USB Type A vs B vs C – 7 Differences

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There are different types and versions of connectors available out there to connect different peripherals to a computer and other smaller devices. The most commonly known connector types are USB Type A, Type B, and C.

Are you confused with these forms and wonder why they are so differently labeled, how they are different and which one is better to use? Well, do not fret because this article with the major differences and a guide following it will take you out of the conundrum.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • The USB C ports are much faster to transmit data through the interface as compared to the USB Type A and B ports. In addition to that, these ports with their Thunderbolt support can even supply power of about 100 watts depending on their design and version.
  • The specific design of the Type C ports gives them the ‘right side up always’ feature which does not allow the users to connect it incorrectly which is a high possibility while using a Type A or Type B connector.
  • USB C ports are backward compatible as the Type B ports and unlike the Type A ports, but you will not get a Mini or Micro type of these ports as you would get in the USB A and B variant.

USB Type A vs B vs C – The 7 Differences

USB Type A vs B vs C

1. Basics

The USB Type A 3.0 port is commonly used in the newer editions of personal computers and several other types of electronics. This connector is often seen at the other end of the USB 3.0 cable used to connect larger pieces of hardware to smaller devices.

On the other hand, the male part of the USB Type B connector looks a little less like the Type A or a Type C connector being not as wide as the former and also comes with a small hole in the middle which is rectangular in shape.

These ports are used commonly to connect devices to external items such as optical drives, hard drives, and even printers.

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And finally, the USB Type C connector is a much smaller male port in comparison to the Type A ports and is also much flatter in shape. There is a small, flat, and oval hole in the middle of this connector where the pins of it fit into.

2. Charging Speed

The Type C port can charge a device much faster in comparison to a Type A or Type B USB port.

It can in fact transmit as much as 100 watts of power and the interface also supports Thunderbolt which makes it even faster and a better performer while consuming less power in the process.

In comparison, you will not find such upgrades in USB Type A or Type B ports.

The Type A ports that follow the latest 3.2 technology can attain a data transfer speed of up to 20 gigabytes per second and most of the Type B ports that use 3.0 technology can transfer data at a speed of up to 5 GB/s as opposed to 40 GB/s of Type C that supports Thunderbolt.

3. Chances of Errors

The symmetrical shape of the USB C also makes it a favored connector for the users who cannot go wrong while inserting it to its port.

This is not possible with the Type A or Type B ports in which you have to check first before inserting the connector to the respective ports.

4. Types Available

You will usually get standard USB Type A ports as well as the Mini and Micro types of it as you would get for the Type B ports.

In comparison, apart from its standard version you will not get such form factors in the Type C variant.

5. Shapes

The Type A ports come with a rectangular shape. On the other hand, the USB Type B ports may come in different designs and shapes usually while the Type C ports are known to have a much smaller rectangular shape with the corners of it smoothened or rounded a bit to give it an oval shape.

6. Backward Compatibility

The USB Type A connector is not backward compatible but, in comparison, both Type B and Type C ports are backward compatible.

7. Reversibility

The Type A and Type C USB ports are not reversible but the Type C ports are.

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Which is Better – USB Type A, B or C?

There are some similarities in the USB Type A, B and C ports such as all come in different versions and speed such as 1.1 with a maximum speed of 12 megabytes per second, 2.0 with a top speed of 480 MB/s, and 3.0 and 3.1 with optimal speeds of 5 GB/s and 10 gigabytes per second.

Add to that, as mentioned above there are quite a few differences between all of these connectors.

The main difference between USB Type A, B and C typically refers to their respective design and physical dimensions of these ports and the plugs, usually, the different versions signify the speed and functionality of the respective cables.

These facts, the similarities and differences between USB A, B and C ports, may make it a bit difficult for you to figure out which one of them is better to use. Well, these following facts will make it clear.

Considering all facts and looking at these ports from all possible perspectives, it can be said that there are a few specific advantages that puts the USB Type C port a couple of steps ahead of the Type A and Type B connectors.

Another good reason to say so is the popularity of this connector among the users as well as the manufactures of different electronic devices.

Along with its ability to support a number of popular and commonly used devices which is not restricted to computers and smartphones only also makes it quite popular.

No doubt you find the USB Type C port to exist in electronics devices made by most of the major manufacturers.

This is even further fortified by the extensive support offered to this connector by the USB-IF to ensure its widespread adoption.

As more and more companies follow the leaders in this industry, you can expect this specific type of connector to become the default standard in almost all devices.

The design of this port is much better to make it more usable and powerful.

It comes with a unique structure of 24 pins and its reversible nature makes it even more user-friendly.

It is this versatility of the Type C ports that make them so widely used connectors in most of the devices today.

However, this does not mean the other two ports are worthless, at least as of now.

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These ports are quite useful and offer some specific advantages which is why the Type A and Type B ports are still found in several devices even today.

You may choose to use any one of the ports among Type A, B and C depending on the device you want to use.

Here is a short list of devices that you may refer to if you are still confused.

Typically, some the devices that come with a USB Type A port are:

On the other hand, you will find a USB Type B port existing in the following devices:

  • Printers
  • Scanners
  • Projectors and
  • A few computer peripherals.

Finally, Type C ports are available in devices such as:

  • A few game console
  • A few of the latest smartphones and
  • Some of the modern laptop computers

So, as you can see, the USB C ports do not feature in many devices as of now but things are surely going to change sooner or later.

If you want to future proof your system, make sure that it has a USB Type C port also along with others.

Conclusion

Coming to the end of this article now you surely must be confident enough to distinguish between a USB Type A, B and C port and figure out which of these three connectors you should certainly have in your computer system.

About Dominic Cooper

Dominic CooperDominic Cooper, a TTU graduate is a computer hardware expert. His only passion is to find out the nitty gritty of all computers. He loves to cook when he is not busy with writing, computer testing and research. He is not very fond of social media. Follow Him at Linkedin