The SanDisk Extreme Pro 256GB is a MicroSD card designed for use with action cameras and drones. It features fast read-write times, and being from the world’s leading memory supplier, SanDisk, expectations are that the quality will be first-rate.
The SanDisk Extreme Pro 256GB strikes a balance between speed and price and offers enough performance for the majority of action cameras and drones.
- Large Capacity
- Robust memory
- Fast read write speeds
- Not quite fast enough for latest action cameras and drones
What is the SanDisk Extreme Pro 256GB?
SanDisk leads the field when it comes to storage, from flash memory used to store action camera and drone footage through to portable and desktop storage solutions, albeit under different brand names.
The compact SanDisk Extreme Pro 256GB MicroSD card is the latest Extreme Pro release, recommended by both GoPro and DJI.
A mix of capacity, speed and price make the Extreme Pro range an excellent choice for any photographer. However, are the Extreme Pro cards still worth the money when the latest Sandisk Ultra and other cards are available with the same capacity for less than half the price?
- Product type: MicroSD memory card
- Write Speed: 90mb/s
- Read Speed: 170mb/s
- Classes: UHS-I, A2, V30, U3
- Protection: Shock, water, temperature, X-Ray Proof
- Capacity : 256GB
The SanDisk Extreme Pro 256GB takes on the compact MicroSD form factor which has been designed to be used in portable devices such as mobile phones and action cameras.
It’s rated as a MicroSD XDSC, V30, U3, A2, UHS-I.
If you’ve checked out the rest of the SanDisk MicroSD card ranges, you’ll see that most of them now feature one of the large capacity cards, but what differentiates the Extreme Pro from the Ultra is the speed of file transfers.
The Extreme Pro features read speeds of 170mb/s and write speeds of 90mb/s. This compares with the Ultra that has transfers speeds of 100mb/s. Sandisk chooses to use transfer speed in their literature rather than state the actual read-write speed, so the read speed likely maxes out at 100mb/s, and the write speed for the Ultra is considerably less.
The write speed is the important one for imaging, with many of the latest drones such (as the new DJI Mavic Air 2) and action cameras recording at 100-120mb/s. So while the Ultra has the read speed, it doesn’t have the write speed to write down the image or video files at a fast enough pace.
To record at the max Mb/s for your drone or action camera, you’ll need a card that can keep up; this Extreme Pro card teeters on edge. But, for the majority of action cameras, the 90mb/s should be more than adequate.
Build and Handling
As it’s a MicroSD card, the SanDisk Extreme Pro 256GB MicroSD card is small and easy to lose if the spring in your memory card slot is a little overzealous.
The SanDisk Extreme red and gold colours are always preferable and are by far the easiest cards to find when you drop them on the forest floor.
Otherwise, the actual handling of the card feels as good as any.
To check the transfer speeds of the SanDisk Extreme Pro, I tested the card in the USB Type-C GoPro MicroSD card reader and the Kingston Nuclum.
Using both devices resulted in very similar read-write speeds when tested with the BlackMagic Speed Disk Test.
After several tests, the write speed averaged around 82 mb/s and read speeds of 90mb/s. A little off on the max read speed, but the all important write speed is almost spot on.
Once the software tests were complete, I moved on to action cameras using both the OSMO Action and GoPro Hero8 Black. With both cameras, the MicroSD card performed well with the cameras buffers taking any slack in the speed of the storage.
Giving the card an extensive test over three weeks, its integrity remained intact, and there were no issues with dropped or corrupted files.
The next test usually finishes off the cards as I check how shockproof, temperature-proof, waterproof, and X-ray-proof it is. I can’t test X-Ray-proofing at the moment as we’re in lockdown and I have no need to leave the country.
As for the other tests, dropping the card countless times from about 1.5m onto a hard and soft surface had little if any effect. To be on the safe side, I dropped it from a height of 4m on to the patio, and the card still works fine. I would imaging that due to the small size and weight dropping the card is going to do little, especially when housed inside a drone or action camera.
The next test was temperature resistance. I set the MicroSD on a heated bed and increasing the temperature to 65ºC for 30 minutes. The card looked physically fine with no warping or other signs that it may fall apart. Crucially, it also worked in the action camera just fine.
To test how it would react in cold conditions, I popped it into the freezer at -19 and left it for an hour. Then before testing, allowed it to warm back to room temperature.
Retesting the speed after the heat and cold test and the card continued to work as expected.
MicroSD’s have dramatically fallen in price and risen in performance. The 256GB SanDisk Extreme Pro gives plenty of capacity and performance at a reasonable price.
For almost all action cameras and drones, this card provides the performance required. However, for the likes of the Mavic Air 2, GoPro Hero8 Black and OSMO Action push the limits of this card’s write speeds, so you should look at the UHS-II version.
For everyone else then for imaging the SanDisk Extreme Pro 256GB is a great choice.