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I have two Nokia Lumia 720's, one with an SD Card and one without one installed. The one without the SD Card is much slower on every operation. What gives?

It's a fast class 10 SD Card from a big brand, so it's not to do with it being a slow card, the card is faster than the reader on the phone for sure.

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You're not the only one experiencing this:

I'm attempting to switch to the Lumia 820 from previous Lumia phones -- the 920 and the 720. Sadly, I'm seeing an issue that is also present on the Lumia 720, i.e.: with an SD card inserted, the camera takes longer to snap the first photo. The proceeding photos are typically snappy, but if you wait too long it seems to lag again. With the SD card removed, all photos snap quickly and consistently.

Exact issue is described here: micro SD card mounting delay my Lumia 820 to take picture - Microsoft Community

I've tried several SD cards -- Sandisk 32GB Class 10 (current), Kingston 64GB Class 10, and a Toshiba 4GB Class 4 -- all of them with the same results. The phone is also noticeably more laggy in other areas when the SD card is installed: Settings, Xbox Music, etc..

~ http://forums.wpcentral.com/nokia-lumia-820/225464-820-slow-snap-first-photo-when-sd-card-installed.html

This is probably the reason why Apple device's don't have an sdcard: a) it introduces another failure and support point and b) It slows down the device because most operations want to check if the card is there first.

The Settings screen loads slower because it seems to check how much free space for the summary. The home screen loads slower because it might have to fetch icons for apps or pictures for thumbnails from the gallery.

So in closing, I'm not sure there is a solution for this other than to not use an SDCard, which limits your storage size, effectively rendering your phone to just be a communications device and not a multimedia entertainment device.
I don't think any manufacturer can really work around this, unless they carefully design their system to not hit the disk unless specifically requested.

UPDATE: With the Lumia Black update (2013/2014), I notice that some of these slowness issues are performing better in my mind. It seems Microsoft have improved the SD card handling and made some speed fixes.

  • I was thinking to update my external memory card from 2GB to 16 GB. Can you tell me your total space in your external memory? – WPB Nov 17 '13 at 4:39
  • I have a 16GB card at the moment. – David d C e Freitas Nov 17 '13 at 9:46
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    Another anecdote: when using a Class 10 SDHC device with my Lumia 920, I sadly found that every video has pauses and jerks in them. Videos recorded without the card were fine. – Louis Nov 19 '13 at 0:23
  • I also found that some of my pictures came out as just a pure black image, I believe it's to do with the memory card too. – David d C e Freitas Nov 19 '13 at 0:38
  • The latest Windows Phone 8 update (black) fixed a lot of the speed issues I found. – David d C e Freitas Apr 23 '14 at 7:29

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