If you are using microSD cards, you will find it marked with multiple specifications. In fact, microSD cards and full-sized SD cards come with various speed ratings depending upon the exact specifications that manufacturers provide you. MicroSD card manufacturers have been attempting to offer a faster speed performance in their offerings. The latest improvement in that direction is the A2 rated microSD and SD cards. What exactly are Class A2 microSD cards? How do microSD cards compare with class A1 and A2 differ from each other? Let us check out how do they vary from one another.
Also Read: BEST V60 and V90 Micro SD CARDS
The Application Performance Class
There have been different speed classes for microSD cards and SD cards. You can find the speed rating of a particular microSD or SD card using the symbols on the card. The APC or Application Performance Class would be dependent upon the capacity it can handle and the performance it comes with.
The SD Association has recently come up with a new standard so that you would get the best experience regarding excellent user experience. The class reads Application Speed Class 2 or A2. As per new standard, the sequential read and write speeds are also considered to be important along with random read and write speeds. The higher IOPS values do signify that smaller files can be written and read to the card faster.
It can be quite interesting to go through the history of speed classes. Initially, there were speed classes that focussed on the speed of performance. The range ran from Class 2 to Class 10. Then there were UHS speed classes that classified the microSD and SD cards into U1 and U3. Another class recently introduced includes Video Speed Class that uses the nomenclature V30 and V60.
What does the Class A2 bring forth? Well, the significant difference between the two variants lies in the read and write speeds.
What is the Difference between A1 and A2 Class in microSD and SD cards?
The Application Performance Class A1 conforms to SD Physical 5.1 specification. Apart from helping you store a wide range of data including maps, pictures, videos, music, dictionary, and documents, the A1 class simplifies the task of editing and updating.
The Application Performance Class 2 or A2 also conforms to SD Physical 6.0 specification. The A2 standard makes the cards run fast and at a higher performance level when compared to the A1 Class. The standard makes use of functions like Command Queuing and cache.
The typical differences between the two cards can be summarised through the following side by side comparison –
|Features / Particulars||microSD Card Class A1||microSD Class A2|
|Minimum Random Read Speed||1500 IOPS||4000 IOPS|
|Minimum Random Write Speed||500 IOPS||2000 IOPS|
|Minimum Sustained Sequential Write||10 Mbytes per sec||10 Mbytes per sec|
The IOPS refers to Input-Output Access per second. This measure is in sharp contrast to the speed measurements that memory cards are generally referred to with. However, given the fact that apps are involved with constant input and output tasks, the IOPS measure would be more helpful in addressing the concern in a better manner. It should be clear from the above comparison that the Class A2 would offer you an excellent upper hand over the Class A1. The read speeds are over 2.7 times higher, while the write speeds are four times faster.
Another point one needs to understand is while we have different ratings like class 2 to class 10, U1 and U3 and then V30 and V60 – neither of them replaces one another. The class rating, the UHS rating and the Video rating run parallel to each other. So, you would find a microSD card or an SD card that comes with both A2 and V30 scores.
Which Should You Go With?
Well, ideally, you are expected to opt for a Class A2 MicroSD card. It offers you excellent reads and writes performance. However, it may not be that easy as things stand as of now. The standard is entirely new, and manufacturers may need to go through a significant deal of experimentation to get the certification.
From that perspective, even when a Class A2 performance is most desired – it may be a good idea to opt for a card with A1 and V30 ratings. For ensuring a good speed performance, it may be a good idea to go with a card with U3 certification. These three ratings combined together should work best for your needs. Once new Class A2 cards are made available, you can check out the new options by every means.
Best Class A2 microSD cards
Having understood in detail about the significant differences between the A1 and A2 memory cards, how about checking out a few microSD cards with the Class A2 specification? Of course, the standard has just made an entry, and it would take a while for a few new models to come to the fore.
Let us check out a few good options you can look for among the Class A2 microSD cards.
1. SanDisk Extreme 128GB microSD UHS-I Card Adapter
The Class A2 microSD card should be one of the excellent options for working with Android smartphones, cameras and drones. The strength of the card lies in the 160 MB per sec read performance coupled with the 90 MB per sec write speed ensures you a faster shooting and transfer performance.
The memory card is suitable for all your needs in every condition. It is quite a temperature proof, waterproof, shockproof and x-ray proof functionality would make it an excellent option for all your needs.
The microSD card comes with the best ratings for all your needs in data management. It has the U3 rating for the UHS speed for real-time recording on UHS-enabled devices and Video Speed Class of V30 for a sustained video recording performance at 30 MB per sec.
Price – $25.58 on Amazon
2. Samsung 256GB EVO Plus Class 10
It Offers you full proof protection, the EVO Plus microSD card can withstand 72 hours of existence in seawater. It can offer you a read speed of 100 MB per sec and write speeds of up to 90 MB per sec. You can even record 4K videos without any issues and stuttering.
Stand to gain outstanding performance with UHS 1 class 10 card that provides you 4K HD performance. The card is available in multiple storage capacities like 32, 64, 128 and 256 GB. The microSD card also offers you resistance to temperature, x-ray, and magnetic effects.
Price – $49.90 for 256 GB on Amazon
3. SanDisk Extreme Pro
If you are looking for a microSD card to work with a faster data transfer, app performance, and 4K UHD, this should be your best bet for all your needs in Android smartphones, cameras, and drones. The super fast SanDisk Extreme Pro memory card offers you a read speed up to 170 MB per sec and a write speed of up to 90 MB per sec.
The Class A2 rating should be the best-suited option for all your requirements in ensuring faster application performance. You also have access to UHS Speed Class 3 (U3) and a Video Speed Class 30 – V30 that provides a 4K ready performance. So, if you are into 4K video recording, this is the best choice you can go with for a stutter-free performance regarding a great video shooting experience.
Price – $21.00 for 64 GB on Amazon
Note** Lexar has recently received Class A2 certification for its 512 MB microSD card. It has become the first 512 MB memory card to come with Class A2 certification. That would make Lexar the first and only memory card with Class A2 certification. We may expect more such options in the days to come.
The Parting Thoughts
Well, devices that need local storage these days are nothing without an equally powerful option available from their microSD cards. In addition to helping you increase the memory capacity on your device, they also tend to offer a few additional functionalities. However, given the enhanced data speeds and app performance that is expected of our smartphones, it is quite important to choose your microSD cards wisely enough. From that perspective, it should be quite valuable to go with the cards that have a good performance level.
The Class A2 MicroSD card should be the prime choice in that direction. We assume the options we have outlined in the above paragraphs should meet most of your needs. The new classification and standard have come into being only recently. We expect more card manufacturers are coming up with their versions of the technology quite soon.