Overall and Final Verdict
When shopping for a microSD card to use with your switch, you aren’t limited at all to “gaming” focused designs. But for a lot of people, when they want to get a card they just want to know that it is going to work so they are going to search something like “switch microSD card” and there are only a few options that are going to pop up that have a clear gaming theme that let you know right away that they will do the job. Initially, I thought that the gaming theme was just there to charge more, but at least with Lexar that isn’t the case. It just helps people know that they have something that is going to work in their switch.
The Lexar Play MicroSDXC 512GB performed well in my testing and came in well above the certifications that have the card listed under and above what Lexar had listed in their specifications. What wasn’t mentioned in the specifications was what to expect for write performance and the Lexar Play MicroSDXC 512GB is slower on the writes than it is on the reads. But when we start thinking of what you actually need for a microSD card to perform well in the Switch. Writing to the card is important in small sections for game saves. But beyond that, you are only writing when you are downloading games and download speeds will be the bigger limitation there. Read speeds are a lot more important for this use case. You will be loading/opening your games and often loading maps and levels as you play. That is where the performance will make a difference and the Lexar Play MicroSDXC 512GB does that well. Reaching the limits of what a UHS-I card can do.
Once we know that the actual performance is solid. There are only two other factors that affect your buying decision. For me at least, when shopping I do try to stick to historically reliable brands and to avoid weird unknown brands. Lexar has been a big name in microSD and SD storage forever so that isn’t a concern at all but that does eliminate all but one “gaming” focused option when you search Amazon for a microSD card for the Switch. The other big factor is of course going to be pricing. Our 512GB card is listed for $69.99 on Amazon. The only other competitor is the SanDisk option which has the official IP from Nintendo used on the outside of the card is $106.50 for the same capacity and even other non-gaming options with similar performance are more than $70. Right now Lexar has the Lexar Play MicroSDXC priced well, especially at this big of a capacity.
Live Pricing: Here