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Hands-on review: 128GB PNY Elite-X microSDXC Flash Card

Fri, 25th Mar 2022
FYI, this story is more than a year old

PNY continues to liven up its product range with the Elite-X microSD card. We were sent the 128GB version to check out.

As well as the microSDXC card, the PNY Elite-X kit includes an SD card adapter for use in older devices. I doubt it will be of use to most people these days (and akin to putting a Ferrari engine in a Ford Fiesta), but the option is there.

Possible one of the most versatile memory cards ever created; microSD cards can be used in everything from games consoles to drones. The tiny devices can be used to increase storage capacity on mobile phones and tablets, to store games on a Nintendo Switch, as well as store video and photos on cameras and drones.

But there are almost as many flavours of microSD cards as there are devices to use them with. Choosing the right one is an absolute minefield. Even if they are not as expensive as they once were, they are still not cheap. So it's important to know which one that you need.

The PNY Elite-X microSDXC flash card is rated for a video speed class of V30, also indicated with the symbol that looks like a 3 inside a “U”. This suggests a minimum sequential write speed of 30MB/sec. For video recording, this is a suitable speed for up to 4K at 30 frames-per-second.

The A1 is an application performance class for phones and tablets. It indicates a minimum random read speed of 1500 IOPS (inputs/outputs per second), a minimum random write speed of 500 IOPS, and a minimum sustained sequential write speed of 10MB/s. These are minimum rated speeds,

PNY has stated that the microSD can achieve up to 100MB/s read speed. This is very difficult to actually test and rather academic.

The 128GB PNY Elite-X microSDXC flash card will fit about 2 hours of 4K video from a DJI drone and eight to sixteen Nintendo Switch games. I tested the microSD card with both a DJI Mavic Air 2 drone and an original Nintendo Switch.

The Mavic Air 2 requires a UHS-I Speed Grade 3 rating microSD up to a maximum size of 256GB. The older Switch is happy with everything from a 2GB microSD up to a microSDXC for 64GB and beyond. Whilst the Switch will work with rather mundane bog-standard microSD cards, Nintendo does recommend UHS-1 microSD cards with a transfer speed of between 60-95 MB/s for a better game experience.

I usually use my DJI Mavic Air 2 with three charged batteries giving me a theoretical total flight time of 1.5 hours. In practice, it's really about an hour, allowing for a safe contingency battery charge. I tend to fly with the drone recording, as you never know what you are going to capture. I usually only stop the recording when taking photos. When I get back, not always do I have the time to download the video and photos. Installing the PNY Elite-X microSDXC was no trouble, with the card immediately recognised by the drone. Swapping out my 64GB microSD card for the 128GB PNY card gave me some reassurance that I wasn't going to run out of space if I'd not cleared the card after the last couple of trips.

Pulling the card out and slotting it in my handy USB converter (which would probably be a bit more useful if included rather than the SD card adapter) and my footage and photos were quickly transferred to my PC. Incidentally, the transfer speed from the microSDXC card to my PC via a USB adapter was 20 MB/s.

The Nintendo Switch did need an update to use the microSDXC card, as per the Nintendo website. The console requested this update as soon as the card was inserted. I had to format the card before use, but after formatting the card was ready to either download games or transfer games from the console's meagre internal storage.

With an adapter, or PC with a native microSD card, it is possible to transfer Switch games from one SD Card to another by copying the contents onto the desktop and then moving the data from the desktop onto the new card. This doesn't work for all games and it's better to just redownload the games from the Nintendo Shop again.

The 128GB PNY Elite-X microSDXC flash card is a versatile storage device suitable for most mobile entertaining and video/photo capture platforms. With it easily supporting 4K/30 video and plenty of storage capacity is a very cost-effective, but uncompromising microSD card solution.

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