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Cheap SD Cards: Why You Should Never Buy Them

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Read time: 3 min.

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Saw a cheap deal on SD cards and wondering whether it’s too good to be true? Well, TLDR, they are very likely to be fake products and you should steer clear of them at all costs. It is a wonder why low-quality SD cards are still being sold on reputable online marketplaces and platforms (looking at you sellers who list on Shopee and Lazada). These micro SD cards can almost certainly do more harm than good if you were to use them to store anything.

5 dollars for this? Fat hope!

Without a doubt, buyers will think to themselves: Why should I spend a ridiculous amount of money on memory cards when an anonymous seller is selling seemingly similar products for a fraction of the retail price?

Given how much most of us have already spent on other computer or camera hardware, this typical thought process is completely understandable.

Don’t believe us? And already purchased it online?

Test and see it for yourself!

Fake SD Cards Have Low Write Speeds

Having an insanely slow SD card is a dead giveaway.

If you have the SD card with you now, there is a way to test whether the write speeds are slow before deciding whether to use or refund it.

To do this, we will be using a free tool called H2testw for the whole of this tutorial.

H2testw is a simple and portable tool (no installation required) that in essence, tests and gives detailed info about various storage devices.

With that, this lightweight application can show the actual performance of your newly purchased SD card and see whether it performs as advertised.

If your memory card is fake, you should be able to tell immediately from the low write speed as displayed on H2testw. Even when the test is still in progress.

A fake micro SD card writing slowly may look like this on the tool:

Illegitimate Memory Cards Can Corrupt Your Files!


So you are okay with slow memory cards and still think cheap SD cards are the way to go?

We know, we were once like that too.

How about missing and corrupted files; precious memories that were captured in images and videos now completely destroyed?

Surely you wouldn’t’ want that to happen to you too right?

Cheap SD cards may very likely do that to you too, where data loss can happen when transferring or storing anything on it.

It is another common issue of fake memory, where the micro SD card will report large total capacity to your PC, camera and phones when in reality contains a much smaller capacity.

Such cards are extremely dangerous and should be avoided at all costs because they will result in data loss.

Fortunately, the same test by H2testw can reveal to you whether a memory card is reporting false storage information such as storage capacity to your device.

Since the memory card may likely have a slow writing speed, you do not have to select its entire capacity for the test. Testing a few GBs of data should usually do the trick.

It is safe to proceed only if the storage device has been verified successfully without any data loss.

You May Have Trouble Fitting in Fake Micro SD Cards

Having a big brand label on your memory card doesn’t necessarily mean it is a genuine product.

Cheap Micro SD cards could have been rejected or labelled as defective by the manufacturer through quality control tests. 

Defective cards that come from the original equipment manufacturer, or better known as OEM, may not have the memory errors aforementioned. However, the cutting of these cards may differ. In this scenario, some users might attempt to insert the memory cards with force, damaging their devices in the process.

Since these products are often more tricky to identify, you can give a call to the manufacturer to verify the serial number.

Check & Compare Retail Prices Before Purchasing

An average 1TB SD Card costs about S$330 on Amazon and this is the usual retail price. If the prices are too good to be true, check and compare with other reliable sites.

Let us reemphasize a $5 1TB SD Card is not a good deal!


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