What’s the Difference between USB-C and my Normal USB Cable?

Imagine you’re at a coffee shop waiting on an important call, your phone is about to die and you forgot your phone charger. You feel a rush of panic and only have a few options. Either drive home and search of your charger or bite the bullet and buy a brand new one.

This scenario changes with a USB-C port. The USB-C port is universal, you’ll be able to ask the person with the laptop next to you to borrow their laptop power cord and it will automatically safely charge your phone. You can even borrow power directly from another device so you can connect phone to phone and one can charge the other.

 

Above are all of the standard cables ends for recent Android smartphones. When you start looking at hard drives, printers, and other devices it expands to a bigger list but for the sake of this post, we will stick to the differences between USB-C and Micro USB.

The main benefit that most of our members find in the connector is that it’s reversible. This means that you will never have to do the dance of flipping the connector over ten times to try to find the right way to plug it in. This is especially useful in the dark.

Throughout the history of the USB cable, it has been common to always have a USB-A connector on one side of the cable. So as new types of USB connectors were introduced over the past to connect to smaller devices, the USB-A connector stayed consistent so we could continue plugging into the same ports. However, with USB-C, USB-A is being replaced, and eventually, USB-C will be the new standard for all devices. And USB-C cables will (eventually) not have a USB-A connector. This is a big transition for how consumers use USB cables!

USB-C can be used for very high bandwidth use cases where previous generations stuttered like 4K video and blazingly fast file transfer. It also supports much more wattage throughput safely which will help make it ubiquitous for all of our portable devices, not just phones.

In the words of Sam Cooke, “A change gonna come, oh yes, it will”. People do not like abrupt change and most of the controversy comes from manufacturers abruptly removing other ports because they understand USB-C is so capable. Some devices like new Apple laptops come with only USB-C ports. Samsung, Motorola, LG, and Huawei all have phones with USB-C ports.

In the not too distant future, we will look at new laptops and see the big old USB ports as a sign that that laptop is outdated because we won’t have anything that connects to those ports. For now, however, there are so many older USB cables still in use that the transition to USB-C only is one filled with adapters and many complaints.

USB-C is easier to use, handles more wattage and data throughput. We can hope that it stays around as long as USB-A did. Children born today will hopefully be adults by the time there is a better and more ubiquitous standard.

Chime in! Let us know what you think about the future of USB below.

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Notable Replies

  1. Great to see PWK articles linked within the forum. I have always wondered about that.

    Several of my co-workers (all the same family) have switched exclusively to Apple, now I can’t use their chargers anymore.

  2. True of iOS devices though adapters exist. If they’ve got a MacBook, however, it uses USB-C.

  3. By the time it’s truly near being universal a new USB format will likely be be introduced.

  4. We use a killer Fender mini-amp to broadcast music from our phones, they need the adapter to plug their phones into the amp’s 3.5mm jack. I guess I need to buy an Apple usb-c to micro-usb charging adapter.

    Doesn’t seem fair. :stuck_out_tongue:

  5. There’s the alternative of carrying a battery with you. On the bright side you could jumpstart someone’s car for them!

  6. I believe this falls in the realm of relevance.

    Interestingly enough, I have changed my daily charging habits in the past several months, because I have more ‘quick-charge’ chargers around lately. I have found, (with my MXP), that I can get plenty of charge in the morning within my normal routine.

    I’m all for faster, quicker, more efficient data/power connections. :grinning:

    (edit: I should note that I charge my phone to [~85% | >15%] using an app. with subtle notifications)

  7. The Moto X Pure supports TurboPower which is their quick charging standard that supports up to 25 watts. This is great and Is actually more wattage than the my Google Pixel XL which maxes out at 18 watts using USB-PD.

    Quick Charge 2.0 or 3.0 are also useful but are proprietary technologies that require extra licensing fees for manufacturers. Google has taken a stance on this and will likely require OEMs to use USB-PD for any USB-C phone. If everyone embraces the open standard of USB-PD we increase interoperability and hopefully decrease costs.

    Interested to know what app you are talking about, I’m not familiar with any app that changes/improves charging behavior.

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