Flash Memory Cards

What is Memory Stick?

Memory Stick is Sony's proprietary standard for portable memory storage. As a standard, it's been around since 1998, and since then the company has developed several different Memory Stick products. The initial Memory Stick format is for a small stick measuring 50x21.5x2.8mm with capacities up to 128MB. This rather meagre storage offering was quickly outpaced and even with the introduction of a switchable Memory Stick variant (Memory Stick Select) -- which had two identically sized banks of memory that the user could switch between -- larger capacities were needed to keep pace with Sony's array of Memory Stick compatible devices. That's when the Memory Stick Pro format was launched; it supports storage sizes currently up to 4GB with write speeds at a minimum of 15Mbps.

This is not where standards stop, however. There is also a series of miniature memory stick variants, the Memory Stick Duo, the Memory Stick PRO Duo, and the Memory Stick PRO (High-Speed) Duo are used in mobile phones (mostly Sony Ericsson ones) and devices like Sony's PlayStation Portable. A Memory Stick PRO (High-Speed) Duo is the same as Memory Stick PRO Duo, except the read/write speed is increased to 80Mbps (when used with a compatible product). They measure in at a tiny 31x20x1.6mm. Adapters are available to physically upsize Memory Stick Duo products so that they can be used in devices that support full-sized Memory Stick products.

Sony Memory Stick

Sony also manufacture an even smaller Memory Stick standard -- Memory Stick Micro. These tiny memory sticks are intended for use in Sony Ericsson phones and other Sony products. Memory Stick Micro is pitched firmly at the mobile phone market, as it's very small (15x12.5x1.2mm) and has very low power consumption, using either 3.3V or 1.8V of power.

To extend the range, Sony mixes and matches technologies; Memory Stick Duo also has a Memory Stick Pro Duo variant, for example, with higher data transfer rates and storage speeds. In December 2006, Sony also added the Memory Stick PRO-HG, a high speed variant of the PRO, to be used for high-definition still and video cameras.

All of the Memory Stick standards support MagicGate, a Sony technology that enforces copyright on encrypted copyright material such that content can be copied to the Memory Stick for playback, but not copied off it to a different device. The feature-rich Pro sticks -- be they Memory Stick Pro or Memory Stick Pro Duo -- cost more than the plainer variants.

Practically speaking, you're not likely to run across much non-Pro original Memory Stick media outside of eBay, but it's worth making sure that the Memory Stick that you're buying is compatible with your device. Sony has put memory stick slots in everything from mice to notebooks, mobile phones to digital cameras and even USB keys, but older devices may not be able to handle newer formats. Generally speaking, backwards compatibility isn't a problem in the Memory Stick world, although you can't use a physically larger Memory Stick in a Memory Stick Duo or Micro slot.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

GoodGearGuide Staff

Good Gear Guide
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?