Accessories

C is the key: Explaining USB Type-C

What really makes this new standard special

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For years, people have grown accustomed to using USB ports for almost all of their devices. Whether you need to charge your phone using your computer or use a controller to play games, you can always count on a USB port to be readily available for you. But 2018 was the year of change and innovation, and the USB port you know and love welcomed change in a big way.

Introducing: USB Type-C, the newest port added to the family. Its round shape brought many new uses and functionalities to your ports. But, how different is it from its much older brothers? How have companies revolutionized its use in mainstream devices?

What is this USB Type-C port?

The USB Type-C (USB-C) port is a not-so-recent discovery in the world of tech. The USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) developed this USB port back in 2013, and launched it into mass production the following year. The connector is a reversible oval shape, much different from the usual rectangular shape of the previous generation. Its reversibility allows any orientation of the cable for transferring files or charging your device.

USB-IF developed USB-C following the USB 3.1 standard. Such a standard was particularly used because of its faster transfer speeds and charging capabilities. With a USB-C port, you can transfer an hour-long movie in less than 30 seconds, provided you have the appropriate connector for it.

Computer and smartphone manufacturers have incorporated the USB-C port in most of their devices. One of the early adopters of the new technology was Apple, with their redesigned 12-inch MacBook in 2015. Other computer manufacturers followed in the later years, especially with the release of the Thunderbolt 3 technology used for gaming machines.

It’s the younger, faster and more all-around sibling

USB-C has been around for the past four years, and it has gradually developed into an all-around port for users. Alongside Thunderbolt 3, the USB-C port posts the highest data transfer speed across all the available USB connections in existence. Not only that, USB-C ports these days can now connect your devices to external GPUs and displays, and charge your devices. Most USB-C ports even support fast charging for smartphones.

While the technology behind it is supported by a USB 3.1 standard, it’s still very much different from other USB ports that use the USB 3.1 protocol. For starters, the USB 3.1 standard found in USB-C ports are USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports, which offer twice as much performance in data transfer as USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports. Most of the Gen 1 ports also use an older USB Type-A standard, which works for most of your gadgets and peripherals today. However, you would need more adapters for other functionalities, like displaying to a monitor.

But the USB-C port is a far cry from the old USB 2.0 and 3.0 protocols, which have been in existence for 14 years (and counting). Data transfer speeds for those two protocols are significantly slower compared to the USB-C port. An hour-long movie would ideally take around one to two minutes on a USB 2.0 port. Also, older USB protocols don’t really allow you to power up devices that need more electricity. So, charging devices on them might not be as fast.

Supercharged with Thunderbolt 3

So, you’re probably wondering what really makes a USB-C port just that fast. It’s not so much that it’s round, or that it’s new; rather, it’s the technology inside it. Late 2015 saw the arrival of the new Thunderbolt 3 standard specifically for USB-C ports. It first started out in most Windows laptops before making it to the 2016 MacBook Pro and several gaming motherboards.

What Thunderbolt 3 does for USB-C ports is to significantly increase its capacity and capabilities by a mile. We’re talking faster file transfer, heightened gaming experiences, and being able to plug in 4K displays for clearer images. Thunderbolt 3 also allows much bigger devices to be charged at a controlled rate. This is mostly evident with the MacBook Pro, several high-end Ultrabooks, and most recently, the 2018 iPad Pro.

The charging capacity brought about by Thunderbolt 3 deals with a tweak to how USB power delivery works. USB power delivery standards state that each USB standard has specific conditions that must be met to power up devices. Early versions of USB ports only allow a small amount of electricity (2.5W) for delivery, while USB-C allows for the full 100W.  Basically, you went from just powering up your mouse and keyboard to charging your entire laptop.

What’s to come for USB-C?

At this point in time, you’re already living in the future that the USB-C port hopes to achieve. Suddenly, you can simply bring a USB-C cable around, plug it into a powerbank, and you can already charge your expensive MacBook. More and more devices are starting to adopt USB-C because of its potential to enhance your tech experience as a whole.

However, people still find it difficult to switch to USB-C, and for good reason. Most devices continue to use a USB Type-A or micro-USB connector, especially gaming controllers and peripherals. Also, they can argue that the old ports are more accessible. In a not-so-distant future, using a USB-C port could potentially replace a phone’s headphone jack.

The future of USB-C is still uncertain. Companies will iron out the new technology more so it can become mainstream for the future. Let’s just hope that by the time that happens, there won’t be a USB Type-D yet.

Accessories

Huawei releases FreeBuds Pro 2 in the Philippines

With ANC 2.0 technology

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FreeBuds Pro 2

Huawei has released its latest TWS Bluetooth earbuds — the FreeBuds Pro 2 — in the Philippines.

The FreeBuds Pro 2 will retail for PhP 9,999 via Huawei’s Shopee and Lazada shops, online stores, authorized retail outlets.

The device will be available in Silver Blue, Ceramic White, and Silver Frost, with an installment payment option.

ANC 2.0: Creating a quiet world

The latest earbuds feature an adaptive active noise cancellation (ANC) technology, along with the original integrated call noise cancellation to enable users to dynamically listen to their preferred music or content.

This intelligent ANC 2.0 takes what noise cancellation is capable of even further, as the FreeBuds Pro 2 can accurately identify and judge the external sound field environment with changes.

For instance, when a user is in the subway, the noise cancellation effects deepen and reduces severe low-frequency noise. In contrast, when in coffee shops, the ANC intelligently adapts. In any case, the earbuds keep users immersed to whatever they’re listening to.

On top of this innovative technology, the FreeBuds Pro 2 has up to 30 hours of playback time, thanks to its 580mAh charging case. Boosted by its 11mm driver, the earbuds is also rated IP 54 for splash, water, and dust resistance.

 

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Apple AirPods Pro 2 Review

Is it worth the upgrade?

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After years of waiting, Apple has finally updated their AirPods Pro from 2019.

The AirPods Pro 2nd Generation may look like its old predecessor, but it offers more than what its “unchanged” look.

There’s an upgraded H2 chip, better ANC, longer battery life, a charging case with speakers and MagSafe, and more!

But are these features worth the upgrade?

Or is it better for a first-time AirPods user to invest on the AirPods 3 instead?

Head over to our in-depth Apple AirPods 2 review to feed your curiosities.

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Nomad launches Ultra Orange cases for iPhone 14 Pro

Discount for pre-orders!

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It’s never too late to accessorize for your new iPhone 14 Pro. With Apple’s price tags still as high as they are, it’s important to protect your investment for the next few years. Unfortunately, a lot of rugged cases don’t prioritize fashion. If you’re looking for the perfect blend of glitz and protection, look no further than Nomad and its new Ultra Orange lineup.

The new lineup of cases — built specifically for the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max — are delectably minimalist. The orange polycarbonate frame with a PET backplate can both protect your new phone and dazzle while on the go. Plus, durable TPU bumpers saves your hardware from drops of up to 15 feet.

Meanwhile, dual lanyard slots will add convenience if you need both hands for something else. Also, if you’ve bought into Apple’s wireless charging system, the Nomad case is still compatible with the brand’s MagSafe products.

To complement your phone, the collection also has an Ultra Orange sports band for the 45mm Apple Watch and Watch Ultra. The band is both lightweight and durable to provide comfort and durability throughout the day.

The Nomad Ultra Orange iPhone 14 Pro case will retail for US$ 49.95. Meanwhile, the Ultra Orange Sport Band will retail for US$ 59.95. Both are limited edition and will start shipping in November. Pre-orders will grab an additional percent discount.

SEE ALSO: Show & Tell Episode 1: Nomad

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