USB Type-C vs. USB 3.1: Here's The Difference


Some may easily forget that the USB Type-C and USB 3.1 are distinct from each other, considering the fact that both cross-platform technologies were developed by the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) at the same time.

The USB-IF was formed in 1995 by a group of companies including Hewlett Packard (HP), Apple, Microsoft and Intel to oversee the development of USB port standards.

Here are some details about the USB Type-C and USB 3.1 to let you know the differences between them.

USB Type-C

A USB Type-C port measures 8.4mm x 2.6mm, which means it takes less space on the circuit board and can be easily used on small devices such as a smartphone.

USB connectors have been used in the tech industry for about two decades and many users have found it frustrating to plug the connector. Unlike USB Type-A or USB Type-B, the USB Type-C connector has reversible plug orientation, which means it can also be plugged upside down, making it easier for all users.

"If you find you're running low, charging is quick with the USB Type-C plug. It's reversible, so there's no more guessing which way is up," says the Nexus 6P webpage.  

USB Type-C plugs have high endurance and longevity. They are designed in a way that endures no less than 10,000 insertion and extraction cycles.

USB Type-C connectors can transmit DisplayPort signals at up to 4K resolution. The new plug can also handle electrical power of up to 100W.

USB Type-C connectors can also be used for data transfer as well as charging devices. Apple's new MacBook has a single USB Type-C port that allows for charging or transferring data. Google's latest Chromebook Pixel also features two USB Type-C ports, which can also be used to charge the device or transfer data.

While USB Type-C has many advantages, the new connector also has a drawback. Owners of devices with USB Type-C ports cannot insert USB Type-A and USB Type-B cables in the plug without a compatible adaptor.

USB 3.1

While USB Type-C is a physical connector, USB 3.1 is a technology standard. Compatible devices can transfer data at a speed of up to 10 GB per second. Inserting a USB 3.1 device in a USB 2.0 port will still allow for 480 MB per second of data transfer.

USB 3.1 standard allows for high-speed data transfer, but devices such as tablets and smartphones may not transfer data that fast.

USB Type-C Supports USB 3.1

USB Type-C and USB 3.1 are often confused with each other. The main difference between the two is that USB Type-C is designed to support USB 3.1 signals. Some devices may have Type-C connectors which only support the older USB standards such as USB 2.0 and USB 3.0.

With more and more devices such as the Lumia 950, Lumia 950 XL, Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P getting equipped with USB Type-C connectors combined with USB 3.1 support, the latest smartphones' batteries are sure to charge even faster.

Some Dell tablets such as Venue 8 Pro and Venue 10 Pro likewise come with USB Type-C connector.

Some rumors claim that Samsung's highly anticipated Galaxy S7 smartphone will also have a USB Type-C connector for faster charging, bringing the device at par with its competitors.

Photo : Intel Free Press | Flickr

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