Okay we admit that throughout the years we have been a bit ambivalent about memory cards. We buy them, we use them and we don’t think much about them. All the major card makers do a good job these days. But all of them also eventually fail. When they fail we’re unhappy and may grouse about it for a while but at the end of the day everything man-made will fail. Generally, we have no specific evidence (after buying and testing more than 100 different sizes, types and brands of memory card) that any of the major brands are more or less prone to failure. NOTE: We will say that off-brands or knock-offs are indeed more prone to failure than the major brands, but that is the only distinction we can make.
We are not now and never have been sponsored by a memory card maker. Because again – we were sort of “meh” it’s a memory card.
That all changed when we started needing fast memory cards to use in devices like the Microsoft Surface Pro 4. We needed something to emulate the storage onboard the tablet.
Remember when it comes to the need for memory cards, how they are used, what is expected of them, your mileage may vary from ours.
Our tests aren’t very scientific. We simply used these cards in real-world situations to take our impressions of them. We did timed offloads from the card to our computers (We tested on both a Mac Book Air and a Windows Surface Pro 4) and back again. All the cards we tested were brands you would recognize and all performed well and we used these other cards to help evaluate the Lexar Pro card.
In terms of pure speed, the Lexar Professional 128 GB 2000x SDHC™/SDXC™ UHS-II card was best. Using the Lexar SD UHS-II reader that comes with the card, we were able to get speeds of around 290 MB per second. Now that is FAST. Is there something faster out there? Who knows – it wouldn’t surprise us. We are sure the more geeky folks in our audience can illuminate, but given our set of self-imposed limitations we doubt it.
As we’ve said before – all man-made things fail. It’s an official thing – it’s called mean time between failure (MTBF) and it’s something engineers figure out all the time. They have to predict it on things like aircraft bolts, but on memory cards it’s not so crucial. We have had very few memory card failures. But if this Lexar card fails, we like the fact that it has a lifetime warranty and comes with Image Rescue software (which we tested to make sure it works – and it does).
These cards are super fast and super expensive. At $229 you can find lots of less expensive options. Many of you don’t really NEED a card that is this fast. But just in case you want one, you can still buy it whether you need it or not! At the end of the day, whatever card you decide to buy, stick with name brands, look for cards that have been out for a while and have no wide-spread reported problems and go for it. Your memory card should just work.
Also note that this particular card is so fast and so large it may not work in your digital camera. We ended up choosing it to be the spare memory card in our Surface Pro 4 but it won’t work in card slot one on the new Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II.
P.S. We highly recommend that you buy your memory cards from B&H and not from Ebay or online wholesalers. There are many counterfeit cards on the market and even Amazon has ended up facilitating the sale of phony memory cards in its sellers marketplace. Buy from a reputable dealer and only buy cards in their commercial packaging.