Samsung reveals next-gen UFS cards for smartphones, drones & more


Samsung introduced the world’s first removable UFS cards this week, the successor to the popular Micro SD format. These cards have similar capacities to Micro SD cards, ranging from 32 to 256GB, and they’re about the same size, but they’re way faster.

Specifically, Samsung reckons they’re five times faster at reading data than the best professional-grade Micro SD cards on the market, at up to 530 megabytes per second. That means you could read a 5 gigabyte 1080p movie in just 10 seconds; a fast Micro SD card would take 50 seconds to accomplish the same task. The cards also boast a write speed of around 170 megabytes per second, which is around twice as fast as the fastest Micro SD cards.

The sequential speeds are impressive enough, but where these cards are dramatically better is when it comes to random reads and writes — instances where you’re accessing lots of small bits of data rather than large single-file blocks. The card is rated at 40,000 IOPS reading and 35,000 IOPS writing. That would make it as fast as most SATA-connected SSDs you’d find as the primary storage in laptops and desktops, which is crazy when you consider how much smaller UFS cards are.


Of course, if you’re just copying over your latest selfies then that speed increase isn’t too useful. Where UFS cards will be key is in dealing with high resolution video — whether that be 4K drone shots, footage made with 360 cameras for VR, or 240 fps slow motion film. It’ll also be great for running apps directly from the UFS card, which is currently a bit of a slow process for big apps and games.

Unfortunately, UFS cards aren’t going to be available immediately. Samsung hasn’t announced prices or availability dates for the new cards yet, so their release should be at least a few months away, and could come as late as next year.

The UFS cards also aren’t compatible with Micro SD; they have a different shape and use a different pin configuration on the back side (as shown to the right). That means we’ll need to wait for UFS-compatible action cams, smartphones and tablets. Happily, Samsung make a fairly well-known line of smartphones, and I wouldn’t be too surprised to see a UFS card slot on one of those in the near future.

Edit: Samsung has announced that has made a hybrid slot that can accommodate both Micro SD and UFS cards, and it is working ‘with different partners in the industry on this integration for next-generation devices’, according to a statement made to Droid-Life.

What do you make of the new UFS cards? Let us know in the comments below!