Samsung has ditched the microSD card slot with its 2021 flagships, so if you're looking for the best microSD alternatives for the Galaxy S21, we're here to assist. There are plenty of choices available that deliver the same performance as the S21's internal storage, with the Samsung T7 leading the pack with its rugged design and blazing-fast file transfers. So if you're missing the expansion slot, here are the best microSD alternatives for your Galaxy S21.
Expand your Galaxy S21's storage without a microSD card
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The obvious choice
Samsung's T7 portable SSD has 500GB of storage encased in a shock-resistant design that withstands 6-feet tumbles. You get an incredible 1,050MB/s writes, ensuring near-instantaneous transfers from your S21 to the SSD. Samsung bundles USB-C to USB-C and USB-C to USB-A cables in the box, and the sleek form factor and the durable design make the T7 the ideal choice.
As easy as it gets
Just need to connect your microSD or SD card to your Galaxy S21? Then you'll want to get Anker's USB-C SD card reader. It has a diminutive size and has slots for both microSD and SD cards, and is the easiest way to add a microSD card to your S21.
Two in one
Need an effortless way to transfer photos and videos to an external drive? Samsung's Duo Plus is a unique flash drive that connects to your phone via USB-C, and it also has a regular USB-A connector for hooking it up to Windows machines. It can transfer data up to 300MB/s and is an extremely straightforward solution to backing up photos.
Charge and back up your phone
This wireless charger looks like any other Qi mat, but it houses built-in 128GB of storage and automatically backs up photos and files from your phone while charging it up wirelessly at 10W. You can then view the content that's backed up on a Windows or macOS machine, and the charger even has the option to free up storage by deleting backed up data.
Carry it everywhere
If you're looking for a portable SSD that's easy to carry around, look no further than SanDisk's Extreme series. The diminutive size makes it a great option. What's more, you can transfer files at up to 1050MB/s, there's a bundled USB-C to USB-C cable, the chassis has an IP55 rating, and it's also resistant to tumbles. This is a great rugged option for backing up your photos and files.
Smaller than a credit card
There are portable storage solutions, and then there's the Sabrent Rocket Nano. This portable SSD is smaller than a credit card, making it a perfect option to keep in your pocket or throw in your bag. It connects to your devices using USB-C and is made from an aluminum alloy for better durability.
Live the dongle life
If you want an easy way to access the contents of an existing microSD card on your Galaxy S21, then you'll want this dongle. Uni's dongle works with both microSD and full-size SD cards, and it connects to your phone over USB-C. It has a braided cable, and the lightweight aluminum housing makes it a great choice.
This is what I use to back up photos and data from my phones. Seagate's external SSD has outstanding performance — going up to 540MB/s — and is designed to last several years without any issues. It has a sturdy build, a green accent light, and you get USB-C to USB-C and USB-C to USB-A cables in the box, making it that much more convenient to use.
All the storage you need
SanDisk's Ultra-Drive is a traditional USB flash drive that connects over USB-C to your phone, making it easy to transfer data. But it also has a USB-A port that allows you to connect to a Windows machine. The tiny form factor means you can easily carry it around on a keyring, and you get up transfers of up to 150MB/s.
You won't miss the microSD card on the Galaxy S21 with these products
UFS-based internal storage significantly outmatches microSD cards, and Samsung used this as the reason for ditching the slot on the Galaxy S21 series. But with the wide availability of external SSDs, there are plenty of options that deliver much better transfer rates while costing the same as traditional microSD cards. If you need to extend the storage of your Galaxy S21, my recommendation would be the Samsung T7 portable SSD.
The T7 has a rugged design that holds up to daily wear and tear without any issues, and you get an insane 1050MB/s reads and writes — 10 times more than regular microSD cards. The external SSD works seamlessly with your Galaxy S21 and any other Android phone, for that matter, and you can also use it to back up data from your Windows or macOS machine.
If you're looking for a dongle instead to connect an existing microSD card to your S21, the Anker SD Card Reader is the ideal choice. It connects over USB-C and has slots for both a full-size SD card and a microSD card, and it doesn't take up too much room.
You'll find plenty of great microSD cards for Android. Still, as is becoming increasingly clear with the likes of the Galaxy S21 and other high-end phones, Android device makers are eschewing the format as UFS storage modules become increasingly mainstream. So if you're still using a microSD card to extend your phone's storage, now is as good a time as any to make the switch.
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Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.