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Samsung Exploits 3D NAND To Tackle SanDisk With 256 GB EVO Plus MicroSD Card

Samsung unveiled its beefy EVO Plus 256 GB MicroSD card, which unseats SanDisk as the current MicroSD density leader. SanDisk introduced its 200 GB Ultra MicroSD card in March 2015, but it is widely believed to employ 15nm planar TLC NAND, whereas the new Samsung EVO Plus features its 48-layer 3D TLC V-NAND. 

The UHS-1 Class 10 EVO Plus offers up to 95/90 MBps of sequential read/write throughput, which should satisfy the needs of most common applications, such as 4K video recording, high-resolution photography and other mobile applications. In contrast, the SanDisk Ultra 200 GB offers up to 90 MBps of sequential read speed, but no write speed is listed in its specifications.

Samsung is exploiting the advantages of 3D TLC NAND to beat the SanDisk offering on both density and performance, but both offer the same 10-year warranty period.

For now, the Samsung EVO Plus retails for $249.99, which will buy you enough storage to hold up to 55,000 photos, 12 hours of 4K UHD video, 33 hours of full HD video, or up to 23,500 MP3 files.

The SanDisk Ultra 200 GB can be found for around $80, which works out to $0.40-per-GB, whereas the 256 GB EVO Plus weighs in at $0.97-per-GB. The smart money says to wait a week or two until the early-adopter tax subsides; Samsung will have to be more competitive on the price front, and likely will be. The faster speed of 3D NAND is a nice bullet point on the specifications list, but the MicroSD card space tends to be driven by value. 

It goes without saying that the EVO Plus is waterproof, magnetic proof and X-ray proof, as nearly all MicroSD cards are, but Samsung threw in claims of it being temperature-proof, as well. This might lead some users to mistakenly deploy the EVO Plus into industrial applications, where high heat tolerance typically demands extra dollars. We are sure the fine print will hash that out, but make sure to investigate the claim before using it in high-heat applications, which are notoriously harsh on NAND-based storage, such as vehicle video recorders.

The new card will be available in 50 countries, including the U.S., Europe and China in June 2016.

Paul Alcorn is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware, covering Storage. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Paul Alcorn

Paul Alcorn is the Deputy Managing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He writes news and reviews on CPUs, storage and enterprise hardware.