Review: Wise Advanced Memory Cards

Wise Advanced is a Taiwan based memory card manufacturer, that, apparently, has been around since 2002. I hadn't heard of the company, nor seen the name around until they contacted us with an opportunity to review their product. Looking at their website, it looks like they're much more established outside of the US, as they only have 3 authorized retail partners in the US (plus one in Canada, for a total of only 4 retailers in North America), but they seem to want to make inroads with the US market by working with photographers and videographers stateside.

Before I begin with this review, I do have to give the disclaimer that Wise did provide me with the cards I'm about to review, along with a CFast 2.0/SD combo card reader. This has no bearing on this review, however, as I will primarily be focusing on performance, since there really isn't too much to report on about a memory card.

First off, I do have to give a huge thumbs up to Wise's customer service — their marketing and business development manager contacted us and had their cards on their way to us overnight for a project we had coming up the same week he initially contacted us! I have confidence that their support will be top-notch after this experience.

Now, on to the cards and reader. Wise supplied us with:

  • 2 128GB UHS-I SD Cards, rated at 95MB/s (Class 10)
  • 2 64GB UDMA7 Compact Flash Cards, rated at 150MB/s (1000x)
  • 1 256GB CFast 2.0 Card, rated at 510MB/s (3400x)
  • 1 USB 3.0 CFast/SD Card Reader

CSD2 Card Reader

Since there really isn't much to report on as far as memory cards go, I'll start with the Card Reader they supplied us — the CSD2 Combo Card Reader. It's a dual-slot SD and CFast 2.0 card reader that's USB 3.1 Gen 2 compatible, for the fastest possible transfer speeds (up to 10Gbps), if your computer supports USB 3 Gen 2. If not, it's still backward compatible all the way to USB 1.1, at the cost of much slower data transfer speeds.

The card reader is well built, with an aluminum housing. A USB cable is provided with the reader, which is a nice touch.

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SD and CFast is a good combo of storage media for me, as my Hasselblad H6D utilizes both types of cards. I'll still need to carry a CF card reader for my other cameras, but that's not an issue. I don't think I've seen a CF/CFast dual slot reader, yet.

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A real nice touch to the card reader that I haven't seen on others — a physical "write protect" switch to prevent inadvertent data loss or accidental formatting.

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Overall, the Wise combo reader is a nice card reader. The aluminum housing ensures that the reader will be durable enough to withstand transport and days on set. The write protect feature is also a nice touch that I haven't seen before.

Wise Memory Cards - CFast 2.0, Compact Flash, and SD

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Not much to say about the cards here — they're offered at a competitive price and look like just about any other memory card you may have used before. As such, I'll provide some benchmark numbers below.

I ran CrystalDiskMark 6 on the CFast and CF cards. Additionally as a comparison, I ran benchmarks on my other cards. I tested the cards with my Lexar Workflow card readers, as those are the card readers I use in my own workflow. Benchmark results for both the CFast and CF cards below:

CFast Card Benchmarks

Wise 256GB CFast 2.0 Card

EgoDisk 256GB CFast 2.0 Card

SanDisk Extreme Pro 64GB CFast 2.0 Card

In terms of write speed (what really matters for HD video and high-frame-rate photography), the Wise CFast card did the best in the benchmark tests by a good margin. Read speeds were the best from the EgoDisk, but all three were fairly close in terms of sequential read speed, and in real-word performance, CFast cards download so quickly anyway, that the difference is probably negligible.

It should be noted that the above cards are rated at:

  • Wise - 510MB/s
  • EgoDisk - 540MB/s
  • SanDisk Extreme Pro - 515MB/s

Also note that the throughput "speed" printed on most media corresponds to its rated read speed, and write speeds are typically a bit slower. For example, the SanDisk Extrem Pro is rated at 515MB/s, but read speeds are claimed around 400-415MB/s.

CF Card Benchmarks

Wise 64GB 1000x CF Card

Lexar 32GB 1066x CF Card

In terms of read speed, the Wise cards fared well, just about even with my Lexar Professional 1066x 32GB cards. Write speed was a touch slower, but the card is also rated slightly slower than the Lexar cards. Interestingly, random writes to the Wise cards were nearly twice as fast as that of the Lexar Professional CF cards. I'm no expert, so I have no idea why or if this matters (if you can educate us, let us know in the comments!)

SD Cards

I could not test the SD cards as the cards would stop responding halfway through the benchmark — this was true for all SD cards I tested. If I can get this to work, I will update this article at a later date.

Final Thoughts

 Photo by Bryan Gateb - www.bgateb.com | photos.bgateb.com | @bgateb

As I hadn't heard about this company before they contacted us, I'm sure many of you haven't either — In short, Wise makes a good product — the cards perform well, as evidenced by the benchmarks compared to the other cards we own. We used these cards on an all-day shoot without any issue; Previously, both my SanDisk and EgoDisk cards would cause my H6D back to hang on startup, requiring the battery and card to be removed, restarted, and the card inserted only after the back had powered up. I'd heard of this issue with large-capacity CFast cards from other H6D owners, as well. The cards work, but sometimes the back is finnicky with certain cards. I didn't experience any of those issues with the Wise cards during our shoot. Additionally, I didn't have any issues with the Wise CFast card in my Canon 1DX Mark II for both high-framerate RAW shooting, and 4K video.

 Photo by Bryan Gateb - www.bgateb.com | photos.bgateb.com | @bgateb

With the next-generation storage media being expensive at this point, it's great to see manufacturers offering lower-cost alternatives to the name brands, without sacrificing performance. If you work with cameras that utilize CFast media, I wouldn't hesitate to give these a shot.

Have you heard of Wise? What "off-brand" memory cards have you had success with? Let us know in the comments!

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