Being a blogger specialising in gadget reviews has allowed me to experience products that I would otherwise not have tried. Strontium is a Singapore brand and they reached to me 2 years back to review the Nitro Plus U3 micro SDXC card. I liked the product and from then on, I continued to purchase their products that gives lifetime warranty. It makes sense if you live in Singapore, as you can visit the office off Paya Lebar Road to get your faulty products replaced.
Recently, Strontium contacted me again to offer the updated SDXC card for review. While the previous generation card is rated 80MB/s read and 60MB/s write, this newer model is advertised to offer 95MB/s read and 85MB/s write. It is also UHS-I Class 3, which means it can record 4K HD videos.
I used the CrystalDiskMark software to run benchmark tests on a few memory cards I have, including the previous micro SDXC card.
At 91MB/s, the read speed is close to Strontium claims. However, the write speed is a little off – 60MB/s against advertised 85MB/s.
Ironically, the older micro SDXC card performs a notch better despite a lower-rated spec.
In comparison, my other fast storage card, SanDisk Extreme SDHC 45MB/s, fared as spec.
I shared my findings to Strontium and they calmly explained that this could be due to the different flash providers (they use Samsung, Toshiba, Hynix and Micron). Instead of getting worried over my findings, they responded with an open mind to provide them with my most honest feedback, and committed to improve their storage products consistently.
I appreciate their honesty and they actually reaffirmed my belief that statistical benchmarks are not everything. Plus, the fact that most other memory card brands advertise the same read and write speeds go to show that they too get their flash storage from the same providers. The difference, ultimately, comes down to price, packaging, and after sales support.
And speaking of packaging, I love how easy it is to remove the SD card with perforated lines.
So, I proceeded to test the SDXC card on real life products, and here are the results:
With the new Strontium Nitro Plus SDXC card, my Samsung NX1 fires 48 burst shots of RAW images at 15fps totalling 1118MB before the shutter paused (buffer maxed), and took 20 seconds to write before the LED flashing on the camera stopped. With the older Strontium Nitro Plus microSDXC card, the NX1 delivers similar outcome with a difference of a few milliseconds.
With the SanDisk Extreme SDHC card, the NX1 manages 45 shots before buffer maxed, totalling 1050MB. It then took 24 seconds to write before the LED flashing on the camera stopped.
And similar to my previous review’s test results, the SanDisk Extreme SDHC card writes faster on the Samsung NX30: 14.3 seconds to flush the buffer after 12 burst shots of RAW images totalling 314MB. The new Strontium SDXC card needed 15 seconds.
In real life situations, a better spec card can deliver better speed but on some devices, there may not have significant differences. In this case, the SanDisk Extreme card may appear to be half the advertised speed of Strontium, but it did not perform only half as fast. On some devices, it may even outperform, and I suspect it is not specific to SanDisk brand.
And if you ask me further, honestly, all SD card brands use the same few flash storage manufacturers, which offers identical read-write performances. 2 years ago, they are all 80MB/s read speed, now they are all 95MB/s. No one claims “100MB/s”, because the flash storage specs by the OEM do not say so.
Ultimately, why you buy one brand over another may well be due to perceived quality, brand affinity, and design.
The Strontium Nitro Plus SDXC 64GB card shows no improvement on the performance against older models, but what I liked about buying from Strontium is that it is a local brand, comes with lifetime warranty, and many of its microSD products come with useful adapters. And during IT trade shows, the prices are really attractive.
Hardware failures are not uncommon. Even well-known brands fail (I had a SanDisk microSD that failed on me). Buying a Strontium product is buying a lifetime of product enjoyment – guaranteed.
Strontium ® NITRO PLUS range of SDHC/SDXC flash cards adopt the SD Association’s latest specification release, UHS-I U3 (Ultra High-Speed Bus, Speed Class 3), which allows tremendous improvement in write speeds of at least 30MB/s to capture and playback 4K2K high-quality video recordings seamlessly.
- Durability – Water proof; temperature proof; magnet proof; X-ray proof
- Lifetime Warranty
- Official recommended retail price: S$88