What Is UFS Storage? How Is It Better Than eMMC?

Get better, faster, and more efficient storage with UFS.

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With the smartphone industry currently at its peak and the saturated market, finding the right smartphone is more challenging than ever before. Amidst all the choices and sacrifices you’ll have to make while choosing one phone over the other, UFS storage is something that you shouldn’t neglect.

But what exactly is UFS storage, and why does it matter? In this article, let’s uncover the same and find out how it’s different from your traditional eMMC storage.

What is UFS Storage?

If you’re holding on to your guess of “Ultra-Fast Storage,” you’re wrong and right. While it is technically faster storage, UFS stands for Universal Flash Storage. It was first introduced in 2011 to provide faster storage for mobile devices without consuming much power.

UFS was created to replace much slower eMMC storage which is still found in most lower-end smartphones, Chromebooks, and consoles like the Steam Deck. The Galaxy S6 was one of the first phones to feature UFS 2.0 storage, and the tech has improved a lot since then.

The Difference Between UFS & eMMC

The main difference between eMMC and UFS storage is that UFS is full-duplex, whereas eMMC is half-duplex. For starters, there are multiple data lanes in half-duplex systems, and the data can travel in only one direction per lane(Either from sender to receiver or receiver to sender). Whereas, in full-duplex systems, the data can travel both ways at the same time from two different points.

Full-duplex
Credit: Network Encyclopedia

While UFS is faster than eMMC, it’s hard to compare the speeds and claim that it is “X” times faster. The sequential read and write speeds of UFS and eMMC storage differ based on their capacities. For instance, a 512GB UFS 3.1 storage chip is rated for 2,100 MB/s sequential reads and write speeds, whereas the 128GB variant is rated for 600MB/s.

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We recently reviewed the AGM Glory Pro, in which we compared the read/write speeds of the same and the Google Pixel 4a. Unsurprisingly enough, the Glory Pro’s 256GB UFS 2.1 storage beat the 4a’s 128GB 2.1 by a substantial margin.

AGM Glory Pro and Pixel 4a memory test
Left: Glory Pro; Right: Pixel 4a

All UFS Storage Versions

VersionSequential R/W Speed
UFS 1.0300/170 MB/s
UFS 2.0480/170 MB/s
UFS 2.1880/200 MB/s
UFS 3.02100/410 MB/s
UFS 3.12100/1200 MB/s
Marketed values. Actual speeds may vary.

UFS 2.0 solution has a sequential read speed, sequential write speed, random read speed, and random write speed each 1.40, 1.66, 2.71, 1.07 times faster, respectively than eMMC 5.1.

UFS was expensive storage and wasn’t included in mid-range smartphones until the competition in the smartphone market rose. Many manufacturers are now including it in their devices, and while eMMC is still used in lower-end smartphones, it’s not as popular as UFS.

So, that was everything you needed to know about UFS storage. What type of storage does your phone have? Let us know in the comments section below.

If you like this simple explainer, check out our Short Bytes section. We take complex tech topics and break them into short, easy-to-understand articles.

Abubakar Mohammed

Abubakar Mohammed

Abubakar is a passionate tech writer whose love for tech started in 2011 when he got a Dell Inspiron 5100. When he's not covering Linux and open-source, you'll find him binge-watching anime or Tech content on YouTube.

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