USB-A vs. USB-C – Specifications and the differences between these connectors

When it comes to USB ports, types of cables and connectors, hubs and connection characteristics, few know the differences between USB-C and USB-A, what USB 3.0 means or what it is useful for. USB4. In this article you will understand the differences between USB-A vs. USB-C.

USB-A si USB-C there are two different types of connectors USB (Universal Serial Bus) use to connect peripherals to a computer or other electronic devices.

ports USB-A are present on the widest range of devices, from computers, printers, televisions and even mobile phone chargers, while USB-C they are lagging behind and are being implemented on more and more laptops, chargers for mobile phones and tablets, external batteries.


Design differences, data transfer and electricity transfer

The first difference we immediately notice at the two ports is the design. We easily recognize a port or a connector USB-A according to the rectangular shape, which due to the positioning of the pins, can only be connected in one position. USB-C (USB Type-C) is much smaller, and the symmetry of the pins arranged on two lines, makes it reversible, so it can be connected in both positions.

So, the most obvious difference, USB-A vs. USB-C, it's about design.


USB-A Connector. USB-A vs USB-C
USB-A Connector

USB-A is still the most common type of USB conductor and connector (Universal Serial Bus), but which is losing ground on the new generations of chargers for phones, laptops and external devices, in front of USB-C, which is much smaller and reversible.

This type, USB-A is developed up to the version USB 3.0 SuperSpeed, which allows speeds of data transfer up to 5 Gbps (terrorist speed) and power transfer support up to 0.9A, which translates into a power of 4.5 watts. We also find on the market generations of USB 3.0 capable of intensity up to 1.5A (7.5 watts). This being the maximum capability of the most advanced generation of USB-A type.

USB 3.0 connectors differ visually from previous versions by the blue color of the pin holder.

USB-A / USB 3.0 Connector
USB-A / USB 3.0 Connector

USB-C (USB Type-C)

the new guy USB-C is gaining more and more ground in front of USB-A, being implemented especially on laptops and very thin devices, where USB-A would have created design problems, being much taller and wider than USB-C. In addition, USB-C is capable of providing data transfer speeds and charging with electrical energy, far beyond the capabilities of USB-A. However, it is about the type of USB-C conductor or port.

Another difference between USB-A and USB-C, the latter is reversible. So it doesn't matter which side we connect it to the USB port.

As a clarification, USB-A and USB-C refer primarily to design. Both types of connectors are of several types, characteristics and generations.

USB-C offers support for data transfer and electricity through protocols:

  • DisplayPort
  • HDMI
  • Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL)
  • Thunderbolt 3
  • Virtual Link

Each of the above protocols, although using the same type of connector, has different characteristics.

For example, the Thunderbolt 3 supports a data transfer speed of up to 40 Gbps with an energy transfer power of up to 100w, while VirtualLink supports energy transfer up to 27W. Even though both protocols use a USB-C interface as a connector.

So, when you buy a laptop with a USB-C port, it is good to know its exact specifications. As is also the case with conductors (USB-C cables). Even if they look like design, their technical characteristics differ a lot.
For example, Thunderbolt 3 is capable of supporting high-resolution video content transfer, which USB 3.1 (Type-C) does not support.

Another difference between the two connection protocols is the price. A laptop with a stand Thunderbolt 3 it will have a higher price than one with USB 3.1 (with the other identical hardware specifications). And in the case of conductors, it is the same. Thunderbolt 3 is a technology developed by Apple together with Intel, and the licensing prices and production technology make the difference in the final price paid by the buyer.

Now you know the differences between USB-A vs. USB-C, but each type of connector can have different characteristics and technologies.

Summary USB-A vs. USB-C

USB-A is the most common type of USB connector, recognized for its flat and rectangular shape, with an elongated insert that allows it to connect in only one way. This type of connector is often used to connect devices such as mice, keyboards, printers, and USB flash drives to a computer.

USB-C is a newer and more advanced type of USB connector that has become popular in recent years. It has a smaller and rounded shape and can be connected in both directions, which makes it much easier to use. The USB-C connector supports higher data transfer speeds, can be used to charge devices, and can support other protocols such as HDMI si DisplayPort. Also some laptops modeThey use the USB-C connector to replace separate charging ports because they can provide more electrical power.

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