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USB 3.1 vs. USB Type-C vs. USB 3.0 What’s the difference?(1)
Sep 21, 2018

If you’ve been paying attention to the world of USB, you may have heard about USB 3.1 and USB Type-C. But what’s the difference? Which one do you need? And how are they different from USB 3.0 or even 2.0? Let’s break it down.

What is USB Type-C?

Over the years, the USB connection has taken on many forms. The rectangular port you’re most familiar is called USB Type-A. The blocky, almost square port used in many large peripherals like printers is USB Type-B. Add micro and mini versions of each of these into the fold and suddenly you’ve got a half dozen connection type and a recipe for confusion.

But now Type-C is here to save the day. USB Type-C is a description of the port connection itself. It’s small, compact, and replaces the standard USB Type-A and B connections as well as the myriad of micro and mini USB ports. Basically, it’s one USB connection type to rule them all. And best of all, it’s reversible, so the days of flipping your USB cable three times before inserting it correctly may finally be numbered. Over the next few years, look for USB Type-C to begin becoming the universal port for all devices including desktop, laptop, and mobile.

One thing to note, because announcements of Type-C connections have come hand in hand with USB 3.1, many people assume they’re the same, or at the very least that all Type-C runs on the 3.1 spec. This is not the case. Remember, Type-C is the connection type and may actually run on a lesser spec – USB 2.0 even – so don’t assume you’ll be getting all that 3.1 goodness just because you see that tiny reversible port.


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