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Caution: A Class 2 speed rated chip may be too slow for your use!
, May 30, 2011
This review is from: SanDisk 32GB microSDHC Memory Card (Bulk Package) (Personal Computers)
Just a caution for you all, if you intend to use these chips for camcorders or cell phone video recording, make sure the chips are a minimum Class 4, or ideally Class 6 or 10. For file storage or file transfers Class 2 chips are fine, but I would not use Class 2 cards on newer devices that require a faster SD or microSD card.
Bottom line first: I have some of these cards (bought because of the price and even I can't resist a good deal on cheap storage), but also Class 4, 6, and 10 chips. (In fact, my review of this chip is based on owning about 300 chips (or cards if you prefer and using chips back in the days when 2 MB chips were $90, yes, I said "megabyte" :)
The caution you have to take is that if you are getting these chips as a primary or principal card, keep in mind that its speed rating may be insufficient for use on SOME of your devices. (E.g., some cell phone camcorders record video fine, others require a faster chip, such as Class 4 or 6).
An SDHC's "Class" rating is its performance based on how fast the chip can transfer digital information on or off the chip. Why is this important?
In layman's terms some Class 2 chips are too slow, on some devices. Basically, Class 2 SDHC chips (even brands brand name cards) cannot record/transfer modern-day HD video digital information fast enough. Your video will record with lag and play with lag ("lag" means delay or choppiness).
Transfer rates (sometimes called "speed ratings") for the current chips are:
Class 2 = 2 MB per second file or digital information transfer speed.
Class 4 = 4 MB per second.
Class 6 = 6 MB per second.
Class 10 = 10 MB per second.
Interesting: Until recently most chips have had the Class rating imprinted on the label. It's the letter "C" with a number 2, 4, 6, 10 inside the C loop. Also until recently it was only chips from questionable manufacturers who did not identify the chips speed rating on the label (because those chips were typically low speed Class 2 chips). That's why it's not cool for SanDisk to be doing this, hiding the fact that a chip is Class 2. (Of course SanDisk is simply doing what its customers want, providing a high capacity chip at the lowest possible price.)
Sidenote: Some device manuals will warn about the minimum Class (speed) a chip/card should be, some manufacturers do not clearly disclose chip speed requirement for video recording/playback.
Pricing: Generally the faster the chip the more expensive it will be. If a card is 16GB for $20, that's usually a hint that it is a Class 2 or 4. As you may have correctly assumed, brand name cards with high capacity (32 GB), Class 6 and 10, from a reputable seller are going to be way more expensive than chips with one or all of these factors missing. That old saying applies here: "you get what you pay for."
And no offense to people, but if you think that because a chip is 32 GB and says "SanDisk" on it, that the card must be good, well, that makes as much sense as thinking $100 digital camera must be good because it has "12 Mega Pixels" emblazoned on the front.
Bonus Tip: On eBay there's thousands of sellers in China selling counterfeit chips (estimates are that 90% of eBay chips are counterfeit. Chips that are labeled SanDisk when they are not, Class 6 when really Class 2, etc.)
So I would buy chips from an established seller on Amazon, someone who sells only chips and has been doing so for a long time, and who has great reviews, or buy from your local retailer. More expensive, for sure, but that's better than the 90% chance you will be getting a fake chip on eBay.
If you do buy on eBay, NEVER buy chips from Hong Kong sellers, including the ones who post a fake U.S. address. A hint that something is amiss is to ask yourself how a Hong Kong seller can list on eBay cards for 1/10th the price that U.S. online sellers require to purchase the supposed same chip. (And remember that the Chinese sellers are very good at making the fake product look like the real thing.)
Bonus Tip: The "HC" in "SDHC" has nothing to do with speed. The "HC" designation came out when chips went over 2GB. It stands for "high capacity."
Bonus Tip: Class 2 chips will in fact record video. On older devices a 2GB chip was state of the art at the time, so in 2009, for example, a phone or camcorder will record quite well using Class 2 chips. But in these days of 720p and 1080p true HD recording, even on cell phones, a Class 2 chip may not do. (Note: some manufacturers include a warning on the device, including in the video troubleshooting section, that a chip may be too slow for some recording settings).
The way you will find out that you needed a Class 4, 6, or 10 MB/s chip is when you play the video. It will be choppy (and some videos won't even play).
If you get poor playback, the culprit is usually the Class 2 chip. (Also, poor playback can happen if you are playing the video on your PC directly from the chip, that is, rather than transferring the file to your PC then playing it from there. If the chip is too slow, simply transfer the file to your PC then play the video.)
Bonus Tip: Ideally always buy Class 4 or greater chips. More expensive, yes, but the performance can range from better to outstanding. Plus while any chip can transfer files from the chip on to the computer, the higher speed chips transfer files a lot faster. That's a huge benefit when transferring HD video, that can get up to 4GB in size.
Note: Ever wonder why some devices limit the length of your video, say to 10 minutes? That's because the device cannot handle large files and/or the chip may be too slow to work with files 2GB or larger. Easiest workaround for device manufacturers, limit the length of your video.
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