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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 11405x
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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]