Windows Phone and 128 GB micro SD
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So you want to add a 128 GB SD card to your Windows Phone? Here's what to expect

A few weeks back, we reported on how the new SanDisk 128 GB micro SD card works on the Lumia 1520. Since that time, it has also been confirmed to work on the new ATIV SE from Samsung and even Nokia boasts it on their Lumia 630 page.

In other words, 128 GB cards are a ‘go’ on Windows Phone, should you be blessed with an expansion slot (cue rants for those without…now). I managed to get my hands on one of these elusive cards (they’re in high demand, short supply) and have successfully upgraded my Lumia 1520’s 64 GB to this 128 GB version.

Want to know how it went? Read on for some tips and what to expect if you choose to do the same!

Nokia 128 GB micro SD

Does Nokia endorse this?

Yes. As noted above, Nokia is now listing 128 GB support for their Lumia phones with an expansion card, at least for devices with Windows Phone 8.1. 

How much is this card?

Amazon has it for $119.99. That’s about 3x as expensive as the 64 GB version, so there is definitely a premium bump in price here. Amazon actually has some in stock now, which is new, so if you’re thinking about getting it, do it now.

Packaging 128 GB micro SD

Why Amazon?

I’m not here to tell you where to spend your money, but there are a lot of counterfeit cards on the market and ‘grey market’ items. Luckily, 128 GB is so rare that’s it’s hard to fake. Still, at least through Amazon you know you’re getting something authentic and they have a good return policy. Just my 2 cents. (Plus, eBay tends to be even more expensive).

How much space do you actually get?

On a blank card inserted into a Windows Phone you're looking at 119.05 GB of free/available space with the 128 GB card.

Remove Card

Can you transfer/upgrade from an already used card?

Yes. Here’s how I did it (on Windows Phone 8.1)

  1. Settings
  2. Storage Sense
  3. Tap ‘SD Card’
  4. Scroll down until you see ‘Remove SD card’ and tap
  5. Remove existing card

I then put the new card in and hit ‘no’ on if I want to store my files there. I formatted the card using the same steps above, but selecting ‘Format SD Card’ instead. I did this more as a precaution than anything, so I don’t think it’s necessary.

Next, I used two card readers to mount each one to my PC (the 128 GB card comes with a micro SD to SD converter). If you don’t have two, you can just copy to the PC and from the PC to the new card, it’s an extra step and it will take longer, but it’ll work.

Copy to 128 GB card via PC

Once mounted, I copy/pasted the files to the new card. I transferred about 9 GB, and it took about 11 minutes on a Core i7, so plan accordingly as this can take some time.

Finally, I placed the new 128 GB card in the phone and chose ‘yes’ for putting new files on it (you can always modify this under Settings > Storage Sense if you change your mind).

Re-indexing of photos

Keep in mind, the OS will need to re-index your photos (see above) and music, and that can take some time. For my photos, it was about another 10-15 minutes before it organized them by date (about 5% were not able to be and were moved into a default date position). The good news here though is the OS did organize my files accordingly, even if it took time.

Moving apps to 128 GB card

Moving apps and games to the new card

We already detailed how to do this in Windows Phone 8.1 so I won’t repeat it here. Just head to our guide to learn more as it’s super simple and highly recommended.

Moving about 4 GB of data from apps and games took another 15 minutes or so, but it was worth it.

Storage Sense and 128 GB

Do apps and games run well on the card?

Yes! It’s kind of weird, but at least on the Lumia 1520, I cannot tell the difference between the two. That’s not to say there aren’t differences though. Games, like Jetpack Joyride take about an extra 1-2 seconds to load, when compared to a game stored in main memory (Lumia Icon versus Lumia 1520, for reference). It’s one of those things you won’t notice until you directly compare, so it’s not a big deal. Once the game is loaded though, I have not noticed any stuttering issues or oddities. That’s not to say you may not experience such hiccups, but for the most part, it works and works well.

Music files and images are great, with no noticeable decline in performance. Navigon GPS though did throw an error at me, which was unfortunate (luckily I can just move it back).

Is there a video recording stutter?

Nope. This was an issue with my 64 GB SanDisk version and those on certain Lumia’s know what I’m referring to. The problem happens when you record video; the card cannot keep up due to a buffer/speed tradeoff. As a result, videos on playback can have an occasional stutter. I shot a few videos* with the 128 GB SanDisk and had no such issues, so not only do I now get more memory, but also it’s better than before.

*Video was tested at 1080P at 30 FPS with directional stereo

128 GB of storage

Conclusion

I’m pretty excited over the 128 GB card. Sure, it’s pricey, but when you consider how much music, images, videos and now even apps and games I can put on it, it’s a great option for you hardcore users. I highly doubt I’ll fill it up, but it’s good to know that it’s there, and it works well on Windows Phone.

Besides the price barrier, I can’t see any downsides to this option if it’s an option for you. With Windows Phone 8.1, you can have a lot of available memory with the ability to move apps and games to the card, opening a lot of opportunity, especially for those with lower-end devices like the Lumia 520 or 720.

Do you have questions about this card? Ask away, and I’ll try to answer, or if you have this card already, share your experience below!

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Reader comments

So you want to add a 128 GB SD card to your Windows Phone? Here's what to expect

250 Comments

I once had a dream that AT&T customers should be happy with their exclusives and let us T-Mobile customer have a bit of fun with exclusives...at least once. 925 was our flagship phone and AT&T took away all the fun by having the same exact model made for it too.

Seriously, and they don't even give you a way to archive those __highres.jpg images.  Here's to hoping MS starts prioritizing MicroSD in the phones they engineer.

Yeah. I take a good amount of pics but never come close to filling up my 1020 storage but for all of those narcissistic selfie lovers though ;)

I've filled up my 1020 at least 2 or 3 times with RAW/DNG images (and apps of course), but it's never really been a big problem with all the Onedrive storage I have (257GB here). I keep "auto upload over wifi" on, make sure all my latest pics are there, then wipe my phone clean and start over.

I do the exact same thing on my Lumia Icon.  I know I have lots of available space, but I like my phone to be clean, so I upload all my images to my OneDrive account, check on my PC to ensure they are all there, then I delete them from my phone.  If I want to see my pics, I just open OneDrive on my phone and view the pics from there.  Granted this required a good internet connection, but with Verizon, that's hardly ever a problem.  :-)

No, you're right. If you've taken full res RAW/DNG or even the 34/38MP jpegs, those must be manually uploaded to Onedrive. I believe AT&T's Locker storage (I got the free 50GB) does auto-upload the hi-res pics though.

Oh wow I didn't know there was a way to manually upload the highres pics to OneDrive directly from the phone. I've been transferring to my surface via USB. I tried at&t locker for a while, but finally decided that it sucked and was very unreliable so I gave up.

yeah or i possibly they'd give us option of ordering the 64gb version online , that would be cool, since that's only available to carriers in Br and UK.

Should do. Most devices that claim to be able to read 64GB can actually read more. Though it's a pretty costly gamble, unless you have a way of testing it before you buy one.

I was talking to a Microsoft guy in one of these retail stores he told me at least that the second generation surfaces are capable of SD memory cards with up to 500GB of storage.
I looked kind of irritated and asked him like: But there are no 500gb SD cards right now. The guy was smiling and just said: That's true but as I said it would be able to handle these. :D

The problem I had with the surface is that it wouldn't read my sd card. Idk if I had one of the first surface rts, with it def had an issue with the memory card. Now I use it in my 1520 with no hiccup

Mine is the Surface RT and I am using a Kingston Class 10 microSD card (32GB). The latter is readable and I can copy files into it and play music/videos and such without any issues. Maybe it is defective (the Surface RT)?

Using a 64gb in my ativ s neo and it just nice having that option to movie big games on to the SD card and keep ur phone memory nice empty a 64gb is already going a long way.

The apps start lagging on my class 10 sd card if the card is in use (if u are installing apps or u are syncing ur phone with the pc) otherwise it works great..

Nope. On my Lumia 1520 that I'd like to use for the next 4-5 years, with all those pure view shots, HD movies, big games and maps, the card will fill up beyond the 64GB barrier.

Go for one! ^^
It sounds very good that doesn't cause video stutter, I had a 64Gb and it cause a lot issues. So this 128Gbs would expand the memory and :) even better :)

Yup, that's lame. They passed on it because they had "too many" phablets, mostly from Samsung, that weren't doing too well. Got cold feet.

Hey Dan, thanx for a review, bit common man jetpack joyride is not a very demanding game, if you can please try FIFA 14 or asphalt 8 and I don't mean the load time but the gameplay itself, is it still smooth with no lagging? Thanx.

I did try other games like Trial Xtreme 3, Uber Racer and Rayman Fiesta with no noticeable issues (Xtreme would stutter once or twice, but hard to tell if it was the game or card, but it wasn't an issue).

Rule of thumb is this: keep your high demand aps/games in main memory, move other stuff to SD. With the ability in 8.1 to micro manage which apps/games go where, there's no reason why you couldn't keep FIFA or Asphalt in main mem, with lighter games and app on the SD card.

Thanx, well 1520 with 16gb not much I can keep on main memory, but I was thinking the same thing just keep most played games and then switch around. Thanx again

Hey different issue. I have access to the old music hub. It works great. My problem is I'm seeing old albums in my list. I can't delete them. They also don't appear in the new Xbox music app or when I browser folder on my PC. Have you come across this?

I dont get why they dont do what even Apple does. Sell it unlocked from their store directly. It would not be cheap, but at least it would be available and be backed by a warranty. The 1520.3 version will work on every Canadian carrier at the optimum speeds.

 

If you can spare $800 you can get the ultimate pentaband RM-938 from omegacell (Alberta store) including tax & shipping, otherwise a cheaper standard variant is available from a Toronto store (Canadagsm) for $600.

Be really careful with the Canada GSM version. It does not support AWS and I believe is also missing one of the bands for Bell and Telus LTE.

Most devices that claim to support 64GB can easily support more, but you'd want to be sure before dropping that much money on the SD card.

SdHc doesn't support 64GB.

Sdxc supports up to 2TB in theory, but that unfortunately does not mean any sdxc device can use the future 2TB cards. Or even the 128GB cards. Gonna need someone to test.

SDHC is FAT32 formatted by default. SDXC is exFAT formatted by default. Are there any other differences with the two SD standards other than size and default file system?

6 years ago I bought a Nokia 6120 classic, Nokia claimed that it could only support SD cards up to 2gb. But you know what I have been using a 16gb in that phone up to this day and it works just fine

Good for you? They must have put sdhc in it and misadvertised, because the limits for SD, sdhc, and sdxc are not lies.

"SdHc doesn't support 64GB."

Yea, that's what I thought too.  My ATIV SE specs clearly say "SDHC."  It's currently using one of these 128 GB cards and doing it well.

The 128GB micro SD card works just fine in my 820 and worked in my 521 before I sold the phone

Have the same conundrum as well, NL820 with 32 GB class 10. It would be much appreciated if this (128Gb) could be tested, used, and functioning properly on this infamous device.

It works just fine in my 820. My wife now understands why  I kept my 820 when she upgraded to a 925. Now if only microsoft would come out with a upgrade to the 820. 830 anyone?

I experience stutter on my 64gb Lumia 1520 while making videos, on my way to Amazon now to get the 128 :|. Tnx for the info

Yeah, that was super frustrating to experience, especially since you didn't know until playback. So far though, 128 GB is working like a champ.

Hey Daniel, you didn't mention anything about saving the Nokia maps onto the SD card.  I received my 128 card from Amazon too, and almost finished downloading all the maps onto the card. :)  You have to use the Lumia Storage Check app to save on SD card.

Daniel, you find a way to move apps from card to card?  Replaced a 64 with a 128.  The computer doesn't see any of the Windows Phone system stuff like the apps or associated files (Off line Maps.)

I already have most of my apps installed to my 64GB SD card.  If I move to this 128GB card, can I just copy the files and expect the apps to continue working?  Or do I need to transfer the app to phone storage, switch cards, then transfer the app back to the new SD card?

The app data is encrypted to your phone's serial number I believe. So as long as it goes back into the same phone then it can read the apps that are there.

It didn't work for me like that with apps. In the app list they showed as needing the old card reinstalled. I only moved a few, and deleted then reinstalled on to the new card.

Technically, 128 GB works on 8.0 already. With 8.1, you get the ability to install apps/games to the card (individually) and save downloads there too. But yeah, all devices with an expansion slot should be okay, even the 520.

This makes me consider getting a 1520 rather than waiting for the 930. But it's so BIG!!!! (that's what she said) (she didn't really)

They're both great devices. I carry both around (Icon/1520). For me, 32 GB is more than enough for most things, but yeah, being able to do this...it's kind of bonus.

Yeah that's my thinking too. Struggling a little with the 16GB on my 925 now and like to get a new WP each year. Cheers for the reply.

Don't worry about the size. I used to feel exactly the same and was worried getting the phone, but I was surprised how quickly I got used to it. It doesn't feel too big anymore. I'm loving it and have no regrets.

No no no, that's what he told her! She was looking a bit nervous, so he just tried to ease her mind. Then she figured out that she really did love it and that she shouldn't have been worried in the first place!

After format memory card can I move apps from phone to SD Card as I want to move files (songs,pics etc.) after moving apps & via data cable.
Any problem in that, moreover I want to use 32GB Card.

Why would a 64gb card experience shatter problem and not 128gb one if they are of the same class? It's good to be realistic

Really, I might end up with a crap card...class is what I consider most, I am using 64gb class10 card with Lumia 720

Upgrade your phone to WP 8.1 with a large SD card such as a 64GB, your phone will have problems with it, such as failing to install apps & games.

I have the NL1520 and I'm planning to get 64gb one after 8.1 official version, I don't need 128gb one -for now-

On my Lumia 820 I have everything (15GB of apps, 15GB of music) on my 64GB class 10(?) SD card.
There's no problem when it works. But every morning I need to reboot my phone and "fix errors" on the card, and I obviously can't use apps on the card until this is finished.
Even without scanning the card it takes a few minutes for the boot up process to verify that apps are on the card.
The card is fine, and so is my phone I think. Some subprocess in WP crashes and the card dismounts uncleanly, then the phone can't use it until the card has been cleaned (windows 8 desktop will prompt me to scan it, but tell me nothing was wrong).
It used to be that I had to remove the card from my phone and fix it in a PC, but with WP8.1 I can skip that step!
However, WP8 broke the card every other week, usually when trying to save a picture (happened over two different 820s and multiple hard resets). 8.1 breaks it daily for...no reason. It's fine when I go to bed, and none of my apps are accessible in the morning until I reboot then scan and fix the card.

Then what will be the solution, I think it's quite hard to reboot the set each time, I also use Lumia 820 but still not using extra SD card on my phone, but if I wanna use 16 GB or 64 GB what will be your suggestion

The solution is to have a complete wipe both of your mobile device and memory card as well. Here is how to do it.
Step 1 > copy all of your files (pictures, musix, video) to another storage device such as external drive.
Step 2 > format your memory card
Step 3 > format / reset your windows phone 8.1
Step 4 > copy all your files to the memory card
Step 5 > reinstall your apps, just go to windows store then choose the ...MORE options then choose my apps to view and reinstall the apps history of your WP8.1

Stutter has to do with speed of the SD card correct? Can anyone recommend a 64g SD card that won't stutter while recording videos

Using Nokia Cam with vid settings at 1080p / 30 FPS / 200Hz? Worked flawlessly for me. I'm waiting for it to fill up before I get the 128GB

Sometimes, even pre-formatted cards need a format before the device will regognise it. I had to do that for a 64Gb card on my BlackBerry Q10.

This is common with all memory types, computer hard drives, USB, and SD cards. This is due to a number of reasons including formatting overhead and the fact that most memory manufacturers measure in units of 1000 (1000 bytes to a kilobyte for example) while operating systems tend to read the more accurate units of 1024 (1024 bytes per kilobyte and so on. This results in all memory displaying less than advertised

I've noticed this with a few MB being used up on a new 4 GB USB I had, but I can't believe it would use up almost a whole 9 GB!

It's not using up anything.  If you do the math, the diff between 128 GB (Advertised)  and 128 true GB (1024x1024x1024)  comes out to about 9 GB.
 

I know that it's almost 9 GB less than 128 GB (I said that before), but how would it not be using up anything? I don't understand what you mean by true 128 GB.

Manufacturers say 128 GB = 128,000,000,000... but since computers use units of 1024, 128 GB should actually be 137,438,953,572. Instead you get "128 GB" which is actually 119 GB. You haven't lost anything, it was always 119 GB - it's just false advertising by the manufacturers. But they can get away with it as when you look closely on the packaging of items they will say they use units of 1000 instead of 1024.

This is an old marketing tactic. Manufacturers use decimal system; Kilo (with capital letter `K`; KB) which is equivalent to 1000 (10^3; 10 raised to the power 3) and its derivatives (Mega; MB, Giga; GB), while memory is measured in binary system, that is 2^10 (Kilobyte abbreviated as KiB), 2^20 (Megabyte; MiB), 2^30 (Gigabyte; GiB) and since so forth.

This way manufactures, with $ sign in their eyes, save some bits and successfully trick the customers. Since its selling ages and nobody is complaining, it legal.

Because of this a while back the unit designations were "updated" in the computer world to match the actual SI unit definitions. Now 1KB = 1000 bytes whereas 1KiB = 1024 bytes and so forth.

Regardless, the manufacturers always went with what made things look better.

Ordered the 128 on Amazon Tuesday night. Amazon said they weren't in stock but would advise me when they were back in, if I paid now. Wednesday morning, I got a message that mine was shipped and would arrive Friday. Just got a message that my local post office has the card already. Prime, you my only friend... LOL

I just took a 1 minutes video of the dogs, saved to the now 64g card I recently bought. No stutter. Is it possible a updated OS or camera app fixed the SD stutter issues? I'll take more video to test.

Did the duplucation problem get solved? Because I know a lot of people, including myself, that are tormented with tons of duplicates of the same photo. Currently I have about 12 of each picture all over my entire albums! I mean what is this an OS bug or an SD card bug? And does anyone know if this got solved with 8.1?

Ya I really hope Nokia/ Microsoft starts including micro sd slots on some of their top hardware; 920, 1020, Icon, 930.... these are all really high selling phones and none of them take advantage of the feature. I'm hoping with the new app installation capabilities in 8.1, they start including it. micro sd cards are so small anyway a tiny little tray is not going to affect the "beauty" of the phone like they claim

Hi Daniel. Did I understand correctly that the stutter was because video was actually not saved correclty on the sd card during filming. Is that the trade off between the 64 Gb and 128 Gb microsdcard? Of which class were both cards? I heard you for some reason need a class 6 or 10. Does it matter if its a 6 or 10?

I'm still in doubt over the 64 Gb card as compared to my current memory use on my HTC Titan with 8  16 Gb of extra sd-card storage. It's more than enough to require my storage needs. I can image however that the 20 mpix camera demands a greater storage capacity, hence for me 64 would be a nice compromise, and aparantly 3 times cheaper than the 128 Gb version. My only hesitation is on the video stutter issue of the card, but then wondering if it's somehow a flaw in your card instead of a general supposed flaw of a "64 Gb" card.

I have no reason as to why that'd be the case. The card I used was a high end SanDisk 64 GB XC1 Class 10 version from Amazon. Others have reported the same. Some have noted that it may have been the Camera app, but I haven't looked into it much.

Do you know if there is a difference between the 64 and 128 Gb card? Are they both class 10? Was the stutter for all videoresolutions?

Hi Daniel!

Are you sure the 64GB has UHS class 1 too? You should try some Transcend cards too, if you have a chance. SanDisk cards are very popular but they can get moody sometimes... At least in my experience.

I have no memory card in my 1520 (•_•) I wouldn't pay that much for a card though, I am trying to get a 32gb card.

I would totally do that if the icon had the SD card slot. But oh well, 32GB seems to be plenty for me anyways.

Posted via the WPC App for Android!

One. Amazon, well no argument from me there. They are great to do business with. The L1520 for us who are not on AT&T it's frustrating as hell. Exclusives hurt sales. Reason why Sammy does so well is they get it everywhere

Daniel, would you be able to try the SD in a range of phones to let us know it does work in others (like my 820) seeing as wpcentral has a few kicking around? An article on that would be great!

It works great in my 820. Been using it for quite some time now and on both 8 and 8.1 developer preview without issues

here is my two options:

1) SanDisk Ultra® microSDHC™ and microSDXC™ UHS-I 128GB Speed Up to 30MB/s

2) SanDisk Extreme® PLUS microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-I 64GB Speed Up to Up to 80/50MB/s read/write speed

which one you choose?

I think the extreme cards are made for professional photographers and cinematographers who are trying to write huge files continuously
The ultra should be fine for a phone :)

So this means I can drop a 128GB card into my Lumia 620 and I'll have a unlocked 132GB phone for under $300.

I just looked, the $719 iPhone 5c is only 32GB. The 64GB iPhone 5s cost $919.

Even the more evenly specd 32GB iPhone 4s costs more than $600.

Bwadda! LMAO! 

Once it's been used in a Windows Phone is it formatted for only these or can it be used in any other device in the future?

Hi. I've been using my sd card on android and wphone with no problems. No need to re-format the sdcard.

(BTW and offtopic, i sold my android...i needed to use it and compare it with windows phone.....and, guess, i'm back for windows phone. Also had the iphone.....not anymore, sir).

The only problem is, once you start chucking a bunch of apps that want to work in the background, say goodbye to tiles updating, alarms working, and even email notifications won't work. The 128gb sounds wonderful, and I have the 1520, but I got major hiccups when 25 or more apps began to fight for background space. I even reset my phone to clear things up. Luckily, 8.1 is awesome at replacing everything where it was, whether it was on the sd or on the phone memory. You would be surprised at what you cannot turn off when it comes to background tasks and apps. Just scroll through battery sense and view all of your apps and see how many are fighting for attention. Now, if you want to put movies on yours, have a blast. That's what I do for travel. Or, keep it for major memory hogs like maps, music, games (asphalt 8 works fine), but turn off background whenever you can.

That video stutter is so annoying. It's there only reason I don't really record video on my phone any more

I have no stutter, is your card class 10? Do not buy any lower class. The internal memory runs three times faster, so your card needs to compete with an OS used to that flow. There is *sometimes * a small lag on apps opening. Once opened, no performance issue with class 10.

When you start talking about offline maps, music and so much more you can't ever have enough onboard storage! I'd love to get this to replace my 64GB iPod Touch, if only XBox Music app would get better!

I'm seeing $50 128gb micro sdhc cards on eBay... Are they fake? Looks fake to me because sdhc only supports 32gb while sdxc supports up to 2 tb...

You answered your own question. Do not even think about buying it. Use Amazon. Any hick can sell anything on eBay. Not so with Amazon, they have a reputation still to uphold.

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