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USB Type-C explained in 5 mins: What is new about it

Jun 25, 2019, 6:04 pm

#1 What is USB Type-C

USB Type-C is a new shape of cable connector which adopted a more compact design.

During the evolution of USB technology, there were a few types of standard USB connector designed to meet various needs of different devices.

Here is a quick review.

USB Type C

Type-A

Type-A is probably the one that you’re most familiar with. You can find it on your PCs, laptops, power banks, and even wall outlets.

Type-B

Compared to Type-A, Type-B may seem a bit strange and unfamiliar. Although you may not see this very often, it is in fact widely applied to printers and scanners.

Micro-B

Micro-B connectors can be found on many older mobile devices such as cellphones, cameras, and wireless headphones.

The design of Micro-B can help to fit the thinness of those devices, although it has one obvious flaw that has raised countless user complaints: it is so easy to be plugged in the wrong side!

Hence USB Type-C.

#2 What is new about USB Type-C

As you have probably noticed, the most prominent difference between USB Type-C and its predecessors is: it is reversible!

With the unique symmetry design, finally, we can wave goodbye to the awkward fumble when connecting the cable to a port.

USB Type

What’s more, it is so tiny and thin that it could be adopted in almost any device.

In fact, the tech industry just loves USB-C as it is applied to new devices including phones, tablets, laptops, and game consoles. It is kind of trendy right now.

Also, it can transfer data and deliver power at the same time! If you are using your laptop with an extra display connected to external power, the display can charge up your laptop while transmitting image signals.

And one more exciting thing about Type-C: it supports the current USB 3.2 Gen 2X2 (previously named as USB 3.2), and the recently released USB4 specification!

#3 What is USB4/USB 3.1/USB 3.0 Gen 2×2?

Okay, here comes to the confusing part…

People already tend to confuse USB connectors with USB specifications, and the recent whole-renaming-thing by USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) is not helping at all!

But anyway, I will try to explain it as simple as possible.

USB Type-C refers to the physical shape of the connector. It should be grouped with Type-A, Type-B, and Micro-B.

While USB4/USB 3.1/USB 3.0 Gen 2×2 are all USB Specifications.

A USB specification is a set of requirements which USB manufacturers are expected to follow. Usually, the differences of USB specifications are about protocol, compatibility, connector, and most importantly, bandwidth.

Multiple specifications can coexist for one product. There are four active USB specifications right now, and they have been renamed…more than once.

For example, you probably heard of USB 3.1 before, but it was renamed as USB 3.1 Gen 2 later, and now, it is USB 3.2 Gen 2.

Here is a chart to help you understand the chaotic names of USB specifications.

#4 How is USB Type-C related to USB4?

Now we have understood what a USB specification is. And a new question is: how is USB Type-C related to USB4?

The answer would be simple: USB4 will be operated only on USB-C.

This is really exciting news because, with two-lane operation and data transferring speed up to 40 Gbps, it means that a combination of USB4 and USB-C might be the ultimate “one port to rule them all.”

Just imagine the day you won’t be confused with all the ports and specifications! How great that will be!

#5 Final Words

So that’s all you need to know about USB Type-C. Can you tell the difference between USB connectors and USB standards now? Do you like the design of USB-C?

Leave a reply to let me know! 

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