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Samsung’s new microSD card is faster than an SSD – too bad the Galaxy S24 can’t use it

Published Feb 28th, 2024 6:50AM EST
Samsung Galaxy S24 Front
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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I don’t worry just about battery life on my devices; I also fear storage won’t be enough. Unlike battery life, storage is hardly an issue, yet I always consider getting more local storage than I need. So when I saw Samsung’s new microSD announcement on Wednesday, I was curious to see what this next-gen of microSD cards can no. 

It turns out that Samsung will do something not usually expected from microSD cards. The new SD Express microSD card will deliver speeds of up to 800MB/s, which is faster than SATA SSDs that go up to 560MB/s. Additionally, Samsung announced its first 1TB microSD cards, though these models won’t support the same speeds. 

What’s interesting in all of this is that Samsung pitches these microSD cards as “differentiated memory solutions required for tomorrow’s mobile computing and on-device AI applications.” However, the Galaxy S24 flagships, which come with Galaxy AI powers and on-device AI features, can’t take microSD storage. Like other flagship Android vendors, Samsung dropped microSD support years ago. 

One of the popular excuses for removing microSD storage concerns performance. Old microSD cards were not as fast as the on-board flash storage. This could degrade performance. Removing optional storage also makes sense for waterproofing purposes. Also, it frees internal space, which can then be optimized to increase battery size.

The new 256GB Samung SD Express microSD card.
The new 256GB Samung SD Express microSD card. Image source: Samsung

The new 256GB SD Express microSD card fixes the performance problem. With top sequential read speeds reaching 800MB/s, the microSD should deliver more than decent performance. That’s four times faster than UHS-1 memory cards that support up to 200MB/s speeds.

The fast microSD cards will use Samsung’s Dynamic Thermal Guard (DTG) technology to maintain an optimum performance for extended operation.

“Tomorrow’s mobile computing and on-device AI applications” might require more on-device storage. That’s where the new 1TB microSD cards from Samsung will come in. From the looks of it, we’re getting Evo Plus and Pro Plus versions of the 1TB.

The cards feature “eight layers of the company’s 8th generation 1-terabit (Tb) V-NAND.” Samsung draws another comparison to SSDs, saying this high-capacity package was previously possible only in SSDs. 

The 1TB microSD cards might not be as fast as the SD Express variants. But they’ll be more durable. Samsung says these cards will offer “water protection, extreme temperature, drop-proof design, wear-out protection, as well as X-ray and magnetic protection.” Currently, these cards are available in up to 512GB capacities.

Samsung's new 1TB microSD card.
Samsung’s new 1TB microSD card. Image source: Samsung

I’m already considering the faster microSD cards for a project I’ve long dreamed of. That’s backing up my Mac on a microSD card that would be very easy to carry around. I’m not sure if 256GB will cut it, though. I’ll have to wait until later this year when the SD Express launches. The 1TB models will hit the market in the third quarter of the year.

Samsung did not reveal pricing information for either model. SanDisk’s 1TB microSD cards sell might cost between $75 and $120, depending on the model. Samsung’s 1TB cards should match those price points. But I expect the 256GB SD Extreme to be more expensive than traditional 256G cards. Those SSD speeds can’t come cheap.

As for the Galaxy S24 phones, they might not support microSD cards, but they have decent storage options. The base model starts at 128GB, while the Galaxy S24 Plus and S24 Ultra start at 256GB. If you preordered either variant, you doubled your storage for free. 

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.