This cheap (and fake) accessory can damage your Android smartphone

Over the past few weeks, I’ve noticed a growing number of “1024GB MicroSDXC” cards being offered by sellers on the likes of eBay or Amazon for ridiculously low prices.

But what’s the worst that can happen? You buy one, find you’re getting about 22GB of storage, and lose out a few bucks?

No, worse things can happen. Much worse.

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Working in conjunction with my local trading standards office (a UK government service that works to protect consumers from unfair trading), I decided to take a look. So, I bought a couple of the fakiest looking microSD cards I could find on Amazon. They cost me about $15 each, but I got my money back, so the people selling them didn’t profit, and I also passed on my information to my local trading standards office.

For reference, a genuine 1TB microSD card (not these things listed as 1024GB), will set you back about $200.

They were exactly what I expected.

Low-quality, low-capacity cards reprogrammed to give the impression they are bigger, and then a bit of nasty screen print added on top.

For testing microSD cards, I recommend two tools. The quick test offered by RMPrepUSB is good, but if I’m still suspicious, I’ll go for a much more thorough — and much longer — test using H2testw.

But things took a turn for the worse. I popped them into a camera to see what would happen (I’m not going to pop them into a phone, just in case), and one snapped almost in half as I was pressing it into the slot. To make matters worse, it didn’t want to come out and took some persuading with a toothpick to free it. Fortunately, the tolerance in the device that I’d tested it in — a thermal camera — was such that the sot was quite big, but in a more compact, higher-tolerance devices such as a smartphone or GoPro, this could have been a bigger problem.

The card was super brittle.

Never seen that happen before, but I have heard of it happening, and always put it down to some level of hamfistedness. And while this certainly had a small amount of hamfistedness associated with it, the card really did snap under very little pressure.

So, be careful out there. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

On top of that, it can cost you a lot more than you paid for the card, and I suspect the sellers aren’t going to pay for the damage.

How to avoid buying fake microSD cards

  • If the deal seems too good to be true…
  • Buy reputable brands from reputable sellers
  • If buying online and you receive something that looks fake, be suspicious
  • Nasty packaging and terrible screenprint are a giveaway
  • Carry out your own tests