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Appeared on: Thursday, March 28, 2013
Kingston UltimateXX 233X 32GB SDHC review

1. Features

Today we take a look at Kingston’s SDHC UltimateXX, a memory card designed for professional photographers, enthusiasts, videographers and others who need faster speeds to keep pace with their evolving equipment. The SDHC has been designed to allow users to capture sequential shots that used to be a challenge due to the speed limitations of memory cards.

Kingston is promising speeds of up to 60MB/s read and 35MB/s write, which are both high enough to cope with the demands of serious photography or HD video and 3D video. It features UHS-I technology, designed for video streaming. It’s available in 8GB, 16GB and 32GB capacities to capture up to 320 minutes of HD video. The SDHC UltimateXX is covered by a lifetime warranty.

- Features

- Specifications

2. Package, benchmarks

The Kingston UltimateXX 233X SDHC 32GB retails online for about € 37~40 (amazon.co.uk). That's almost double the price of the Kingston UltimateX SDHC Class10 32GB card we recently reviewed.

The memory card is firmly packaged into a plastic shell you see below. As a note, make sure to buy Kingston's products from respected sellers as many counterfeited memory products have flooded the market.

The Kingston UltimateXX 233X 32GB SDHC card has the typical dimensions and appearance of SD cards. It measures 24mm x 32mm and is 2.1mm thick.  These cards are the most widely used for digital cameras of all sizes. The card can be write-protected using the lock slide on its left side.

SD cards are generally described by their Speed Class, ranging from Class 2 (slowest) to Class 10 (fastest). There's also an even faster category called UHS Class 1 (for Ultra High Speed). As always, check your device's documentation for support information before you commit to a memory card.

Kingston's UltimateXX 233X 32GB SDHC is a UHS Class 1 card, as it is denoted on the front side of it:


- Tests

In order to test the Kingston UltimateXX 233X 32GB SDHC card, we used Kingston's MobileLite G3 card reader installed at a Gigabyte Z77X-D3H motherboard and we compared it with other 32GB SDHC cards we had in our labs. Remember this is a UHS-I card, meaning it should provide a much higher performance compared with Class10 cards.

We start with the H2Testw you see below:

The benchmark measured a sequential reading speed of 77.7MB/sec and a sequential writing speed of 34.1MB/sec for the Kingston UltimateXX 233X 32GB SDHC.

The Kingston UltimateXX UHS-1 SDHC 32GB product seems to deliver at least twice the performance of a Class10 card. In addition, the UltimateXX is faster than the popular Sandisk Extreme UHS-1 SDHC 32GB memory card, mainly in the reading part:

Sequential Read (MB/s)
Sequential Write (MB/s)
Kingston UltimateXX UHS-1 SDHC 32GB
Kingston UltimateX SDHC 32GB
Sandisk Extreme UHS-1 SDHC 32GB

The next benchmark is the CryastalDiskMark (v.3.0.2e x64 ). Kingston's UltimateXX UHS-1 SDHC 32GB card took advantage of the bandwidth provided by the USB 3.0 interface of the adapter we used for the test and delivered an impressive performance. The product reached a 90MB/sec sequential read speed and 48MB/sec sequential write speed:

Compared with the Kingston UltimateX 100X 32GB SDHC product (Class 10), the UltimateX 233X has a much higher performance in all the tests, especially at the 4K/4K QD32 read/writes:

However, the Sandisk Extreme UHS-1 32GB SDHC has a better writing 4K/4K QD32 performance that Kingston's UltimateX UHS-1 32GB SDHC, which is important especially if you are dealing with small sized files. However photography files are typically large.

3. Impressions

The Kingston UltimateXX 233X 32GB SDHC should cover most of your data storage needs with modern digital cameras and electonic devices. The product performed better than its rated specifications in specific read/write sequential tests.

However keep in mind that most digital cameras do not fully utilize the bandwidth offered by the UHS-1 protocol, meaning that performance close to what we experienced in our tests -- 90MB/sec, 48MB/sec for reading/writing -- should be expected only when the memory card is paired with a USB 3.0 card reader.

Compared with another UHS-1 product from Sandisk, we found that the Kingston was faster in sequential reading / writing tests, but remained slower in 4K/4K QD32 tests. We assume if you need an SDHC card for your tablet or if you are performing many reading/writing operations of small files, the Sandisk UHS-1 would be a better choice.

To sum up, unless you're a professional who needs absolute certainty in speed when dealing with very large images or high-bitrate video, you don't need UHS-1. A Class10 rated SDHC would be a wise choice for you, available at almost half the cost.

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