SD Card vs Flash Drive Revisited – Which one the best portable storage?

SD Card vs Flash Drive - SD Card vs Flash Drive Revisited - Which one the best portable storage? 3

SD card or USB flash drive? Both devices are relatively small and have been engineered to store data as much as possible. As the development continues, the density of data that can hold increased exponentially.

Today, SD card and USB flash drive already reach the same amount of capacity as hard drive, yet providing quicker read/write performance.

But, which one is the best portable storage for your need?

SD Card

SD Card vs Flash Drive

Secure Digital Card or SD card for short was introduced in 1999 by the joint between Sandisk, Panasonic, and Toshiba to improve MultiMediaCards capability. This device is pretty small, and the thickness is about two credit cards stacked. The SD card can be distinguished by three different sizes and shapes: microSD, standard SD, and mini SD.

MicroSD – was the most popular SD card version, generally used for a smartphone, speaker, or action cam. With the size less than a penny, microSD has been vastly adopted by the mobile gadget manufacturer as the most reliable external storage.

Standard SD – is more significant than microSD yet providing nearly the same capacity. This device has become a major storage component for pocket and DSLR camera.

Mini SD – was not as popular as its brother, this version rarely seen on the market these days. In fact, when you are mentioning “mini SD” people may tend to refer to standard SD.

The SD card isn’t for PC user naturally since they require a specific port to connect. Only a few modern laptops come with SD card port onboard able to access data from SD card.


  • Smaller than USB flash drive thus saved more space
  • Great companion for smartphone, camera, MP3 player, etc
  • The high-speed version would affect the device’s performance
  • The connector pins would not easily corroded since it always stored inside the device


  • Too small that could easily be lost if you accidentally fell it
  • Impossible to customize its shape or style

USB Flash Drive

SD Card vs Flash Drive

The USB flash drive essentially helps the user to carry data anywhere and use it later from another computer to continue work. Since its introduction in the year 2000, the capacity it can provide is increasing gradually along with its speed.


Now, the USB flash drive maker provides USB 3.0 with a higher performance read/write data. It almost as speed as SD card but still supporting the same standard USB-A interface. Also, this device is getting smaller and thinner. Some companies even offer customized USB flash drive according to your own design. This advantage is great for company or community that want to spread their brand awareness.


  • Highly customizable
  • Relatively faster than SD card
  • Bigger capacity on the top version
  • The manufacturer can add additional features
  • Great companion for a laptop or PC desktop consumer


  • Connector pins can be easily corroded since it always outside
  • Storing files for a temporary time

SD card vs. flash drive in comparison

ComparisonSD CardUSB Flash Drive
Year introduced19992000
Designed forPortable deviceComputer/Laptop
Highest capacity512 GB (SanDisk)2048 GB (Kingston)
Highest theoretical speed290 MB/s640 MB/s
Size11×15 mm (microSD)Dime coin (PKparis)
LifespanDepending on use10-100 years / 100.000 cycle
WaterproofYes (some brands)Yes (some brands)
Recover deleted filesYesYes
Magnet-proofModern version, yesModern version, yes
Customized styleNoYes
Main purposeAdditional storageFile transfer

Gathered from many sources

Conclusion: Which one the best portable storage?

Unfortunately, there is no legitimate reason to affirm one of them as the best portable storage device. They are designed for a particular purpose, SD card for storage expansion and USB flash drive intended for moving file between devices.

If you looking for mobile storage, I prefer USB flash drive rather than SD card. The USB stick is small but visible once you see it from far, unlike microSD that probably can be easily lost since it was barely visible. That way, the USB drive is more likely to long-lasting. I have a 2GB USB flash drive from 2008 which over ten years ago and still works fine today.

In addition, modern Android phones now supported OTG connection for USB drive where you can access the file directly from your mobile phone.

Meanwhile, the SD card is good for a portable device, such as a camera, phone, or MP3 player. I have no doubt to invest in high-quality SD card because it also affects device performance. For sure, most DSLR cameras currently require a high-speed SD card to catch up camera storage demand. Also, the SD card can be used as a USB flash drive with a card reader help.

After all, both device has outstanding performance and reliability. They do their own job perfectly for the consumer.


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