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6 – 128GB Class 3 Micro SD cards compared and reviewed

Micro SD cards are cool as they work in lots of different devices. Phones, GoPros, Drones, security cameras, mirrorless cameras, you name it. I’ve had a Micro SD card for awhile and always been impressed with the storage these cards can offer at lower prices than some of the other card types.

I’ve been keeping a couple in my camera bag as backups just in case I forget my card, which has happened in the past. I went to Glacier National Park a few years ago and after doing some photography I loaded my pictures onto my laptop. Unfortunately, I forgot to put the SD card back in the camera. I don’t know why, but I had all my SD cards in another bag, not my camera bag, so when I got out to the trail the next day… no SD card!! But I borrowed one from a random lady and was still able to take pictures.

Ever since then I’ve been more conscientious about having extra SD cards stored away in bags and try to keep a card in the cameras I use most. It’s also one thing I appreciate about the R5, it has both an SD card slot and a CFExpress card slot. If it had two CFExpress slots I’d be hesitant to buy extra pricey CFExpress cards to simply leave sitting in bags and cases as backups.

Amazon has several cheap 128GB Micro SD cards so I went down the list and picked up a few of the cheapest ones and decided to test them and see how they work.

For testing the cards I used a ProGrade CFExpress & SD UHS-II Card reader.

PNY Elite-X 128GB Micro SD card

Actual Capacity: 116GB

Seq. Read: 97.73 MB/s

Seq. Write: 78.90 MB/s

Rnd. Read: 4.78 MB/s

Rnd. Write: 2.63 MB/s

Sustained Write Speed: ~72MB/s

Speed Class: Class 3, (4k -29.97 fps – ALL-I)

The PNY Elite-X is an expensive card but I’ve used it pretty extensively and its still going strong. It cost me $45 when I bought it a few years ago and its performance is now equaled by much cheaper cards. This card is my control for this experiment. It represents the card I know and trust from experience and use.

TeamGroup 128GB Micro SD card

Actual Capacity: 117GB

Seq. Read: 98.16 MB/s

Seq. Write: 71.45 MB/s

Rnd. Read: 5.21 MB/s

Rnd. Write: 2.39 MB/s

Sustained Write Speed: ~38MB/s

Speed Class: Class 3, (4k -29.97 fps – IPB)

The TeamGroup card did really well for the money. While it wasn’t fast enough to handle 4k ALL-I on my EOS R, it does work with 4k IPB. For the price it is a great option for photographers who need a lot of storage and are on a budget. While the sustained transfer rate is a little slow, the higher Seq. Write speed will allow it to do a little better for stills shooters who might want to shoot bursts here and there. It won’t maintain those speeds for long which is why the Sustained Write Speed drops down to ~38 MB/s. Still plenty of speed for 4k IPB and a Class 3 rating.

Price: $10.99 per 128GB

Silicon Power Superior Pro 128GB Micro SD card

Actual Capacity: 115GB

Seq. Read: 97.87 MB/s

Seq. Write: 46.64 MB/s

Rnd. Read: 4.43 MB/s

Rnd. Write: 2.22 MB/s

Sustained Write Speed: ~40 MB/s

Speed Class: Class 3, (4k -29.97 fps – IPB)

The Silicon Power Superior Pro is a good deal even though it is a bit slower than the other cards. While it easily achieves 40MB/s sustained writes it also has a pretty low Seq. Write speed of 46.64 MB/s. The random write and read were also the lowest of the Class 3 cards. However, it is still well within spec for a Class 3 rating. Good enough for 4k IPB on my EOS R and the price is low if not quite the lowest of the bunch.

Price: $11.99 per 128GB

Tcell 256GB Superior+ Micro SD card

Actual Capacity: 238GB

Seq. Read: 98.23 MB/s

Seq. Write: 84.66 MB/s

Rnd. Read: 5.16 MB/s

Rnd. Write: 2.26 MB/s

Sustained Write Speed: ~75MB/s

Speed Class: Class 3, (4k -29.97 fps – ALL-I)

The Tcell turned out out to be a really good card, especially because the 256GB version was a bit cheaper per GB than the 128GB card. At $29.49 for a 256GB card the price is good and the performance is excellent. Easily beating out the TeamGroup and Silicon Power cards for only a couple dollars more per 128GB. This card will allow shooting in 4k ALL-I which is the highest quality setting the Canon EOS R offers.

Price: $29.49 per 256GB

Amazon Basics 128GB Micro SD card

Actual Capacity: 117GB

Seq. Read: 97.91 MB/s

Seq. Write: 81.52 MB/s

Rnd. Read: 5.16 MB/s

Rnd. Write: 2.26 MB/s

Sustained Write Speed: ~73MB/s

Speed Class: Class 3, (4k -29.97 fps – ALL-I)

The card turned in a great performance across the board but is the most expensive 128GB card here. That said, none of these cards are anything approaching expensive. For the performance this card offers it is a great deal and it is an Amazon brand so you’ll always be able to contact someone if it randomly quits working. I actually got my card marked down to $10.99, so if you can find it on sale then go for it! It handles 4k ALL-I from the EOS R so if you’re shooting 4k its a good option.

Price: $16.60 per 128GB

PNY XLR8 Gaming 128GB Micro SD card

Actual Capacity: 117GB

Seq. Read: 98.11 MB/s

Seq. Write: 86.57 MB/s

Rnd. Read: 5.25 MB/s

Rnd. Write: 3.05 MB/s

Sustained Write Speed: ~78MB/s

Speed Class: Class 3, (4k -29.97 fps – ALL-I)

The fastest card overall was the PNY XLR8 Gaming 128GB Micro SD card. It is a little pricier, but if you want to squeeze every drop of performance from your UHS-I device, this card is the best option in the group. It managed the top score in every test category except the Seq. Read test, where it was barely edged out by the Tcell and TeamGroup cards. It also had the highest sustained transfer rate which means it can handle 4k ALL-I when used with the Canon EOS R.

Price: $15.99 per 128GB

Kingston CANVAS Select Plus 128GB Micro SD card

Actual Capacity: 116GB

Seq. Read: 97.74 MB/s

Seq. Write: 37.93 MB/s

Rnd. Read: 4.07 MB/s

Rnd. Write: 2.50 MB/s

Sustained Write Speed: ~18MB/s

Speed Class: Class 1, (1080p -29.97 fps – IPB)

The Kingston CANVAS Select Plus 128GB is the only Class 1 card in the roundup and I included it just for the sake of comparison. The card is not able to keep pace with the other cards in this list but it still puts up a couple decent numbers. The Sequential Read speed of 97.74 MB/s is pretty high for a Class 1 rated card, but the Seq. Write and Sustained Write Speeds are low compared to the other cards on this list. Overall its not a bad card, but the limitations of the Class 1 rating are really showing. If you want to shoot 4k IPB or ALL-I, you’ll definitely need Class 3 rated cards.

Price: $12.99 per 128GB

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