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USB Type-C: tips on how to use the new port

The USB Type-C port is the successor to the micro-USB port, and it will finally come to mid-range smartphones in 2017. We've had a great experience of it so far in its first year so we'd like to share with you why we think it's so much better than its predecessor.

Three unapparent advantages and abilities of a Type-C cable

1. Type-C loads much more quickly

The USB Implementers Forum, which is the industry association behind the port, has learned from its mistakes with micro-USB and created better specifications for the Type-C. Chargers with a Type-C port are quicker across the board and generally charge your smartphone at 15 watts. That's five times quicker than most chargers using the old port. And best of all: it’s easy on your battery.

2. Type-C charges backwards and forwards

Both ends of the cable not only look the same, they can also do the same things on both ends, which means you can determine in which direction the current flows. In some cases, it leads to funny results where your smartphone starts charging the power pack.

If you still have enough juice for the coming hours, you can actually help out a friend by charging their cell phone using the juice left from yours. To do so, connect both smartphones and direct the power flow. You can open the menu for it using the attached notification.

3. It copies data

Do you want to quickly copy images or music from one smartphone to another? If you have Android Marshmallow and a Type-C port, then you’re good to go. Android can detect a smartphone on the other end of the cable and offers to share your data. You just need to open the file explorer on the device where you wish to receive the files. This is a pre-installed app on many manufacturers’ smartphones but otherwise, it can be found in the storage settings under search.

What’s behind the connector?

USB (Universal Serial Bus) is a standard that defines the cable, connectors and digital data exchange. The first version originated in 1998 and replaced PC interfaces that were customary at that time. The USB Type-C connector has been defined since 2014. It has more connectors than its predecessor, and they are symmetrically arranged. As a result, it doesn’t matter which way round you insert the cable.

There are a lot of differences between the various connectors and USB versions. They have different electrical specifications and data rates. USB A and B connectors only have 4 pins, whereas USB 3.1 Type-C has 24 pins, which are required to support higher currents and faster data transfer rates. Furthermore, the separately specified USB 3.1 standard increases speeds up to 10 GB/s, and there are innovative ways to power devices.

The Type-C port specification requires the connector to withstand being plugged in 10,000 times without showing signs of wear. If used twice daily, that would last you over thirteen years. To meet these specifications and handle the increased power flow, USB-C cables are mostly thicker than the classic cable.

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