Review: SanDisk microSDHC 4GB Media Card

By Gary Mazo on 12 Nov 2007 10:57 am EST
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SanDisk 4GB microSDHC Media Card

Bigger IS Better when it comes to Media Cards for your BlackBerry

Convergence is all the rage – we want to carry all our Media, Data and assorted information with us at all times.  The problem, is storage capacity.  I have a 30 gig iPod that is almost full.  Now, I don’t need all that music and all those Videos with me at all times – but I like to have the choice.

I love my BlackBerry Pearl, but I can’t fit quite as much information on a measly 1 or 2 Gig Micro SD card.  I wish I could get just 4 Gigs of stuff on there – then I would be happy.

Wait! I can!  After the latest OS upgrade (v4.2.1.107) I can now use a 4 Gig card.  So, which should I use?  In this review I will test out the SanDisk microSDHC 4 GB card which is available in the ShopCrackBerry.com store and includes an SD card adapter and microMate Card Reader.

SanDisk microSDHC 4GB Media Card

SanDisk microSDHC 4GB Media Card

The “Official” line on this new, High Capacity card reads as follows from the SanDisk Website:

SanDisk is proud to announce our newest format and capacity to the SD card family: microSD High Capacity (microSDHC) 4GB flash card. Included as bonus is our new MicroMate™ SD/SDHC compatible, high-speed USB 2.0 Reader! This will help and ensure your transition from the microSD format to the microSDHC format – for our cards and for compatible host devices. Also comes with a full size SD adapter to fit into devices with an SD slot.

Features:

  • High storage capacity (4GB) for storing essential digital content such as high quality photos, videos, music and more
  • Optimal speed and performance for microSDHC compatible devices
  • Speed performance rating: Class 2 (based on SD 2.00 Specification)
  • High Quality microSDHC card backed by 5 year limited warranty
  • Built to last, with an operating shock rating of 2,000Gs, equivalent to a ten-foot drop **
  • SanDisk microSDHC 4GB card ships with Bonus MicroMate™ USB 2.0 SD/SDHC Reader, to ensure compatibility when downloading pictures or other digital content
  • Easily transfer files between your digital devices and computer
  • High speed USB 2.0 certified reader/writer for fast data transfer

Not all devices support microSDHC 4.0GB cards. Please contact your device manufacturer for details. To ensure compatibility, look for the microSDHC logo on the product or packaging of your new phone or PDA.

So, what are these terms - SDHC, miniSDHC, and microSDHC?
The “HC” in these cards stands for  High Capacity.  These cards are  based on the SDA 2.00 specification, introduced by the SD Card Association. This new SDA 2.00 specification enables SD cards to reach higher capacities: 4GB - 32GB*. Now, I have yet to test a 6GB or and 8GB card – but for the first time, I am having success with a 4GB card in my Pearl.

What are the differences between SD and SDHC?
Regular SD cards use the FAT16 file system, but SDHC uses FAT32 to boost the range of memory addresses it can access and so store. Micro SD versions work the same way.

There are warnings on the SanDisk site that trying to put information from the old SD or Micro SD cards onto the new ones might not work.   In addition, if 4GB cards are inserted into a legacy SD/miniSD/microSD host device, the host device may not recognize/utilize the card as 4GB, and it instead may read as a 2GB card.

Installation
I was brave and figured I would give this new card a whirl – not knowing if it would truly work in the Pearl. I took off the back cover, removed the battery and took out the old MicroSD card.

Next, I put the old MicroSD card into the SD adapter (included) and put it into the card reader on my PC.  I copied the content of the old card into a new folder (for backup and restore purposes).

I put in the new 4GB card into the Blackberry. For detailed installation instructions, visit CrackBerry.com's BlackBerry 101 Lecture on Media Card installation. Next, I went to Options->Advanced Options-> Media Card and hit the “Menu” key.  I selected “Format Card” and the Blackberry folders were created on the card.

I removed this new card, put it in the card reader and transferred the data from the backup folder making sure to put “Music” in the “Music” folder, “Videos” in the “Videos” folder, etc.

One last time, I put the new card back in my device.  Now for the moment of truth.  I went back to the “Media Card” menu and looked at the bottom where it says “Free Space” and saw that I now had 3.7 GB of total space! It worked!

Speed of Card
I was nervous that the bigger card would result in slower access times for my data. While I wasn’t able to get a “scientific” read of read/write speed – I figured that many other folks on the Net would have already done that work – and I was right.  From everything I found (and my own non-scientific tests confirmed this) the new, larger capacity card was just as quick as the old FAT 16 card.

SanDisk 4GB microSDHC card speeds

When accessing my music files, I actually think the new 4GB MicroSDHC card is even faster. There was never any stutter in video files and I was able to shuffle a playlist of over 300 songs and never miss a beat.

“Real” Capacity for your BlackBerry
Now that I had a working 4GB card, I wanted to see if I could truly make my Pearl an iPhone killer (I kind of think it already was… :-)).

I loaded on over 400 songs with no problem.  iTunes encoded music is “locked” and can’t be copied – but you can always make a playlist of your iTunes songs, burn them to a CD and then “rename” them and use them as MP3 files on your BlackBerry.

I then used the Neuros MPEG4 Video Converter (which I just reviewed) and converted and copied five full length DVD’s onto my BlackBerry.

I topped that off with about 400 pictures of my family, recent vacations and the like. Now, I have music, Video, Pictures, BlackBerry email and the form factor of the BlackBerry Pearl.  I am one happy camper!

Overall Conclusions
This is a simple and easy way to double or quadruple the storage space on your BlackBerry device. You can do everything your friends can do on their iPhones with all the conveniences of your BlackBerry keyboard and BlackBerry email.

This might just be enough to get you to ditch your iPod or portable MP3 or PMP and just use your trusty BlackBerry for all your Media needs.

SPE GloveFit Review Summary:
SanDisk microSDHC 4GB Media Card
Ratings

Pros:

  • SanDisk Quality
  • Easy to Format and Install
  • Quick Read Times
  • Included SD Card Adapter and microMate Card Reader makes it easy to transfer files from Computer to Card

Cons:

  • None to Speak of

Buy Now:
Purchase the SanDisk microSDHC 4GB Media Card from the ShopCrackBerry.com Store.

Reader comments

Review: SanDisk microSDHC 4GB Media Card

12 Comments

I just got this card for my Pear 8130 on Verizon. The first one i bought did not work, but I was able to get another which worked perfectly! I too now have 4GB of storage on my phone. I synced my music with Roxio, which came with my Pearl, but it took forever just for one album. In the end I just remove the card (because it's external I don't have to pull the battery) and use the card adapter to transfer music, which is extremely quick. I would suggest that If you are moving many albums, you should do it this way to save time, and if you are just syncing a few songs, use the built in software.

i hope this helps!

100% Agreed. I always use the SD adapter and Card Reader to fill up the 4 GB.

Too bad the Media Card slot is under the battery in the Curve. Takes me longer to reboot than it does to fill up the card! :)

Why not just "enable disk mode" and attach with the cable? I find this is a very quick way to transfer music. My Pearl is read as an external hard drive and I just navigate through the "BlackBerry" folder on the Card and drag music right into the "music" sub-folder.
I do the same with Videos into the "video" sub-folder. Much faster than Roxio and just as fast as using a card reader but no removing of the card.

I use my BB for work, and the IT group here disabled disk use. They didnt disable the card entirely, just the drag and drop "disk use" function. So I have two choices, Roxio (slow) or remove the card and use the adapter. Doesn't bother me, just letting you know not everyone has the enalbe disk use option.

Also its still slower than just plugging it into your computer... Disk mode i get 550 KB/s max... when it's in my sd card slot it's much faster..

I too am brave so went straight to the 6G for my 8800. It only is read as a 2G. But after reading your review, I realize it might be that I've got v 4.2.1.79. I'll upgrade when I get home and let you know.

BTW, I got it for $64.42 at Amazon store BlueProton. I splurged $10 more for shipping and still got it for less than the 4G, and got it the next day. I'm new to Crackberry; Assuming I can get it to work as discussed above, why is Crackberry store not the best price?
Thanks for your help.
Truck

Damn I went to a wireless store the other day to buy this. The sales associate told me it costs $100 and I said that was too expensive. He told me the blackberry is too slow in reading these high capacity memory cards because of processing capabilities and that I should go with the 2gb. I felt like he was just saying that so I end up buying something instead of nothing, and according to this review I guess I was right. I didn't buy the 2gb from him ($50) but I ended up buying a 2gb from radio shack for $35 instead of getting the 4gb like i originally planned. D'oh!

I'm also new to crackberry, i just purchased a pearl from verizon and i'm already in love and it's not even here yet. I bought the 2gb instead of the 4gb because i'm not sure exactly how much memory i would need. I am completely new to owning a pda, but i have a strong need for a large variety of ringtones, Which one would be a better buy? How much does the 2gb and 4gb hold anyway?

I just purchased the Verizon Curve 8330. Can I use the 8gb microsdhc or is it too large to run on the phone? Should I use the 4gb microsdhc instead??

I too just purchased a Verizon 8330. The documentation says that it supports up to 8 GB MicroSD cards. So if a 4 GB MicroSDHC card works then a 8 GB one should too. I just ordered 2 for myself off Amazon.com (cheapest I could find was $47.99 for the 8GB).

I too just purchased a Verizon 8330. The documentation says that it supports up to 8 GB MicroSD cards. So if a 4 GB MicroSDHC card works then a 8 GB one should too. I just ordered 2 for myself off Amazon.com (cheapest I could find was $47.99 for the 8GB).

I wanted to let all the fellow crackberry lovers out there that you can purchase a Kodak or Poloroid Memory Card for your Blackberry at half the cost of some other brands.

The carmera cards work just the same.

I didn't know that until I went to the local department store and the electronics guy told me they were sold out of the phone memory cards for my RIM 8310 Titanium Blackberry but that the photo department had the same Poloroid card that would fit in my phone with no problem for $15. Of course I thought he was nuts but what did I know they man saved me about 20 bucks.

Cudos Mister Local Electronics Guy!

If you are a first time Card Buyer just look for the little tiny carmera card NOT the wider camera card.

I just wanted to pass this on in hopes of saving someone a little money. Our Blackberry toys can be pricey.

~ Crecia