If you’ve been following technology in the last few years, you might have heard of USB C – it’s used in a number of newer devices including the MacBook, Google Pixel, and is rumoured to be the port that the iPhone 8 will use it too. The terms can be confusing though, and you might find yourself wondering what is USB 3 even if you’ve already heard of USB C – they terms refer to the same type of connection. Along with higher data transfer speeds than the older USB 2.0 (this is what you already know as a standard USB port), USB 3.0 allows for charging as well as data transfer and it takes up significantly less space.
If you’re not familiar with the latest technology and its terminology, you might not know what is USB 3 – it’s a newer form of USB port that is smaller and offers capabilities that USB 2.0 ports simply don’t. A major advantage of this type of port is that it offers data transfer speeds of up to 625 MB per second, which is nearly ten times the transfer speed of USB 2.0. On top of this you’ll never need to worry about your USB cable not fitting because you tried to shove it in upside down, as there’s no “top” or “bottom” so it can go in either way. On top of this, a USB C port offers both data transfer as well as charging capabilities.
Apple started making the switch to USB type C in 2015 with the 12” MacBook, which offers only one port for both charging and plugging in accessories. This caused a bit of controversy at the time because users would need to buy a separate adapter to use their older accessories as well as to charge the laptop and use the USB port simultaneously, which was largely seen as an effort by Apple to force customers to buy more accessories. Since then, a number of other laptops have started using USB 3.0, including Google’s ChromeBook Pixel and the latest versions of the MacBook Pro released in late 2016 – so it looks like this style of port is poised to become the new standard. Additionally, some high-end smartphones such as the Google Pixel and presumably the iPhone 8 (when it’s released) also use this type of connection.
If you want to use your older accessories with a laptop that only offers USB C, you’ll need to invest in a USB 3.0 hub. A USB C hub is an external device that plugs into your laptop’s USB C port and gives you additional ports to use with other connection types. These hubs are great for any laptop that only offers USB C ports, and essential for any that only offers a single port because it allows you to connect a vast array of external devices including a DVD drive, an SD card, memory sticks, and an external monitor – all functions that you might expect to be able to have with your laptop.
Apple offers their own solution, but it’s fairly inadequate considering it only offers a single USB type C port, a single HDMI port, and a single USB 2.0 port and only comes in white so it won’t match your new laptop at all. For the high price that Apple’s product commands and all of its limitations you’d be much better off looking for another hub to use with your laptop, and fortunately there are much better products out there to meet your needs.
The QacQoc GN30H USB 3.0 hub is one of the best attachments to get all of the functionality that you’d ever want out of your USB C port – you get a USB C port for charging or data transfer, three USB 2.0 ports, an HDMI port, a micro SD card slot, an SD card slot, and even an ethernet port. It also comes in silver, space grey, gold, and rose gold – so you can pick the colour of your choice so that it matches your laptop. There are a number of other similar devices on the market, but this one is among the best options with all of the features that it offers you.