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Guide to USB Type C Cable Technology

Your Complete Guide to USB Type C Cables

Leading technology, problems, and it's future

USB C type cable connected to an iPhoneUSB type C cables came out a little over three years ago, arguably thanks to Apple. It's already clear that this is the new USB standard for many devices. If you've bought a new phone, tablet, or computer in the last few years, chances are you have a port.

What's so special about this port? Well, since it's much faster compared to standard ports, it can do a lot more things. The shape of this new USB port also makes a big difference on how we use our devices.

To learn more about the USB type-C cable, this brief guide will explain the significance and how it is used. Tech jargon will be kept at a minimum, we promise.

USB-C Is the Universal Plug

While USB cables are known as universal data cables, they've always had two different shaped ends and various types. Each release changed the cable speed, but it never became a universal plug.

That is until USB 3.1 came out when a third universal type of USB was revealed.

USB-C eliminates the confusing standards of micro and mini-USB ends. Now, we finally have a cable that we don't need to visually confirm that's in the right position -- on both ends.

Kids growing up in the era of the USB-C will never know the pleasure of flipping that stupid cable over and over until it finally goes in.

Smartphones Leading the Way

The first smartphone to use USB-C was by a Chinese manufacturer called LeTV. The first big names to adopt it weren't far behind, including OnePlus, Google, and other Androids. Apple had its own standard, the Thunderbolt port, which shared obvious similarities.

Fast-forward to today and now, all major laptop brands and smartphone manufacturers are using USB Type-C ports. This includes the newest Thunderbolt 3 ports as they're cross-compatible, making this cable truly universal.

Just think that not too long ago, every cell phone vendor had its own charging adaptor. People had to juggle cables for data and charging for each device and phone. This was a hot mess, but now you could literally carry one C-Type USB cable with you, and be able to use all your devices.

Many people are still dealing with legacy USB cables on older devices. There will be a day when all of these devices will go in the same bins as flip phones and beepers. Wireless charging still has a long way to go before cables are replaced, so don't worry about your USB-C cables being obsolete soon.

Problems with USB Type C Cables

Like everything else, this new standard of cable has its flaws. In fact, the biggest thing holding back the USB-C is the lack of an enforceable standard on manufacturing. Each company, from cable manufacturers to smartphone vendors, has its own choice of what they want the cable to do.

Some manufacturers want to make the USB-C port become the "everything" slot. Others simply need it for charging capabilities. Some devices don't support certain features of USB-C, and they're bundled with cables that aren't cross-compatible.

This is different from the USB types used in the past. If your USB cable fit in the designated port, it worked. Obviously, some generic cables would not transport data as fast as others, but overall they worked.

Well, they were much simpler than the build of the latest USB standard. Now, with all the different variations in capabilities, you have companies throwing in dongles for users wanting added functionality.

Dangerous Shortcomings

Not only is it frustrating that some USB ports and cables don't all support the same things, but the quality of the cable adds another layer of issues. Since this USB standard has greater capabilities, buying a cheap cable can result in overheating.

Cheap cables can outright ruin the port on your devices. If they get too hot, they could melt or cause a fire. The solution to these problems is obvious: only buy cables from reputable brands. You should also do the same for dongles too.

Investing in cables and dongles can be frustrating if you're on a budget. Spending $20-40 to get the same functionality from your phone that you used to can seem expensive. You should look at it as an investment for all your future devices.

Buying a high-quality USB-C cable that will last you years is a great idea. This universal standard won't be disappearing anytime soon.

The Future of USB-C

Even when you account for all the problems that USB type-C cables have right now, it still makes it the most promising standard for the future. There's no going back on having one plug for all your devices. Plus, there will be upgrades coming to this new standard in the future.

By next year, we'll start seeing devices supporting the new USB 3.2 standard. This is something that all current USB-C devices will be able to automatically take advantage of. The upgrade gives USB-C multi-lane data transfer, which will effectively increase speeds by 100 percent.

Not all USB-C cables are certified for the highest speeds, of course. This increase in speed will largely be used in the abilities to output video and large file transfers. Hooking up your phone to an external monitor is something you'll see more in the future.

Better Prices, Better Cables

Now that you know a bit more about this exciting new cable standard, you may be wondering where you can find it. If you're looking for high-quality USB type C cables, check out the selection at USB Gear. We have plenty to choose from, including long cables, flat, anti-tangle, and USB-C cables for all devices.

We also sell various USB hubs, chargers, power banks, and splitters that take advantage of USB-C speeds. You won't find these types of deals at your local electronics store.