(Updated 14/08/18) The Apple MacBook with its unique USB Type-C port has put this format back in the spotlight. Here are the two three things you need to know about this connection, this plug that will democratize and replace USB as we know it and how to make the transition smoothly.

  • Tuesday August 14th, 2018 at 5:40pm

On Monday, March 9, 2015, Apple unveiled its MacBook. An ultraportable computer with extreme choices. Ultra-thin and lightweight, it has only one port: a USB Type-C socket. If it is the first laptop to integrate it, it is not the first device to do so. The Nokia Android N1 tablet already includes a USB Type-C port. Sandisk had unveiled its dual-format USB flash drive a week before Apple’s announcement at the MWC 2015. Other manufacturers, such as LaCie, are taking advantage of the MacBook announcement to introduce their first USB Type-C product. One thing is sure, and this even before Apple’s choice, the USB C has a bright future ahead of it and will become more and more popular on computers, tablets, smartphones and accessories. USB C will supplant the USB we know. It must be said that he has several assets.

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USB C is universal

The most important thing about this new standard is its universality. In fact, everything can be transited via USB Type-C. In other words, just about every connector you know can be overridden by USB-C. Image, sound, data – everything goes through without a hitch, including the electrical current needed to recharge the device. The standard is also scalable and can therefore be adapted to future protocols. 

USB C no longer makes sense

The USB C with its new connector format is reversible (like Apple’s Lightning plug). USB is now meaningless, which greatly simplifies connections. We can’t count the number of times the cable, the key, the USB memory card reader… is in the wrong position, forcing us to repeat the same gesture over and over again: flipping.

Size

The USB Type-C offers a size quite close to the micro USB with dimensions of 8.4 x 2.6 mm. Without presenting any gain at this level, it remains compact and can be easily integrated into all types of products. All the universes should pass through it in the more or less long term: telecommunications, computing, music, photography, video, automobile, IoT (Internet of the Things)… This standardization should allow the pooling of chargers and cables and (hopefully) reduce their number in households.

Faster and more powerful

USB Type-C is based on USB 3.1 (even if some products like the SanDisk stick remains on USB 3.0). A standard that has the advantage of offering a higher transfer speed with a wider bandwidth. The theoretical speed of USB Type-C in USB 3.1 is 10 gigabits per second (Gbps). That’s double what USB 3.0 (5 Gbps) offers. The USB Type-C USB 3.1 is also more powerful with a voltage that can go up to 20 volts and 5 amps (5 V and 1.8 A for its predecessor). This gives the USB Type-C USB 3.1 a potential 100 Watts of power! In concrete terms, this will allow larger devices to be recharged faster. This should also make it possible to dispense with external power for a number of external devices and accessories.

Making a Smooth Transition

As expected Apple has removed all the classic connections on its new MacBook Pro “Touch Bar” in favor of 4 Thunderbolt 3 ports which are nothing more than USB-Type C ports to do everything as you can see in the image below. It’s more than on the MacBook, but that doesn’t solve the basic problem: USB-C devices are still very rare.


 

While the connector is found on many smartphones, most of the time we have Type-C on one side and Type-A on the other. So, if you don’t want to replace all your cables, you’ll have to go through the “Hub” box. The good news is that since the arrival of the MacBook, many manufacturers have entered the USB C Hub market, sniffing out the market to come thanks to the impetus given, no, imposed by Apple.

To recover everything you’ve lost from previous MacBook Pro Retina models, you’ll need at least two USB 3 ports, an SD card reader, and an HDMI jack.

Our selection of accessories for a smooth transition (selection updated August 14, 2018)

HooToo Shuttle: The Versatile Hub

 

To find all that you have lost: we can only too much recommend this HooToo Hub above that we have been using in the editorial office for a long time. It is capable of anything, and will clearly be the perfect companion for your new USB-C PC or MAC. You will find an SD card reader, a USB-C for charging, 3 classic USB ports and finally an HDMI socket for using a monitor. All that’s missing is an RJ45 connector. For MacBook Pro owners, you’ll be able to match the color of your MacBook Pro to the color of your machine: Light Grey, or Sidereal. 

There are two versions, 60 or 100W. The first will suffice for a MacBook or even a 13-inch MacBook Pro; the second for a 15-inch MacBook Pro. The price difference between the two is only 5 euros, so we advise you to take the 100W version. Who can do the least. 

EC Technology: Total

If you really need an RJ45 (Ethernet) socket, there is a solution at EC Technology that offers a 9-in-1 hub. It offers RJ45, a MicroSD card reader and even a jack socket. We find the 3 classic USB, HDMI and a SD card reader like at HooToo. Of course all this has a price: 99 euros. But he’s currently being promoted at Amazon. 

Cost-effective solution: theadapter

If you don’t need all these ports, you can finally get to the point by simply opting for USB-A to USB-C adapters to be placed at the end of your existing cables. Apple offers an “official” one… charged 25 euros. Instead, opt for this pack of two adapters at 6.99 euros. Slightly cheaper…

Now you’re all set to make the transition smoothly.

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