Monday, 15 October 2012

[UPDATE: Confirmed working in the Galaxy Note 2] Sandisk 64GB Micro SDXC cards confirmed WORKING in Galaxy S II, HTC Sensation, Galaxy S, ASUS Transformer & Transformer Prime, Motorola Razr, Huawei G300, Galaxy Note, Galaxy Note 2, and Galaxy S3!

Well, the headline really says it all doesn't it. Read on anyway if you want all the nitty gritty, replete with a geeks best friend, benchmarks.

Today Fedex delivered my 64GB micro SDXC card direct from Sandisk (you have to love mail forwarding services when it comes to buying from US-only online stores). Naturally this was accompanied with the usual new-toy excitement, heightened on this occasion by knowing it would work despite Sandisk's protestations to the contrary, thanks to confirmation from two XDA users who had already received theirs (big thank you to 3waygeek and Ghost77!).

[Scroll down to the bottom for the latest update in relation to the Galaxy Note 2]

Upon inserting the card in my phone I received an error notification stating that the card was damaged. After a quick trip to Settings to format the card, the phone recognised the SDXC card and showed 59.46GB of storage available. A number of people expressed concerns that the phone may show 59GB of space, but not be able to utilise more than the first 32GB of storage, so I loaded up 47GB before trialling it in the phone to be sure. Full disclosure: my SGSII is Rooted and running a custom ROM, however there are no mods or hacks included to enable SDXC support.

At the top left you can see the ominous "Damaged Card" warning, and on the right hand side the card is recognised after formatting

So after all of that, how is it running in the phone? Virtually perfectly, so far as I can tell. I can browse all of the directories from within file managers, all my apps that utilise the external SD card continue to work as per usual, music and media plays without issue, HD video recorded to the card is identical to the same videos recorded to the internal SD. The only issue I've found so far is that the camera doesn't seem to be able to work out how many minutes of video or pictures can be taken with the available storage.

Last years Samsung flagship also seems to work perfectly
There is more good news though - I've used it in my Galaxy S on Froyo, and my HTC Sensation, and it works fine on both of these devices also (the Sensation is pure stock, the SGSI is on Darky's custom ROM, again this is not a ROM with any kind of support for SDXC baked in). I would have checked it on my ASUS Transformer, but alas I cannot find the charger at the moment. [That being the case I need to divert momentarily to rant: proprietary connectors suck! Please manufacturers, get this into your thick skulls: they are bad for consumers and we don't like them. Stop using them!] OK, back on track. If you were following the paragraphs first sentence you will have noted that it works in handsets of varying ages, over multiple OS versions, and from more than one manufacturer. This encourages me to speculate that these cards will work in a far, far larger spectrum of devices than Sandisk has indicated.

HTC's Sensation showing it also has what it takes
I'm not sure why Sandisk isn't shouting this from the rooftops, to be perfectly honest. Certainly the business case for massively increasing the market for your product seems fairly clear. Perhaps its because the vaunted claims of 30MB/s transfer speeds are unattainable if you elect not to use the default exFat formatting, or perhaps its because Sandisk has agreed with partner companies to pretend it will only work for you if you purchase the latest and greatest to use it in (for the sake of clarity that second reason is said tongue firmly in cheek... now where did I put that tin foil hat?) If you're out there Sandisk, I'd love to hear from you on the issue.

In regards to discovering what transfer speeds are possible, I benchmarked the card in the phone via a USB connection to my PC. Crystaldiskmark gave the following results:

The large sequential write speed - the first of the benchmark figures there - is probably the one that's going to have the most relevance to users since it's applicable to the most intensive read/write tasks the phone is likely to handle in encoding and decoding HD video. While it falls short of the max speeds Sandisk has thrown about, both the read and write speeds are easily in excess of what is required for HD content, so there isn't really anything to be particularly unhappy about. In any case, who are you going to complain to? It's not as if Sandisk meant for you to put it in a Galaxy S II, much less format it Fat32.

For interest, here is how my Class 2 Sandisk 32GB micro SDHC card benchmarks:

Comparing the two we can see that the SDXC card has much better read scores across the board, however after large sequential writes, its write performance tails off fairly drastically in comparison to the older Class 2 card. Whether that equates to any in-phone performance difference remains to be seen -  I have a non-Sandisk 32GB card with speeds much slower than the SDXC card for small writes and no problems there, so I suspect its largely a  non-issue. Of course these comparisons do need to be taken with something of a grain of salt, since I'm obviously not using the SDXC as Sandisk intends.

With that thought in mind it would be remiss of me not to include some kind of weasel-words disclaimer here. In brief: if you choose to use one of these cards in a device the manufacturer does not endorse, you do so at your own risk. If your card corrupts, your phone dies, you lose those precious pictures of your miniature poodle, or the universe implodes, I am in no way liable or responsible for any ill effects related to your using this card in your device against the manufacturers express instructions.

If it all goes pear-shaped, you will have to plead your case with whoever supplies your warranty (helpful hint: you will probably need to come up with something better than "this guy on the internets with a blog said it worked" when you discuss it with them).

Alright, now that I've completely doused your enthusiasm with that disclaimer, that's enough out of me. I wonder how many out there will need the storage space more than the rather significant wad of cash it costs to purchase one of these? If you're inspired to have more storage on your device, knowing now that they work, drop me a line in the comments below.

Time to sign off for the night. Next up? I haven't a clue.


Quick line to confirm these are working in the Note also, no problems whatsoever:

Nope, I still haven't got tired of annotating screenshots with my Note!

...and now we can confirm these are working in the Motorola Razr too:

Hello Moto!

[UPDATE] Now confirmed working in the ASUS Transformer Prime also, and even better - ASUS have added support for NFTS formatting which means no more 4GB file size limits raining on your HD movie parade!

[UPDATE] As expected working in the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 also...

[UPDATE] Confirmed working in the Galaxy S III - for the first time on a stock Android firmware with FULL exFAT support!

Hi everyone!

I'm really pleased to bring you the exclusive first confirmation that not only do these work with the Galaxy S III, but they also feature full exFAT formatting support (as we speculated they would based on Samsung's announcement in concert with Supercurio's analysis).

I was fortunate enough to have a couple of hours of undisturbed hands-on time with the Galaxy S III this afternoon, so naturally in advance I formatted a 64GB micro SDXC card to exFAT and copied over about 40GB of FLAC songs, video files and emulator ROMS.

First, the great news: the card works perfectly in the S III, there was no warning that the card was damaged like there is when they are placed into devices that don't support exFAT, all files worked without issues, and furthermore the media scanner was extremely quick.

The not so great news? I was unable to benchmark the card in the phone. I was blocked first of all by an ICS issue; it only connects to the PC via MTP, and that doesn't play nicely with the benchmarking software. Next I tried to benchmark the card with on-phone apps, however Samsung have changed the mount location of the external SD card, so those apps were unable to 'see' the card.

I did of course benchmark the card on a PC with two different readers. Interestingly the two results differed depending on the card reader. On one the large sequential read and write speeds were significantly improved, while small read speeds were diminished, and small write speeds were essentially unchanged. On the other, large read and write speeds showed only a modest improvement, but small write speeds virtually doubled. I've put both results below for you.

Unknown brand card reader

Sandisk card reader

So it seems we still have a little more investigating to do in terms of determining the cards in-phone performance when we next have time with it at it's commercial release.

To end on a more definitive note though I can confirm that the Fat32 file size limit of 4GB is no longer present, so for others who like watching high quality 1080p content from their phone on HDTVs via MHL the S3 has a clear point of differentiation in it's favour here.

Oh, and make sure to keep it locked here to AndroidNZ - in just a little while I'll be posting up my impressions of the Galaxy S III, including results of some of the other functionality I tested (and we'll see if AndroidNZ gets a passing grade on it's "Secrets Revealed" pieces).

[UPDATE] Confirmed working in the Nokia Pureview 808! Be prepared for a reasonably long initial wait for the media scanner to index the card though (must be formatting Fat32, natch).

[UPDATE] ...and yet another confirmation that the card works - this time in Huawei's budget G300 handset, brilliant stuff! Naturally it needs to be formatted Fat32 here, and you will definitely want to install PowerAMP in order to reduce media scanning and exclude your music folder/s from the inbuilt system scanner (which is sloooooowwwwww). All in all, an excellent capability in a budget handset!

[UPDATE] Just usual confirmation that the card works with the Note 2, formatted to exFat too, so same support as the S3 has there...