The first thing you need to consider when buying an external battery pack or extra power source for your camera drones are their storage capacity. The larger the better!
Here I am going to share my personal experience and preferences on choosing the correct size of memory card that can meet all requirements of any specific Drone model (i.e., Phantom 2 Vision+ – V2V, Phantom 4 Professional – P4P) with ease-of-use, versatility, reliability & performance. And also it’ll be helpful if you’re planning to purchase next generation products like DAPPER X5 PRO /X6 Pro/X7Pro etc.
First let me give you some basic information regarding different types of microSD Cards used by various manufacturers in current market.
What is a micro SD card?
MicroSD is short form name for “Secure Digital” media card technology. This was developed as a replacement of earlier SDHC format which has several limitations such as slow read speeds, limited capacities up till 32 GBs and lack of compatibility between different brands. MicroSD uses very high speed interface but still cannot reach same transfer rates compared to USB flash drives. So they have been replaced completely in most cases. But there are few legacy devices using older version of Secure Digital standard and those devices may not support new versions introduced after 2009. That’s why its important to know whether your device supports newer specifications. Here is list of latest specification released on May 2013:
Memory Class 6
Minimum Read Speed 10 MBps
Maximum Write Speed 5MBps
Dimensions 85.60 x 54.98 mm
Form Factor TransFlash Type II
Capacity Up To 128 GB(1x128GB = 16 Gigs per chip)
Connectivity Full Size High Performance Serial Interface (HSMSA)
It should help you understand clearly how these things work together.
Now coming back to our original question “what’s the best micro sd card?” Let us now see below how each manufacturer chooses their micro sd cards based on their own needs and preference.
How to choose the right micro SD card?
All micro SD cards come under two categories according to their storage class i.e., Class 1 & Class 2. Each one comes at nominal prices (Class 1 $10-$20 while Class 2 $40-$50). It means you get more than double the amount of storage space without paying much higher price. In case you want to buy only one micro sd card then go for either of them depending upon your budget. However here is list of pros and cons of both classes so that you make decision easily.
Pros of Class 1 micro SD Card
High Storage Space: They provide maximum data storage upto 256 GB. You won’t find many other similar sized micro sd cards available currently.
Faster Transfer Rates: These cards offer faster transfer rate compare to previous generations. Also class 1 cards can write data at minimum speed of 5 MBPS, whereas class 2 micro sd cards offers minimum writing speed of 0.3 MBPS.
Compatibility: All major brand manufactures micro sd cards including Samsung, Kingston, Sandisk, Toshiba etc. There are no issues whatsoever related to compatibility across multiple models from different brands even though there might exist minor differences between individual micro sd cards.
Low Price: Most of the time you don’t pay anything more than 20$ for getting one good quality micro sd card. As mentioned above, due to large demand and competition among manufacturers, vendors tend to sell lower priced micro sd cards rather than expensive ones.
Reliable Quality: Because of huge demand for micro sd cards, vendor spends lots of money testing every single batch before shipping the product out. Hence you always receive reliable quality micro sd cards along with full warranty.
Cons of Class 1 micro SD Card
Poor Battery Life: Since these cards have greater number of moving parts, it consumes more energy compare to previous version. If you plan to fly over long distances, then this could become problem later.
Higher Error Rate: Due to increased heat generated inside micro sd card during operation, error rate increases significantly. Therefore you must take care while formatting and copying files to micro sd card.
Lower Data Security: While trying to copy sensitive documents and photos, you might face problems because of low file system protection offered by SD Memory Cards.
In general, users prefer Class 1 micro SD cards for storing videos, pictures, music and multimedia content. On contrary, people who wish to store non-media type contents onto micro sd cards generally opt for class 2. With growing popularity of smartphones, tablets and laptops, more and more people are looking towards expandable memory solutions instead of traditional sticks. And micro sd cards fit perfectly into that category.
If you’re interested in purchasing micro sd card, please visit Amazon to check reviews and ratings of different micro sd cards.
As a bonus tip, I’d personally recommend Class 2 micro SD cards over Class 1 because they are less prone to errors and have longer life expectancy.
Cons of Class 2 micro SD Card
Lower Storage Space: Class 2 micro sd cards provide maximum storage capacity of 128 GB which is quite big. Whereas class 1 cards provides lesser storage space of around 80 GB.
Smaller Sized: Class 2 micro sd cards are smaller than class 1. Usually dimensions of class 2 micro sd cards range between 70mm to 90mm.
Better Battery Life: Unlike class 1 micro sd cards, class 2 micro sd cards do not generate excessive amounts of internal heat. Hence batteries last longer and require shorter charging times compare to class 1.
Slower Transfer Rates: Class 2 micro sd cards are slower in transferring data compare to class 1. For example, transfer rates of class 2 micro sd cards ranges between 30 MBps to 60 MBps whereas class 1 micro sd cards range 100 MBps to 150 MBps.
No Compatibility Issues: Different brands manufacture micro sd cards follow separate standards thus incompatibility issue doesn’t arise. Users just insert the micro sd card into desired device and start recording.
Let me tell you something else. Don’t ever worry about future upgrades or firmware updates. Every manufacturer releases new version of their controller once in 12 months approximately. After releasing firmware update, vendor automatically sends updated version of controller to end user free of cost.
However, in case of class 1 micro sd cards, upgrading or updating becomes difficult task. Sometimes vendors charge fees ranging from $100 to $150 for replacing old generation controllers with newer one. Moreover, if you lose your micro sd card, chances of finding compatible replacement is slim. Same goes true for class 2 micro sd cards too.
So far we’ve discussed everything you need to know about micro sd cards.
What SD card does Phantom 3 use?
Phantom 3 uses 64 GB SanDisk micro sd card. It allows you record video footage of 1080p resolution @30fps and 13MP photos. It also features advanced flight control systems and GPS tracking capabilities. It works seamlessly with DJI GO app via Wi-Fi connection.
One amazing feature of Phantom series is that they are equipped with built-in self-timer. Phantom 3 gives you ability to set a timer interval and delay time manually. Another cool feature of Phantom 3 is its live view function. By pressing shutter button twice, you can instantly switch between front facing camera mode and live view mode. Live view mode shows real time image feed captured through gimbal, which helps pilots keep track of their quadcopters during flights. Phantom 3 also lets you capture images underwater. Just add water proof casing to your Phantom 3 and shoot whatever you want.
And finally here are couple of quick tips to save your precious time and effort.
Tip # 1: Always try to select highest class micro sd card possible within your budget.
Tip# 2: Always look for manufacturer certification letter. Only certified micro sd cards can ensure fast read and write speeds.
Tip# 3: Use genuine chargers provided by manufacturer. Otherwise you risk damaging your drone.
Tip# 4: Make sure your phone is charged fully prior to takeoff. If not, wait until your battery level drops down to zero. Then launch your drone.
Tip# 5: Keep your micro sd card properly away from extreme weather conditions.
Tip# 6: Avoid putting micro sd card into computer unless you have proper adapter.
Tip# 7: Avoid removing micro sd card accidentally while flying.
Tip# 8: Never remove micro sd card mid way while recording movie clips. Or else you’ll notice poor quality of recorded clip.
Choosing the best micro sd card depends entirely on your requirement. If you intend to carry out intensive photo shooting tasks then definitely go for class 2 micro sd card otherwise if you simply want to carry small amount of movies and photos then Class 1 micro sd card would work fine. Hope these pointers will prove useful for you guys. Thanks for staying tuned throughout this post. Please feel free to comment and ask questions whenever necessary.
John has been a gamer since the early age of 7, playing a huge variety of single-player games, and MMOs, and even participating in LAN Tournaments for FPS games such as Counter-Strike Global Offensive. Ever since he found his passion in gaming & in technology in general, he has continuously increased his knowledge in software, programming & hardware and is now working at TechReviewTeam helping readers, answering questions, writing articles & reviews for the team.