Flash memory cards provide portable data storage for digital cameras, cell phones and other electronic devices. They offer an easy way to back up digital data or transfer media files. Flash memory sticks come in many different formats, such as microSD, SD and SDHC. Most devices read only one or two card formats, but there are cheap flash memory card readers that connect to your computer's USB port and handle almost any type of card.
Safe Data Storage With no moving parts, flash memory cards are an excellent way to keep important files backed up. The cost of individual cards is low, so it's easy to keep them in multiple locations to avoid data loss if disaster strikes. Many CompactFlash memory cards are waterproof, and most are unaffected by X-rays, so they're an excellent choice for air travel. Their small size makes flash memory sticks easy to store, too, and most are about the size of a US quarter.
Speed and Capacity for Every Need Flash memory sticks are categorized by their data capacity and their read and write speeds. The best flash memory cards have very high capacities, 128GB or more, and fast read and write speeds of 10 to 30 MB per second, but these high-performance cards are expensive. Digital photographers should look for cards with high write speeds and storage capacity, since this allows them to store images faster and take more high-resolution pictures using a single card. A mid-capacity card with slower read and write speeds probably has sufficient capacity to back up critical files, and lower speed won't have much impact on this task.
Storage for Any Hardware When choosing flash memory sticks for your device, check the owner's manual to find out what formats it supports. Many devices use SD or CompactFlash memory cards, but cell phones often use microSD cards because they're much smaller than other flash memory cards. Some cameras use special cards that are designed to enhance performance. A computer with a USB multi-card reader can handle almost any kind of memory card.