TF Card vs SD Card: 8 Things to Consider Before Buying

TF card vs SD card

The TF cards are similar to the micro SD cards. The only difference is that they are a bit smaller. However, they are equally powerful and used on different electronic devices like mobile phones, cameras, and other high-tech.


What is the TF card?

micro SD card

TF card stands for Trans flashcard. However, it is now referred to as a micro SD card. It was launched in 2004 through the joint development of Motorola and SanDisk. It is a tiny flash memory card used to store data digitally.

It is the size of a fingernail; you can only imagine how small it is! They are used in devices that require portable storage.


What is the micro SD card?

micro SD card explain

Micro SD card stands for Secure Digital Card. It was developed jointly by Panasonic, Toshiba, and SanDisk Corporation in August 1998. Hence, it has been in existence for a while. It is a storage device based on semiconductor flash memory.

The removable memory card is used to read and write large quantities of data on different devices. It has become like a default memory card standard size for most electronics.

The Micro SD cards provide an easy way to transfer information and store it with a non-volatile solution like most storage devices. You don't even need another source to keep the data.


1. Size difference

micro SD card size

The size of the TF card is about 15mm*11mm*1mm, which is about the size of your fingernail.

The size of the Micro SD card is about 24mm*32mm*2.1mm.

The size of the TF card is about 1/4 of that of the SD card.

They are all small in size to ensure they fit perfectly on different devices.


2. The design structure of the Micro SD cards and TF cards

design structure of the Micro SD cards and TF cards

The SD card has a mechanical write protect switch (lock switch). However, the TF card does not have any switch design, but it can be turned into an SD card with the help of a card adapter.

The metal contact points of the SD card are separated by plastic partitions. This helps to protect them from any external disturbances. The interior of the SD card features the central control and flash memory flip.

The design structure of the TF card is almost similar to that of the SD card. However, the TF card's heat dissipation is not perfect. If you use it to read and write a large amount of data in a short time, it will become hot/warm.


3. Digital storage device

Digital storage device

TF cards are generally used in relatively small electronic devices, such as home monitors, mobile devices, GPS devices, Nintendo switch, portable music players, mp3 players, portable music, and switches. However, SD cards types are used in more oversized electronic products, such as digital cameras, digital assistants, multimedia players, and much more.

The micro SD cards can also act as Bluetooth. However, the Trans Flash card can’t perform this. This is another major limitation of the TF cards. Moreover, the TF card can pass through the card sleeve and convert into a micro SD card.


4. Speed

SD cards speed

Each SD or TF card has a speed rating called a speed class. A large class number means a faster level of writing. This allows files to be written to the card or recorded at a higher speed. For example, class 2 has a recording speed of 2MB/S, class 4 has 4MB/S, and class 6 has 6MB/S. Class 2 can be ideal for SD video recording, while class 6 is ideal for HD recording.

Many photographers prefer using SD cards because they are faster. This helps them in high-speed continuous shooting or create 4K videos.

The different classes are:

  • Class – 2MB/sec,
  • Class 4 – 4MB/sec,
  • Class 6- 6MB/sec,
  • Class 10 10MB/sec,
  • 600x: speed 90MB/s
  • Tip: The read and write speed of a flash memory card is closely related to the number of files stored in the card. However, it is normal for a slight error to exist. Also, a card’s capacity depends on the file system used to store the data.

5. Safety of the micro SD and TF cards

Safety of the micro SD and TF cards

The micro SD card is designed with a write protection switch (a push-pull switch on the side) to prevent accidental loss of important data.

On the other hand, the TF cards (micro SD cards) offer a high level of storage security. This helps to prevent loss in speed due to the AES flash memory encryption and access protection.

micro SD card write protection switch

The encryption can be put for the entire memory or just some files. Only the authorized users who enter the right pin can access the content. This is crucial when some critical content needs to be secured.


6. Convertibility

card adapter

You can use a card adapter to convert a TF card into an SD card and use it on SD card equipment. However, a micro SD card can only be used on a fixed equipment.

Any device that can use a micro SD card can also use a TF card but with the help of an adapter.  The ground line is that the TF cards can be converted into micro SD cards, but the SD card can’t be converted into TF cards.


7. Price

SD cards Price

TF cards are bought more than SD cards. If more products are shipped in the semiconductor industry, the cost of raw materials can be reduced. If you evaluate different online shopping platforms, you will note that an SD card of the same brand, size, and speed as a TF card is slightly more expensive.

Hence, TF cards are more cost-friendly than SD cards. However, if you want more flexibility, opt for SD cards.


8. Service life

sd card Service life

In the previous SSD article, we stated that the life of flash memory devices is related to the number of erases and writes (PE). The TLC storage particles used in the past had an erase and write capability of 500-1000 times. However, the QLC particles are the ones commonly being used. The number of writes is about 300 times.

Notably, your flash memory card life depends on the storage particles you buy, and of course, your usage habits. TF card’s small size, high data density, and high probability of failure make it less viable for use as a long-term data storage device.


Which one should I choose?

SD card or tf card

If you are not a photographer or have other professional needs, choose TF cards because they are cheap and can meet your needs. However, if you need more flexible storage, choose the SD card.

Yes, they are a bit expensive, but they are suitable for most needs. You can never go wrong when using a TF card or SD card. They are highly recommendable. There are different types of cards brands; hence, read reviews to know the best for your electronic devices.

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