SD vs. MicroSD – What’s The Difference?

SD vs. MicroSD

Today I’m revisiting another popular topic that regularly attracts new site visitors: SD vs. microSD cards. I won’t bore you with all the technical details of what makes a microSD card different from a standard SD card, because I’m pretty sure all you care about is whether or not a microSD card will work with your various devices.

The answer is, so long as your device can accept a standard SD card, yes, it can accept a micro SD card — provided you have a standard SD card adapter or USB plug-in adapter (as pictured in this post).

You can buy micro-to-standard SD card adapters and USB plug-in adapters on their own, but plenty of micro SD cards come bundled with adapters, too.

SD vs. MicroSD

To use a microSD card in a device that takes standard SD cards (most digital cameras, for example), you just slide the micro SD card into the adapter’s card slot, then insert the adapter into your device the same as you would any standard SD card. Notice how the adapter looks almost identical to a standard SD card.

To use a microSD card with a computer, you have some options. If your computer has a standard SD card slot, use the adapter method I just described. If not, you can use a USB plug-in adapter (pictured below).

The bundle shown below includes two microSD XC cards with a capacity of 64GB each, together with a USB plug-in adapter. You slide the microSD card into a slot on the end of the USB plug-in adapter, then plug the adapter into your computer or other device that has an available USB port. (Note that the microSD cards are magnified in this photo. In reality they’re pretty tiny and will definitely fit into the slot on the end of that USB adapter.)


SD vs. MicroSD 2



Why Micro SD?

MicroSD cards were invented to provide extra memory on very small devices, like cell phones. In terms of functionality, from the user’s perspective they work just the same as standard SD memory cards. They’re just smaller.

For a long time the conventional wisdom about the two card types was that the standard-size SD card is typically less expensive and faster than its microSD counterparts, but over on Tested Wesley Fenlon reports that SanDisk’s “Extreme” line of microSD cards has largely closed that gap.

Since micro SD cards are more versatile, in that you can use them in a wider variety of devices than standard SD cards, a micro SD card + adapter combo is generally the smarter buy, especially if you can find the micro SD + adapter bundle with the amount of memory you want at a lower price than the comparable standard SD card.


What Does It Mean When The Card Is Labeled “SDHC” or “SDXC”?

HC and XC are designations that indicate the card uses advanced technology to speed up its file access and processing times, and provide additional memory capacity. HC cards can handle up to a 32MB capacity, XC cards can handle up to a 2 terabyte capacity. A terabyte is 1,000 gigabytes, so that’s a LOT of memory to squeeze into such an itty-bitty memory card.

When HC, and later, XC cards first came onto the consumer electronics market, only certain devices could handle the faster file processing so you had to carefully check to ensure your device could actually accept an HC/XC card before buying one. Now, HC is pretty much standard technology for any recent-model device that accepts SD or micro SD cards up to 32 GB, and XC is the typical designation you’ll find on a card with higher capacity than 32GB.


SD vs. MicroSD 3


XC cards can also handle MUCH more capacity than HC cards: up to 2 terabytes in the standard SD card size. As of this writing, the largest capacity micro SD XC card you’ll find is 64GB.


Buy The Right Capacity Card For Your Devices

Micro SD cards are commonly available in capacities anywhere from 1 gigabyte to 128 gigabytes and their prices are very much in line with standard SD cards, but different devices have different limitations on the amount of memory they can handle in an SD card or microSD card so you shouldn’t just assume the largest capacity microSD card will be the best value for you.

Most current-model cell phones, MP3 players and other devices that accept micro SD cards can handle a 64GB card, but there are some that will only use up to a 32GB card and some older devices can only handle a 16GB card. Check your user’s manual, or if the manual’s long gone try checking your thingie’s technical details on Amazon or at the manufacturer’s website.


If You Buy The Wrong Capacity Card…

When you insert an SD or microSD card with higher memory capacity than your device can use, one of two things will happen. The first possibility is that your device will work just fine with the larger capacity card, but will only be able to useas much of the memory on the card as your device’s specifications say it can handle. The second possibility is that your device won’t be able to read the higher capacity card at all, and will show you an error when you try to use it.

Since you can’t know ahead of time which of these will happen with your specific device, it’s best to err on the side of caution and only use cards that meet the maximum capacity limit(s) of your device(s).

HD vs. SD – Is It Worth Paying Extra For HD Digital Videos?

HD vs. SD

I recently got this question from a site visitor and thought it’s probably something a lot of site visitors are wondering, so here goes.

HD vs. SD

Neo is just as much The One in SD as he is in HD.
Neo is just as much The One in SD as he is in HD

High Definition (HD) vs. Standard Definition (SD)

In a nutshell, the difference between high definition and standard definition images is the number of pixels contained in the image on display. HD images have more pixels per square inch than standard definition videos. Okay fine, but what does that really mean?

It means that HD images can show much finer detail than SD images. Here’s a simple analogy that should explain why.

Imagine you have a 3×5″ card, and you’ve been asked to draw a picture of a flower on it. You’re given your choice of two drawing tools: either a preschooler-type crayon (the really big ones) or a finely sharpened pencil. If you choose the crayon, your picture can’t possibly include as much detail as you could provide with the pencil drawing, because the crayon draws a much thicker line and you’re limited to the size of a 3×5″ card. And that’s just like the difference between SD and HD: the HD image shows finer detail because it “draws” the image with smaller, and more, pixels than an SD image can.

But not so fast! This is a very simplified example, intended to clarify the concept of HD vs. SD. In real life, the differences can be much more subtle. In real life, the upgrade to HD quality won’t be noticeable to most of us most of the time.

What does HD mean in movies

Common high-definition video modes

Video mode Frame size in pixels (W×H) Pixels per image1 Scanning type
720p (also known as HD Ready) 1,280×720 921,600 Progressive
1080i (also known as Full HD) 1,920×1,080 2,073,600 Interlaced
1080p (also known as Full HD) 1,920×1,080 2,073,600 Progressive
1440p (also known as Quad HD) 2,560×1,440 3,686,400 Progressive

What does SD mean in movies

Common Standard-definition video modes

Video format Display aspect ratio (DAR) Resolution Pixel aspect ratio (PAR)
480i 4:3 704×480
(horizontal blanking cropped)
720×480 (full frame)
480i 16:9 704×480
(horizontal blanking cropped)
720×480 (full frame)
576i 4:3 704×576
(horizontal blanking cropped)
720×576 (full frame)
576i 16:9 704×576
(horizontal blanking cropped)
720×576 (full frame)

Have you seen these people in HD? Are you sure you really want to?

Have you seen these people in HD


Videophiles: Move Along, There’s Nothing For You To See Here

Let me say right up front that video fanatics, the type of people who were all over Laserdiscs back in the day and have a home theater setup with equipment that looks like it belongs in a lab at NASA, are yelling at me through their screens right now that not only is the higher quality of an HD image noticeable, it’s critical to one’s enjoyment of any film.

To people like them, sure. The difference is noticeable. There are some people who would never go back to “consumer-grade” speakers after using super-expensive audio professional grade speakers, either. But I’m not one of them, and neither are most of you. This post is for the rest of us, the ordinary joes and janes who just want to watch our TV shows and movies in peace, with images that look clear to us.

And let’s face it, for anyone over the age of 40 who’s already had to start using reading glasses as it is, there’s an upper limit to how much clarity we can expect, even when viewing the real world around us!

So with that said, onward.


HD vs. SD: HD Is Wasted On An SD Screen

This pixels-per-square-inch thing comes into play on the device side, too. Even if you have an image that’s super high-def, 1080p, a device that can only display 720 pixels per square inch isn’t capable of displaying all that extra fine detail.

So if the device you plan to use for watching digital videos doesn’t have an HD display (you can check this in the device’s product details either in the user guide that came with it or on the manufacturer’s website), there’s no point in paying extra to watch HD videos on it.


How much fine detail are you getting on a 3.5″ screen, anyway?

How much fine detail are you getting on a 35

HD vs. SD: HD Is Wasted On A Small Screen

You probably already know that when you’re shopping for digital cameras, the higher the “megapixel” setting, the better the quality of your digital photos will be. That’s because the higher the pixel count, the more pixels there are per square inch. The more pixels there are per square inch, the higher the resolution. The higher the resolution, the finer the detail on your pictures will be. But the extra pixels in a high-def image aren’t distinguishable by the human eye when the image is small.

You know how sometimes when you’re online, you’ll see a small (or “thumbnail”) version of an image that looks pretty clear, and when you click on it to load the full-size image, the enlarged image looks fuzzy? That usually happens when the image was saved at a low resolution setting. The image looks fine to your eyes when it’s small but the bigger it gets, the worse it looks.

So if you’re intending to view digital video on a small screen, not only will you NOT notice the loss of finer details in a standard definition video, you also won’t notice the increase in finer details in an HD video.


But How Small Is The “Small” When I Say “Small Screen”?

I’ve watched both the SD and HD versions of The Matrix and Constantine, two movies with a lot of digital special effects, on my Kindle Fire HD’s 7″ screen, and didn’t notice any difference whatsoever for either movie.

I repeated the experiment on my 37″ diagonal HD television set, and again, did not notice any significant difference. I think this is because even though the image is a lot larger on my TV, I’m still sitting at least 12 feet away from the screen when I’m watching it. I don’t have a huge living room, this distance is mostly because the TV is mounted on the wall. The further I get from any image, whether on TV, my computer, my phone, my Kindle Fire or even in real life, the less I’m going to notice fine detail.

In my opinion, the difference between SD and HD is most noticeable on broadcast, network TV. But when I’m watching the news, a sitcom or a panel discussion show, I’m focused much more on what the people are saying than whether or not I can count the freckles on their noses.


Admit it: if we’d never heard of Blu-ray or HD, we’d have been perfectly content to keep watching DVDs and we would still be impressed by their image quality.

Don’t Forget How Amazing We All Thought DVD Resolution Was When DVDs First Became A Thing

If you’re old enough to have owned a movie on VHS (or even—GASP!—Betamax) and then replaced it with a new copy on DVD, surely you remember being awe-struck by the tremendous increase in image clarity. At the time you might even have said something like, “It’s like I’m right there, IN the movie! It’s like I’m actually IN The Field of Dreams!” Well guess what? That image was in standard def.

DVD image quality is nothing to sneeze at, and until people who sell HD devices and videos starting publicizing this notion that DVD image quality doesn’t cut the mustard, we were all just fine with it.


HD Isn’t Doing The Actors Or The Audience Any Favors

Until the advent of HD TV, I was happy to believe that Johnny Depp’s face was as smooth and flawless as a piece of Limoges porcelain. I was not happy when that bubble was burst wide open the first time I saw him in an interview segment on my HD TV.

Every celebrity and public figure, no matter how beautiful or handsome, is imperfect. And HD is great at literally bringing all those tiny imperfections into sharp focus. It’s not for nothing that some TV shows are being shot in slightly soft focus now, or that more celebrities seem to be getting facelifts and collagen injections than ever before.


In Conclusion…

Since HD digital movies run anywhere from $2 – $5 higher than their SD counterparts, and HD digital TV shows can be as much as $20 higher per season than the SD versions, the choice between HD and SD really can have a significant impact on your budget.

For all the reasons above, for most of us, it’s not worth the extra spend.

Tag : HD vs. SD , what does hd mean in movies