The first thing you’ll notice about USB-C is that it’s small. It’s only a bit larger than a micro USB and much more compact than the rectangular USB-A connector we’ve lived with for the last 20 years. Anyone who has tried (and tried and tried) to get a USB plug inserted the right way will be pleased about one feature of Type-C — it’s fully reversible. The plug is symmetrical and works both ways, so you don’t have to stress about figuring out the orientation of the port. In addition, the design of USB-C is much more robust, so it should last longer than older USB hardware.
USB Type-C is designed to be bi-directional. While there are currently a lot of cables that are USB-A at one end and C at the other, the endgame is to make everything USB-C at both ends. That means one single port on everything. A bidirectional Type-C cable can transmit video signals, audio, and as much as 100W of power (with the USB-PD standard). It can do that in either direction, too. So you can use one phone to charge another. You have to be careful with Type-C cables. Poorly designed ones can fry your electronics.
There’s a lot of overlap between USB Type-C and the USB 3.0/3.1 standard. However, these are different things. Type-C is technically just a physical design, not a data transmission standard. It’s possible to have a Type-C cable that’s still just USB 2.0. You need to check the specs of any cable or device you’re buying with USB-C ports to know for sure. USB 2.0 has a maximum speed of 280Mbps, but 3.0 steps up to 5Gbps and 3.1 is 10Gbps.
The versatility of USB-C is a benefit, but you’ll probably need to adjust the way you use devices. When paired with USB 3.1, Type-C can easily power multiple devices and operate in different modes — charging, outputting audio, transmitting data to multiple peripherals, and so on. Some devices have switched to only using USB Type-C. Many smartphones have ditched the headphone jack, and some computers like the MacBook and Pixelbook are all Type-C. For now, that means using adapters, but there will come a day when everything is Type-C. That day can’t come soon enough.
This story, “How to remove malware from your Windows PC” was originally published by ExtremeTech