Memory Card Buying Guide | Argos

Memory Card Buying Guide

Don't know your SDHC from SDXC? We'll help you find the right card to suit your needs.

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What type of memory card do I need?

Memory card/device SDHC SDXC MicroSD
Mobile phones    
Digital cameras
DSLR cameras  
Action cameras    
  Shop SDHC Shop SDXC Shop MicroSD

Please note that this is an approximate guideline. Make sure you check what the manufacturer recommends before purchasing a card. Older devices, in particular, may not accept newer card types.

Different types of memory card?

SD cards are the most commonly used memory cards with 3 main types available.


These have more storage space than standard SD cards which gives you room to shoot higher-quality films and photos.



SDXC have a higher capacity than both SD and SDHC cards, and they usually work faster.


MicroSD Card

These are smaller versions (in physical size) of SD, SDHC and SDXC cards. Great for mobile phones and action cameras.

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To record HD or 4K on any SD card, choose one with a UHS I or UHS II rating (it should say in the product title).

Set of memory cards with different capacities

How much storage will I need?

Capacity (GB) Hours of MP3 music Photos (12MP JPEG format) Photos (20MP JPEG format) Photos (20MP RAW format) Standard HD video recording (9mbps) Full HD video recording (13mbps)
8 135 1900 1330 130 120 mins 80 mins
16 270 3800 2660 260 240 mins 160 mins
32 545 7600 5330 520 480 mins 320 mins
64 1090 15200 10660 1040 960 mins 640 mins
128 2145 30400 21320 2080 1920 mins 1280 mins


JPEG is the most commonly used format for taking photos. Most digital cameras will automatically use this format.


RAW formats are only used when trying to attain the highest quality on a DSLR. You would need to change to this format manually.

Memory card speeds

Read speed

How quickly you can access data on the memory card. A higher read speed means quicker download to your computer or device. 30MBs would be considered slow, while 160MBs+ would be considered fast.

Write speed

How fast your photo or film goes from being shot to being stored on the card. A slow speed could make it difficult to take photos quickly and reduce the quality of your footage.

Speed class

The minimum write speed for the card, also measured in MBs. Filming a video? A dramatic drop in write speed could cause loss of frames and reduce video quality.

UHS class

This is another measure of write speed. Cards with a UHS (ultra high speed) rating can work fast enough to capture HD and 4K images, if your device is compatible.

What memory card speeds do I need?

Memory card type Speed class Min. write speed 4K recording Full HD recording Standard HD recording Continuous recording HD photos
SD UHS speed 3 30 MB/s  
SD UHS speed 1 10 MB/s    
SD Speed class 10 10 MB/s    
SD Speed class 6 6 MB/s      
SD Speed class 2 2 MB/s        

Write & protect on SD cards

Often memory cards will have the write-protect logo displayed. This means you can lock your card so that it cannot be written on. Simply move the tiny lever at the top of the card up to prevent your data being overwritten.

Flash drives and hard drives

If your laptop's struggling for space to save all your photos, videos and music, or you want a way to back up your laptop, then purchasing a flash or hard drive is your best option.

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What is a flash drive and USB drive?

Well firstly, they're the same thing. More commonly known as a USB, they're small - no bigger than a finger - portable and great for storing smaller files like essays, photos, videos etc.

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Different versions of USB

You can get a 3.0 or 2.0 version. This refers to the speed of the USB interface of your device. Devices with USB 3.0 will transfer files faster than 2.0, but before you buy, make sure your device's port supports USB 3.0 or you won't see the benefit.

Phone flash drives

Easily transfer photos and videos between your phone and computer with a flash drive. They'll free up memory on your mobile and expand your storage by up to 128GB.

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What is a hard drive?

A separate drive that connects to your device, providing extra storage space. Great for backing up your whole laptop, or if you're looking for a more secure way to store your files. Usually small (not as small as a USB), compact and pretty portable.

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Hard drive vs. a device with bigger storage

If you choose a laptop with a large memory, sure you'll be able to store all your stuff, but its performance will be very slow. To get around this, choose a laptop with minimal memory - so its performance is faster - then buy a hard drive to boost its memory without jeopardising the speed. By doing this you're getting the best of both worlds in a more cost-effective way.

What device can hard drives be used on?

They work with most devices, but once synced and formatted to a particular brand (e.g. Microsoft), they can't then be used on a different brand. This is because when they sync up, they become compatible with only that brand. Also great for gaming consoles (PS4, Xbox) for when a game is too big to install. There's an increasing need for hard drives as games become more detailed, intelligent and innovative.

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