Sometimes you just need a small adapter / dongle to bring new life to your electronics. With a USB adapter you can connect different cables to your devices. Many of the new laptops, tablets and smart-devices come with a “USB-C” port, instead of the more common “USB-A”, or just “USB”.
If you’re not familiar with these, the main difference is the USB-C defines the shape of the connector, which is much smaller than the regular USB (check out the image for “C” on the left vs “A” on the right).
One nice thing about USB C is that it’s “reversible”, so you there’s never an issue about how to plug it in. With USB A connectors, you always had to have the pins on the correct top / bottom to match up with the connector (half the time you’ll be flipping it over to get it to plug in).
Behind the size difference are the are data rates – with USB 3.0, you can get up to 5 Gbps and USB 3.1 provides up to a blazing fast 10 Gbps. Of course, it’s also backwards compatible to both USB 2.0 (480 Mbps) and USB 1.0 (12 Mbps).
FYI – we often get asked “what’s with the blue plastic color in some of my USB cables and device ports?”. Blue is good, since that means these are rated at the USB 3.1, for the maximum 10 Gbps data rates. No blue means it’s USB 3.0 or older, so not as fast.
Back to the adapters – rather than replace all of our devices that are still running fine using regular USB when we get a new laptop or tablet, the adapter solves the connectivity issue. You could also buy a bunch of converter cables with USB on one end, and USB-C on the other. But that means more bulk to carry around.
Our recommendation is the Amazon 2-pack of USB C to USB adapters from nonda, for under $9 for the two adapters.
We like the rugged construction of the Zinc alloy body – good for preventing scratches since these usually get tossed in a grab bag of other cables and power bars.
The pins / connectors, especially on the USB A side, are well constructed. The manufacturer rates these for a minimum of 10,000+ insertion / removals for either side. This is way more than any regular person will ever need!
If anything ever does go wrong, there is a 3-year warranty.
One point some people get confused about with adapters and connectors: These are physical adapters, letting you use one cable type with a different port type. Unfortunately, these don’t magically give you a performance boost in the data rate.
For example, if you have an older USB 2.0 external disk drive an adapter won’t boost it up to USB 3.0 / 3.1 data rates. (FYI – pick up a fast, lightweight 1TB HDD for under $50 )
This adapter is about a small as you’ll find -at 1.3 x 0.6 x 0.3 inches it’s just big enough to enclose the connectors and give you something to grab onto.
Weight wise, it’s 0.64 ounces.
The built-in shielding around the electrical connections avoids conflicting with 2.4GHz WiFi signals on your devices.
As you might think, you don’t need any software or drivers for these USB adapters to work.
Which is great, since it means they are compatible with everything that has a USB Type-C port including: Windows laptops / tablets / Surface, any smartphones, Macbook Pro 2019/2018/2017, MacBook Air 2018, Nintendo Switch, Samsung Galaxy S8/S9, etc.
For peripheral / external devices, anything that has a USB connector can run a cable to the adapter.
For USB Flash Drives, you can plug them directly into the adapter to make it a USB-C device. No cable required.
And, of course, you can connect any standard USB cable to the adapter.
So for less than a latte, you can keep your older devices working happily with your new ones. Please use our Amazon link for order of more information: 2-pack of USB C to USB adapters , under $9 for the two adapters.