Samsung EVO+ 256GB
Samsung’s very-highest-of-the-high-end microSD card isn’t cheap. In fact, it’s the priciest on this list. But you’re also getting a winning combination of performance and storage capacity, with 90MB/sec write speeds and 95MB/sec reads, and an enormous 256GB of space.
That’s more than you’ll ever need in a smartphone, and the high read/write speeds will help if you’re shooting lots of 4K video on a high-end phone like the Galaxy S8 (as too will that enormous capacity.) Better still, it’s water, temperature, X-ray and magnetic proof, so you needn’t worry about it getting damaged while you’re out and about.
Best value – capacity
Samsung EVO Select 128GB
If you want a nice high storage capacity without breaking the bank, Samsung’s128GB card is a good option — it provides a staggering amount of storage, and with pretty fast read and write speeds to boot — though remember your phone probably won’t be able to achieve the maximum read and write speeds quoted here. It’s about the lowest price we’ve seen for a 128GB card, and a great way to free up a ton of space on your phone or tablet.
What’s more, you can pay an extra $8 at checkout and get an OTG reader thrown in too.
Best value – speed
Lexar Professional 1000x 32GB UHS-II/U3
If speed is more important, you might want to give this Lexar card a shot. It uses UHS-II flash memory and boasts read speeds of up to 150MB/sec — but only to supporting PCs and cameras, no phone we’re aware of currently supports UHS-II speeds for reads and writes. The capacity isn’t the greatest, but if you’re up for paying $27 more you can double your capacity to 64GB.
The Lexar card also comes with a USB reader for plugging into your PC and transferring data at higher speeds.
Lexar High-Performance microSDXC 300x
This Lexar card won’t break the bank, but offers a great balance of speed and capacity. 64GB should be enough for most people’s photo, video and offline music needs, while the card’s UHS-I speed rating provides ample performance.
There’s no full-sized SD adapter bundled with this card, but you can’t argue with the price for this kind of microSD.
Update, July 2017: This list has been updated with a new entry in Best Balanced, and other minor corrections.