, and I just want to drag and drop them onto my device for when I want them. My 32gb is always full, which is how I like it. When the prices drop further, I'll go for a 64gb.

    While streaming via iPlayer etc is great, it just seems such an unecessary use of mobile bandwidth, and is no use when e.g. on the tube (I'm in London), or just where network coverage is patchy.

    In summary, both methods complement each other, but at heart I'll always be a local-storage kinda guy.

  • Rafael

    Does it work on the HTC sensation?

    • Jacob

      Yep it should work on the Sensation.

  • Dark

    I got this back at the beginning of February for my Moto Atrix and love it. Just had to format the card after putting it in my phone and I was set (saved the files off the card first of course).

  • http://mgamerzproductions.com Mgamerz

    Your class 10 card does not meet class 10 specifications.

  • animaleyez

    Would less than $100 change the rating? How about $79.99

    http://www.adorama.com/IDSMUMSD64G.html

    You're welcome.

    • wangkom

      I purchased that card from Adorama and it works great in my galaxy note

  • Dave

    I have 8 read and 25MB/s write, those cards seem to suck.

  • Robert “Ruedii”

    Is that random read or sequential, you know there is a difference. (Sequential is a lot faster on most cards.)

  • OFI

    ^Dave, you have a card that writes 3 times faster than it can read?
    I call shenanigans on that one!

    Good to see an article on these 64GB cards, not seen many mention the or post any speeds tests.
    I have the Class 10 Lexar 32GB card which I get around 9MB/s write speeds on the phone (phone is often the bottleneck)
    Once these 64GB cards drop a little more I think I may go for one as even with the 16GB Internal +32GBI have now I struggle!

  • Kms

    it seems like this card has just had a big drop in price to about USD 70 from over USD 100

  • SB

    It seems that SanDisk now have a 64GB Class 10/UHS-I microSDXC, as opposed to the Class 6 one in this review? Anyone know what's up with that?
    http://www.reddit.com/r/Android/comments/tkpff/did_sandisk_just_silently_launch_a_64gb_class/

  • Asdasd

    hey i m getting 6.8 MB/s Write Speed & 13.7 MB/s Read speed on my Class 4 SD card

    Using same sd tools app
    on Galaxy SL i9003

  • khadir
  • Dan

    should a class 10 64gb micro sdxc work on a galaxy s fascinate it says it supports up to 32gb micro sdhc