Each year, manufacturers commit to showcasing the best of their technology in their products. The goal is not only to impress users but also to make it easier for us by improving our user experience. Last year, the first devices with a Type-C USB port appeared on the market, their main feature being that they are reversible. But this plug also hides a few secrets and has a few grey areas, at least until the standard is available on all smartphones.

What is USB Type-C?

USB (Universal Serial Bus) is a standard format of cable and connections for transferring electrical power and data between electronic devices. USB was born in 1996 (USB 1.0) but it wasn’t until 1998 that it really started to be used (USB 1.1). Last August, USB Type-C technology was introduced. The latter works with the USB 3.0 standard but the speed is obviously better with the 3.1 standard.

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Please note that there is a difference between the connector type and the USB version. Each connector has a data rate as well as a limit on the amount of electrical current supported. The USB Type A and Type B jacks offer only 4 connections while the USB 3.1 Type-C jacks offer 24 connections, which of course allows more power and better speed.

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Mate 30 Pro with a USB 3.1 Type-C plug © AndroidPIT

Mate 30 Pro with a USB 3.1 Type-C plug © AndroidPIT

For example, the USB 2.0 Type B currently available in most mid-range smartphones supports only 5V (volts) to 2A (amps). The USB 3.1 Type-C allows up to 20 volts at 5A. This increases the data transfer rate to 1.2 GB/s, compared to 60 MB/s with USB 2.0. Therefore, it is important to have a quality cable, slightly thicker, to support all this current.

The Realme 3 Pro a USB 2.0 Type B socket © AndroidPIT

The Realme 3 Pro a USB 2.0 Type B socket © AndroidPIT

Advantages of USB Type-C

When it comes to recharging, the advantages of the new USB type C are numerous. Not only can you recharge your smartphone from your laptop, but you can also recharge your laptop via this USB type C socket. The new Power Delivery standard, USB PD, takes care of that. 

The Type-C USB port is also said to be reversible. This avoids making a mistake when recharging your mobile phone but also avoids recharging the battery of one or more devices (depending on the size of the source battery). 

Faster, more convenient and more reliable

In the near future, all laptop outlets will be Type-C. Sound can also be sent through this type of plug, such as the Lenovo Moto Z, which uses headphones with a USB plug like this. The next generation of HDMI will also be Type-C.

In summary, here are the standards of USB :

  • USB Hi-Speed (480 Mb/s), or USB 2.0
  • SuperSpeed USB (5 Gb/s), or USB 3.2 Gen 1: ex-USB 3.1 Gen 1, itself ex-USB 3.0
  • SuperSpeed USB 10 Gbps, or USB 3.2 Gen 2: ex-USB 3.1 Gen 2
  • SuperSpeed USB 20 Gbps, or USB 3.2 Gen 2×2

The disadvantages of USB Type-C

Some problems when you are not at home (temporary inconvenience)

As there are still very few phones equipped with a USB Type-C port, it is rare to find compatible chargers when you’re on the go or at a friend’s house. Finding a compatible cable for your device can therefore be virtually impossible. It’s one less thing to worry about if you have a smartphone with a standard USB port. 

Not very common and still quite expensive (temporary inconvenience)

If you can try to solve the first problem by going to the first electronics store you encounter on the road, there are two other factors to consider. Type-C cables are more expensive than normal. 

In addition, some cables have a USB Type-C output but are only compatible with the USB 2.0 standard, a very dangerous practice. If you use these cables with chargers and smartphones that have the Type-C standard with the wrong version of USB, you may render your device unusable as happened to Google engineer Benson Leung.

Not compatible with older accessories

Another problem you may encounter is the lack of accessories that are compatible with this connector. So you have two choices: either you have to resign yourself to throwing away all your previous accessories or you have to invest in an adapter.

Tips for Using the USB Type-C Port

  • Check the Type-C USB cables you are using. Avoid buying those that are too affordable.
  • Make sure your smartphone with a USB Type-C port is compatible with USB 3.1.

And you, are you won over by the Type-C USB port? 

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