I don't like using microSD cards for extra storageEvan Selleck - Contributing Editor
microSD cards have been a part of our industry for quite some time, and while there was a time not too long ago when it looked like all the manufacturers might be ditching the method of physical expandable memory, I think it's pretty clear now that it's not going anywhere anytime soon. Which means, just like any other feature on your smartphone, it just comes down to personal preference.
Do you remember back when some manufacturers were slyly including microSD cards in their devices? They'd tell you in the marketing material that you got 32GB of storage right out of the box (yes!), and then you'd find out the phone really only had 16GB of built-in storage (and less than that, considering the pre-loaded stuff) and they just threw in a 16GB microSD card to bump the spec sheet.
There were a lot of ways that microSD card support for devices could have been handled better in the past. It wasn't always the smoothest process, and some manufacturers didn't even support the method of storage until recently. Some still don't. microSD card support is the general rule of thumb in the mobile industry now, though, it seems. Even HTC, which skipped its support for expandable memory in the original One, now includes it with the One M8. And Samsung, which has been a supporter right from the get-go, continues to use expandable memory in their flagship devices, like the Galaxy S5.
I wouldn't mind saying that I had never used the format for storing my stuff, but that wouldn't be the case. When I was using Android primarily, microSD cards were just the best way to make sure your stuff was safe, but more than that it made sure you had plenty of storage for the things you needed.
I've just never been a fan.
I've always preferred cloud storage, even when it was just starting out. I've used Microsoft's OneDrive (formerly known as SkyDrive) for as long as I can remember, and the same goes for Google's cloud options (which are thankfully expanding), and services like Dropbox saw plenty of usage, too. I've had a few terrible things happen to phones in the past, the worst of which saw the microSD card destroyed along with the phone. And even the thought of losing a phone, and that microSD card, is practically heart attack inducing.
My fellow Editor, Anna, wrote about how she wished she could be more excited for the 128GB microSD card, due mostly to lack of support at the time. However, I still feel the same way as her, even with the newest handsets supporting the expandable storage option. The cheapest I could find a 128GB microSD card was $99.99, but the one I'd buy is $119.99. Like I outlined at the end of March, there are a lot of different cloud storage options, and many of them offer plenty of storage for cheaper costs. Especially with the monthly installments, which spread out the cost.
Don't get me wrong, I understand why someone would like to just pay the price for a microSD card, have it in their phone at all times, and have that extra storage accessible without something like an Internet connection required. That makes a lot of sense. I just prefer the cloud, and having that access -- usually independent of whatever device I'm using. It's nice.
When it gets boiled down to brass tacks, I'll always go for a phone that has more built-in storage. I usually aim for 32GB of built-in storage (no extra microSD cards thrown in). I've found that that's just about perfect for what I need day-to-day for storage, without bleeding my wallet dry.
I can't be the only one, right? How do you feel about microSD cards? Do you use them, or do you prefer the cloud option? Do you think all manufacturers should support microSD storage? Or is it an old standard that needs to be left behind? Let me know!