3 October 2014 Neil Robinson

when does it all get too much?

Now you can buy a 512Gb memory card for your camera. But when do things become too big?

SanDisk, one of the world’s biggest and certainly one of the most innovative memory companies has released a memory stick with a 512Gb – that’s half a terabyte – capacity. Great you might say, but do you need it. Seriously, do you?

This memory arms race seems to be running parallel to the other big push at the moment. Cloud storage and connectivity. But herein lies the problem. While the per-Gb price of this card may be fairly low, the purchase price will actually be in the high-hundreds of pounds. That means its a premium purchase and the kind of person buying it will almost certainly have a premium camera to match. Most of which now feature wifi connectivity to allow uploading images directly and as soon as they’re taken. So in effect, there is no need to store so much stuff locally.

And this takes me to tablets and phones. Every Smartphone and tablet now comes in at least two memory sizes. 32Gb or 64Gb, 64Gb or 128Gb. Ask yourself why you need the bigger size. What do you keep on the device that isn’t also in the Cloud or streamable. How much space did your last big-ticket, big memory device not use?

I love my music and my Nexus 7 tablet has a lot stored locally. No because I needed it, but because I was in the habit of downloading all my stuff just in case I wanted to listen offline. Of course, I never did. I always went to my cloud store and checked out what was new, or listened from there with all the nice extra stuff that offers you, like streaming visual content. Who does just listen any more?

Now here’s the thing. The price differential between the skinny, smaller memory device and it fatter, Giga-bursting brother is often nearly 20 to 25%. Maybe even as much as 30%. You’re actually paying for a feature you probably will never, ever use.

And in that race, the only winner is the marketer who persuaded you to buy it. You lose, every time.

So before you buy, take a look at your old device. If you filled it, you’re probably carrying a load of stuff you never needed to – or you really should be looking at all the cloud options. But I would bet you that 512Gb card, you don’t need that space!