How to choose the right memory card

We help you select the right memory card for your digital camera, MP3 player or mobile phone

FAQs: Memory Cards

Q: What capacity memory card should I buy for my digital camera?

A: This depends on a number of factors, including the megapixel count of your camera and how many photos you need to store on the card at any one time. If you plan to travel and won’t have frequent access to a computer then the bigger the capacity, the better. However, as long as you regularly upload your photos, then a card with a huge capacity isn’t always required. Most people can get by with a 2GB or 4GB card, though obviously a larger capacity card allows you to take more snaps at the highest a resolution possible.

Q. Why are xD cards and Memory Sticks more expensive than SD cards?

A. Both xD and Memory Stick are proprietary storage solutions, hence the more expensive price-tag – they can often cost three times the price of a comparable SD card for example. Previously, memory cards could be pricey but the increased demand for portable storage solutions has seen the cost of most memory cards drop considerably in the past 24 months. Generally you can pick up a 2GB SD card for less than $20.

Q. How important is the speed of a memory card?

A. The memory card speed is important for professional photographers and videographers, but most consumers using a basic point-and-shoot camera won’t need to be concerned by a card's read and write speed. Generally memory cards with a fast read and write speed will allow a photographer to take more pictures in less time, for example, which should improve their workflow.

Q. Why are CompactFlash (CF) cards often a preferred choice for memory cards in D-SLR cameras?

A. CompactFlash cards are widely regarded as being more durable than the smaller SD counterparts, largely due to their sturdier, larger and thicker design. This means they are valued by professional photographers. Some recent D-SLR cameras are shipping with both CF and SD card slots, though SD cards are becoming more popular.

Q. What microSD card storage size is best for my mobile phone?

A. This depends on what features your phone has and how often you intend to use them. For example if your phone has a camera, a video recorder and can play MP3 files – and you commonly use these functions – then a microSD card with a 4GB capacity or greater would be a good choice.

Q. What is the difference between an SD and an SDHC card?

A. SDHC memory is a high capacity version (8GB and above) of the SD format. A SDHC memory card has the same physical characteristics as a regular SD card, so an SDHC card will always fit into an SD memory card slot. However, it’s important to note that some SDHC cards won't be compatible with older devices due to the difference in format.

Q. What is the difference between a microSD and microSDHC card?

A. microSDHC memory is a high capacity version (8GB and above) of the microSD format. A microSDHC memory card has the same physical characteristics as a regular microSD card, so a microSDHC card will always fit into a microSD memory card slot. However, it’s important to note that some microSDHC cards won't be compatible with older devices due to the difference in format.

Q. What is a memory card reader?

A. A memory card reader is a device that plugs into a USB port on any notebook computer or PC and allows you to plug in a memory card. This lets you to upload your multimedia content from the card to the hard drive of the PC for backup or storage. Card readers come in various shapes and sizes and support a range of different memory cards. Most notebook computers and some multimedia PCs have card readers built into them.

Q. What is a memory card adapter?

A. A memory card adapter is a device that allows smaller sized cards to use the slot of larger sized cards. For example, a microSD to SD adapter allows the microSD card to fit into a regular SD slot. This means you can use your smaller microSD card in the larger SD card slots found on many PC and notebook computers – making it easier to transfer your files.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags storageflash memory

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

PC World Staff

PC World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?