When the first MacBook Pro laptops with Apple Silicon launched last year, they brought along a feature that Apple had omitted from the line in recent years: an SD card reader. Standard SD cards jut out from the reader, but Transcend’s new JetDrive Lite is designed to sit flush with the side of a MacBook Pro.

It’s basically an SD card that’s been shaved down to fit seamlessly with Apple’s laptops while giving you the ability to add 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB of storage with read/write speeds of 95 and 75 MB/s, respectively.

Transcend JetDrive Lite SD card for the MacBook Pro

While that’s not nearly as speedy as the built-in SSD that Apple uses, it’s a lot cheaper than paying Apple for additional storage: Apple charges $200 for every additional 512GB of storage, while prices for the Transcend JetDrive Lite 330 range from $60 for a 256GB card to $250 for a 1TB card.

Another advantage? This is actually an upgrade you can make after you buy a MacBook Pro. It’s virtually impossible to perform your own upgrades on the internal hardware, since the memory and storage are both soldered to the mainboard.

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8 replies on “Lilbits: Android 14 “UpsideDownCake,” AYA Neo OLED, and tiny SD cards for MacBooks”

  1. “Apple charges $200 for every additional 512GB of storage, while prices for the Transcend JetDrive Lite 330 range from $60 for a 256GB card to $250 for a 1TB card” — bodacious, but I note that a Transcend 300S 256GB microSDXC card is selling for 42% less than the same capacity JetDrive Lite 330.

    1. And there are plenty of adapters meant for microsd cards to sit flush in Macs (and a few windows devices with a similar design choice)

  2. I’m sure I’m not the only reader who thinks of “SD” as one particular form factor. I suppose the most important aspect of these cards is that they won’t fit in any other computers — including other Macbooks! On its website, Transcend poses the question: “Have you ever wondered why memory card specifications are so diverse, transfer speeds differ, and your devices are only compatible with certain cards?” — and proceeds not to even attempt to answer it.

  3. I didn’t realize it, but after checking on the Transcend website, JetDrive Lite 330 is just the latest JetDrive product. There are two other sizes that are designed for different MacBooks. Apparently Apple keeps changing the depth of the SD card readers on MacBooks, and the latest ones are the shallowest of them all.

      1. The older Jet Drive cards should work in the newest MacBooks but they will not be flush with the side of the computer and will stick out of the side a little. However the latest Jet Drive 330 will not work in older MacBooks because the card is not long enough to reach to connector pins inside the older MacBooks.

        1. Just so; one would never dream of being able to use an ordinary SD card in an Apple computer, of course!

          1. You can use a normal card without difficulty, but it sticks out from the side. For transferring data on and off, that’s not a problem. For using the SD slot as essentially permanent additional storage, it’s not good. They could have made this deep enough to take a full card if they used the spring mechanism to release it, but they’ve chosen to use that friction-fit slot instead. One thing I’m not sure about is how easily one can remove this card from the laptop once it’s in because the part that sticks out is how you remove a normal one.

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