Home Consumer Lexar PLAY microSDXC Card Review

Lexar PLAY microSDXC Card Review

by Lyle Smith
Lexar Micro Play SD with Reader

The Lexar PLAY is a microSDXC UHS-I card designed for a variety of consumer applications, including supplemental storage on new smartphones, tablets, and the Nintendo Switch. The Lexar PLAY enters an already flooded market of SD cards, so this is more or less a mid-range option for consumers with different branding. Nonetheless, Lexar indicates that their new microSD card offers speedy captures, playback, and Full-HD video transfer rate (as well as fast app loading) and, depending on its capacity, features A1 or A2-rated performance. It’s also offered in a range of capacities from 128GB to 1TB.

The Lexar PLAY is a microSDXC UHS-I card designed for a variety of consumer applications, including supplemental storage on new smartphones, tablets, and the Nintendo Switch. The Lexar PLAY enters an already flooded market of SD cards, so this is more or less a mid-range option for consumers with different branding. Nonetheless, Lexar indicates that their new microSD card offers speedy captures, playback, and Full-HD video transfer rate (as well as fast app loading) and, depending on its capacity, features A1 or A2-rated performance. It’s also offered in a range of capacities from 128GB to 1TB.

Lexar play micro swtich

As to the specifics for its performance, Lexar simply indicates it can reach up to 150MB/s in sequential read transfer rates with no indication of write or random performance. For use in something like the Switch, however, performance is somewhat constrained by the platform itself.

We will be using the provided Lexar Multi-card 2-1 reader when gauging its speed. The Lexar reader supports up to USB 3.1 and comes equipped with both an SD and microSD card slot for simultaneous transfers, while compatible with both UHS-II and UHS-I cards. For performance, it can deliver read speeds up to 312MB/s, though this number certainly depends on the populated SD card.

Backed by an 10-year warranty, the Lexar PLAY microSDXC UHS-I card is available for $22 (128GB), $46 (256GB), $95 (512GB), and $250 (1TB).

Lexar PLAY microSDXC Specifications

Capacity 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
Speed Class ·       128GB – Class 10, U1, V10, A1

·       256GB – Class 10, U3, V30, A1

·       512GB – Class 10, U3, V30, A2

·       1TB – Class 10, U3, V30, A2

Performance ·       128GB – up to 150MB/s read

·       256GB – up to 150MB/s read

·       512GB – up to 150MB/s read

·       1TB – up to 150MB/s read

Operating Temperature 0° to 70° C (32°F to 158°F)
Storage Temperature -25° to 85° C (-13°F to 185°F)
Dimensions (L x W x H) 11mm x 15mm x 1 mm / 0.43” x 0.59” x 0.04”
Warranty Limited 10-year

Lexar PLAY microSDXC Design and Build

Lexar PLAY uses a basic, yet vibrant design with its all-red background and white text with a nice little white and yellow “play” icon on the right. It really does look like something that will be used in a Switch.

Also on the front is the Lexar logo, capacity, and SD classifications.

Lexar Micro Play SD with Reader

Turning the card around reveals the 8 contact pins, serial number, and other information about the drive.Lexar Micro Play SD Back

The Lexar Multi-card 2-1 reader is a slick, compact device with a black, textured build. It features a status LED next to the Lexar logo to indicate SD card activity, as it allows users to simultaneously transfer files from SD and microSD slots to a computer.

Lexar Micro Play SD and Reader

Lexar PLAY microSDXC Performance

To check performance, we ran IOMeter on a Lenovo ThinkStation P520 using the Lexar Multi-card 2-1 via USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A. For comparables, we looked at the following other UHS-I cards:

For 2MB sequential, the Lexar PLAY hit 148.6MB/s read and 30.4MB/s write, while the Micron with 92.4MB/s read and 86MB/s write. The SanDisk Extreme showed 160.13MB/s read and 100.93MB/s write. In 2MB random, the Lexar microSD card recorded 66.9MB/s read 29.6MB/s write, while the Micron c200 recorded 88.8MB/s read and 83.2MB/s write. The SanDisk Extreme hit 113.89MB/s read and 60.29MB/s write.

In random 4K, the Lexar posted 1,953 IOPS read and 658 IOPS write, while the Micron showed 2,154.5 IOPS read 1,158 IOPS write. The SanDisk was able to reach 1,215.85 IOPS read and 560.72 IOPS write.

Being almost custom made for a Nintendo Switch, we placed it in to see how it would run. The Switch formatted the card because it does that to all the cards you put in it.

After that, it shows up and is ready to use. The Lexar PLAY is super easy to use in a Nintendo Switch.

Overall the card performed exactly as expected in its targeted platform. Here, capacity is a key metric, how many games a card can hold is often the differentiator. This card comes in capacities up to 1TB, ideal for those who want to hold many games on a single microSDXC.

Conclusion

The Lexar PLAY is a solid microSDXC card, offering capacities up to 1TB, speeds up to 148MB/s, and a competitive starting price tag of just $20. Though the card is ideal for most consumer applications, Lexar is marketing the card more towards portable gaming devices like the Switch and current-gen smartphones and tablets. It’s also a viable option for 4K recording and comes with a 10-year limited warranty, which is very impressive. Odds are, you’re more likely to lose the diminutive card before having to call support for an issue.

Lexar Micro Play SD and Reader Boxes

For performance, the card was just a hair under its quoted 150MB/s transfer speeds during our 2MB sequential test, where it hit 148.6MB/s read and 30.4MB/s write. In 2MB random, the Lexar PLAY slowed down a bit with 66.9MB/s read 29.6MB/s write, while 4K random showed 1,953 IOPS read and 658 IOPS write. Though reads were fairly good, write performance was a bit lower than most cards from its class. We also tried it out on the Switch and everything seems to work seamlessly, which is all the really matters in this category.

More powerful options are out there, but as a mid-range microSD card at a competitive price, most consumers will find that the Lexar PLAY will get the job done. Not much differentiates the Lexar card from other brands of its class, but some might enjoy it just for its unique “play” branding and Switch marketing.

Lexar PLAY on Amazon

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