Having been caught out myself a couple of times trying
to source a real memory card bargain, I'd like to share my experiences
Your first idea for buying a memory card for your
smartphone or PDA will be in the high street and computer shops. Avoid
these on cost grounds, their mark up makes these way too expensive in
almost all cases.
Your second idea will be eBay, where you'll see a huge
number of memory cards, some apparently with top brand names (e.g.
SanDisk) and all offered from local premises with 'too good to be true'
prices and over-high postage costs. Even if the combined final price is
still nice and low, you're running a big risk. My 1GB 'SanDisk' card,
for example, was advertised as shipping from the UK. I placed my order
with the eBay vendor. And sat back. And waited and waited. The card was
actually being sent from Taiwan and the vendor had explicitly lied
about his location on eBay (don't worry, I reported him). Even worse,
the card turned out to be a clever fake:
- a no-name card of the right capacity but without
components of the right spec to work properly in cutting edge machines
- made to look like a SanDisk product but without the
right embossed serial number
- very poor gold edge contacts - the real thing has
shiny, quality contacts that will last a lifetime
- more chinese characters on the packaging than the
Your third idea will be to take my advice (below) and
buy from the web site of a reputable local (in my case UK-based) memory
card vendor, but going for the lowest cost card they do. Again, this is
a mistake. Cards such as the Kingston range simply aren't as
good as the top spec cards from the like of (the real) SanDisk. Yes,
they'll be good enough for storing applications and MP3s - which may be
all you want now, but there will come a time when something doesn't
work properly because the card's components aren't fast enough. Trust
me - get the fastest card you can if you've any ambitions of using the
card in a future device, which may well see you streaming movies from
the card or recording video onto it. As with most things in life, you
get what you pay for!
Find an Internet-based memory card vendor that's based
in your local country (e.g. the UK), whose site you like and who you
can phone up or return goods to if there's a problem.
You can start with My
Memory if you like, who I've been happy with in the UK.