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REVIEW: SanDisk 256 MB miniSD Card
Posted by Arne Hess - on Thursday, 12.08.04 - 11:21:05 CET under 08 - Reviews - Viewed 10540x
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Yesterday I received a miniSD card, thanks to a friendly supporter of PPCW.Net. Right now, it's hard to get hands too these cards since they are still pretty new and not that common but this will change sooner we might expect. It's the same evolution we had with the CF card/SD card change before and since mobile devices like PDAs and now mobile phones also needs more and more storage space these type of cards becomes more interesting because they are smaller than CF cards while they are fully compatible too the SD standard.

The card I've received is the SanDisk 256 MB miniSD card and to be honest - reviewing a storage card isn't that easy.

Size
Maybe the most impressive "feature" of these kind of new storage cards is the size, compared with previous card standards:

Above, you see from left to right: PCMICA HDD, CF sized flash card, SD sized flash card and the new miniSD sized SanDisk card. From 5 GB to 8 MB to 128 MB up to 256 MB and this is what amazes me most - to pack 256 MB storage capacity in such a small form factor.

Talking about the form factor: the miniSD is around 60 % less of a standard SD card while it continues to include the same features like the security token which differentiates a SD card from a MMC card. The miniSD card is a little bit more than a Dime:

Compatibility
As said, the miniSD is compatible to the standard SD card and SanDisk gives this card away with an SD card adapter:

This adapter allows you to continue to use the miniSD card in devices with SD slots 'only" (like today's Pocket PCs). But that's not all; if you plug this adapter into a CF adapter and the CF adapter into a PCMCIA adapter you can even use it with Notebooks.

As you can see above the pin-out of the adapter is identical to the SD card itself while the miniSD card has a couple more pin-outs. Right now, I'm not sure why the miniSD has more than the standard SD but anyway - the most important part is compatibility and the miniSD worked great in my Pocket PCs as well.

But which devices requires miniSD today? Well, I'm not aware of that many devices but I know one for sure: the Motorola MPx220. Unlike previous Microsoft Smartphones, Motorola's clamshell device accepts miniSD cards only:

And who wonders, right after you've plugged it in it appears in Motorola's build-in File Manager:

Final Conclusion

Using the miniSD isn't any sorcery at all - plug it into the device and it works as we know it from previous flash storage cards. A nice thing from SanDisk is that they ship that miniSD with an adapter also which let's you use it with Pocket PCs or digital cameras as well. I'm pretty sure we will see more and more devices in the near future, supporting the miniSD only (instead today's standard SD) and therefore it might be a good idea to start buying miniSD cards today instead of standard SD cards.
The downside is that miniSD cards are more expensive than SD cards (as we saw it before with the price difference between CF and SD cards) and I'm sure it will take some time to reach a mass-market capable price point.

Cheers ~ Arne

Related Links : [More Information about miniSD] [SanDisk's miniSDs]


 

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Comments
Posted by jlp on 12.08.04 - 21:37:37

Too bad there's no PUKE emoticons for that kind of accessory :evil:

Another incompatible standard :evil: coz obviously you can't put your existing SD cards into the related slot and how good is it to have these cards if all your devices only have SD slots

SD is small enough for everything INCLUDING phones!!

Don't tell me a phone will get much smaller with these in.

It's just like some of Nokia's phones which uses YET ANOTHER  :evil: standard RS-MMC it's just to get more money.

Nokia's RS-MMC cards are expensive like :evil: AND you get much lower capacities for obvious reasons.

Worst, the maximum miniSD capacity is 8 times smaller than reg SD cards.

I could go on and on as to why I'll never get neither those cards nor any device requiring them.

And any intelligent consumer has to do the same!!

Posted by jlp on 12.08.04 - 21:45:21

And before you reply, YES I understand you can put these cards into a miniSD to SD adapter and use in a device that has an SD slot. As I said you can't put any of your SD cards in a device requiring those :evil: minicards for obvious reasons.

So there is NO compelling reasons to get into these like there were to go from CF to SD. However I still keep using CF cards as they are much cheaper or offer 2x-3x more capacity for the same price.

Thanks but NO THANKS!!

Posted by Arne Hess on 12.08.04 - 23:07:06

[1] [2] All this what you said might be right or not. Always depends on your device requirements. I - for myself - have to say that I have to/will accept the new standard because some of the new devices I will use in future (like the HTC Typhoon) or even today (Motorola MPx220) supports the miniSD only.
So either I go with the new devices or I don't. Again - every customer should be old enough to decide it on his own. :roll:

Posted by Ralph Hoogerhuis on 12.08.04 - 23:56:59

I disagree that the mini SD cards are more expensive than the normal SD cards. Here in the Netherlands I pay EUR 45 for a 256 MB mini SD, including adapter. That is not too bad I beleive ...

Posted by Jorlin on 13.08.04 - 00:09:18

I am asking myself why flash memory cards have to be that small...
When I take a look at my SD cards here, I have to say that this is sufficently small enough. At the size of a mini sd card it might become less practical...
I can imagine that it is nice for very small devices to save space having a smaller slot.

Posted by Thomas Wolfram on 13.08.04 - 02:43:32

The worst thing of mini-SD is, that the mini-SD Slots makes it impossible to use a WLAN-SDIO-card in the new MPx220 and HTC Typhoon (C500) which would be very useful vor VoIP (Voice over IP). And that comes in a moment when VoIP via DSL and Wi-Fi hotspots is finally taking off.  :evil:

But I guess the mobile operators don't like the idea that people could do call (esp. long distance calls) from Wi-Fi hotspots much cheaper.

Posted by jlp on 13.08.04 - 22:10:24

Arne,

People can choose to buy a device or another, not necessarily buy a device or not.

The actual gain in saved space is insignificant compared to the device TOTAL volume.

This coupled with the fact that these slots are not compatible with the many regular SD cards (memory or I/O) available today makes it a stupid choice and condoning it a more stupid one.

Of course everybody has choice, but obviously some are smarter than others (both choices and people are big_smile)

The problem is that uninformed people make stupid choices because of lack of information, not lack of wisdom.

Posted by jlp on 13.08.04 - 22:15:08

Another important thing the maximum memory capacity for regular SD cards is 8 times larger than miniSD. It's also possible that the maximum throughput is higher too.

Anyway since miniSD cards have far more disadvantages than advantage why bother??

Not only these disadvantages are more numerous, they are more drastic as well.

Posted by jlp on 13.08.04 - 22:27:26

Arne,

When you say in your article "Maybe the most impressive "feature" of these kind of new storage cards is the size, compared with previous card standards:"

This is ab-so-lute-ly not true :evil:

A quick glimps at your pix reveals virtually no gain, I repeat virtually no gain between SD and MiniSD.

Everybody can easily acknowledge a very significant gain between PC Card and CF, a fairly sizeable gain between CF and SD (especially considering the volume taken by CF connectors and rails), BUT virtually no gain between SD and MiniSD.

Easy to understand why: the smaller the card gets, the much less you can save space... until further gains become in-sig-ni-fi-cant, CQFD    8)

Posted by Arne Hess on 13.08.04 - 22:42:08

[9] First of all: I appreciate every feedback but I wonder if you can also post your feedback in one comment instead of having 3 :?:
Second: What do you mean with absolutely not true? It's 66 % less - volume-wise. What I was able to photograph was the size but not the volume since it is not that deep as a standard SD card (otherwise it wouldn't fit into the adapter which fits into the standard SD slot).
So what do you want to tell me? I'm a liar or what?
I'm starting to get a little bit irritated with your comments and [b]I'm not the inventor of this card - just the reviewer[(/b]. "Don't kill the messenger" :!:

[7] There are several devices in the pipeline which are much smaller than the MPx220. Wait what the future will bring. The 220 might be not the best example for the review (but I can't excuse here since it is the only device I had which accepts the miniSD and therefore I had to take it).
Smart people don't make a decision out of one like or dislike but out of the complete view. While I'm for sure not a big fan of another standard (since I also have a lot of CF cards and SD cards before), I have to count all the pros and cons.
As for the MPx220 I have to accept it since the rest fits great into my requirements.

But anyway - it's not a review about the storage capabilities of the MPx220 but a technology review of a memory standard.

[8] Please recheck the miniSD white papers: the through output is the same as for standard SD cards.

You are free to register http://www.i-hate-minisds-a... but as I said before: I've just reviewed it and have to admit I'm still fascinated of the size and that they pack 256 MB into this size (and already work on 512/1024 MB).

Posted by Arne Hess on 13.08.04 - 22:45:58

[6] At the C500 it is less a question of the card standard but more a question where HTC put it: under the battery! That's the worst thing they can copy from Nokia!
So even if the C500 would support standard SD you wouldn't be able to use I/O cards, thanks to it's position... That's worse! :evil:

Posted by jlp on 14.08.04 - 03:35:06

[10] Arne my good man,

I would edit my messages to add more thoughts but it's not possible. So comment is unuseful.

Then percentage numbers are nothing in and of themselves alone.

If you save 50% on $2 you save $1, if you save 50% on $1,000 you save $500. Tho the percentage is the same, the actual number for the second example is 500x more than the first.

How wonderful is it to save 60% on an already very small number??

:? :? :?

Posted by Arne Hess on 15.08.04 - 20:11:01

[12] Okay, I give up... neutral

Posted by Arne Hess on 15.08.04 - 20:13:39

[4] 45 € is great, here in Germany it was announced - by a popular PDA shop (http://www.handit.de/index....) - for € 99,50 and this isn't a branded card but a no-name only 8O

Posted by jlp on 15.08.04 - 22:33:36

[13] out of ammunitions, Arne ?!!! 8)  :twisted:

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