Hugo Barra of Xiaomi says MicroSD cards from SanDisk and Kingston are of extremely poor quality

Hugo Barra gives reason why Xiaomi Mi 4i doesnt have microSD expansion

When the world is moving to more memory smartphones, Xiaomi Mi 4i ships without expansion slot because Hugo Barra of Xiaomi is against it

Memory is the lifeline of any good phone. When you need to save those 1080p HD quality movies or tonnes of songs on your smartphone, you need memory. This is one field where Android smartphones beat iPhone because of Apple’s insistence on fixed memory aboard them. When the Android smartphone manufacturers are ganging up to give more memory to you, the user, one company is bucking the trend and released its latest smartphone without extended memory. You may ask why? Because Hugo Barra,  Vice President of International and other top honchos at Xiaomi dont think it is necessary.

Speaking to Engadget, Hugo clarified why his company dislikes microSD cards.  First things first, Barra says SD cards impede the functions of a smartphone, “For high performance devices, we are fundamentally against an SD card slot.” says Barra.

Xiaomi’s latest offering, the Mi 4i provides a second SIM slot instead of microSD card slot, because, Barra says microSD cards are “are incredibly prone to failure and malfunctioning of various different sorts.”

He then gives a more definite answer by Xiaomi Mi 4i lacks external storage,

“You think you’re buying like a Kingston or a SanDisk but you’re actually not, and they’re extremely poor quality, they’re slow, they sometimes just stop working, and it gives people huge number of issues, apps crashing all the time, users losing data, a lot of basically complaints and customer frustration. It’s gonna be a while before you finally accept that maybe the reason why it’s not performing is because you put in an SD card, right? You’re gonna blame the phone, you’re gonna blame the manufacturer, you’re gonna shout and scream and try to get it fixed, so many different ways until you say, ‘Actually, let me just take the SD card out and see what happens.'”

Barra says that Xiaomi smartphones may remove external memory slots all together from future releases. “It is a trend: SD cards will disappear,” Barra stated “You should basically not expect SD card slots in any of our flagships.”

Another important feature of the Xiaomi smartphones is they dont have removable batteries. Barra says its just for making the Xiaomi smartphones cost effective. “Our thinking is if you’re gonna have a removable back for the purposes of having an SD slot, you might as well make the battery removable,” Barra said. “It doesn’t really increase the cost of the battery that much.”

Most new releases from big smartphone manufacturers like Samsung, Asus, Huawei and LG feature expanded slot for 128GB memory which may be increased in future if Samsung’s new chip, 3-bit NAND-based Embedded MultiMediaCard (eMMC) 5.0 storage is brought into use.

Do you believe SanDisk and Kingston make bad quality microSD cards and do you believe microSD cards impede optimal functioning of smartphones. Most importantly, do you think Xiaomi Mi 4i is better better off without external memory. Do drop in your comments with your opinion.

You May Also Like: Leaks suggest Xiaomi Mi 5 to be powered by Qualcomm’s unreleased Snapdragon 820 SoC


  1. The statement is a bit confusing, is Barra saying your are somehow not getting a Kingston or SanDisk card when you think you are, and you end up with a lesser quality card? Or is he saying Kingston and SanDisk SDs are of poor quality?
    Disclaimer, I work for SanDisk. But even if I didn’t, I would ask to see empirical evidence backing up the “poor quality” statement. There are different categories of NAND flash, some better than others. SanDisk cards are rated as one of the best for professional photographers, where speed and reliability are critical. I would also not blame the SD card for all the application issues. You can buy SD cards with transfer speeds up to 250MBs, where many phones and tablets with internal memory can not even reach 100MB/s.
    I like the fact device are getting more embedded memory, but having a slot where I can add more, upgrade capacity and speed as I need it, and pop it out to transfer data to my laptop, TV, etc, is still a plus in my book.

    • I completely agree with you. Claims are bullshit as my extreme pro class micro SD reads at 95MB/s which is fast enough to even stream 4k content. Without the external SD I would be limited to the internal 16gb in my phone or forced to pay much more for larger memory. Let users decide whether or not to utilize SD card but don’t try to falsely criticize other companies and tell people that you know what they want (less features) because it saves you money. Looks like I won’t be buying a phone from this manufacturer in the near future.

  2. Yes this is bullshit. Top to bottom. SD cards are a must on all devices that warrant them. I have used hundreds in different devices and have had two fail. Just don’t buy cheap crap.

  3. And what about, if i want to change my mobile or something bad happened to my mobile then there is a chance that i could simply remove my sd card and insert it in another mobile. Not everything requires fast data transfer. Normal pics, videos and songs do fine and games run great on class 10 so if there is a slot then there are lot of pros than cons.


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