USB Type C is gently pushing classic USB to the edge, as evidenced by the many smartphones that have switched to this universal connector format this year. However, it remains rather unknown to the general public, we suggest that you find out everything about it.
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Announced in September 2014 by the USB-IF organization, this connector has the particularity ofbeing reversible. So you can plug it in without worrying about its orientation. In addition, the cables are equipped witha small electronic circuit which serves as an identifier and indicates their characteristics.
USB Type-C is primarily a USB cable capable of transmitting data, video and power. The USB-IF announces that the cable can reach 60 W or even 100 W compared to only 4.5 W for USB 3.0 and 2.5 W for USB 2.0. It incorporates intelligent power management that ensures that all your devices have sufficient power even when they are inDaisy chaining, i.e. connected in sequence.
Far from being a revolution “à la Apple” which came to eliminate the jack plug without providing an interesting alternative, the advent of the USB port type C is of importance in the sector. And with good reason: it is easier to use for consumers, but above all it is much more complete.
This new type of cable is capable of passing many different protocols, from USB 3.1 to Thunderbolt 3. This makes it extremely versatile, allowing it to be adopted for both smartphones and laptops, for example, for charging as well as for video or data signals.
In short, USB type C is “the cable that integrates all cables” in the absolute, according to the standard that governs it. What could be simpler for the user than having only one cable connected to display the video and sound from the tablet on the TV while recharging it? That’s what the USB-C promises.
Yes, because USB type C delivers much higher power than conventional USB, both physically and through its compatibility with the USB Power Delivery standard. This allows a USB cable to deliver up to 100 W of power to the target device.
Of course, smartphones won’t necessarily go that far and they have to be careful about the relative fragility of their batteries. The power delivered according to certain profiles, usually 10W and 18W. But such an increase in power allows manufacturers to launch ever more efficient fast refills.
And in fact, this cable with the right standards can even charge laptops, and can connect a monitor to a computer while charging it.
In fact, a conventional charger will typically send 5W of power to your smartphone. You just need to connect a USB type C cable to this type of charger to be able to charge your phone, nothing really changes on this side.
However, and as is the case with quick charging, not all chargers are the same. While the charger that comes with your smartphone will most likely give you the best charge, others may not be able to take advantage of the power of these new cables.
On the other hand, there is no need to use more powerful USB-C chargers if this was not originally intended by the manufacturer. In any case, USB-C technology allows the device to negotiate the amount of power it needs. So a device designed for 5W, will use 5W even on an 85W charger.
As you saw at the beginning of this article, the cable has a chip in it that tells your devices how much current and protocols can flow through it. Also, a poor quality cable can do absolutely anything, and send too much or too little charge to a device that is not ready for it.
This can be catastrophic as witnessed by the case of the Google engineer who burned his Chrome Pixel 2 because of a poor quality cable that sent too much load to his device. Thankfully, things have changed a bit since then, especially on the Amazon side. It’s true that people often turn to the online store to buy USB cables in a hurry and at the drop of a hat, and since this misadventure the store has been keeping a closer eye on its cables and prohibiting non-compliant USB C cables.
To make sure the USB C-type cables you buy won’t give you any problems, there are a few simple tips. First of all, be careful to buy a trusted brand such as Anker, Aukey, Belkin, or any other brand whose name is already known in the industry.
And above all, be careful to use a trusted merchant, such as Amazon. In this field, it is better to absorb the cost than to try to save on bits of string by going around to the Hong Kong import side. There’s no secret, cables compatible with USB Power Delivery and with ultra-fast protocols like Thunderbolt 3 can’t cost 10 euros.
They contain very sophisticated electronics and special shielding that has to come at a cost – so it’s generally better to be wary of “bargains” at this time.
If in 2017 not all manufacturers have necessarily switched to USB type C, it is simply a purely commercial issue. In the entry-level and mid-range segment, for example, this choice is still debatable because consumers are not necessarily yet equipped and may see the advent of a new cable as unwelcome.
Some also find themselves in a difficult situation, as accessories are once again incompatible with the new generations of smartphones. One will think in particular of Samsung, whose Gear VR will have motivated the micro USB on the Galaxy S7 while the S8 will have abandoned it.
While we see many manufacturers now adopting it, the question can still linger in some minds: is USB type C really justified, or is it simply used to force a change to give an innovative image to a silly cable?
Let’s face it: in the long run, everything will go to USB type C, that’s a fact. And for good reason: this is a real revolution for the high-tech industry, especially in terms of the standards adopted by everyone. As we explained above, this new cable is capable of handling a lot of things according to the standards it supports: USB 2.0, USB 3.0, USB 3.1, DisplayPort, HDMI, USB Audio, USB Power Delivery
In fact, it is not intended to be dedicated to smartphones only. In the future, manufacturers want a simple USB C charger to fit your smartphone as well as your tablet and laptop, and for your PC monitor equipment to charge your smartphones and tablets themselves. In short, all the devices are linked by the same cable: USB type C.
But this is also the big weak point of this one, since a simple USB type C cable does not guarantee to be compatible with Thunderbolt 3 or USB Power Delivery for example. This is where you will need to be most attentive in the future.