Replacement Superlative: and Now for the Extremists...

We now opened a new chapter in the probably never ending story of class 10 microSD cards from SanDisk. The currently heavily marketed Ultra series turned out to be an underperformer when used in HD Hero 3s, as they weren't up to the required writing performance of Protune. Now SanDisk marketing sends its extremists to the Protune race, as a replacement superlative for their ultras that took a big hit. Since one of my dealers wanted to only replace my Ultra cards with other SanDisk cards I bit the bullet and agreed to start the experiment...

Today, I got two new 32GB microSD cards of the Extreme type. When it comes to the packaging, SanDisk marketing again scored a timeless goal. I don't know how to phrase differently, what they did. So please look at this...

SanDisk Extreme 32GB microSD card.

First, they do not seem to have learned from the two production lines fiasco with different cards, one for smartphones, and another one for video. You'll find again the cute little green Android greeting from the package, completed with a smartphone. Now that does give me confidence. Not. But then, we have this tiny emblem lurking in the top right corner, so what's this? It seems to be an iconic representation of an action cam. Hmm. Could be a GoPro Hero. I've zoomed in on it a little bit in the picture above.

Good heavens! Are they serious?!

Either this is a real twist-in-tongue or some people in marketing smoke really interesting things ... this depicts a first generation GoPro HD Hero! You can confirm this on two particular properties. First, only the first generation HD Hero featured a round lense dome. Second, a single front LED was found on the Hero and Hero 2 generations, but the current HD Hero 3 generation has two front LEDs. Also, both generations have rectangular lense ports. But you only need a class 10 microSD card with GoPro HD Hero 3 action cams (gray and black editions, to be precise). This microSD card doesn't even make sense in a Hero or Hero 2, as these cam generations do not need the writing performance at all.

So, maybe SanDisk very subtly, pardon: ultra subtly hints at this card type are for the Hero and Hero 2 only?!

Luckily, my first performance measurements show quite good performance. Albeit still very far from what marketing likes to boast on the packaging, these cards now perform at above 7MByte/s writing speed at block sizes of 32kBytes. No more huge writing speed wobbling as we saw with the Ultra series. This looks very promising of stable performance in a GoPro HD Hero 3 Black edition with protune switched on.

SanDisk Extreme 32GB microSD card,
writing performance for 32kByte blocks.

The real-world writing performance as shown above leaves a clear safety margin above 7MByte/s. However, these cards still are no extreme performers, as I nowhere can see the up to 50MByte/s that are boasted on the package. Of course, it's always the up to, but we're talking about real life figures and not marketing dreams, so 50MByte/s are just inflated dreaming compared to real 7MByte/s.

Just for the down-to-earth record, let's compare with the less-than-stellar writing performance of the Ultra series. It happened to often reach the required writing performance, but not always; so this was never stable operation in a Go HD Hero 3 Black Edition.

In comparism: SanDisk Ultra 32GB microSD
at 32kByte block write performance.

But at least we are still with the thrilling question: what will be SanDisk's next superlative? Or, super-superlative?

Update: oh well, now we know ... it's Extreme Plus. Are they serious in SanDisk Marketing?