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What’s the difference between a normal USB and a USB Type C connector?

Bulgin
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Most electronic devices, such as laptops and other computer equipment will include at least one standard USB Type-A port, so it’s fair to say that USB connectors have been around for a long time. Smaller devices like smartphones, power banks, and external hard drives will usually feature either the smaller USB Type B connectors or micro-USB connectors to save valuable space.

All of a sudden, USB Type C connectors or USB-C as they’re now being called, are being championed as a one-size-fits-all solution for charging and transferring data between devices. The question is though, is USB-C really any better than we’ve been using before? We’re going to look at some of its key features compared to the standard USB-A port.

The reversible new shape

The USB-A has a much larger physical connector than the Type C, Type C is around the same size as a micro-USB connector. Unlike, Type A, you won’t need to try and insert it, flip it over and then flip it over once more just to find the right orientation when trying to make a connection. The beauty of Type C is that it can be inserted any way up as the connector pins are the same on either side.

Supporting the new standard

The USB-C connector supports various exciting new USB standards like USB 3.1 – which allows extremely fast data transfers of up to 10 Gbps – and USB PD, which enables power delivery.

USB types Infographic

Even faster charging

Currently, a standard USB 2.0 connection offers up to 2.5W of power (which is just about enough to charge your phone at a snail’s pace), while the USB PD standard supported by USB-C can deliver a massive 100W of power, which is more than enough to charge a laptop. It’s bidirectional, which means connected devices can both send and receive power – at the same time, to top it all off.

Space-saving

It’s safe to say that the days of devices having a large number of different connector ports are long gone. USB-C ports can support a variety of different protocols using “alternate modes,” which allows you to have adapters that can output other types of connections from the USB port. Now, HDMI, DisplayPort, VGA, headphone and power ports can be streamlined into a single type of port, helping devices to become slimmer than ever before.

Interoperability

The USB-C won’t be one of those obscure connectors that are exclusive to one company’s devices alone. More than 700 technology companies collaborated on the design and adoption of this new connector, including big names like Apple, Google, Dell, HP, Intel, Microsoft, and Samsung. We can expect the USB-C to become a common feature in new electronic devices being released over the next year or so.

Backward compatible

Even though you can’t physically connect a USB-C connector to a Type-A port, you can use a physical adaptor to plug older devices into a USB-C port. However, the underlying standard is backwards-compatible, meaning a USB 3.0 standard connector can be used with a USB 2.0 port, although it will only work at the speed and capability of the older standard, in this case, the USB 2.0 standard.

It’s clear that USB-C is the new emerging standard for power and data, and will become ubiquitous across the majority of devices. It will also give rise to a range of adaptors for other types of connectors as devices become slimmer and increasingly simpler when it comes to power and data ports.

Bulgin USB C Connectors

Bulgin's 4000 Series C Type connector

As this new type of connector technology makes its way into industry and various outdoor applications such as marine, medical, transport, and telecommunications, Bulgin’s new range of USB Type C connectors for harsh environments ensures that even the latest type of connector can be protected securely against moisture, dirt, shock and extreme temperatures.

For more information please visit the Bulgin website.

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Comments

June 11, 2021 07:06

A good article except you don't explain the difference between USB-C and Micro USB. You imply that "Type C is around the same size as a micro-USB connector" but stop at giving a definitive comparison or description. I've always thought that USB-C and micro-USB connectors were just two different names for exactly the same connector. But you imply they are not. Please give a definitive description of USB-C and micro-USB. Are they identical?, Can one fit into the other with full functionality? Are they completely incompatible?

0 Votes

December 15, 2020 15:45

I don't understand the infographic at the top, anything with USB 2 having 480Gb/s surely this should be 480 megabits per second (Mbps)

0 Votes

August 3, 2021 07:07

@davecole agreed I just registered for this forum to inform the creators of this article the exact same thing.

December 2, 2020 16:29

The picture indicates 480 Gb/s for USB2.0. That's quite a lot and about a factor 1,000 too high.

0 Votes

December 15, 2020 15:43

@Hermarcel Poetic License from the Marketeers

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