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Samsung US announces rugged and waterproof SD cards

By dpreview staff on Feb 17, 2012 at 20:58 GMT

Samsung US is showing off a range of tough, waterproof and magnetproof SDHC and Micro SDHC cards. The range includes several high-speed versions in addition to the ones announced in Europe last July. The latest cards include 'Extreme Speed' Class 10 16Gb cards (24MB/s read, 21MB/s write), and 'High Speed' 32Gb (24MB/s read, 17MB/s write) cards also described as Class 10.

Samsung Introduces Stylish Branded Memory Cards

RIDGEFIELD PARK, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Samsung Electronics America, Inc., a market leader and award-winning innovator in consumer electronics, announced today that it is now shipping a new line of advanced SD and microSD cards that are ideal for digital imaging and mobile devices. The seven new models of SD and microSD cards are now available as part of either the High Speed Series or the Plus Extreme Speed Series, both of which deliver up to 24MB/sec read speeds on cards with a capacity of 4GB or higher.

Styled with a brushed metal design, Samsung’s beautiful new line of SD and microSD cards are built with “Best-in-Class” performance. Able to meet the growing demand for high speed and high capacity memory in modern devices, the new cards are ideal for today’s digital cameras, camcorders, smartphones and tablets. With (up to) 24MB/sec OR (max) read speeds, users can transfer 1GB of images in as little as 42 seconds. In order to ensure their reliability, Samsung has designed both lines of memory products to be waterproof, shockproof, and magnet proof, allowing them to withstand some of the harshest conditions. All models are guaranteed to survive up to 24 hours in water, withstand the force of a 1.6 ton vehicle (3,200 lbs), and resist up to 10,000 gauss (slightly less than the power of a medical imaging magnet).

“It is our goal at Samsung to deliver superior performance, reliability and a stylish design across all of our product lines, including our memory line,” explained Reid Sullivan, Senior Vice President, Samsung Electronics America. “Utilizing our 19 years of experience in memory manufacturing, we’ve built both lines of SD and microSD cards for performance. With read speeds of up to 24 MB/sec and max write speeds of 13 MB/sec (High Speed Line) and 21 MB/sec (Plus Extreme Speed Line), as well as meeting our ‘3-proof’ reliability standard, these cards represent the ultimate in digital imaging and mobile computing storage. As the #1 memory supplier in the world and manufacturer of so many high performance portable devices, we are committed to ensuring consumers realize the best possible experience with those devices.”

High Speed Series – Specifications
SD Card

MB-SS2GA 2 GB -- Max 15MB/s Max 7MB/s $9.99
MB-SS4GA 4 GB Class 4 Max 24MB/s Max 7MB/s $14.99
MB-SS8GA 8 GB Class 6 Max 24MB/s Max 13MB/s $24.99
MB-SSAGA 16 GB Class 6 Max 24MB/s Max 13MB/s $44.99
MB-SSBGA 32 GB Class 10 Max 24MB/s Max 13MB/s $89.99

microSD Card

MB-MS2GA 2 GB -- Max 15MB/s Max 7MB/s $9.99
MB-MS4GA 4 GB Class 4 Max 24MB/s Max 7MB/s $14.99
MB-MS8GA 8 GB Class 6 Max 24MB/s Max 13MB/s $24.99
MB-MSAGA 16 GB Class 6 Max 24MB/s Max 13MB/s $44.99
MB-MSBGA 32 GB Class 10 Max 24MB/s Max 13MB/s $89.99

Plus Extreme Speed Series – Specifications
SD Card

MB-SP8GA 8 GB Class 10 Max 24MB/s Max 21MB/s $29.99
MB-SPAGA 16 GB Class 10 Max 24MB/s Max 21MB/s $54.99

microSD Card

MB-MP8GA 8 GB Class 10 Max 24MB/s Max 21MB/s $29.99
MB-MPAGA 16 GB Class 10 Max 24MB/s Max 21MB/s $54.99

*Accessible capacity varies; MB = 1 million bytes, GB = 1 billion bytes.


Total comments: 49
By DezM (Feb 22, 2012)

I got the above 16GB Class 10 micro SDHC. The advertised read/write speeds are on point, when using my USB 3.0 card reader.

W Sanders
By W Sanders (Feb 21, 2012)

My SD cards are all Class 11.

1 upvote
By Vaards (Feb 21, 2012)

Are there any word what kind of chip they are using? SLC or MLC? If it is MLC (and it is, like 99,9% cards nowadays), all these magnets, trucks, waterproof ar just empty sounds. I guess last compny who is using that extremely expencive and reliable(!) SLC chip is INTEGRAL. I bought their 16GB INTEGRAL ENDURANCE card for really responsible events (like wedding ceremonies, etc) And it really works flawlessly. With testt and with practical observation.

By snake_b (Feb 20, 2012)

I got one of the normal range 32gb MicroSD cards a while ago, only because it's significantly cheaper in my market than others. I figured it would be slower than the Sandisk equivalents and was right. Class 10 isn't always class 10. However, it works well in my phone, but I would not use it in a camera. I guess if you know you won't be getting Sandisk speeds, then you're ok, so long as you don't get ripped off.

Here is my benchtest:

Samsung's cards are bargain cards with "adequate" speeds, but not class-leading. Once again, they strive for mediocrity. However, judging from the 50MB file sizes of their NX200's SRW files, a large, budget card would work nicely, though the hardware will never match these speeds.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
1 upvote
By Reactive (Feb 20, 2012)

I bought one of Samsung's previous 'tough' metal cards (that looked just like this) a long time ago for my EOS 550D, but it was so slow I got buffer underruns on video. I sent it back to Amazon and replaced it with a boring looking Verbatim 'HD Video' card (which I think was cheaper too) and it has never shown any hint of a buffer underrun.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
By LVPhoto1 (Feb 20, 2012)

Samsung...Are another alternative to those you have not set on a particular brand ;)-

By professor4321 (Feb 19, 2012)

By Marty4650 (Feb 18, 2012 at 00:05:11 GMT)

'We already have hundreds of stories of STANDARD SD cards that have survived trips through the clothes washer and dryer. We have heard about cards retrieved from cameras dropped in the ocean that still had all the images intact on them.'

Care to provide some links to these HUNDREDS OF STORIES to back up your statements?
I'd be very interesed to read them!
Or are they just STORIES.

1 upvote
Wilfred Wong
By Wilfred Wong (Feb 21, 2012)

I have cards (CF/SD) survived in washers, this is not just a story.
Never sent any cards to a dryer so I cannot confirm that.

By drwho9437 (Feb 19, 2012)

There is nothing inside an SD card that can be damaged by water as long as you don't power it on with it still wet and lots of ions in the water...

If you drop your card in the ocean you can simply take it home and put it in deionized water, and change that repeatedly until all the salt is gone. Then let it dry out. One way to help that is to use IPA to displace the water. Do that a bunch of times. Then let it sit.

Alcohols and high resistivity water is ubiquitously used in semiconductor processing.

Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (Feb 20, 2012)

I know you meant Isopropyl Alcohol (it works even better in 50% water mixture), but couldn't resist the Wikipedia offer for the acronym: "India Pale Ale or IPA is a style of beer within the broader category of pale ale. It was first brewed in England in the 19th century. The first known use..." :)

By Edvinas (Feb 21, 2012)

I have old Lexar card (purchased back in 2006) which survived two full wash cycles and one swimming in ocean. Still working perfectly. I must note however that this card's build quality is much higher than current Lexar crap, which body plastic simply breaks after a while.

AV Janus
By AV Janus (Feb 19, 2012)

Is this speed a joke!?

By tongki (Feb 19, 2012)

as far as I know,
from the early design, every flash memory cards is waterproof,
because the data is stored as fix binary switch data,
that includes CF and SD

Comment edited 44 seconds after posting
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (Feb 19, 2012)

No card is actually waterPROOF, at best they can be water-RESISTANT - especially those which have write-locks. The trouble is not just in water causing shorts internally when powered-up, but also the corrosion. True, some cards have survived in water, but it's probably because these were in some air pocket within the camera and not directly exposed to water. Any pressure will force water into the cards through microscopic gaps between metal and plastic and possible other openings, such as imperfect connections of glued casing (which are common). Watertighting is rather complex problematic and depends upon types of material used, their chemical and mechanical resistance, and precision finish... not so simple as it seems. Proper watertighting is thus not applied as protection against forcible water ingress as under pressure. Cards can endure splashed water (where inside air can resist capillary leaking) for some time, but generally that's it.

Mark Smiles
By Mark Smiles (Feb 18, 2012)

It looks like the card on the left has a built in flashlight.

Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (Feb 18, 2012)

Given that regular SD cards can already spend years in the ocean and still be perfectly readable, is this really any better?

By PAUL TILL (Feb 18, 2012)

These have been out for over a year!

By Jefftan (Feb 18, 2012)

I have a friend with OCD that always wash his card under tap water
As far as i know he never lost any photo
Regular sd card is already waterproof
Shame on samsung for selling this like a special feature

By wlachan (Feb 18, 2012)

About time. The fragile plastic body of SD is a major weakness. I had some working SD which had to be trashed just because the plastic bodies cracked beyond usable condition.

1 upvote
By Pasha001 (Feb 18, 2012)

You may want to note that Samsung does not actually claim metal body but rather metal "design" which may easily mean usual plastic body encased in very thin metal. Or metal may be glued to the plastic. Just weasel words like "best-in-class" and "withstand the force of a 1.6 ton vehicle".

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 8 minutes after posting
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (Feb 18, 2012)

Tap-water washing and pressure-immersing is not the same, and water-protected or water-resistant is far away from water-proof. The protecting principles differ strongly. Anything water-proof should mean impervious to water under pressure for indefinite time, and industry is pushing their lower-safety "standards" using any of the descriptives above.
The radio-enabled and contact-less cards might have some future if anyone really cared about making something ambient-safe because the weak spots are almost always where materials meet, even when glued or epoxy-filled. Metal can't really be seamlessly fused with plastic, and water pressure and/or thermal dilatation will always provide some gap for the water to enter where it shouldn't, but nobody really cares. And, once sold, all things are the buyer's problem. Also, when passing trough (multiple) security gates, best have some optical backup (DVD, BluRay etc.) of your work.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
By HansJN (Feb 19, 2012)

Are there known cases of cards failing after going through security?

Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (Feb 19, 2012)

As far as I know, no. It is extremely hard to destroy a card by magnet; even those data strips on credit cards are tough as nails in that aspect. Put some data on those 16MB cards they used to sell with cameras and try destroying it with any of the usual household magnets. I doubt it will succeed. And security devices in the past which used Roentgen have been known to leave effects on film only if it passed through several devices. Those EMR's are by far not so intensive in regard to flash memory risk as the Roentgens were to films, but one can always have backup or all cards in the pocket, to show them to security people and ask for visual check instead of passing them through the checkpoint device. They'll usually try and explain that there is no danger, but if you insist, they'll comply.

By SUPERHOKIE (Feb 18, 2012)

For a nominal price increase, i'd take these more durable cards any day than a Sandisk or a Lexar. I've had more than a fair share of sandisk SD cards fail on me.

By micahmedia (Feb 18, 2012)

21mb/s...13mb/s...7mb/s?! The cards of tomorrow! (at the speed of yesterday)

I've never had a durability issue with SD that metal would fix.

I'll take a Sandisk 95mb/s over this any day.

By HowaboutRAW (Feb 18, 2012)

The Hoodman version fills all of the empty space with epoxy and replaces a small circuit board with a single chip for data processing.

So if Samsung is doing similar things, the hardened Samsung SD cards will indeed be much more rugged than any Sandisk, not faster though.

1 upvote
By Lng0004 (Feb 18, 2012)


By thethirdcoast (Feb 18, 2012)

Lexar SD cards of the same capacity and speed are far better values for your dollar than Samsung's offerings.

I'd much rather see Samsung back up their big talk about being a "player" in the CSC space. That means getting new NX lenses and bodies to market on time and improving availability of some existing lenses.

1 upvote
By Marty4650 (Feb 18, 2012)

I don't even know if this story is newsworthy.

Standard cards are already "shock proof, water proof and magnetic proof."

We already have hundreds of stories of STANDARD SD cards that have survived trips through the clothes washer and dryer. We have heard about cards retrieved from cameras dropped in the ocean that still had all the images intact on them. If they can survive years in salt water then what improvement has Samsung actually made here? Stylish design?

This sounds like marketing hype to me.

By Lng0004 (Feb 18, 2012)

Keyword might be "guaranteed".

By Marty4650 (Feb 18, 2012)

Think about the value of that guarantee.

"All models are guaranteed to survive up to 24 hours in water, withstand the force of a 1.6 ton vehicle (3,200 lbs), and resist up to 10,000 gauss (slightly less than the power of a medical imaging magnet)."

This means, if the card fails you will get your $44.99 back.

This doesn't mean you'll get the value of your time you spent shooting that wedding, taking those portraits, or taking shots for a client. It also doesn't mean you'll get any compensation for losing those precious shots of your 4 year old's dance recital.

And I believe any manufacturer would reimburse you for the cost of a product that failed to do what it was intended to do. So this guarantee doesn't really add any value. It's just another marketing talking point.

By DaveMarx (Feb 17, 2012)

Magnetically shielded? Under any kind of real-world situation, there's no chance that a magnet/magnetic field will wipe a memory card. Over the years, spokespersons for the flash memory industry have assured us that magnets don't matter. Until now.

All bets go out the window if an electronic/electrical device is exposed to a devastating EMP (electromagnetic pulse) of the kind generated by a nuclear explosion. If the electromagnetic flux is great enough, and fast enough, it can induce a short-term voltage through a wire, great enough to fry solid state devices. Of course, if the pulse was bad enough to fry the memory card, the camera would be just as badly toasted, and frankly, our personal survival would be of greater concern than the survival of our photos.

Photographers worry about something bad happening when going through airport security, so "magnetically shielded" is going to sell some cards, and while nearly useless, a bit of shielding can't hurt, and doesn't cost much.

1 upvote
By Kirppu (Feb 17, 2012)


By ecm (Feb 17, 2012)

Wow! Utterly AMAZING!! Thats..... er.... huh.


What do I want this for again?....

By HowaboutRAW (Feb 17, 2012)

Will these be announced but unshipped like the 1.4 85mm NX lens?

If Samsung wanted to cut into Hoodman's sales of similar SD cards, Samsung would offer faster cards. Class 10 is not fast enough for some AVCHD video cameras, the small Panasonic 900 series for example, and video is a place were durability really matters.

The storage capacity doesn't need an increase, the write speed does.

1 upvote
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (Feb 17, 2012)

... and while these are guaranteed to stay underwater for 24 hours, the manufacturers of "rugged" cameras still push their max two-hours-under-pressure "standard". It's just wrong... as if they'd wish their product to leak!
They're refusing to implement proper o-ring watertighting principle which actually works with the pressure, and is not time-dependent. Instead, they make 2 ports (!), covered by a rubber thingy which is totally dependent upon closing mechanism.
When one opens the camera to watch the water pour out, at least the new memory card might have a surviving chance.
Maybe someone who decides upon things like that might find enough time to reflect that one case of a leaking camera might mean one less customer forever (not counting those who witnessed the infuriating occasion).
For now, when one sends a warning about such a thing to the manufacturer, no answer comes back. What's worse, the next model appears sporting the same dillettante-designed watertighting solution.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
By HowaboutRAW (Feb 17, 2012)

And notice, the camera companies refuse to make and sell small tough camera that have good lowlight technologies like RAW and a fast lens.

It's not like lowlight capacity is important even a few feet below the surface (note irony).

1 upvote
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (Feb 18, 2012)

They'll eventually conform to all the logical demands of the market, but not before all other reasons for not doing so have been exhausted.
Until that time, they'll try and sell whatever comes to some propagandist's mind in the form of a mercantilistic trick, such as utterly useless software settings coming under "program mode" titles, "face recognition" (really, who needs that one?), separate "modes" for cats and dogs, etcetera. Instead of, say, artificial horizon and compass becoming standard already, (especially on u/w cameras), they'll offer "U/W mode" (skewing WB) - as if all the waters in the World are the same photographing media! Most of such "advanced" functions come from commerce dept's and not from development.
I think they regard the majority of photographers as so many sheep (or possibly they think they've already made them behave that way)? Wrong. Some of us can (still) read between their lines.
On the other hand, if useless can be sold, why implement useful... :(

Comment edited 7 minutes after posting
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Feb 17, 2012)

Will Samsung revive the old Timex watch ads that shows the timepieces surviving all kinds of abuse?

Most SDHC cards are protected naturally, since the camera body serves as a shock absorber, so the card survives even if the camera is smashed. The ability to survive runover by a 1.6 ton vehicle does not mean much if that means simply one ruber tire of an 18-wheel vehicle and the card is flat on the pavement. A table leg or high heel shoe might impose more KG / CM^2.

The scariest thing is to drop one in the dark and or down a grate or drain.

Evidently, 10,000 gauss is less than what EMR scanners emit. How does tha compare to the magnetic intensity of the extremest form of security clearance devices? What if one put the card close to a magnet of the sort used to hold photos and other things to refrigerators or metal display boards?

By DioCanon (Feb 17, 2012)

They are also good priced, I saw them on mymemory co uk and the 16gb class 10 was 19 quid = 30US, cheaper than stated here.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Feb 17, 2012)

These are the MSRPs - it should be obvious that street price after several months on sale will be lower.

edu T
By edu T (Feb 17, 2012)

"Magnetproof" cards? For me, this is news... can magnetic fields really damage SD cards?

Grzesiek Maj
By Grzesiek Maj (Feb 17, 2012)

How could magnet destroy SD card?

1 upvote
By morganb (Feb 17, 2012)

but seriously, are not most sandisk cards strong enough to deal with most normal harsh conditions?

By tkpenalty (Feb 17, 2012)

My extreme II cards would like to have a word with you :P

gene thomson
By gene thomson (Feb 17, 2012)

I wonder how long it will be before fake Samsung cards will be offered by those sites which offer fake cards. (Of course, they don't call them fakes, just check the price).

By DanCart (Feb 17, 2012)

Wow , interesting development !

By wsphotohbps (Feb 17, 2012)

It looks like Samsung is really getting it together. At last metal, water proof, magnetic field proof tough cards. I was hoping that sandisk or lexar would introduce similar products as leaders in the field. Still, can not wait to get some of those new cards. Sandisk keep breaking down, the brittle plastic chips and glued surfaces come apart. Really annoying!

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
By Joesiv (Feb 17, 2012)

Agreed, this is one area that CF had an advantage over SD, they were more durable (or at least appeared) to professoinals. Just the fact that SD cards are easily flexed, would make a lot of pros' weary.

1 upvote
Total comments: 49