With the increasing size of media files like photos, videos, music, and apps, many people wonder if buying a 128 GB SD card is enough for their needs or if they should opt for a larger storage size. This article will examine the factors to consider when deciding if 128 GB is sufficient storage for an SD card.
What is an SD card?
An SD card, or Secure Digital card, is a small removable flash memory card used in portable devices like cameras, phones, and tablets to store media files like photos and videos. SD cards come in different storage sizes from 4 GB to 1 TB to provide additional storage space beyond what is built into the device.
Common uses for SD cards
There are several common uses for SD cards:
- Storing photos and videos from digital cameras or phones – High resolution photos and HD video files can be large so additional SD card storage may be required.
- Expanding storage on smartphones and tablets – Many Android devices support installing SD cards to increase available storage for apps, media, and documents.
- Storing media files for playback – SD cards can store music, movies, TV shows, audiobooks, and other media files that can be loaded onto devices for playback offline.
- Running programs and storing documents – Some devices can run programs and store files directly from inserted SD cards.
- Backing up data – SD cards provide a way to back up photos, videos, contacts, apps and other data from phones, tablets, and computers.
Factors influencing SD card storage needs
Several key factors determine how much SD card storage space you will need:
Photo and video resolution
Higher resolution photos and video files take up much more space than lower resolution files. For example, a 12 MP photo can be 3-6 MB or more while HD and 4K video files are measured in gigabytes per hour of footage. Shooting in high resolutions means your storage needs increase.
Frequency of use
How often you take photos and shoot video impacts required storage. Frequently shooting high resolution photos and videos will fill up an SD card faster than occasional, casual use.
Number of apps, media files and documents
The more apps you install, media files you transfer over, and documents you save to the SD card, the more storage you will need. Games and apps can take up gigabytes of space themselves while music, movies and other media files also add up.
If you intend to backup photos, videos, files and device data to the SD card, plan for adequate storage for all the backups you will want to keep.
Factors when 128 GB may be enough
In some cases, a 128 GB SD card can provide sufficient storage:
- You take mostly lower resolution photos and video – At resolutions of 1-3 MB per photo, you can store thousands of photos on 128 GB.
- You won’t install many large apps or transfer that many media files.
- You only backup some photos and files, not entire device data.
- You occasionally shoot short HD or 4K videos.
- You have access to an external hard drive or cloud storage to offload files when the SD card fills up.
With selective, resolution-conscious use of the SD card storage and utilization of alternative storage options, 128 GB may meet your needs.
Reasons when 128 GB may not be enough
Here are some scenarios where 128 GB would likely be insufficient:
- You shoot mainly high resolution photos – Regular use of 12+ MP cameras will eat through 128 GB quickly.
- You regularly shoot long 4K or HD videos – These large files require much more storage.
- You install many large apps and games – Apps like Asphalt 8 or Modern Combat 5 take up over 1 GB each.
- You store entire device backups – System images and complete app+data backups take up many GBs.
- You store a large media collection – Storing thousands of songs, videos and audiobooks takes up space.
- You need the SD card for running programs or as expanded internal device storage – This requires more free space.
For heavy usage with high resolution files, frequent video recording, complete backups and large media collections, 128 GB can fill up faster than expected.
Factors when considering larger SD card sizes
If 128 GB seems too small for your needs, consider these larger SD card sizes:
- 256 GB – A good step up for moderate to heavy usage. Allows you to store thousands more high resolution photos and videos or backups.
- 400-512 GB – Provides much more flexibility for apps, media storage and backups. Ideal for frequent video recording.
- 1 TB – Future proofs your storage needs with space for thousands of photos, many videos and large media collections. Great for travel and heavy media use.
The cost per GB goes down for larger SD card sizes. While 1 TB cards still carry a premium, 256-512 GB cards are reasonably priced for the convenience of so much storage space in a small package.
Maximizing 128 GB SD card storage
If you do opt for a 128 GB SD card, here are some tips to maximize the available storage space:
- Use lower resolution settings where possible – 12 MP resolution is good for prints while keeping photos at 5-8 MP saves space.
- Minimize large apps and games – Only install apps you really need and use cloud or streaming options when available.
- Save photos and videos to another device or cloud storage – Offload files when the card gets full to open up space.
- Remove unneeded files and clear caches – Delete old apps, temporary files and clear app caches.
- Perform partial, not full backups – Back up only important files versus entire device images.
- Use a separate SD card for bulk storage – Dedicate one card in your camera for shooting, and swap to another for expanded storage and backups.
Adopting selective saving and moving files to alternative storage locations helps 128 GB go further.
Ultimately, whether 128 GB is enough for your SD card needs depends on your specific usage – how many high resolution photos and videos you shoot, your app and media storage requirements, and how often you need to backup files or device data.
For primarily lower resolution, casual usage 128 GB is often sufficient. But frequent recording of high resolution photos and 4K video combined with storing extensive media libraries will demand more storage. In those cases, choose SD cards of at least 256 GB or higher capacities of 400-512 GB or 1 TB to have abundant space for all your data needs.
Carefully evaluating your actual storage requirements and usage allows you to select the best SD card capacity for your needs and budget.