Top positive review
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Be cautious but aware of how to spot fakes - Great performance and value for a card that many try to copy
on June 3, 2015
I did much research into these cards before purchasing, especially since I read so many issues about counterfeits and foreign scams. These cards seem to be a popular one for fakes, and though so many people reported receiving them, I decided to make the purchase and work it through. I purchased 3 of these cards in 32GB capacity, and researched their authenticity. The following information with included photos is from my own personal research, including direct communication and discussions with Samsung.
One of the first issues pointed out about these cards when they are fakes is the packaging. Some have reported receiving packaging with a Samsung Galaxy phone on the cover while the real one is supposed to be a tablet. I will caution anyone purchasing these cards and jumping to a quick conclusion on the packaging alone: Samsung displays 2 product images on their website for these cards, one including the adapter and one without, and the one without the adapter displays a Galaxy phone while the one with the adapter displays a tablet (ref: http://www.samsung.com/us/photography/digital-cameras-accessories/MB-MP32DA/AM).
I purchased the Micro-SDHC with adapter and my packaging displayed a tablet in the users hand in the image.
Further notes by users have pointed out that English is not the primary language on the packaging. On all 3 packages in my order, this was the case, as Chinese was the first language followed by an English translation. Additionally, the barcode on the back was covered with a sticker labeling the item description, model, and an identification number I can assume is only for inventory purposes. In the United States these cards are model MB-MP32DA/AM. Beneath the stuck on barcode, however, the model on the actual packaging is MB-MP32DA/CN. After researching this, under an assumption of what the model code identified, I was able to conclude that the cards I received are for the Chinese market. Physically and operationally they are no different. The packaging, though, was labeled to be sold in an Asian retail market, which is why the model is wrong for the United States. Europe also has a different code based on region for sale.
The seller of the cards, or whoever prepared them for sale in the US must have printed the sticker to place over the barcode. This does not affect the use of the cards, and will not affect the ability to receive service on them, customer service or warranty wise, should it be necessary.
The physical cards typically appear different if they are fakes, and there are variances among fakes, though the primary indicator is the country stamped on the back. Authentic cards will have the country of manufacture printed as Korea as the bottom line, preceded by 3 lines, the first a non-regional model ID (MB-MP32D), and the next 2 lines a lot or production ID and a serial number. Non-genuine cards will either exclude a country of origin or it will be Taiwan, Japan, China, etc... They will also not include the rest of the authentic information. If you receive the model with the adapter, the adapter will be printed as Made in China, and this is also printed on the packaging beneath the original barcode.
For the design, the back will be a semi-gloss black and the edges will be white on the authentic cards and the fronts will be a very vivid white and orange combination. The adapters will be white and gray, in a matte-like finish. Some fakes have been reported as having a red tint to them and others have black edges or different backs. To further authenticate the appearance you can review some photos and reports provided here: http://thecounterfeitreport.com/product/504/Samsung-microSD-Memory-Cards.html.
Two of the cards I received had identical serial numbers on them and some users have reported that as being a way to identify the fakes. I actually called Samsung and went through an extensive phone call discussing the various design choices and markings on the cards. The serial numbers printed on the cards are not unique and it is entirely possible to receive 2 with the same numbers. Apparently it depends more on location, time, and date of manufacture of the card.
Furthermore, during this phone call I discussed the model numbers and packaging language, which is how I verified the retail market these cards were packaged for. According to Samsung, they used to ask for packaging for warranty or service, but to to online sales they no longer do. The fact that my card packaging was for an Asian retail market will make no difference in my ability to acquire support, as they pay attention to the non-regional model number printed on the card.
Beyond just the phone call and online research into these cards, I ran them through 2 capacity tests for authenticity of the suggested sizes. First, without getting too deep into technical details, a 32GB card, once formatted, will not have a complete 32GB of storage space available. It's completely normal to be somewhere between 28-30GB. Some fakes, however, modify the cards to report a fraudulent amount of capacity that can only be verified by running through these tests. I used H2TestW and RMPrepUSB (QuickTest option) to authenticate the amount of the cards and both tests verified stated capacity. H2TestW leaves the files on the card and requires you to wipe while RMPrepUSB has a QuickTest option that is faster and removes the data upon completion, which is a little nicer.
I also did speed tests, and while results will vary, running numerous tests will yield an average. Instead of printing out a table here, just know that the tests I performed were fairly equivalent to those others posted and only slightly slower in some tests than what I was able to achieve with a similarly matched Sandisk card.
As mentioned, I researched these cards extensively and wanted to pass along the additional information. I know others have reported on their fakes as well, but I have seen numerous users jumping to conclusions about receiving fakes just on the packaging being primarily Chinese or the barcode being covered. If you receive a card that appears otherwise authenticate, if not for the Chinese packaging, it probably is authentic and you will be covered for warranty and customer service. Test the capacity and if it checks out, you are fine. If it doesn't say Korea on the back, however, go ahead and assume it's non-genuine and replace it.
From a performance standpoint, these cards are more than worth the cost. They are not the fastest cards out there, but their durability and performance and perfectly acceptable for the majority of applications. I have had other name-brand cards fail on me as of recently, after only a short period of time, so I am happy to be having better luck with others. Should these encounter a similar fate, however, I will be updating this review.