No doubt, USB-C is a revolutionary way of connecting to a computer. The amazing thing about it is that it has been around for a fairly long time now, but most OEMs have yet to widely adopt it. Though these days, a good number of computer do come with this latest USB innovation that not only transfers data fast, also charges your laptop.
I bet it puts a whole new meaning to the words ‘universal charger’ but more details about it a little further down.
Chances are high you have used a USB port on your computer to charge smaller devices like a smartphone, tablet, and generally devices with smaller batteries. The earlier versions of USB were only able to carry so much charge to juice up smaller batteries.
However, batteries found in laptops are big and require a high amount of wattage to efficiently recharge up. For that reason, laptop chargers have remained painfully bulkier and large.
USB-C promises to do away with the painfully bulky and large laptop chargers, as it carries enough wattage to recharge most laptops; especially the Type-C 3.0 version. The thought of leaving the bulkier and heavy laptop charger for just a USB-C cable that does everything is making most consumers go for laptops with this new connection port.
In fact, it is recommended that when out shopping for a new laptop, the USB-C connection should be one of the deciding factors; a significant deciding factor. The way things are going, all new laptops entering the market must support USB-C charging.
How’s USB-C different from previous USB versions
You might have recently bought a laptop, if it’s a most recent version, it should have USB-C connectivity. So how do you differentiate a USB-C from the regular USB?
Well, for one, USB-C is small and rounded; a significantly different design from the regular USB connection. Then USB-C connects right into the port no matter which way you plug it. You will not need to flit it the right side for it to connect to the port. Regular USB can only connect in just one way, and people often find themselves inserting it the wrong way thus requiring them to flip it the right side for it to work.
Do all USB-C port work as chargers?
A laptop can come with multiple USB-C ports and given that USB-C is a universal charging standard, it should technically work regardless of the port you connect. You should also be able to use your (charged up) laptop to recharge another laptop or powerbank with USB-C ports.
Yes, the USB-C port can be used to take in power, and also take out power to charge other devices with the USB-C connection. Though that the ideal situation, in reality, however, some USB-C chargers are not interchangeable.
Then there are cases where some laptops come with USB-C ports that do not support charge functionality. These are laptops that come along with proprietary chargers. Then there are those laptops that do come with both proprietary chargers alongside USB-C ports that do charge the device. Yet the charger and USB-C charge have different ports.
USB-C Charging settings
After acquiring a laptop with a USB-C port, it is not a simple matter of connecting and starting to zap power in or out, there are appropriate settings that you need to do. Usually, these settings are found under the power/battery section, where you can switch the Type-C output; select whether to receive power or send power.
Types of charge combo you get with Type-C ports
Charge-Through: Say you have connected your laptop to a display for presentation, and both devices have USB-C connections. You can use the connection to send the presentation from your computer to the screen, while at the same time receiving power to recharge your laptop battery. But the screen needs to be getting power from the wall outlet, and that will mean your laptop will never run out of juice during your presentation.
Old Powerbank to recharge your USB-C phone: Old powerbanks probably has the old type of USB connection. If you have a phone with only USB-C connection, you can connect the powerbank to your laptop, and from the Type-C port of the laptop connect your smartphone. As it works out, power will move from the incompatible powerbank, through your laptop, to your smartphone. However, you need to keep a keen eye on the laptop-to-phone connection settings.
The bottom line is, not all laptops with USB-C connectivity have been configured to use the port for charging. Laptops that do charge via this new generation port must be configured to receive power through that port.