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USB Connectors: Type C vs Type B vs Type A

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  • 4 min read

The convenience of plug and go hardware enabled by USB is at the base of physical data transfer and providing power for devices in today’s world. We come across USB connectors in several forms, and each of these has had various applications depending on their size and build.

In this article, we are going to cover some of the most basic connectors that you may come across in your daily life.

USB (Universal Serial Bus) is an industry-standard maintained by the USB Implementers Forum. The USB standard establishes identifying factors for the cables and connectors that we use, in conjunction with guidelines for data transfer rates.

Some connectors that you may have already come across are the standard Type A, the Type B and the emerging Type C. We will now look at these in brief and some of their variations.

Also read: How is RAM used in gaming and how much do you need?

USB Type A

USB Type C vs Micro USB: Difference and Similarities
USB Type A connector

Type A is the traditional connector that we come across on the daily. These are rectangular, and the colour coded plastic on the inside helps identify its rate of data transfer. You would find the female counterpart on your laptops or charging bricks, and the male would be the one you would see on the end of cables, it is used to charge your device or transfer data from it.

Concerning colour codes, a blue plastic would indicate that the connector is of the USB 3.0 category or higher, allowing for a minimum rate of 5Gbps. A white one would indicate that it is USB 2.0 or lesser whose speed varies from 12Mbps(USB 1.1) to 480Mbps(USB 2.0).

USB Type B

USB Type B variant: Micro USB

You may find that Type A connectors are used to deliver power in a lot of cases, but those cables always had a different end for delivery. Until the emergence of Type C, those ends used to be of the Type B standard. Type B receptacles have been most popularly used for data transfer into printers or power transfer to smart devices.

USB Mini B

Mini B connectors were most prevalent in the age when PDA’s were around, and smartphones were beginning to enter the market. They had a form factor smaller than Type A, which made them easier to implement in a handheld device. These connectors are not compliant with on-the-go connectors but are still supported.

An On-The-Go connector, popularly known as an OTG cable is an accessory, which allows you to change the function of the present port, allowing it to act as a host.

USB Micro B

Micro B is the most common Type B connector, and you are bound to have come across it if you have ever used an Android smartphone. These connectors were widely chosen for use in smartphones because of their thin form factor, unlike the Mini B connector. Sadly these are now being phased out as the adoption of Type-C keeps increasing.

Also read: Should you buy an old flagship or a budget Android?

USB Type C

The reversible Type C connector

The Type C connector is an accessory whose adoption brought convenience along with great features to the USB interface. This connector is reversible and can be inserted into your device in any direction, saving the user the hassle of finding the right way in, which was a big problem with Type A or even Type B in some cases.

A reversible connector is not all that Type C brings with it; the additional features are listed below.

  • It allows for connections to be made with a cable that has Type C on both of its ends, unlike Type A or B.
  • It allows for USB Power Delivery, which is a new standard used to charge devices, allowing for high amperage levels to be transferred at once.
  • When tied in with Thunderbolt 3 technology, you can also transfer video feed.

Also read: Raspberry Pi 4 Type C adapter issues: A deal-breaker for the new Pi?

Aryan Surendranath

Has an interest in technology and video games. When not doing anything related to either of these you will find him with his books, educational or not.

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