Universal Serial Bus ports are the most common type of way to connect something to your computer. USB was designed to standardise the connection between your computer and computer accessories like external hard drives, mouse, keyboard, printer, cameras, and scanner. They are also a type of power source for your computer to your electronics. This is why you can charge your electronics like a digital camera or smartphone from USB and external hard drives don’t need to plug into the wall to work from your computer. Some special types of USB ports can even charge your electronics when your computer is turned off and disconnected from power.
- USB 2.0 USB 2.0 is technically called High Speed USB and is the type of USB you see most commonly. They transfer information faster than USB 1.0 but not as fast as USB 3.0. As we see more use of external hard drives and file sizes for things like documents, photos, and videos increase, file transfer speed is becoming an important purchase point for customers and why modern laptops are now typically built with at least one USB 3.0 port.
- USB 3.0 USB 3.0 is technically called Super Speed USB and is the future for USB. It reduces the time required for data transmission and has claimed speeds about 18x faster than USB 2.0. For those that are looking for faster file transfers, it is highly recommended to consider USB 3.0. Please note that connecting electronics into a USB 3.0 port with a USB 2.0 cable does not lead to better performance; both the cable and device need to have USB 3.0 support.
- USB with Rapid Charge A USB port that has a lightning bolt symbol above or next to it also signifies that it is a quick charge USB port. This allows you to charge your electronic devices from the USB port even when your computer is turned off and disconnected from power.