USB-A to USB-C: Learn the Major Differences
Discover everything you need to know about USBs
It's pretty amazing to think about what USB ports and connectors allow us to do. We can store pictures, videos, documents, and even games on a single USB flash drive and access them anytime. Not to mention how USB ports let us easily connect our phones, computers, and TVs.
With how fast tech seems to be evolving, you might be surprised to discover that USB connectors have remained mainly the same until now. That's all thanks to USB-C, the new USB type set to succeed the original USB-A connector technology. So what's different from USB-A to USB-C, and how do you tell which one is best for your needs? Let's plug in and take a closer look at these important USB types.
USB-A: What to Know
It all starts with USB-A. Initially developed in 1996, companies like IBM, Microsoft, and Intel designed the USB connector system to make it easier to connect hardware to PCs. These USB ports are the ones most people are familiar with and have seen on their computers, laptops, phone chargers, TVs, and video game consoles. The USB-A port refers to a port in a host device that can connect with a receptor device, either through a USB cable or by plugging in the receptor device directly, like with a USB drive.
USB-A ports have become a staple in modern technology due to their versatility and reliability. Plus, thanks to advances in USB technology, USB-A connectors support the modern USB 3.0 framework, allowing for faster transfer speeds than past versions.
Still, if you've used a USB-A device before, you know how tricky it can be to plug it in. That's because the connectors need to be lined up just right for a proper connection. Type-A connectors are also falling behind in terms of high-speed charging and transfer speeds, making it tough for them to keep up with new devices on the market.
USB-C: What to Know
That's where USB-C comes in. More formally known as USB Type - C, these new USB connectors can charge devices and transfer data at higher rates than USB-A. While USB-C made its official debut in 2014, it's only become more commonplace since the late 2010s.
You'll first notice the sleek and simple look of USB-C connectors. These connectors are fully symmetrical, meaning no more flipping them repeatedly to get the right fit. You can even connect them to USB-A ports with a USB-C to USB-A adapter.
Overall, USB-C has quite a considerable amount of improvements over USB-A, including:
- Power Delivery charging that allows for up to 240W power levels.
- Compatibility with other ports via adapters, such as with HDMI.
- High-speed data transfer capabilities.
It's no surprise that brands like Apple, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung are all leaping to USB-C.
With all this talk of USB-A and USB-C, you might think that USB-B never existed. In reality, USB-B is a more specialized connector that most people don't frequently use. Instead, USB-B tends to appear on devices like printers and scanners. While this makes it a relatively common type of connector, most people will rarely, if ever, need to buy a USB-B cable.
USB-B has a trapezoidal shape that stands out from other USB connectors. You may also have heard about different USB types, like micro-USB or mini-USB. USB-C stands to replace these smaller connector sizes and bring everything back into a uniform standard, just like USB-A did years ago.
USB-A vs. USB-C: What's the Verdict?
Now that we know more about what makes USB-A and USB-C different, how do they stack up head-to-head? Both USB ports have their own advantages that can make one a better choice than the other.
While USB-C is becoming more popular, it might still be several years until it's as widespread as USB-A. Ultimately, one's decision will depend on if the benefits of USB-C outweigh the accessibility and affordability offered by USB-A.
If compatibility is your main concern, USB-A might be your best choice. Many people still don't have devices with USB-C ports, and thanks to the USB 3.0 framework, they have transfer speeds that are more than enough for home or office use.
At the same time, if you need fast charging and data transferring, jumping into USB-C is a solid choice. Remember that USB-C is still an evolving platform, so it's important to remain up-to-date on new connection standards.
Want to enjoy the best of both worlds? An OTG flash drive could be right up your alley. These on-the-go flash drives can be brought anywhere have a USB-A connector on one side for connecting to computers, and a USB-C connector on the other for connecting to phones.
The Future of USB-C
So what's next for USB-C? Currently, you can find USB-C used to charge phones and laptops because of its incredible maximum wattage. As these capabilities increase, you could see USB-C used to power TVs and even PCs in the future.
There's also USB4, which is shaping up to be the fastest USB standard yet. We could see transfer speeds of 40 Gbps, more than double that of USB 3.0!
Whatever lies ahead for USB types, you can count on Logotech to remain on top of things. We've got a wide selection of custom USB flash drives for sale, including USB-A and USB-C. We also have customizable charging cables available with USB-A, USB-C, and micro-USB connectors for all your devices. Request a Quick Quote today or call us to speak directly with one of our Account Managers.