Toshiba Exceria Pro N502 UHS II SD card review

There are two situation where a really fast SD card can come in handy. When you have a really fast photo camera that shoots in a high resolution or when you are recording video in a really high resolution like 4k or even 8k. In those situations you camera will need to offload an enormous amount of data and when it can’t do that your buffer will fill and limit your speed or quality. And the other situation where a fast card can be helpful is when you are downloading your images or videos to you pc. Faster means less waiting, and with big SD cards that can be quite a difference. Because of the increased need for speed new card standards like QXD have been developed, but Thoshiba wants to show the good old SD isn’t dead yet! They’ve introduced the new Toshiba Exceria Pro N502 SD card. Their fastest offering in SD format.

The Toshiba Exceria Pro N502 offers some impressive specs:

  • SDXC UHS II, that is fully backward compatible with SDXC UHS I and older standards;
  • Read speeds of up to 270 MB/s;
  • Write speeds of up to 260 MB/s;
  • Ready for 8k video recording;
  • A V90 (video 90) rating, that guarantees a minimal write speed of 90 MB/s using either a UHS I or UHS II compatible device, making it perfect for high resolution video recording;
  • Of course it also has the older UHS 3 rating (minimal write speed of 30 MB/s) and speed rating 10 guaranteeing a minimal 10 MB/s write speed when using an older device with the older basic SD interface.

Besides offering impressive speed the Toshiba Exceria Pro N502 is also very durable making sure your  videos and photos are well protected:

  • Working temperatures ranging from -20 to +85 degrees Celsius (-4 to +185 F)
  • X-ray proof, so airport security scanners won’t damage the card or the data on it
  • If something does go wrong with your data you can use the supplied 1 year free data recovery software

It is safe to say that the Toshiba Exceria Pro N502 is one of the best, fastest en most durable cards you can buy at the moment. But it is interesting to see if it can live up to its specs.

The Toshiba Exceria PRO N502 UHS II card next to a regular SD UHS I card. As you can see the UHS II card has got a second row of contacts needed to reach the higher speeds

Speed testing

I’ve tested the speeds on my PC using a Transcend UHS II compatible USB 3.1 card reader. I haven’t been able to reach the speeds promised by Toshiba, but as always that could also be caused by my system.

I’ve tested 2 scenario’s and used AS SSD to test the card to its limits. My daily-usage test consists of copying a big group of RAW images from and to the card and copying one big video file from and to the card.

AS SSD tests

AS SSD shows some impressive write- and read speeds in the sequential test. Those are most interesting for people using the card for photography or video as they show the performance reading and writing bigger files. The random read / write speeds aren’t as impressive but that is to be expected from a SD-card. Those speeds are important if you want to use the card as an OS-drive for instance, but as always a SD-card isn’t optimised for that.

AS SSD shows some impressive sequential read and write speeds

Down- and uploading

My daily-usage test show results that back-up the results from ASSD. When copying to the SD card I was able to reach more than 200 MB/s with one big file. Copying more smaller files the speed fluctuated a little, with a average of about 140 MB/s. As always your milage may vary and the results can be influenced by my PC or cardreader. But it is safe to say that this is the fastest writing SD-card I’ve tested… Ever…

When copying files from the card to my PC the speeds the difference between one big video file or more smaller RAW images was not as big. Reading one big file I reached about 230 MB/s and the smaller files where downloaded to my PC at about 215 MB/s.

In daily use

To test the card I’ve been using it in my Nikon D750 and Nikon Df. Both camera’s don’t support UHS-II speeds so they can’t really use the card to its full potential when shooting photo’s or video. Its good to notice that despite this being a completely newly introduced card and my Nikons are models that have been on the market for some time there were no compatibility problems. You do hear about older camera models having trouble with newer SD cards, but the Toshiba works perfect.

When using my cameras I don’t really notice a difference from using my other UHS I cards. That was to be expected as my other cards will write at about 85 MB/s, the Toshiba will go up to about 95 MB/s when used in a UHS I compatible device. My Df isn’t able to clear its buffer at those speeds, so it will always be slower than the card can handle. My D750 will probably be a little quicker, but an increase of a maximum of 10 MB/s isn’t going to be noticeable in day to day use. What is a big difference is downloading the images to my computer. Importing a lot of photos at once is much, much quicker than my older cards. For a few images that isn’t going to be a big help, but I sometimes shoot for more days in a row without downloading the images to my desktop pc. In those situations it is great to get that job done quicker.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a very stable and reliable SD card that will provide you with the best speed available the Toshiba Exceria Pro N502 certainly deserves your attention. It may be tempting to just go for a standard ‘no-brainer’ option like a Sandisk Extreme Pro or something like that, but in the last few years I’ve tested some products from Toshiba and they never fail to impress. The Toshiba stuff has been fast and I haven’t had one product breaking down or causing compatibility problems. The Toshiba Exceria Pro N502 gives you more than enough speed to keep up with even the fastest sports- and action cameras you can buy at the moment. You will be clearing your buffer at lightning speeds. If you are in to videography the Toshiba Exceria Pro N502 is also a really good deal. With guaranteed write speeds of 90 MB/s and a write speeds that go over 200 MB/s this card is more than quick enough for 4k and even 8k video at a high bitrate.

Comparing memory prices is always tricky as the prices change daily, but at the moment I’ve written this a Sandisk Extreme Pro UHS II 128 GB card is about 275 euros and the Toshiba Exceria Pro N502 128 GB is about 100 euros less.  With the dependability the Toshiba products I’ve tested have given me, I have no problem advising you to skip the much more expensive Sandisk and go for the Toshiba Exceria Pro N502.

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