As is tradition come time for Mobile World Congress, a new speed king is being crowned in the kingdom of SD cards. Last year, SanDisk impressed with a microSD card boasting 275 MB/s transfer speeds, but they’re being topped this year by Sony. Sony’s new SF-G series SD cards are capable of up to 300 MB/s read speeds and 299 MB/s write speeds, but it’ll hard to be benefit from them in the short term.
Like the SanDisk card from last year, we’re looking at a UHS-II, UHS Speed Class 3, Class 10 card here — the latter two classifications indicate that the card won’t dip below 30 MB/s write speeds or 10 MB/s write speeds, depending on the device that the cards are used with.
And, there’s the rub. While 299 MB/s write speeds sound amazing for anyone taking 4K or 360-degree video with high-end cameras, you’ll have to be careful to make sure that you’re getting enough bang for your buck. UHS-II cards are physically different from UHS-I cards (there’s an extra row of pins on UHS-II) — while UHS-II cards are backwards compatible, you’ll need a camera with a UHS-II slot to actually get close to the maximum speeds advertised. Funny enough, a lot of Sony’s high-end consumer cameras don’t have UHS-II slots, although we suspect that will be changing in short order now that this card is on its way.
Sony will have these SD cards ready for action. The SF-G cards will all be waterproof, shockproof, temperature resistant, and anti-static, and Sony will provide free File Rescue software that can save photo and video files, even if they’ve been deleted or there’s been drive damage.
Sony says that the SF-G cards will be available in the spring, and will come in 32 GB, 64 GB, and 128 GB capacities. How much will they cost? We don’t know, but it’s going to be a lot.