Universal Serial Bus or USB connections have been used to link peripheral electronic devices and power to computers since 1996. It was designed to standardize these connections worldwide, and it was wildly successful. USB-A was the original version. It steadily evolved, over time, into different versions of itself. The similarities and differences of these changes are nuanced and subtle. Basically, it was a steady progression of a standard piece of technology. The purpose of a USB connection always remained the same. It was just the capabilities of the technology that continued to grow.

USB C is newer, faster, and better in almost every way. USB A is much more widely found in general, so it’s easier to use simply due to how ubiquitous it is. USB-C is going to become the worldwide standard. It just might take some time for that to happen. USB-A is the connector that most people are familiar with. It is a rectangular plug and slot with one functional direction. A USB-C is smaller and looks like an elongated oval. It has the benefit of being able to connect on either side. USB-C also has 24 connector pins which give it significantly greater abilities compared to the 4-pin connector of the “out-of-date” USB-A.

Choosing between USB-C and USB-A

USB 3.0 A to A Male Cable, JSAUX USB to USB Cable 2 Pack(3.3ft+6.6ft) USB Male to Male Cable Double End USB Cord with Gold-Plated Connector for Hard Drive Enclosures, DVD Player, Laptop Cooler (Grey)
  • 🎅【Compatibility】: Compatible with Laptop and Windows PC desktop; Laptop Cooling Pad, Car Bluetooth Speaker, DVD player, USB 3.0 hub, Modem, Monitor, Camera, Wacom, Blue-ray Drive, Set Top Box, HTC Vive; 2.5-Inch External Hard Drive Enclosure with Type A USB 3.0 port, and most USB 3.0 external hard drives with Type A USB 3.0 port.
  • 🌟【Super Speed for Data Transfer】: JSAUX USB 3.0 A to A Male Cable supports data transfer high speeds of up to 5Gbps, 10 times faster than USB 2.0 cables and provide superior cable performance and error-free data transmission. Backwards compatible, with support for USB 2.0 and USB 1.1 standard devices.
  • 🎁【Nylon Tangle-free Design】: Tangle-free Nylon Braided Design, this USB 3.0 Cord is far more dependable than others in its price range. Premium nylon braided cable adds additional durability and tangle free.
  • 🦌【Gold-plated connectors】: Constructed with corrosion-resistant, gold-plated connectors for optimal signal clarity and shielding to minimize interference.
  • 🎄【What you get】: It has a 3.3 feet cable and a 6.6 feet cable in the pack, you can get two different lengths of cable. And we provide this Nylon Braided USB 3.0 Cable with worry-free 18-month warranty and 24/7 customer service, if you have any questions, we will resolve your issue within 24 hours.

Choosing between USB-C and USB-A depends on the specific situation to a certain degree. You don’t need to make a pros and cons list, because it’s mostly a question of personal requirements for a specific task and availability. Ideally, everyone would use USB-C. Every device would be USB-C and every cable would be USB-C. Unfortunately, that’s not the world we live in.

Most drives, ports, and cables are some version of USB-A. They’ve been around longer and they hold the lion’s share of the public space. It’s necessary to be adaptable and realistic. You can’t walk around with a USB-C cable and expect to connect to all of the random devices that you encounter. The vast majority of them will be USB-A. You won’t be able to transfer data, and charging is most likely out of the question. It doesn’t matter how superior USB-C is compared to USB-A if you can’t take advantage of those benefits. USB-C connections are becoming more common. They’re stronger, faster, and more versatile. But they’re still far from the norm.

“Availability of use” needs to be taken into account when choosing between USB-C and USB-A. Anything new or from the past few years will have a USB-C connection. Anything older than that will only have a decreasingly capable version of USB-A. That’s literally billions of devices worldwide that can’t connect using USB-C. That’s why the choice depends on the situation. Use USB-C when you can, but you’ll regularly be forced to use USB-A.

Fun fact: there are over six billion USB devices around the world.

USB C vs USB A: Performance, Features, Specs

There are multiple versions of both USB-A and USB-C. The technology progressed over decades from 1996 when USB-A was introduced until 2017 when USB-C took its place.

USB-A: Specs

  • Maximum Transfer Rate- USB-A 3.1 SuperSpeed 10Gbps
  • Alternative Modes- none

USB-C: Specs

USB A vs USB C: Side-by-Side Comparison

USB-C

Sale
USB C Cable, Anker New Nylon USB C to USB C Cable (6ft 60W, 2-Pack, USB 2.0), USB C Cable for iPad Mini 6, iPad Pro 2020, iPad Air 4, MacBook Pro 2020, Samsung Galaxy S22,Switch, Pixel, LG (Black)
  • Important Information: This is a USB C to USB C charger cable and as such will only work with USB-C chargers. This USB C cable does not work with USB-A chargers.
  • Supports Power Delivery: Get up to 60W high-speed charging for all of your USB-C devices when paired with a USB-C charger.
  • Universal Compatibility: Compatible with virtually all USB-C devices including phones, tablets, and laptops. (This USB C cable does not support media display.)
  • Built to Last: A hard-wearing nylon exterior and a bulletproof fiber core combine to create a USB C cable that can withstand up to 12,000 bends.
  • What You Get: 2 × New Nylon USB C to USB C Cable (6 ft), hook-and-loop cable tie, welcome guide, our worry-free lifetime warranty, and friendly customer service.
Pros!Cons!
Data Transfer SpeedLess Available
Picture QualityCord Length
Charging Ability
Alternate Modes

USB-A

USB 3.0 A to A Male Cable, JSAUX USB to USB Cable 2 Pack(3.3ft+6.6ft) USB Male to Male Cable Double End USB Cord with Gold-Plated Connector for Hard Drive Enclosures, DVD Player, Laptop Cooler (Grey)
  • 🎅【Compatibility】: Compatible with Laptop and Windows PC desktop; Laptop Cooling Pad, Car Bluetooth Speaker, DVD player, USB 3.0 hub, Modem, Monitor, Camera, Wacom, Blue-ray Drive, Set Top Box, HTC Vive; 2.5-Inch External Hard Drive Enclosure with Type A USB 3.0 port, and most USB 3.0 external hard drives with Type A USB 3.0 port.
  • 🌟【Super Speed for Data Transfer】: JSAUX USB 3.0 A to A Male Cable supports data transfer high speeds of up to 5Gbps, 10 times faster than USB 2.0 cables and provide superior cable performance and error-free data transmission. Backwards compatible, with support for USB 2.0 and USB 1.1 standard devices.
  • 🎁【Nylon Tangle-free Design】: Tangle-free Nylon Braided Design, this USB 3.0 Cord is far more dependable than others in its price range. Premium nylon braided cable adds additional durability and tangle free.
  • 🦌【Gold-plated connectors】: Constructed with corrosion-resistant, gold-plated connectors for optimal signal clarity and shielding to minimize interference.
  • 🎄【What you get】: It has a 3.3 feet cable and a 6.6 feet cable in the pack, you can get two different lengths of cable. And we provide this Nylon Braided USB 3.0 Cable with worry-free 18-month warranty and 24/7 customer service, if you have any questions, we will resolve your issue within 24 hours.
Pros!Cons!
UbiquitousOut of Date
FamiliarSlower
Cord Length
Picture Quality
Freezing

USB A vs USB C: Key Differences

There are two key differences between USB-A and USB-C. The first difference is the strength of the connection. There is a world of difference between the weakest USB-A and the strongest USB-C. There’s a pretty steady gradation between the two. This means that there are certain tasks that suddenly become possible once a certain threshold is reached. The highest quality USB-A cables can keep up with USB-C until about the 20Gbps point. After that, the USB-C stands “head and shoulders” above USB-A.

The second key difference is the market use. USB-C was only introduced a few years ago, and it has yet to fully engulf the landscape. It’s more effective in every way compared to USB-A, but it still has yet to replace the billions of devices that only use USB-A. Only the most recent generation of devices have come with USB-C standards. It will still take quite a few years until USB-A fades away.

Our Hands-On Experience

I’ve been using USB connections since 1996, just like everybody else. We’ve all faced the frustration of plugging in an upside-down USB-A cord. They got the job done though, and they would progressively get better over time. We didn’t really have anything to compare it to, and it was fine for what it was. Then the USB-C came out in 2017 and eliminated the problems of the past. It would plug in either direction, it could more than double the throughput, and it even came with alternate operating modes. It’s clearly the way of the future, it just looks like it will be a few more years until it more thoroughly overtakes USB-A.

Winner: USB C

Sale
USB C Cable, Anker New Nylon USB C to USB C Cable (6ft 60W, 2-Pack, USB 2.0), USB C Cable for iPad Mini 6, iPad Pro 2020, iPad Air 4, MacBook Pro 2020, Samsung Galaxy S22,Switch, Pixel, LG (Black)
  • Important Information: This is a USB C to USB C charger cable and as such will only work with USB-C chargers. This USB C cable does not work with USB-A chargers.
  • Supports Power Delivery: Get up to 60W high-speed charging for all of your USB-C devices when paired with a USB-C charger.
  • Universal Compatibility: Compatible with virtually all USB-C devices including phones, tablets, and laptops. (This USB C cable does not support media display.)
  • Built to Last: A hard-wearing nylon exterior and a bulletproof fiber core combine to create a USB C cable that can withstand up to 12,000 bends.
  • What You Get: 2 × New Nylon USB C to USB C Cable (6 ft), hook-and-loop cable tie, welcome guide, our worry-free lifetime warranty, and friendly customer service.

USB C is the clear winner. This isn’t really a discussion about overall pros and cons. It comes down to the availability of a superior form of the same technology. It doesn’t come down to preference or style. It comes down to the endless march of progress. People are welcome to stick with USB-A as long as they can, but they will all eventually make the switch.

Last update on 2022-09-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

USB A vs USB C: Full Comparison & Winner FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What is the difference between USB-C and USB-A?

USB-C and USB-A are different versions of the same technology and they have more similarities than differences. They do the same basic tasks. The USB-C simply does a better job. The USB-C has a 24-pin connection compared to the 4-pin connection of an older USB-A. This gives the USB-C significantly more capacity for charging, data transfers, and operating in various other modes. USB standards are continually evolving and the design of the USB-C is versatile enough to keep pace. USB-A is more widely used at the moment, but it is quickly being replaced by USB-C.

What are USB-C and USB-A used for?

They are used as connector systems for information communication and power supply interfacing between computers, peripherals, and other devices. They are a series of ports, cables, and connection plugs that allow various systems to communicate with each other. USB-A is the original and the most common variation. The technology progressed over time and became more efficient and functional. USB-C was introduced in 2016, and it has been steadily replacing the older USB versions as time goes on. USB-A will eventually become a relic of the past as USB-C eventually takes its place as the most commonly used USB connection.

Is USB-A or USB-C better?

USB-C is clearly better than USB-A. While it’s true that USB-A is more common, that is basically the only advantage. It would be better to go with USB-A only if you needed to work with other devices that already use USB-A. If you had the option to start from scratch on a project that didn’t rely on USB-A equipment, then you would definitely want to choose USB-C. The speed and versatility of USB-C can’t be rivaled by USB-A. They have so many similarities that there is a large portion of time where they would be basically indistinguishable from each other, but the differences would become apparent as more stress was placed on the connection. The picture quality would suffer, downloads would lag, and the connection might even freeze. These are all things that USB-A users regularly experience. A 40Gbps USB-C connection is very unlikely to encounter any of these issues.

Is USB-C faster than USB-A?

USB-C is significantly faster than USB-A. USB-C was created to solve many of the problems of USB-A. For example, USB-A was originally designed as a single-lane data transmission solution. Where USB-C cables were designed to support multi-lane operation to ensure the option of scalable performance. These multiple lanes give USB-C the space for up to 40 gigabytes at a time.

Are USB-A and USB-C compatible?

USB-A and USB-C each have a different connector shape, so they are not compatible on their own. An adaptor is required for USB-C to be backward compatible. Once the adaptor is in place, the data transfer speed will vary depending on the cables, connections, and protocols in place.

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