MTE Explains: Why Don’t Manufacturers Include Micro-SD Card Slots in Their Phones?

What To Do About The Missing Micro-SD Card Slot In Your Phone

The storage for an Android device can be a real headache for many. Some users don’t need an enormous amount of storage while others need large quantities of it. This is because they might use their device as a music player, to store their movies or just as a console.

The good side of having a lot of storage is that we have all the storage we need to save whatever we want, but the bad side of it is that it affects the device’s performance. Xiaomi Vice President Hugo Barra said that if a company wishes to create a device with outstanding performance, they have to exclude the MicroSD slot. The motive is because of the microSD card users buy afterwards. A lot of them choose to buy cheaper models that result in their phones giving them poor performance.

You can’t compare a microSD card from Kingston or Sandisk with a cheap model that costs only a few dollars. By choosing the cheaper models, the phone won’t be giving its best performance, therefore giving the company a bad reputation. When a user’s phone is running slow, they usually don’t say it is because they bought a cheap microSD card that is affecting their device’s performance. They often complain about how the Samsung, LG, HTC, etc., devices are sluggish and not as fast as they use to be, and that is bad publicity for the manufacturers. Obviously, that is something they want to avoid.

By not including a microSD slot, users are also forced to buy the device with the larger amount of storage, and that means more money for the company. If companies were to add a microSD slot, users would usually purchase the model with the least amount of storage and then just spend a few dollars more to increase the storage capacity by buying a memory card.

Missing_MicroSD_Card

By not adding a microSD slot, companies make various models of the same phone, but with different capabilities and prices. Now, if you need a phone with a larger capacity, you can’t just buy an SD card; you probably have to buy a new phone with a larger capacity, and that is exactly what manufacturers want you to do.

For example, we have the Samsung Galaxy S6 that comes in three models, the 32GB, 64GB and the 128GB. The price difference between the three models is not because one costs more to make than the other; it’s simply because one has more capacity.

A smartphone with a microSD slot will not perform as well compared to one with flash memory. The manufacturers take advantage of this. That is why smartphones that usually have a microSD are cheap or medium-priced phones, and their performance may not be affected by having a microSD card full of music, movies, and other multimedia content. That is why many manufacturers that make high-end smartphones “forget” to include the microSD card slot. When someone buys a high-end smartphone, it is because they want that extra speed and performance on their smartphone, something they probably wouldn’t get with a smartphone with a microSD slot.

There are some manufacturers of high-end smartphones that still include it in their phones. This is possibly because in some way it doesn’t affect the overall performance of the device since it is used as an external storage for multimedia content.

Also, microSD cards can consume a lot of your phone’s battery life during transfers, and since most users may not know this, they end up complaining about how bad their phone’s battery is in forums. Once again, bad publicity for the phone and not the MicroSD card.

From the looks of it, there are only two solutions to this issue. You can either connect your smartphone to the PC and transfer or import files whenever you need to or use cloud storage.

Missing_MicroSD_Cloud_Storage

When MicroSD slots were on every device, we didn’t need to depend on cloud storage as much as we will need to in the future because we could always go and buy a microSD card that would give us the extra space we needed.

There are quite a few cloud storage services we can turn to such as Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive and more. If you are looking for unlimited storage and for free, you can always count on Hive, but it has its catches such as having ads and onylon being able to share files with other Hive users.

It looks like we might have to get used to the idea of not having a MicroSD card slot in our phones and depend more and more on cloud storage services. Do you think manufacturers should include the MicroSD card slot? Let us know in the comments.

38 comments

  1. This has very little to do with performance and almost everything to do with overcharging users for more phone. I use my device as my music player, store a couple of movies on it, and have tons of photos on there. While I back up my photos to the cloud and all of my music is backed up to my PC, I don’t want to use the cloud to store these files. I want them accessible on my device so I can listen to my music, watch a movie or share photos whether or not I have an internet connection. I was upgrading my Samsung Galaxy S3 last year and decided to pay a little more for the S5 as opposed to moving to the S6 which was on sale. Why? The S5 still offers the microSD slot. If their goal is to keep me buying the latest and greatest, good luck. I will be buying a spare battery for when this one starts to degrade and will ride this phone out as long as I can.

    • Hi Ian,
      I completely agree. I would rather have a less recent phone with a MicroSD card, and then have the latest model. All the great specs that the current models have is tempting, but I would rather stick with a phone that has one. I recently bought a new smartphone, Samsung Galaxy J5, because it came with an SD card. It may not be the most recent model, but it covers my tech needs. =-) Thanks for commenting.

      • Judy, thanks for the comment. I was reading some of the others and indeed, the “leaks” are indicating that Samsung is returning the microSD slot in the S7. The other rumors is it’s supposed to be dust/waterproof. Now for those looking for a phone with a replaceable batter, you’re not likely to find that with waterproofing. That said, for the $10 or so it costs to buy one, I’ll be buying an OEM replacement battery for my S5 so I can milk it for all it’s worth…

        • Hi Ian,
          Really? It that leak turns out to be true, I know what phone I´m getting in the near future. Thanks for the tip =-)

      • Totally Agree with you Judy. I was with Sprint and was in desperate need of a new device. I had a dilapidated Note 2 and after much research decided I wanted the Note 4. Well lo and behold the Note 5 is released and Sprint says that none of their stores carry the Note 4 anymore. I was livid. I would much rather have the last model with an SD card slot over the newest model with only flash memory. Luckily for me I was able to get a Note 4 from Best Buy for $1 (yes $1) by renewing my contract, which I had planned to do anyway.

        • Hi Brent,
          Are you serious? $1? I am so jealous, lucky you. ha ha. That´s great. Enjoy that great phone and thanks for commenting. =-)

  2. I agree with Ian, it has absolutely nothing to do with performance. That is the excuse manufacturers come up with. It is ALL ABOUT MONEY – always! I got myself a SAMSUNG galaxy Note 4, and -yippeee – it has a microSD slot, and I make good use of it. I will soon buy a SANdisk with larger capacity, and ignore future version of Note, for as long as I can.

    • Hi Heinz,
      You´re so right; it´s all about the money. That´s what manufacturer ´s say, that it improved performance, but I am not buying that excuse either.The Note 4 is a fantastic phone, you have a great phone there. Thanks for commenting. =-)

  3. FWIW….I believe the Samsung Galaxy S6 is rumored to bring back a microSD card slot….of course I have nothing concrete other than internet gossip. We shall see….

    • Hi Rafi,
      I did a double take there, ha ha. Hopefully, the S7 will give the people what they want.I read that Samsung will present the S7 this month, on the 21st. Thanks for reading. =-)

  4. I agree with Ian and Heinz, and I would have to add that ultimately, it is all about the pernicious goal of total CONTROL over users, transforming what is left of our right to ownership into slavery, the unfortunate present trend to take away something that was straightforward to all of us in a not so distant past, TO BE SECURE IN ONE’S OWN AFFAIRS, to paraphrase the Constitution.

    Without an SD card there is no way for the user to control the content of the euphemistically called ‘SD Card’, which is simply just another partition of the internal memory, over which the Android OS and Google has total control.

    Just you try to move files from your PC to the device and see what happens to them… file dates are mangled… can’t edit a file there from your PC… And that’s just the beginning of it. When your device fails your data is toast… I’ve been through that and am glad I had my data on the external SD card when it did!

    Furthermore, without an SD card Slot the user is just another mindless consumer subservient to the whims of the powerful interests that would like nothing more to fully control what you can consume and at what price, something that is only possible when users finally abandon their rights by switching to “the cloud”… Remember the Kindle scandal, when users had their books deleted by remote control? Sorry, but I’d rather take the Red Pill and stay out of the Matrix!

    So please… Enough with the sugarcoating! I can tolerate a device with a non removable battery (I can certainly learn to take a take a heat gun to disassemble the device when the time comes that I’ll need a new battery), but I will NEVER purchase any device that DOESN’T let ME control MY DATA the way I see fit, with a Removable SD Card Slot!

    • Hi Chris,
      Maybe if manufacturer´s saw that sale of non-MicroSD card phone drops and the older one with them go up, they might think twice since it is going to hit them where it hurts, their profits. I can´t stand not being in control of my data either. Thanks for commenting. =-)

      • Hey, thanks again for your graciousness, Judy, you sure know how to write about controversial subjects :)

        • Hi Chris,
          Thanks very sweet of you, thank you. Controversial is my middle name, ha ha. Don´t forget to keep coming back for more great info! =-)

  5. I agree. I bought a Nexus 4 with 16GB and it has been a nightmare, continually trying to free up space. It is a good phone and fast, but I miss not having a Micro SD slot.Talk about bad publicity, it has put me off buying a phone without a Micro SD slot. In fact while I was in Singapore I purchased an ASUS Zenphone 2 Laser which has Dual Sims and a slot for Micro SD. I have both my personal and work sim in the phone and I have a 64GB Micro SD card. Instead of carrying 2 phones I now have one, and before anyone criticizes me for having 2 Sims I still believe in keeping work life separate from my personal life.
    From now on I will only be buying a phone which has a Micro SD slot

    • Hi AtholIIW,
      I won´t criticize you since I recently bought a dual sim smartphone as well with a MicroSD card for the same reasons. You have a supporter here. =-) Thanks for commenting.

  6. After about 6 years of Apple iPhones, mainly because of being ripped off for exorbitant charges for more internal memory, bailed out of ios and went to an Android Motorola Moto G 8 GB with added 32 gb micro SD card. More accessible storage for music, audio books, videos and downloaded business files than Ill ever use.
    I simply would not buy any android phone in the forseeable future without a removable card that cannot be loaded with an external file manager.

  7. Of course the unit should have an SD slot, especially if it’s a smartphone. And it should be included for the sake of the customers convenience and not a scheme for corporate profit.
    If performance is the true issue for not designing the slot into the unit, all they need to do is make that a disclaimer informing the customer as such, and letting it be their decision. Provide a listing of recommended cards, and warn of the side affects or pitfalls of using cheaper inferior brands or types. Inconveniencing the consumer by taking it away is not the answer or solution!

    • Hi KC,
      It should be our choice to get a phone with an SD that will ¨affect the phone´s performance¨. I mean, if we didn´t buy their phone´s, they would never win as much money. We decide if a phone fails or not, so we should decide that we want on them, not the manufacturer´s. =-) Thanks for commenting.

  8. I like Samsung Notes phones and I was looking for upgrade this year but I skip Note 5 and I will stay with my Note 3 until Samsung return back sd card and removable batery (or probably my next phone will be other brand as asus in example).
    sd card gives user much more flexability and space especially when use phablet.

    • Hi DD,
      Go for it. Ride that Note 3 out until who knows when. I would do the same thing. =-) Thanks for commenting.

  9. I would say “ditto” to the above comments regarding selling more expensive phones, and it not being about performance. Performance is too easily dealt with. As for forcing consumers to by a new phone, I’m still using by Galaxy S5, refusing to upgrade to the S6 precisely because it no longer supports a micro SD card. When, in the future, I am forced to upgrade, it will be to a vendor who still supports micro SD cards, and likely not Samsung unless they change and start including them again.

    • Hi CF,
      Same here, but there are rumors that the Galaxy S7 might come with a MicroSD card. Let´s hope that the rumors are true. Thanks for commenting. =-)

  10. Ok, Lets say something first.! -> Money , money and again money… this is the only goal of the manufactures.
    Now, some people think that with a smart phone can do everything , like playing music , watching large high end videos , playing games which need many resources to load and e.t.c.
    Of course I agree that the build in memory of a phone is better much more faster than a SD Slot BUT It depends of what you want to do with this tech. !!!! So the manufactures have realized that they have to do with ignorant or with teenagers so they promote they projects accordingly.

    Tell you out there , did you use the external SD slot ( memory card type 10 or more) and play music (average mp3 files ) or play an average game from google play or use a office to open a file or move all your apps to this SD card and HAVE any glitches????? The answer is NO.
    Now anyone can understand why??? If of course you want to play high end games then DO NOT USE YOUR PHONE!! Take a PSP or a Nintendo or what ever… If you wan to play high end videos or record high end videos then buy a foto-camera and do your job..!! Sorry to say but you got the point..!!! (I hope).

    • Hi Arxaios,
      You´re right, it is all about the money, but unless their sale is affected. I´m afraid things are going to continue the way they are. Thanks for sharing your opinion. =-)

  11. Got a Motorola Droid Turbo 2. Added a Sandisk 64GB to the phone’s 64 GB. Battery lasts all of 8 hrs with heavy use. But, phone responds quickly. With the Turbo 2 fast charge, I am be back at 80% power in 15-30 minutes. Happy camper! Now, if I could only remove all the bloatware without coding the warranty……

    • Hi Andt,
      One can only dream of removing the bloatware that way. Good to know that you are happy with your phone. =-)

  12. As a SD card “fan” myself I have to say if the previous reasons listed were the only performance issues with having a card reader, than I’m in the clear. I don’t transfer things much and I don’t buy crap cards for my device. But plenty of people have already listed any other reasons. I’m here to open the option the article does not seem to explore. How about somebody on the IEEE committee get off their asses and refine the SD card technology to better suit mobile devices like phones and tablets? Most of these technologies are created before there really is a huge need for them. The technology is invented only to address the constant need to shrink the same current tech. Now that TF SD card tech has been adopted for mobile devices the real world demands are placed on it and the cutting edge market pushes this format to it’s limits.

    If someone wants to say this tech is slowing devices down then maybe they should listen to the large percentage of customers that don’t want to pay extra for more storage and refine the format. Very soon the 256GB TF cards will be out and apparently Samsung is listening, because their Galaxy S7 has a card reader on it. Long story short, I will NOT buy a phone that does not have a card reader on it. Cloud is fine, but we do not live in a WiFi plentiful world just yet.

    • Hi John,
      I completely agree. I wouldn´t buy a phone that doesn´t have an SD card slot either. If the majority of the users did this, phone sales would drop, forcing the manufacturer´s to bring it back on all device´s. Strike! Strike! ha ha. Thanks for commenting. =-)

  13. Creative post ! I am thankful for the analysis , Does anyone know where my company would be able to get ahold of a fillable a form version to work with ?

  14. Unfortuately, I absolutely hate to be the one to bring to light the negativity this decision that most makers of smartphones have decided to not include an owners ability to add more memory/storage. How come desktop, AIO, Towers and laptops dontm do this. Why…….well the tech market has been slowing down substancially over the last 5 years. Samsungs smart TV that had that awful curved screen was the first sign that the tech market was desparate. in addition to the stupid 3D Tv’s. Really lets not be ignorant.The unavailability assures the makers of smat phones to eventually within 3 years the need for a phone with more storage and this ridiculous updates to OS every 2-4 months is a clear indicator they are using mor space unnecessarily. I mean why does an OS upgrade fro kit kat to marshmellow and on and on. They do not even give you the option to install it or not. they just automaticallyrcommend to let them install it. Hence more storage is always going to be used by them. NOT US. I just cannot ignore the obvious. an upgrade or update should not take like 10 to 15 minutes every 6 months. yeah i know security features, new features, better functionality and of course all the wonderful new stuff you can do. but they do not make it easy to get to. and have a step by step gude of how to turn it on and use it. This is ludicrious it actually borderlines disrespect and takes away rights that models of the pat always had. If there is a problem with the sd card the owner installs. then make this informatio available to read easily on the internet. what i did read. i don’t buy it. I bought samsung authenicate sd cards and now i can’t even use them. money thrown away. thank you. and do not make the arguement that the data s still there. that is less than 50% of the reason why the sd card was bought to begin with. The major reason was to givethe smartphone more storage and memory. However, I will say the smartphone makers designed the sd card phones with the inability to expand the ram with the sd card. NICE. The bottom line is the tech market cannot come up with new fatures and apps we need or want. and this is a sure way to keep customers coming back. i say no more

  15. My internet is very slow, and I sometimes go to places without internet at all. Clearly, the cloud isn’t much of an option for my important stuff. I had a complete failure of a device and lost all my data because of this scam. For this reason, I will NEVER buy a device that has no micro-sd slot. I will use a T-mobile G1 if I must! It is not because I am cheap. I will buy the amount of storage in my device that will comfortably fit all my data, then back it up to an SD card. Also, what if I have extremely sensitive information that I need to store digitally, but cannot trust it left in my device or on the cloud? Micro-SD cards!

    No micro-SD slot, not buying it.

  16. I need two SIMs and lot of space on SDCard! This is such a stupid idea to choose between SIM or SDCard, when we all need both. So I would rather buy an no-name brand which provides two SIMs an SDCard, then to buy this new ingenious stupidity from Samsung, Huawei, HTC, ASUS. I am not quite sure but seems LG has not join this stupidity approach. I have to upgrade my smartphone and I was shocked I have to throw was from list all vendors Samsung, Huawei, HTC, ASUS with hybrid SIM ( microSD, up to 256 GB, uses SIM 2 slot).

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