What is USB-C? The connection that helps your phone charge faster

It’s quickly becoming standard on all manner of electronic gadgets – here’s what you need to know.

Most of us don’t give our gadgets’ ports a second thought. But they can have a huge impact on how our devices function, whether they’re charging up, transferring files or plugging into accessories.

The newest connection standard is USB-C. It’s already quickly becoming standard on all manner of gadgets, from smartphones and tablets to hard drives and monitors. Here’s how it’s making our devices better than ever.

[Read more: Google engineer warns of the dangers of buying bad USB-C cables]

What is USB-C?

USB-C (formally known as USB Type-C) is the industry-standard connector for transmitting data and power – in other words, for charging up a device, and for getting files onto it.

What are the advantages of USB-C?

One of the biggest advantages is it connects either way up – as long as the oval-shaped connector is in the landscape orientation, it doesn’t matter which way around you plug it in. Whereas older USB ports require the connector to be plugged in a certain way, which can be a pain, especially if the port is around the back of the device or somewhere else out of sight.

It’s also fast. By default, USB-C uses USB 3.1, which has a transfer speed of 10Gbps – that’s twice as fast as USB 3.0. That means much quicker charging and transfer speeds.


Another advantage is it can transfer audio. That means you can plug a pair of compatible headphones into your phone’s USB-C port, which is very handy considering more and more mobiles are ditching the traditional headphone port. The downside? You can’t listen to your headphones and charge the phone at the same time, unless it supports wireless charging, that is.

Which devices use USB-C?

It’s quickly becoming the industry standard, which means most new smartphones, tablets and computers support USB-C. Smartphones of note include the Google Pixel 2, Samsung Galaxy S9 and Sony Xperia XZ2.

[Read more: What is USB 3.0?]

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