If you can expand the storage memory of a smartphone, this is always done via a micro-SD card. Huawei changed that with the Mate 20 series and opts for the new NM card, not accidentally developed by Huawei itself. How are micro sd and NM different from each other?
This is what you need to know about micro-sd
The micro SD card has been used since the first smartphone as the method to increase the storage memory of a phone. Such a standard is useful for everyone: consumers, smartphone manufacturers and accessory brands. There are micro SD cards from many brands, including Samsung, Toshiba, Sandisk and Sony. The amount of storage memory on the card also differs. Cheap micro-SD cards, for example, have 2, 4, 8 or 16GB of memory, but there are also expensive cards with 128, 256 or 400GB.
The more expensive cards also have faster read and write speeds, making them suitable for 4K filming and faster data transfer with a computer. So all that choice is very convenient. Especially since many other mobile devices also support micro-sd. Tablets, cameras, the Nintendo Switch, action cameras: you name it.
The new Huawei NM card
Although micro-sd is the standard for increasing the storage memory of mobile devices, Huawei is now choosing a different path. The new Huawei Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro are the first smartphones to support the new NM card instead of micro SD. Big question is: what are the differences between micro and NM? The name NM stands for Nano Memory, a memory standard that Huawei has developed with Toshiba.
The biggest difference with micro-sd is the size. An NM card is 45 percent smaller than a micro SD card and is comparable in size to a nano SIM card. That is not so exciting for you as a user, but for Huawei it is a welcome innovation. Because a memory card must be removable, the manufacturer is obliged to make a slot. The smaller the card, the smaller the slot. And a smaller slot makes it easier to waterproof and dustproof a phone, with or without a cover. And because an NM card takes up less space on the inside of the smartphone, there is a little more room left for other parts. Think of a slightly larger battery or a slightly larger cooling that should distribute the heat of the phone better.
A Huawei NM card works exactly the same as a micro SD card, but is not compatible with devices that support micro SD due to its different size. In other words: you can only use an NM card with suitable devices. For the time being, these are only Huawei smartphones, although the manufacturer hopes that more brands will exchange micro-SD for NM.
"The ultra-compact design of the Nano Memory Card fits into the Nano SIM slot of the Huawei Mate20 Series and can also be used as a stand-alone memory card, by means of the Huawei 2-in-1 Memory Card Reader. The design is 45% smaller than a Micro SD card. This makes the new media storage standard ideally suited for applications in smartphones." - Huawei
Card reader is almost mandatory
The 2-in-1 card reader that Huawei is talking about is an important accessory for NM card users for the time being. Because the memory card is not suitable for computers, for example, you need a special card reader. It costs 25 euros and has two connections: USB-C and a normal USB port. The card reader supports both an NM card and a micro SD card. You can therefore connect an NM card to a USB-C device (for example a smartphone or modern computer) or a USB-A device such as an older laptop or a television.
Offer of NM tickets is limited
With a suggested retail price of 49 euros, the ticket is also not cheap, but it is mainly the limited choice that is currently a disadvantage for owners of a device that only supports NM cards. With micro-sd you have (as you could read earlier) the choice of many cards, varying in brand, storage memory and read and write speeds. The only NM card has a read speed of up to 90MB/s, which is comparable to the average micro-SD card. However, there are also cards that can read 95MB to 100MB per second. Such tickets are therefore faster than an NM ticket.
According to Huawei, an NM card with 256GB memory will appear in the future, but it is still unclear when it will come and how much it will cost. The maximum read and write speed is also still unknown.
The NM card is a product with many question marks. Is a new, smaller memory card really necessary to improve mobile equipment? The read and write speeds of the NM card are no better than those of good micro-SD cards, for example. Add to this the fact that the card is not compatible with micro-SD (devices), there is only one (expensive) and poorly available card and you have an innovation that is not yet very practical. That will change if (many) more manufacturers start to support the NM card, but four months after the release, no brand except Huawei seems enthusiastic.