Also known as Type-C cables, USB-C is the latest connector which has been developed by the USB-IF, or the USB Implementers' Forum. This group is comprised of Belkin, Dell, Intel, Apple and all other industry leaders within the consumer electronics community. It is likely to be adopted by many of the world's manufacturers, thus it will gradually replace USB types like the USB Mini-B USB-B, and USB-A. With that in mind, everyone has to be informed on how to buy one.

Understanding the Basics of USB-C

Before getting into any technical tips as to how you must buy a USB-C for your device, you have to remember the basics. Getting this wrong will cost you a lot. In fact, a wrong USB-C cable might end up destroying your device. Just like the HDMI port, USB-C is a physical interface that defines how a device communicates and draws its power. It combines power output of up to 100W and data transfer of up to 40 Gbps. It has superseded the USB-A version which is smaller than the USB-C.

Different USB-C Versions

There are actually three types to take note of. The first one was formerly known as the USB 3.0 or USB 3.1 Gen 1, which is now the USB 3.2 Gen 1. Its marketing name is SuperSpeed USB. It has a maximum transfer speed of 5Gbps.

The second type which is known as the USB 3.2 Gen 2 (formerly known as USB 3.1 Gen 2) is marketed as SuperSpeed USB 10 Gbps. This is because it has a maximum transfer speed of up to 10 Gbps. The last one is the SuperSpeed USB 20 Gbps, which, as its name implies, has a maximum transfer speed of 20 Gbps. This is also known as the USB 3.2 Gen 2x2.

Learn about USB-C Power Capabilities

The much older versions known as the USB 2.0 and the USB 3.0 were capable of supporting a maximum power output of 2.5W and 4.5W, respectively. This capacity was able to power your smartphone and the USB external hard drive. The USB 3.2 Gen 1 and 2, on the other hand, has 100 Watts of power, depending on the compatible hardware, and as introduced by the USB Power Delivery. Due to this delivery standard, many of the latest devices like the Apple MacBook can be powered via these ports.

There is also the Thunderbolt 3 specification which has been developed by Intel. This is compatible with the USB-C port and is also mostly seen on Apple MacBook products. They support power output of up to 100W and data transfer speeds of up to 40 Gbps. It comes with a lightning bolt symbol, and there are USB-C cables that will work with such a port.

Some Last Tips for Buying USB-C Cables

It is okay to convert USB-C to USB-C 3.2 Gen 1 to charge devices, or even to transfer music, photo, and data. It is not advisable, however, to buy USB-A to USB-C cables when you want to specifically charge your laptops. This can result in device frying because of the wrong specifications between the two ports. Remember that the USB-C port has the capability to draw more power, thus if the cable does not have the circuitry to deliver the amount of power that the device needs, tendency is it will get damaged. This type of cable is ideal when charging smartphones.