I’ve had my eye on the Onn MicroSD for some time now. It was the first to market with an 8 GB capacity in October 2011 (then 16 GB), but their new technology has allowed them to double that size without increasing the price of the device or reducing performance. I am always looking at ways to increase storage space, so when I saw they were releasing another version, I ordered one right away. Here are some thoughts and opinions from someone who tested out the 256 GB micro SD card.
What Is Onn-sd?
Onn-Sd is essentially a smaller sized micro SD card than most other brands such as SanDisk. It uses Toshiba’s proprietary Multi Media Card system which allows faster read/write speeds and offers greater reliability because there are fewer moving parts inside the card. The downside is that you can’t use regular SD adaptors to plug into your PC or laptop. Most people would just buy a normal SD adapter if they wanted to transfer files between their computer and the card, but why have two adapters when you could just get one? With AnTuTu scores higher than Samsung’s latest 64 GB micro SD card released earlier this year (which scored around 200k) and even lower than Lexar’s 128 GB Class 10 SDXC Memory Stick Ultra PRO rated at 240k, you know that these smaller sizes really pack a punch.
There are many benefits to having a small card like this. For instance, you don’t need room for a bulky reader in your pocket, purse, bag or desk drawer. You also won’t see all those “unused” partitions taking up space on a larger card like you do on traditional full-sized SD cards. Finally, by going with a smaller card, they can offer better battery life while still keeping costs down.
Here is what makes Onn stand apart from its competition. First off, it supports both FAT32 and exFAT file systems along with NTFS and HFS+. This means you can access data on Windows XP through Mac OS X computers and vice versa, though only via USB 3.0 ports. If you’re unfamiliar with FAT32 vs. exFAT, check out our previous articles comparing the two formats [Broken URL Removed].
Second, Onn doesn’t limit themselves to 4K video recording. They claim that you’ll be able to record HD videos at 60 fps using MPEG4 codecs. In addition, the company says it provides improved audio quality over standard SD cards. However, how much improvement depends upon whether you have headphones connected. For best results, turn off noise canceling features on laptops, cellphones, etc. Also, make sure to choose Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound instead of stereo.
Thirdly, Onn does not require you to pay extra fees to store photos taken with cameras equipped with Wi-Fi capabilities. Instead, after uploading images onto the cloud, you simply pay $2 per month for unlimited photo storage. But remember that free online storage isn’t available everywhere.
Lastly, Onn claims to provide increased security due to hardware encryption used during communication transfers. This feature is called Hardware Encryption Security System (HESS). Basically, whenever information is transmitted, it is encrypted using keys stored on the card itself. These keys never leave the card. Only authorized users with special software can decrypt information sent back and forth. Unfortunately, no details are provided regarding the type of key management used nor how long decrypted data remains secure once transferred.
So far, Onn seems to be trying hard to differentiate itself from other companies offering similar products. We hope more improvements will follow soon, especially considering the recent release of cheaper flash drives from Sandisk and Kingston.
The Bad Points Of The Card
While the positives outweigh the negatives here, let us take a quick look at where things went wrong. First off, Onn’s marketing team decided to call its product a memory stick rather than a micro SD card. As a result, customers may think they got a bad deal since it didn’t come with an official adapter. Luckily, Onn did include an adapter with each purchase. Additionally, it took me several tries before I finally found compatible drivers for Mac OS X Lion. After installing them correctly, I noticed that transferring files wasn’t nearly as fast as advertised. And yes, I tried turning off Fast Startup option under Power Options -” Energy Saver tab.
Another thing worth mentioning is that Onn doesn’t support MLC chipsets anymore. If you own older devices with slower CPUs, then you might want to consider buying a different model. Since Onn stopped producing MLC versions last year, upgrading should give you additional peace of mind knowing that you aren’t missing out on anything important.
Finally, I couldn’t find a way to format the card to FAT32. Although the company states that they can change the default partition settings to allow formatting, it takes too long. Plus, doing so ends up deleting everything already saved on the drive.
Are cheap microSD cards any good?
If you’re shopping for inexpensive micro SD cards, then you should definitely check out SanDisk’s offerings. Their entry level 32 GB Class 6 micro SD card retails for less than 50 cents! Alternatively, you can spend half the money for twice the storage capacity. Similarly, you can snag a 64 GB Class 6 micro SD card for less than $3. While prices of high end micro SD cards tend to hover around $10-$20, you can easily save hundreds by purchasing something mid-range.
For example, SanDisk sells a 120 GB Class 10 micro SD card for only $5.99! Even more affordable options exist. One great choice is the king of budget friendly SD cards — Transcend’s Secure Fit micro SDXC Class 4 Memory Cards. Each comes with an embedded silicon protector that safeguards against scratches and bumps. Its thin profile design fits nicely anywhere, including wallets and purses. Speaking of which, if you like to travel light, avoid bringing a bulky camera body plus lens attached. Use a tiny compact point & shoot instead.
Transcend’s SecureFit micro SDXC Class 4 memory sticks retail for as low as $8.49!
As previously mentioned, Onn’s main competitor is SanDisk. Aside from selling the same exact line of products, they also share similar pricing strategies. Despite launching later than Onn, SanDisk charges slightly more ($9.50 compared to Onn’s $7.50) for their 24 GB card. At the moment, there are no significant differences between the two companies’ 512 GB micro SD cards. Both sell for roughly the same price points. Likewise, neither currently offer a 256 GB micro SD card.
However, Onn’s newer multi media card system does seem superior. Besides doubling the storage space, it includes advanced copy protection technologies like ECC error correction codes and Data Guard. Furthermore, Onn doesn’t charge extra fees if you decide to upload pictures directly to Facebook. Lastly, unlike other manufacturers, Onn doesn’t require you to subscribe to their services.
Overall, Onn seems to be the winner among competitors right now. Let us know what you think of their newest products. Will you be ordering them anytime soon? Share your opinion in the comments section below…