Why is USB-C so good?

December 10, 2018

When Apple announced the latest iPad Pro housed a USB-C port rather than accommodating the traditional lightning charger, there was a quiet but collective sigh of relief from the tech world.

Finally Apple had embraced the power of what’s fast becoming the universal standard for charging, data transfer and even audio in its mobile devices.

But, why is USB-C such a game changer? Why is it so good that Apple would abandon its proprietary charger in favour of this tiny little number?

Here are six reasons why Apple and so many others are shifting to USB-C.

Wouldn’t it be nice…

If you own a smart phone, an iPad, a laptop and/or pretty much any mobile device, chances are you have THAT area in your home where a snake pit of charging cables intertwine, breed, and a couple of years later become entirely redundant.

It’s the central corner of your office/kitchen/bedroom where you fish around for the right charger to suit the right device, turning cables this way and that, and shoving them into any available port until something lights up with the charging symbol.

Wouldn’t it be nice if all you needed was one cable? Well, USB-C is fast becoming that cable because it’s quick at charging, pretty compact, durable and even throws data transfer and audio capability into the equation.

What is USB-C?

USB TYPE C

To be frank, USB-C looks pretty non-descript, but that’s exactly why it offers so much potential. It’s a cable and small connector that is the same on both sides and the same on both ends, so there is no right or wrong way to plug it in.

Meanwhile, USB-C is now considered the industry standard connector for transmitting both power and data.

Tronsmart explains USB-C was developed by the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) which is a group of companies that have developed, certified, and shepherded the USB standard.

The forum counts more than 700 companies in its membership, including Apple, Dell, HP, Intel, Microsoft, and Samsung.

With so many big names backing its implementation, it was only natural USB-C would start rolling out across major brands, and accessory companies have quickly followed suit, offering all manner of items that can connect via USB-C.

But why is it so good?

Power and charging

When it comes to power and charging, USB-C might be small, but it packs a pretty mean punch. It can accommodate various wattages of up to 100W, with a 12V/5A charge speed courtesy of its USB Power Delivery Technology (USB PD).

The upshot of this is USB-C can charge devices quickly and, with USB PD, can handle enough power to charge a laptop.

It’s also bi-directional, which means you can charge other devices from the USB-C port of your laptop, iPad etc.

Data transmission

A bonus of USB-C is that it supports swift data transfer. USB-C is at least as fast as a USB 3.0 connection at 5Gbps (theoretically it’s actually up to twice as quick) and it’s a lot, lot faster than a lightning cable.

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Video

Not only can USB-C support video signal, it can power the external device at the same time. That means feasibly you can connect your iPad, smart phone or laptop to an external display or even another computer, while powering the video display simultaneously.

USB-C also appears to be an increasingly likely replacement for the 3.5mm audio jack as it can support audio.

Android Central notes there’s a growing range of USB-C connected headphones, and probably a lot more to come.

“While there isn’t the same huge selection you see with a standard 3.5mm headphone plug, you can find a great set of headphones that use the new connector,” Android Central reflects.

Among the manufacturers are Google, Xiaomi, JBL and Razer.

Audio

USB TYPE C Laptop

As mentioned earlier, a number of further accessory providers are already implementing USB-C. This includes digital camera manufacturers and more. That means you can plug your digital camera into the USB-C slot on your phone, iPad or laptop and quickly upload images.

USB-C also appears to be an increasingly likely replacement for the 3.5mm audio jack as it can support audio.

Android Central notes there’s a growing range of USB-C connected headphones, and probably a lot more to come.

“While there isn’t the same huge selection you see with a standard 3.5mm headphone plug, you can find a great set of headphones that use the new connector,” Android Central reflects.

Among the manufacturers are Google, Xiaomi, JBL and Razer.

Other accessories

As mentioned earlier, a number of further accessory providers are already implementing USB-C. This includes digital camera manufacturers and more. That means you can plug your digital camera into the USB-C slot on your phone, iPad or laptop and quickly upload images.

USB-C isn’t quite as compact as Lightning, but It comes pretty close. That makes it suitable for slim devices like iPads, smart phones and a host of accessories.

Meanwhile, unlike Lightning, which has the connecting pins exposed on the ends of the cable, USB-C is a receptacle cable that receives pins housed in the USB-C Port. This tends to offer less opportunity for cable corrosion, dirt build-up, breakage and malfunction.

It’s still small, but durable

With Apple and many others jumping aboard the USB-C bandwagon, it’s now looking increasingly likely USB-C will be the charging connection and accessory connector of choice in the future. And in so many ways that just makes sense: one cable, one connector…any device.

USB-C isn’t quite as compact as Lightning, but It comes pretty close. That makes it suitable for slim devices like iPads, smart phones and a host of accessories.

Meanwhile, unlike Lightning, which has the connecting pins exposed on the ends of the cable, USB-C is a receptacle cable that receives pins housed in the USB-C Port. This tends to offer less opportunity for cable corrosion, dirt build-up, breakage and malfunction.

The future

With Apple and many others jumping aboard the USB-C bandwagon, it’s now looking increasingly likely USB-C will be the charging connection and accessory connector of choice in the future. And in so many ways that just makes sense: one cable, one connector…any device.

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