Coinciding with the Mobile World Congress at Shanghai, SanDisk owner Western Digital is introducing two new microSD memory cards that can store up to 256 GB of data. The new SanDisk-branded cards are designed for smartphones, tablets and content-capture devices. The capacities are akin to those of mainstream SSDs, albeit at a higher price.

The new 256 GB memory cards from Western Digital are the SanDisk Extreme microSDXC as well as the SanDisk Ultra microSDXC Premium Edition. Both cards use the UHS-I interface which supports transfer rates of up to 104 MB/s. Compatibility with existing microSDXC and microSDHC devices is retained, but, obviously at lower speeds.

The SanDisk Extreme microSDXC supports read/write speeds of up to 100/90 MB/s, while the SanDisk Ultra microSDXC Premium Edition is slightly slower and features transfer speeds up to 95 MB/s. The Extreme card also has higher minimum sequential write speed - 30 MB/s vs. 10 MB/s, which is important for recording high-bitrate 4K videos.

SanDisk 256 GB microSDXC Cards at Glance
  SanDisk Extreme microSDXC SanDisk Ultra microSDXC Premium Edition
Read Speed up to 100 MB/s up to 95 MB/s (?)
Write Speed up to 90 MB/s up to 95 MB/s
Minimum Sequential Write Speed 30 MB/s 10 MB/s
Interface UHS-I UHS-I
Availability Q4 2016 August 2016
Price $199.99 $149.99

Like other high-end Secure Digital cards, the new 256 GB microSDXC products from Western Digital are waterproof, temperature-proof, shock proof, and X-ray proof, which is useful for those who travel a lot and/or have to use memory cards in harsh conditions.

Western Digital’s SanDisk 256 GB microSDXC cards will not be alone on the market and will compete against Samsung’s EVO Plus 256 GB microSDXC card introduced in May. The latter also features a UHS-I interface and transfer speeds up to 95 MB/s. To build such card, Samsung had to use its 3D V-NAND memory. Meanwhile, SanDisk has not yet disclosed what type of NAND flash it uses to build its high-capacity memory cards.

The 256GB SanDisk Ultra microSDXC UHS-I Premium Edition card will be available worldwide in August 2016 for $149.99. The faster 256GB SanDisk Extreme microSDXC UHS-I card will be available in Q4 2016 for $199.99.

Source: SanDisk

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  • dsumanik - Tuesday, June 28, 2016 - link

    Targeted at high end smartphones?

    Confusing product because DSLR's are better off with UHS-II or XQD now and not many phones that can handle 95 mb/s. Regardless, 256 gig @ 95 mb/s is about 45 mins to fill or read an entire card, not exactly incredible speed.

    I like the microsd form factor though , hope it sticks around.
  • HomeworldFound - Tuesday, June 28, 2016 - link

    Could be worse, 25gb bd-r discs. I'll take the 45 minutes thanks.
  • BurntMyBacon - Wednesday, June 29, 2016 - link

    About a decade ago, Seagate was just starting to make use of PMR technology in consumer drives. Seagate and WD released 320GB drives (reviewed by Anandtech) that were slower than these. Even the raptor 150GB drives of the time barely peaked out at these rates.

    These were the kind of drives enthusiasts of the time used for their primary boot drives. (0_0)
  • SetiroN - Tuesday, June 28, 2016 - link

    How is it a confusing product? You seem to be confused to me.

    Yes, these are for tablets and smartphones with a microSD slot. Cameras will (for the time being) always use larger, higher performance cards. 95Mb/s IS an incredible speed for those devices and such a small storage device.
  • dsumanik - Tuesday, June 28, 2016 - link

    I am confused because I am unaware of any tablet able to make use of the 95/mb speed, and it's only rated at lower-mid range speed for a modern DSLR.

    That spell it out loud and clear enough dummy?
  • SkiBum1207 - Tuesday, June 28, 2016 - link

    Sure, for optimal conditions (large sequential writes) 95 Mb/s may be not be attainable with current tablet and phone hardware.

    However, for many applications, the minimum write speed is more important - keep in mind that you can chuck one of these into a RPI and run CouchBase on it - that will definitely appreciate the improved performance floor.

    Also it's not like phone's and tablet's are getting slower interfaces. I'd rather have a card which my phone can't saturate than one which is near the peak capacity of my phone.
  • Impulses - Wednesday, June 29, 2016 - link

    Only recent and high end DSLR can fully exploit UHS-II cards/speeds, there's still a ton of cameras that don't, released this year and last. Not sure what that has to do with anything since few people would opt to use a micro card in a camera...

    Performance within the tablet or mobile device is also not the only consideration. If you're filling it up on a PC and then moving it to the tablet, or filling it up on a phone then moving it to the PC to offload photos/videos, the read/write speeds will absolutely matter...

    A $9 reader can max that out... So you're being needlessly dense.
  • dsumanik - Thursday, June 30, 2016 - link

    Dense is justifying this product because DSLR's cant exploit UHS-II, then sitting there waiting 45 mins for 256gb to transfer off of the card.

    PC/Macs definitely take advantage of all the UHS-II goodness and UHS-II is 100% backwards compatible with UHS-I, there no reason to not use it.

    Again, a confusing product with lower mid read/write and a several year old interface released in the 2016 market where much faster technology exists, making this product kind of obsolete on release.
  • SetiroN - Thursday, July 7, 2016 - link


    Why is this individual actually allowed to post on this site?

    You might be unaware of things (which foesn't surprise me), but countless 2-in-1s exist with microsd slots.
  • Spunjji - Friday, July 1, 2016 - link

    Surface Pro 3, Asus Transformer devices, any recent Android phone with MicroSD... these are all good places to use a card like this and where the speeds will be appreciated.

    Not sure why you bother stating how long the card takes to fill or read its entire area. That is relevant in maybe 1% of real-life scenarios.

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