Card capacities and speeds have been steadily increasing and the latest card to arrive on my desk is the Samsung 128GB Pro Endurance.
I’ve been a fan of Samsung memory cards for a while; they’re tough and stand-up to daily use. Over the years they’ve consistently performed well and pretty much every card I’ve tested is still in use and working.
This latest card is of the MicroSD format, slightly smaller than the more common SD cards and used in all action cameras and most mobile phones.
At 128GB the card is close to the top end in terms of capacity, but surprisingly it only has a U1 speed class. However, for action cameras and mobile phones where the data rate isn’t that high, at least compared to mirrorless and SLR cameras, it should be sufficient for recording 4K video.
In our speed tests, the card proved to match the usual Samsung quality busting through the U1 speed check and hitting the near exact read/write speeds quoted on the Samsung site.
The Samsung 128GB Pro Endurance may not be the fastest card in the pack but it can certainly keep up. Recording 4K on mobile and action cameras all seemed good but the speed test showed it was pushing the boundaries. It does, however, offer huge storage capacity at a price that’s hard to beat.
For Samsung 128GB Pro Endurance
- Large Capacity
- 1-year warranty
- Excellent build quality
Against Samsung 128GB Pro Endurance
- Only Class U1
- Usual MicroSD small and fiddly
Samsung is one of the largest global tech companies and alongside their extensive range of electronics, they also produce memory cards.
Memory cards are at the heart of everything we do photographically and the MicroSD form factor is commonly used in mobile phones and action cameras.
This new Samsung 128GB Pro Endurance has one of the larger MicroSD card capacities on the market, with options for 32GB, 64GB and our review sample at 128GB.
Initially, I was slightly disappointed that it was only a class U1, but as the review went on I found that this was more than adequate for most resolutions and framerates, at least when it came to using with action cameras and mobiles.
Due to the nature of a MicroSD card or for that matter any memory card there really can’t be any deviation from the base design. Therefore the only way one manufacturer can distinguish their card from another is with a graphic or two.
The Pro Endurance colouring is much the same as the Pro cards and from experience, I’ve found that these cards are relatively easy to locate if dropped on the ground.
Or at least they are if they land graphics side up. If you have an overzealous spring in your action cameras card slot then a MicroSD card can be catapulted some distance, graphic side up makes it easy to find, black side up makes it near impossible.
It’s a small thing but one day I’d just like to see the graphics printed at least in part on both sides, not just the front.
When it comes to the all-important card specifications they are as follows:
Capacity wise you have a choice of 32GB, 64GB or 128GB at Speed Class U1.
Read speeds of 90mb/s and write speeds of 30mb/s are quoted by Samsung, this is more than enough for most mobile phones and action cameras even when recording at 4K. However, some of the more premium action cameras such as the GoPro Hero 6 and Yi 4K+ may well have issues as they’ll be close to this write speed limit.
This card by name is endurance and Samsung make a big claim about the card and its longevity. As someone who does get through one or two cards a year robustness of storage media is one of the most important features. Samsung claim that this card is good for 43,800 hours, that’s five years of continuous use.
The card is also well protected and has an operating temperature range of between -25 and 53ºC, at both extents I’d be more worried about my own survival than the operating performance of the card, unless in either temperature extreme I’m leaving my last will and testament, in which case that range would certainly be helpful.
As well as the card in the packet you also get a MicroSD to SD card adapter. If you’re a Mac owner then I would highly recommend the Kingston Nucleum as it has a MicroSD card reader built in. PC owners will probably have one built in and those who use Linux will do their own thing.
Build quality and handling
When it comes to MicroSD cards there isn’t much variation in design from one to another.
This card feels of as good a quality as any other and as ever is small, fiddly and easy to lose. All standard points of MicroSD Cards.
As with all cards, there really is little that can or should go wrong, the only issue I’ve ever had is snapping them in half when trying to fit a card into a camera with frozen fingers.
SD cards often have small bits of plastic that peel off, MicroSD cards have none of that, so all good.
This card looks as good as they come when it comes to the materials, colour and build quality.
A card generally works or it doesn’t but thankfully there are plenty of applications out there that enable you to speed test your cards to see the performance and also check to see if there’s a drop in quality over time.
But first the real world tests and using the camera in both the GoPro Hero 6 Black and Garmin Virb Ultra 30 the performance seemed solid at all resolutions including 4K.
Testing in a variety of other action cameras and the U1 class ensured maximum compatibility with some of the older cameras. The only issue was with a couple of entry-level cameras that required the card to be formatted inside the camera before use, this was probably due to the card exceeding the cameras maximum capacity.
Removing the card from the camera and testing with Blackmagic Design Disk Speed test showed a write speed of 34.2mb/s and read of 89mb/s almost exactly as quoted on the Samsung website.
Although speed isn’t the big selling point of this card endurance is. During the test, I ran the usual speed test but also left the card being tested through a stress test. Over a duration of 5 hours the read and write speeds remain consistent although the temperature of my Mac rose dramatically.
There’s a huge selection of memory cards out there and the speed and price of them vary greatly.
Investing in a quality card is essential and the Samsung 128GB Pro Endurance should fit the bill for most users.
Designed for use with mobile and action cameras this card is capable of keeping up with the majority of demands especially when it comes to capacity.
Although the card functioned fine when recording 4K in all cameras tested the speed test showed that the data rate was close to its limit for premium cameras.
The durability test showed little to no shift in performance over a five-hour period, making me sure that it will be good for a number of years.
If you mainly shoot stills or HD video then this card is a great option especially when you consider the price.
If you shoot 4K then you could get away with using this card but I’d fear some loss of quality and in reality, it’s worth spending that pound or two more on the next level card.