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The eMMc (embedded multimedia card) and the HDD (hard drive disk) are two components of your phone.

Emmc vs HDD: What's The Difference?

The eMMc is a storage device that comes with your smartphone when you buy it, while hard disks are sold separately from your phone or unveiled for the first time as part of a software update later on. Hard drives allow you to transfer data at much higher speeds than eMMC. For example, Samsung's Note 4 - which came out in 2014 - can take an external disk up to 128 GBs in size.

Differentiate Between eMMc & HDD:




Stands for

Embedded MultiMedia Card

Hard Disk Drive, also known as a hard disk, hard drive, or fixed disk

Technical Description

Flash memory plus controller in a small ball grid array (BGA) IC package for use in circuit boards as an embedded non-volatile memory system

A data storage device that uses magnetic storage to store and retrieve digital information using one or more rigid rapidly rotating disks (platters) coated with magnetic material.

Type of



Storage Type

Flash Storage

Magnetic storage in a random-access manner


Used as a temporary storage medium for a portable device

Used as a permanent storage medium

Used in

Smartphones, tablets, entry-level laptops, 2-in-1 computers, digital audio players, digital cameras, as well as removable storage such as SD cards.

Computers and laptops

Large File Storage

Inefficient in storing large files

Efficient in storing large files

Transfer Rate

The maximum speed is 400 MB/s.

Standard Speed is 300 MB/s.


Commonly 16GB, 32GB, and 64 GB, maximum 128GB.

Commonly, 320GB, 500GB, 750GB, and 1000GB (1 TB).

Advantages of the eMMc:

The storage capacity of an emmc may be greater than that offered by a hard disk and, as it is integrated into your smartphone, you can transfer data easily without looking for cables. You will not have to wait long (up to 20 seconds depending on the type of connection) before your device recognizes its new disk or you use it for the first time. Moreover, this memory card does not require any other activation process and can be used within minutes after inserting it into your phone - unlike hard disks which must be formatted before being used.

On top of all this, emmcs are usually embedded directly into a motherboard in which they are placed at production time; in comparison, hard disks are generally placed in a removable cover for easy replacement.

Because emmcs are integrated into the motherboard and used at production time, you will not have to worry about your phone's performance: it should remain optimal over time. In addition, these memory cards operate within strict temperature limits; if they exceed them, they may be damaged by their own heat build-up. Consequently, this type of storage is most often used for storing applications that run automatically on your smartphone or tablet as well as those required for its correct functioning (e.g., Android).

You can also transfer music files and other media files using the USB jack of your device. Finally, very few users know that emmc eMMCs are actually a memory. As a result, you may run out of memory if there is not enough memory for both available applications and other media on your device.

Disadvantages of the eMMc:

  • Like hard disks, emmcs are integrated into the motherboard at production time.
  • This makes it no longer possible to replace them without having to change the entire board (a costly operation). Emmc's performance will also be impaired if they get damaged through physical shock or prolonged exposure to heat.
  • They can even deform due to heating which could render them unusable.
  • Finally, do not forget that once an eMMC has been used in one smartphone, it cannot be reused in another phone as its properties have already been written; otherwise, software errors might occur.

Advantages of the HDD:

  • This type of storage is removable and has a much greater capacity than eMMCs (generally between 16GB and 64GB).
  • You can also choose among several hard disks from different manufacturers according to your needs. For example, you may opt for an HDD with better performance in order to enjoy high-definition video or you might prefer a slower disk that consumes less energy if all you want to do is play music files on your smartphone during your daily commute.
  • Hard drives are also more resistant to physical shock; as a result, they will be less likely to deform over time than an eMMc which could render its data inaccessible.
  • Finally, a typical hard drive can be reused in multiple devices while maintaining its full capacity.

Disadvantages of the HDD:

  • The main disadvantage is their price which may be higher than that of eMMcs, depending on the storage unit you choose.
  • Hard disks can also be damaged by prolonged exposure to heat and thus require more elaborate protection from your smartphone or tablet (e.g., a case).
  • You should also avoid subjecting them to physical shock as this could render them unusable if the read/write heads inside are damaged.
  • If this happens, you will have to replace the entire disk in order to recover your data! Finally, it takes longer for hard disks to start up as compared with eMMc memory cards; however, they do make up for their longer boot time through higher performance.


As you can see, eMMc and hard disk have their pros and cons. Depending on your needs, you may opt for one or the other. You should note however that your smartphone or tablet will only include one of these two types of memory storage; there is no way to combine them! If your device does not contain an eMMc integrated into its motherboard, it uses a standard SD card slot where you can insert a microSD card used for expanding the internal file storage area of your mobile device. Please consult our selection of Memory Cards.