Most discussions I’ve read of Apple’s move to only USB-C on MacBook Pros fail to include a key benefit of the SD Card slot. Sure a lot of non-photographers probably don’t use the slot much, if at all. But there is a usage scenario that would probably benefit everybody: storage expansion.
SSD storage is expensive, so most people probably have to compromise on what they keep on internal storage. Therefore any extra storage that is easy to carry with your laptop is undoubtedly going to be useful. Micro SD cards are available in a huge 128 GB and they are not overly expensive. Also available are short SD to Micro SD converters. This means it is possible to keep a high capacity Micro SD permanently attached to a laptop without worrying about it snapping off.
Let’s put that 128 GB size in context. The entry level storage size for a MacBook or MacBook Pro is 256 GB. Adding 128 GB to that increases storage by 50%. That’s a tremendous gain. Of course the speed is dramatically slower than soldered SSD, but it is fine for storage of files that are not accessed daily.
In the discussions I have read about the move to only USB-C I havent seen anyone discuss the removal of this expansion option. Discussions have tended to focus on the advantages of USB-C over USB-A, Thunderbolt and/or HDMI. I completely agree that USB-C is much better than all of these. In particular the move from a proprietary port (Thunderbolt) to open standard (USB-C) is to be lauded. So in general I am in agreement with the move to USB-C. But I view the removal of the SD slot differently based on how I and others use it in practice.
Whilst it is possible to still connect an SD card with a dongle, that isn’t good enough if for an always attached storage option – it’s going to stick out of the laptop and be liable to break. I have a 500 GB hard drive on my Mac. That’s big, but I still find it useful to be able to offload large files to an always available 128 GB archive. This helps a lot to maintain a minimum amount of free storage on my internal hard drive. In general I thought the introduction of USB-C was a great idea but I do think that it could have been done whilst retaining the SD card slot.
Anyone else got thoughts on the removal of the SD Card slot or the introduction of USB-C?