Learn more about USB Cables
If you use any form of technology, there’s a good chance that you already own a few USB cables. They are present almost everywhere – in the world of technology. Every piece of technology comes with a cable to make it work – and for the most part, it will be some form of a USB cable.
While most devices come with their own USB cables, there are times when we might be looking for a replacement. The replacement can be either to upgrade our existing cable or to just replace the one we have. In such times, when we see different cables at different prices, there is a possibility that one might get confused. But don’t worry as we will discuss everything about the USB cables here and clear your doubts.
What is a USB Cable?
A USB cable is a form of a connection interface between two devices – which can usually be your computer or laptop and another device – or just a charger. Here, USB stands for Universal Serial Bus – which is the universal standard for cables. This is the reason why a single type of cable is able to work on a lot of electronic gadgets.
While we have seen different proprietary cables from brands in the past, USB cables are being accepted by almost everyone these days. If every gadget starts using the same type of USB cable, it can help a lot in reducing the overall waste of the environment – and it seems like that’s the future we are moving towards.
What are the types of USB Cables?
While USB is a Universal Standard, there are still different types of USB Cables. Each served a different purpose and has been updated over time. Some of these types are so old that one would barely see them today. But they have played a crucial role in the past – which later on led to other universal types.
The first – and one of the most widely used USB cables is the USB Type-A. USB Type-A or let’s just say USB-A – have been available on computers and laptops for several years. Also, this is the port that was normally seen on one end of the smartphone chargers – until it got replaced by a newer type.
USB-A is one of the oldest and long-lasting types – which is still running great. While the shape and size of the cable and port didn’t change, the technology used in the USB-A keeps changing. It gets updated from time to time – which keeps making USB-A better – and that’s the reason it’s still going strong.
USB Type-B is one of the lesser-known ones. This cable has been typically used in routers, printers, and some of the older game consoles. They used to be square in shape – and were typically used to connect the computer or laptop to a specific device that used a USB Type-B port. As time passed, USB Type-B connectors are now lesser-seen in most gadgets due to the advancements in other USB types.
mini-USB was one of the most widely used cables for charging mobile devices. Several phones have used this cable in the past – but again, as technology advancements took place, this cable had to retire as well. These days, you will barely find a device that uses a mini-USB port and cable.
micro-USB came in after the mini-USB and was smaller than the mini-USB – hence, the name. While the mini-USB used to power the early generation smartphones, the micro-USB came in as the standard for several newer generation smartphones along with other electronic gadgets – like the wireless headphones.
micro-USB was doing pretty good, but one had to specifically align it properly to connect with the device. Not only that but the speeds that could be achieved were limited with the micro-USB cables. This is when the latest type of USB cable was introduced – the USB Type-C.
USB Type-C is being used in the latest generation of electronic devices today. It has the advantage of being plugged in either way – which made the users feel right at home while using the cables. Not only that but USB Type-C also paved the way for achieving higher data transfer and charging speeds.
With the USB Type-C, several advancements have been made. One of the most important ones is the introduction of the Thunderbolt 3. With Thunderbolt 3, you can not only power your smartphones, but you can also charge your laptops with one small cable. This new technology has also allowed us to connect higher-end monitors and even external GPUs with just a single cable – which is convenient.
What are the main uses of a USB Cable?
Today, a USB cable is useful in several different situations. The uses will still depend on the type of cable you have as well as the USB ports on your device. However, with the latest USB Type-C cables, you are able to use it for almost everything – considering if you have supported devices.
One of the most common uses of a USB cable is to charge a device. If you are using any of the latest Android devices and one of the newer generation laptops – like the MacBook Air, you can simply use a single charger and cable to charge both of them. Also, some of the latest cameras have charging support through a USB Type-C cable. Again, this is possible because of the latest type of USB i.e. USB Type-C.
The same USB Type-C cable that is used for charging devices can also be used to transfer data between the laptop and your smartphone. Not only the smartphones, but the latest generation solid state drives also use USB Type-C cables for data transfers.
Most Apple products – except the iPhone – have also moved to the USB Type-C ports due to its wide range of connectivity and accessories. You can simply attach a Type-C USB drive to the latest generation of iPads or MacBooks and transfer the data.
A USB cable is widely used for connecting two devices with one another. If you own a newer generation monitor and laptop, you can simply connect both of them with a USB-C cable. Also, while the external GPUs are pretty powerful machines, they are also capable of running on a single Type-C cable – all thanks to the cables like Anker Thunderbolt 3.0 cable – which comes with the new Thunderbolt 3 technology.
Frequently Asked Questions
With so many types and versions available for a USB cable, selecting one might be tough. Also, with so much information, it’s only natural that our minds will ask several questions before making a purchase decision. So, we are going to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about USB Cables here.
What does a USB cable do?
A USB cable is capable of doing several things – charging, transferring data from one device to another, and also connecting them with each other. However, what a USB cable does will be highly dependent on what cable and device you are using. The USB Type-C cable is one cable that can do almost everything – if the devices are supported.
Are all USB cables the same?
No. All USB cables are not the same. There is a difference in the type of USB cables as well as the version of USB technology used by the cable. Not only that but there are also some external differences – like braided and non-braided cables.
What type of USB cable should I get?
If you own the latest generation of devices that supports USB Type-C as well as Thunderbolt 3 technology, we will highly recommend you to get a USB Type-C to Type-C cable with Thunderbolt 3 support. However, if you own some of the older technology, you can definitely get a cable that is supported by your device.
What is the lifespan of the USB Cable?
A good quality cable can easily last you for two to three years. While the cable can even last you longer than that, it is recommended to change your cable after three years to avoid any damage to the electronic items.
What is the difference between USB Type-C and USB 3.0?
While USB Type-C is a type of USB Cable, USB 3.0 is the version number for the USB technology. A USB Type-C cable can simultaneously be a USB 3.0 cable – as it supports that USB technology – and supports the speed that comes with that newer tech. USB versions are different than the USB Types.
Is a Thunderbolt 3 cable better than a regular USB Type-C?
In simple words, yes.
While the simple answer here is yes, you will still need to make sure that the device you are planning to use the cable with supports Thunderbolt 3 or not. If your device supports Thunderbolt 3, then there are a lot of use case for that technology – and can even make your existing device more powerful by adding items like an external GPU.
Are braided USB Cables always better than non-braided ones?
A braided USB cable cannot always be considered better than the non-braided one. The type and the version of the USB cable also need to be taken into consideration while making a purchase decision.
However, if you are able to get the same type and version of the USB cable – in braided and non-braided versions, we would definitely recommend going for the braided ones. Braided cables are better in terms of durability.
How much does a USB Cable cost?
You can easily get a decent USB cable for under USD 20. However, if you are looking for the best cables with all the features, you might have to spend a bit more. There are some cables that even cost upwards of USD 50.
Should I invest in a good USB Cable?
Absolutely. You should definitely invest in a good USB cable. This cable will typically last you for at least two to three years. So, when you consider their cost over that period of time, it ends up being a minimal cost for what all it can actually do.
What brands do you carry for USB Cables?
Currently, we carry Anker, Tether Tools, and Zendure for the USB cables in our store. They offer a wide range of cables to select from – which will most likely serve your purpose. So, if you want to buy any USB cable from these brands, we have got you covered.
As we reach the end of this article, we hope that we have covered almost every question – that as a customer, you might ask for. Also, we hope that after looking at the available information here, you might be able to select the correct USB Cable. If you are still unable to select one and need any help, feel free to reach out to one of our Gear Guides – and they’ll help you out based on your needs.