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Avoid compatibility issues by finding the right USB cable to connect an accessory to your computer or charge your mobile device. Universal Serial Bus or USB is a widely adopted standard that replaces a number of incompatible legacy connectors. It standardized the connection between most computer peripherals and host PCs and can carry both data and power. Staples® has a wide selection of cables with USB connectors.
Choose From Different Types of USB Cables While USB is universal, it takes different forms and each has a specific type of connector. The two most common ones are Type-A and Type-B connectors. Type-A plugs have rectangular cross-sections while Type-B ones have square profiles with beveled edges. Each full-size connector type has smaller mini and micro versions. A Universal Serial Bus cable sports two connectors with one on each end. Usually, there is a Type-A connector on one end while the other end may have a Type-B, mini-B, or micro-B connector.
USB A to B cables are rare and mostly used by large computer accessories like printers. USB A to mini-B or mini-USB cables are popular as charging cords for old cell phones. You can also find them used as data cables for some cameras and printed circuit boards. USB A to micro-B or micro-USB cables replaced mini-USB cables and they are popular for charging mobile phones and other portable devices.
Consider File Transfer Speed When Shopping for USB Cables Besides connector type, you should also consider the USB version supported by a cable before ordering it. This is important because it determines the cable's file transfer speed. The different versions of this universal standard are USB 1.0, 1.1, 2.0, 3.0, and 3.1. USB 1.0 cables have a maximum transfer rate of 1.5Mbps. USB 1.1 cables can deliver speeds up to 12Mbps while a 2.0 interface has data speeds up to 480Mbps. The maximum data rate for USB 3.0 cables is 5Gbps while USB 3.1 options enjoy double the transfer speed. USB 3.0 and 3.1 are backward compatible with some older versions of the standard.
Do All USB Cables Support USB OTG? No. USB OTG or On-the-Go is an extension of the USB standard that allows a USB device to act as a host for another USB device. For example, a smartphone with a USB OTG port can mount and recognize a USB flash drive just like a computer. To establish this connection, you need a special USB OTG cable.
What Is the Difference Between Regular USB Cables and USB-C Cables? A USB Type-C cable has a USB-C connector on one end and a USB-A connector on the other. The USB-C connector is a small reversible plug that is as small as a micro-USB connector but has more pins and delivers more power.
Can You Charge a Laptop With a USB Cable? Regular USB-A and B cables do not carry enough power to charge laptops but USB-C cables can easily deliver the 20 to 65 watts required by most mobile computers. These cables support the requirements of USB PD or Power Delivery. They can carry current at higher amperages and voltages to deliver a maximum power output of 100 watts.