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Appeared on: Wednesday, May 07, 2014
Kingston 32GB UHS-I U3 Flash Card review

1. Features

Today we have in our hands the Kingston SDHC/SDXC UHS-I U3 card, designed for professionals and consumers that possibly own high-performance cameras such as Digital Single Lens Reflex (D-SLR), Digital Single Lens Mirrorless (D-SLM), camcorders and video cameras and need to store and playback their 4K and other HD videos quickly, without their SDHC card being a bottleneck to the process.

Kingston’s new SDHC/SDXC UHS-I U3 card meets the SD Association’s latest specification, UHS-I U3 (Ultra High-Speed Bus, Speed Class 3), which guarantees performance of at least 30MB/s read and write. Available in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB capacities, Kingston's latest offering promises speeds of 90MB/s read and 80MB/s write, which is up to 9x faster (read) and up to 8x faster (write) than standard Class 10 SD cards. The faster speeds ensure the best video and photo integrity by reducing stutter as well as faster PC upload time especially when using USB 3.0 card readers.

The Kingston SDHC/SDXC UHS-I U3 card be used to capture professional HD video, but also offers Class 10 performance when used in a non-UHS-I capable devices.  It also offers security features such as the built write-protect switch that prevents accidental data loss.

The 16 GB and 32 GB models are based on the SDHC technology and feature a FAT32 file format. The 64 GB card is an SDXC card, initialized with the exFAT file format.

- Specifications

2. Benchmarks

The Kingston 32GB UHS-I U3 Flash Card we are testing today is available online at the retail price of $52 (amazon.com).

The U3 SD card has a brushed nickel decal, distinguishing it from the others in the Kingston brand.  Kingston has also printed the brand, write speed, read speed and capacity on the face of the card, also included is the slide lock which will enable the prevention of data loss.

And of course, the UHS Speed Class 3 (U3) symbol on the card indicate its minimum writing performance:

It's time to run some benchmarks with the new SD card. For our tests, we measured transfer speeds from the 32GB Kingston SDHC/SDXC UHS-I U3 card using an Kingston MobileLite G3 memory card reader plugged into a USB3.0 slot of a PC.

The first sequential transfer tests come with the H2Testw software. Sequential read speeds measured 78.8MB/sec reading while write activity hit 56.9 MB/sec.

Reading (MB/s)
Writing (MB/s)
Kingston UltimateXX UHS-1 SDHC 32GB
Kingston UltimateX SDHC Class 10 32GB
Sandisk Extreme UHS-1 SDHC 32GB
Kingston SDHC 32GB UHS-I U3

The read spec was almost in line with what Kingston quoted, although the write speed came up a little short. But compared with other Class 10 cards we have tested so far, the Kingston SDHC 32GB UHS-I U3 deliver the fastest reading/writing speeds.

The CrystalDiskMark 3.0.2e x64 edition gave even higher performance figures. The reading speed jumped up to 95.46MB/sec while writing hit the 83.65MB/sec. The 4K/QD32 performance was also improved improved compared with the Kingston UHS-1 SDHC card as well:

The Kingston SDHC 32GB UHS-I U3 seems to deliver top- notch performance and makes the difference especially at the writing part.

CrystalDiskMark Sequential Read Sequential Write
Kingston UltimateX 32GB SDHC Class 10 20.12MB/sec 14.47 MB/sec
Kingston UltimateXX 32GB SDHC 89.29 MB/sec 47.73 MB/sec
Sandisk Extreme UHS-1 SDHC 32GB 20.62 MB/sec 19.86 MB/sec
Kingston SDHC 32GB UHS-I U3 95.06 MB/sec 83.63 MB/sec

3. Summary

The Kingston 32GB UHS-I U3 Flash Card is positioned at media professionals and enthusiasts that want to capture higher 2K and 4K video, with transfers speeds as high as 90MB/s read and 80MB/s write. According to our tests, the storage medium proved to be the quickest SDXC card we've tested to date, offering up to 95MB/s for sequential reads and 83MB/s for sequential writes. These figures were measured with the device connected to a PC through USB 3.0 card reader.

Compared with a Kingston 32GB UHS-1 product and besides the performance in sequential transfers, the new U3 rated product also delivered a much higher 4K/4K QD32 writing performance, which is a great improvement.


Kingston's new 32GB UHS-I Speed Class 3 card will perform right where they says they will, and will allow you to take on 4K without breaking a sweat, not to mention the fast video imports and editing. Retailing for about $50 it does not come cheap, but it will cover your Ultra HD needs.


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