New Samsung Pro-Level SD Cards are Winners

New Samsung Pro-Level SD Cards are Winners

When it comes to camera memory cards, most of us gravitate towards Sandisk and Lexar. Maybe PNY or Sony too. Samsung has been making memory cards for other companies for quite some time, but only recently have they decided to branch out and brand them as Samsung. So how do they perform? Surprisingly, or maybe unsurprisingly, quite well.

There isn't much a memory card needs to do right. It has to have fast read and write speed, and it needs to be affordable. It doesn't hurt if it can take a beating as well, but most cards these days are pretty stable.

The Samsung cards look nice on the outside, opting for a nice stark white and silver (for the pro cards) over what generally is black and gold colors from competitors. Does it really matter what the card looks like? No, but it does speak to Samsung's desire to be perceived as different from competitors. They also are more easily differentiating their lines for consumers, which is smart. If you aren't memory card savvy, and even if you are, the differences among the card choices can be difficult to discern and dizzyingly confusing. Samsung is taking a stand against this by making it very clear what is consumer, hobbyist and pro level.

I tested the speed of the Samsung 32 GB pro SD card (class 10) against the Sony 32 GB pro-level (class 10) card to see if either of them come close to the promised speeds. Samsung promises a read speed of up to 90 MB/s and a write speed of up to 50 MB/s. The Sony promises a 94 MB/s read rate and a 45 MB/s write speed.

Tests were performed in the SD card reader slot on the 2014 MacBook Pro Retina.

Samsung:

Samsung SD card speed test

Sony:

Sony SD card speed test

You can see that the Samsung actually surpassed the quoted write speed, while coming just short of the promised read speed. The Sony came in just above their quoted write speed as well, and just under the promised read speed.

What can we learn from this? Basically the memory card is just as good, if not better, than Sony, a card that I have relied heavily on for the past nine months. I've used the Samsung for the better part of a month with the same HD video requirements as I've tasked to the Sony and have seen no reason to not trust these cards as well. If there is an issue with data corruption at a later date, I will update this review.

samsung sd card review

The cards are magnetic, shock, temperature, water, and x-ray proof. I probably could destroy this card if I wanted to, but unless destruction was a goal it is really difficult to wreck these suckers.

Basically the only reason to not get a Samsung card would be if the price was too high or fear that it isn't reliable. We tend to go back to tried-and-true sources for memory rather than trust something new. The card, in my recent use, is just as reliable as I expect my cards to be and the speed of the card is nothing to shake a stick at either.

Samsung currently has the 32 GB pro card in stock for $40, with the 64 GB pro card priced at $80. However if you venture over to Amazon, you'll find that same 64 GB card heavily marked down to $55, which is a darn good deal. The 32 GB card is only $27. The MSRP pricing from Samsung.com isn't anything that would make these cards desirable, but marked down to Amazon pricing makes them an easy choice in my book, especially with Sony, Lexar and Sandisk pricing for the same or lesser performance being higher.

The only thing to keep in mind here is that Samsung is not producing CF cards, which is actually a bummer for those of us using the higher pro-level DSLRs.

What I liked:

  • Fast
  • Pretty cheap

What could use improvement:

  • Goose egg. These have no issues.

Look, sometimes it's hard to trust a new memory company, but you have to remember that Samsung isn't really new at this. They've been producing memory for your Android phones for years (and not just their own either). They didn't go straight to market with their cards because they wanted to get it right, and they did. The cards perform great, even perhaps better than higher-priced competitors. Keep an eye out for the next SD card sale featuring Samsung. You'll probably want to stock up.

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10 Comments
Barry Chapman's picture

I have the Sony 94mb card you mention and 2 32GB Sandisk Extreme Pro cards rated at 95mbs. The buffer clears much quicker with the Sandisk cards than with the Sony when shooting a series of 24mb RAW+jpeg images. So I'd be more interested to see a comparison between the Sandisk and the Samsung (sorry, I can't spare mine).

Jaron Schneider's picture

I wanted to do a Sandisk test as well, but unfortunately I don't own any Sandisk cards with speeds above 45 MB/s. I would not be entirely surprised if Sandisk was better.

Leif Sikorski's picture

I've been using their micro SD cards for quite a while and so far they've been very reliable. Their pricing seems to be very similar to Sandisk (Evo vs Sandisk Extreme & Pro vs Sandisk Extreme Pro) so I'll give it a try the next time.

Michael Kormos's picture

Thank you for posting this! I use both card slots on my D800 (with the SD card being used as backup). A process which significantly slows my overall camera performance, as the buffer needs to clear to the primary (CF) card first, and then onto the (much slower) SD card. My 600x Lexar Pro write speed is around 42Mb/sec (using the same test as you). I've just ordered the Samsung Pro 64Gb SDXC through Amazon, and I'm hoping this will alleviate the buffer wait time by a nice margin. Thanks again!

Jaron Schneider's picture

Let me know if this works out for you! It def should help to some perceptible degree.

Jerry Russell's picture

"What can we learn from this? Basically the memory card is just as good, if not better, than Sony…”

Sorry, not trying to be a jerk but you haven’t presented anything close to a valid test of the relaiblity of this card. It may be a great card or it may not. After a month with a single card you really don’t know.

Spy Black's picture

Are there any advantages to a CF card these days? And don't say something like "you won't lose them as easily", because considering the rate of lost CF cards at the studio I freelance in, that's a delusional statement at best.

I mean performance. Are there any advantages to CF cards anymore?

Chad E Currie's picture

CF cards have the ability to read and write faster than SD. It's pure size and the ability to pack more hardware in them. Whether or not a company takes advantage of this or not is another question.

The Lexar Professional 1000x UDMA CompactFlash can go at 150MB/s, and as you can see most SD's are in the 90MB/s range.

Spy Black's picture

"Whether or not a company takes advantage of this or not is another question."

Good point. Is there a camera that makes use of that throughput, or are we reaching a point where CF becomes obsolete and SD is more than adequate for the job?

Spencer Lefevre's picture

@JaronSchneider1219:disqus Would you be using these SDXC cards with a adapter to record to? Like this: http://www.amazon.com/GMYLE-Extreme-Compact-Reader-Adapter/dp/B0052GZNY0...

Just curious. Thanks!