by Josh Shaman

Samsung SDXC Pro Series Review

The Samsung SDXC Pro Series is a memory card designed to enable photographers, videographers and consumer enthusiasts to capture, edit and manipulate ultra-high resolution imagery and HD video (including 3D video). The SDXC Pro Series flash card ships in capacities of 16GB, 32GB or 64GB, all of which feature a high-end performance spec. The Pro Series, in fact, is the top-of-the-line in Samsung's portfolio, and as such Samsung quotes transfers at up to 80MB/s for read activity and up to 40MB/s for write activity. This really comes in handy when cameras are processing captured content in-device, and it also obviously transitions into much more efficient migrations to workstations and editing on the card if necessary.

As we mentioned in our review of the microSDXC sibling Pro Series line, SDHC (high capacity) format supports a capacity up to 32GB, while SDXC (extended capacity) supports a 2TB maximum (the largest capacity available at the time of this review is 256GB). As such, the 16GB and 32GB Pro Series are SDHC, while the 64GB is SDXC. These cards also arrive rated with UHS Speed Class 1 (U1) and Class 10 video recording ratings, essentially qualifiers that signify the ability to handle HD video even up to 1080p. 

Image and video capturing professionals and enthusiasts are typically on the go, shooting hundreds or even thousands of photos at a time, and recording lengthy HD video. That being the case, they'll often have several flash cards with them so that they can swap out when they near the capacity limit. Between that and the various conditions in which they shoot, it's significant that their flash cards be resistant to the elements. Samsung rates their Pro Series SD cards to withstand water, shock, magnets, operational temperatures of -13ºF to 185ºF, and even x-rays.

The Samsung SD Pro Series is available now at a street price of $18 for the 16GB, $29 for the 32GB and $52 for the 64GB. The cards also feature a 10 year warranty. The flash cards we are testing are the 32GB SDHC and the 64GB SDXC. 

Samsung SD Pro Series Specifications

  • Capacities
    • SDHC: 16GB, 32GB
    • SDXC: 64GB
  • Data Transfer Speed Up to 80MB/s Read, Up to 40MB/s Write (UHS-I Interface)
  • Voltage: 2.7~3.6V
  • Operating Temperature: -25ºC to 85ºC
  • Non-operating Temperature: -40ºC to 85ºC
  • Dimensions (WxHxD): 1.26" x 0.94" x 0.08"
  • Weight: .07 oz
  • Warranty: 10 Years Limited

Design and Build

The Samsung SDXC Pro Series features a premium appearance for a flash card, devices which normally are plain. The top side has a shiny, high-gloss appearance that is accented by texturing. Samsung also includes the relevant branding and capacity information, as well as the speed class ratings. As is typical with SD cards, there is a slide lock on one side.

On the reverse, there are 9 gold pin connectors. There is additional model information here. SDXC host devices can take any previous generation SD cards, and since SDHC host devices feature the same interface, they can accept SDXC cards as well. 

Performance

Using our Consumer Testing Platform, we measured transfer speeds from the Samsung SDXC Pro Series 64GB with IOMeter. Sequential read speeds measured 75.16MB/s, while write activity hit 38.07MB/s. Random large-block transfers measured 67.48MB/s read and 7.00MB/s write.  We also tested the 32GB Pro Series SDHC with IOMeter, and sequential speeds hit 74.13MB/s for read activity and 38.14MB/s for write activity. Random large-block transfers measured 67.75MB/s read and 6.74MB/s write. Samsung quoted the SDXC Pro Series at 80MB/s and 40MB/s (R/W), and the sequential testing we performed shows similar results.

For comparables, we started with the Lexar Professional 600x SDXC UHS-I 64GB. It delivered sequential read and write speeds at 81.31MB/s and 44.29MB/s respectively, while random large-block transfers measured 79.57MB/s read and 10.76MB/s write.

We also tested the Samsung microSDXC Pro Series 64GB. Sequential read speeds measured 66.26MB/s and write activity hit 19.63MB/s. Random large-block transfers measured 62.24MB/s read and 19.29MB/s write.  

Conclusion

The Samsung SD Pro Series line is optimized mostly for photographers and enthusiasts that require superior performance from their flash cards in order to more efficiently capture, transfer and edit their images. The Pro Series SD cards range in capacities, starting at 16GB, hitting 32GB for the maximum capacity of the SDHC format, and peaking at 64GB in SDXC format. What really drives the Pro Series SD cards though, is their robust performance specs which Samsung quotes at 80MB/s for read activity and 40MB/s for write activity. The cards also feature UHS Speed Class 1 and Class 10 video recording ratings, ensuring that users will have optimal read and writes even with HD video. The Pro Series SD cards are also water, shock, magnet, X-ray and temperature proof.

When it came time to test the Samsung SDXC Pro Series, it performed quite well, nearly matching the same figures at which Samsung quotes the flash card. Sequential performance for the 64GB card was at about 75MB/s for read activity and 38MB/s for write activity. When we tested the random large-block performance of the Pro Series, it delivered about 67MB/s for reads and 7MB/s for writes. These numbers were near-identical to the 32GB Pro Series we also tested. When comparing this card to the Lexar Professional 600x SDXC UHS-I, the Lexar provides slightly greater performance (anywhere from 5-15MB/s better), yet it does so at around double the cost of the Samsung. So while the Samsung is limited to 64GB (versus 256GB on the Lexar), it still provides a really good value at its price point, and it's easy to envision consumers opting for the Samsung SDXC Pro Series.

Pros

  • About half the cost of some comparables
  • Performance came close to Samsung's quoted marks

Cons

  • Pro Series tops out at 64GB, where others in the space hit 128GB or 256GB

Bottom Line

The Samsung SDXC Pro Series provides high-end data transfer rates for photographers and videographers that need maximum performance to speed up both in-camera operations and workstation editing.

Discuss This Story

Samsung SDXC Pro Series at Amazon.com