USB-C: Why it is a Hugely Versatile Connectivity Standard

When you see the acronym ‘USB’, you might initially picture the traditional, rectangular port known as USB Type-A, or USB-A. However, in recent years, a slightly different connectivity standard has started supplanting USB-A in adoption.

This newer kid on the block is USB Type-C, otherwise known as USB-C — and it ultimately betters its older brother in versatility. Here are several reasons why USB-C has ushered in an appreciably more multifaceted approach to connectivity.

What is USB-C?

USB stands for Universal Serial Bus, and USB-C was developed by the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF), a group of businesses responsible for having evolved and certified the USB standard. 

PCMag UK explains: “The USB-IF counts more than 700 companies in its membership, among them Apple, Dell, HP, Intel, Microsoft and Samsung.” This helps to explain why USB-C has achieved increasingly widespread adoption among the tech community.

As for the USB-C port itself, it is recognisable from its smooth, oblong shape. As with Apple’s proprietary Lightning connector, you would never need to flip over a USB-C connector to get it to work, as long as it is lined up properly with the port.

As standard USB-C cables also have the same connector at each end, you also won’t need to spend time figuring out which end goes where. The USB-C standard has therefore been designed for easy functionality, but exactly what uses could you put this to?

How USB-C can fulfil a need for speed  

You might have noticed that the USB-C ports of some devices are marked with a lightning bolt icon. This is an indicator that the particular port supports Intel’s Thunderbolt 4 technology, which can facilitate data transfer speeds of up to 40GB/s (gigabits per second).

Sans Thunderbolt support, a USB-C port can transmit data at a speed potentially reaching 20GB/s, which is still relatively impressive. For a better idea of precisely how, Trusted Reviews cites one claim that “10GB/s translates to transferring a high definition feature-length film over to another device in just 30 seconds when working at peak performance.”

USB-C can also be used for very speedily charging up a device, as the standard can hit 240 watts. Apple’s Lightning charger, in contrast, caps out at a much lower 5 watts, which is why the Apple-made iPhone chargers aren’t powerful enough to charge Macs as well.

You can quickly start benefitting from USB-C

These days, the question of whether you should buy any particular laptop, smartphone, or another device can depend heavily on whether it allows for USB-C connectivity.

Nonetheless, you might need to invest in a few adapters if you want to use USB-C with ports that don’t natively support it. This can be especially applicable when you are assembling a wide range of components, such as for a Raspberry Pi project.

Fortunately, The Pi Hut’s Raspberry Pi Store stocks various USB-C adapters for use with other connectivity standards, like USB-A and micro-USB. This is no small benefit when you consider how ubiquitous USB-C is likely to become in the foreseeable future.


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