6 Types of USB Cables and Ports(Speed Compared)

Almost every device that we use nowadays requires a USB cable that connects it to other electronic devices. With time, the USB cables have evolved and now they have many variants. But, due to a wide range of USBs certain doubts and confusions may arise like whether USB 3.0 and USB C are the same or not.

So, in this article, we will discuss all the USB types that are available and the differences between them. So, let’s start our discussion by listing out all the types of USBs.

What are the different types of USB? Complete list

A USB may be classified on the basis of a connector type, cable/port, and version/standard/color. All these are listed below:

There are two categories of USB connectors:

  • Male connector
  • Female Connector

The USB cable/port is of six types:

  • A
  • B
  • Mini
  • Micro A
  • Micro B
  • C

There are 6 types of USB Ports Color/standards:

  • USB 1.0/1.1
  • USB 2.0
  • USB 3.0
  • USB 3.1
  • USB 3.2
  • USB 4.0

Note: It must be noted that the different versions of USB cables (i.e., 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, etc.) are available with different combinations of USB connector types (i.e., Type A, Type B, Type C, etc.). It means that we can select a particular USB cable with a particular USB type so that it suits our requirements.

Now let’s discuss the USB in a bit more detail.

Looking for the Pinout of USB Connectors?

What is a USB Connector?

The USB connector is the head present at the two ends of the USB cable. There are two classes of USB connectors, i.e., a male connector and a female connector.

The Male connector is commonly known as the plug. We can identify the Male connector from its nickel or copper external part. It is the plug that goes inside the socket.

The Female connector is commonly known as a port or jack. It is a hollow socket in which a Male connector can be inserted.

Male and Female USB connector
Male and Female USB connector

Types of USB Cables and Differences bw them

There are a total of 6 USB cable types available. You can visualize and compare the shape and size of each type of USB cable from the following figure.

Different types of USB cables
Different types of USB cables

The plugs and ports of the USB connectors are further available in different physical designs. Their classification and differences are given below.

TypePurposeLaunched YearShapeDimension (mm)Size
Type APlug into the computer1996Rectangular16×8Largest
Type BPrinter1996Rectangular11.5×10.5Relatively large
Type MiniOld phones2001Camper3×7Smaller
Type Micro ANewer phones2007Flat rectangular6.85×1.8Thinner
Type Micro BBackup devices2007Camper6.85×1.8Same as Micro A
Type CNewest phones2014Rotationally symmetric8.4×2.6Small
This table shows the Types of USB cables and the differences between them

Now let’s discuss each USB type in detail.

USB Type A

USB A
USB A

Type A is the initial model of USB cable and was launched in the year 1996. It is generally used to plug into the computer. Although it’s the largest among all other types, still it is the most commonly used USB.

USB Type B

USB B
USB B

The Type B USB was also launched in the year 1996. Type A with Type B is the most common combination seen on either side of a USB cable.

While Type A goes into the computer, Type B plugs into peripheral devices such as smartphones, printers, hard drives, etc. Among these, a printer is the most widely connected peripheral device with a Type B USB.

High quality type B cable

High-quality Type B cable(for printers)

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The size of Type B USB is more or like same as the Type-A, but their shapes are different. Type B has a square-like shape, whereas Type A is more rectangular. Both the USBs are shown in the figure below.

USB Type Mini

USB mini
USB mini

USB Type Mini is the smaller version that was often used in old model phones. It was launched in 2001 as Mini A and Mini B variants. These models were introduced in chamfer shape to achieve a compact figure. Thus they are designed to support smaller devices like tablet computers, digital cameras, etc.

High quality USB Mini B cable

High-quality Mini-B cable(for DSLR/PS3)

Price: $6.99

USB Type Micro A

Micro A is an improvised version of its previous model. It was launched in 2007 and was used in newer phones. Micro A is thinner and has a flat rectangular shape.

USB Type Micro B

USB micro
USB micro

Micro B was an immediate successor of Micro-A which was also launched in the year 2007. It is designed in camper shape and has the same size as that of Micro-A. This model is mostly used to connect backup drivers and backup devices.

High quality Micro B cable

5 x High quality Micro B cable(for phone/tablet)

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Related: What is Micro USB Pinout and Types (FAQs)

USB Type C

USB Type C is the latest model which was launched in 2014. Most of the recent arrivals in mobile phones and other peripherals are designed to support a Type C connector since it can deliver a larger data transfer speed up to 2.5 Gbps.

The unique feature of the Type C connector is that it is rotationally symmetric. The figure below makes it more clear that it can be inserted in either direction, i.e., we don’t need to bother which side should go up or down while inserting into the device. It is also capable to transfer higher power output.

USB C
USB C
High quality USB type C cable

High quality Type C cable(for phone/tablet)

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Different Types of USB Port Standards and their Color Coding

Apart from their different physical features, the USB ports vary in functionality and data transfer speed. USB ports come in 6 different USB Standards. And all these standards are of different port colors. This helps us in identifying the right one out of the set of ports available in a host.

Types of USB ports Standards
Types of USB ports Standards

USB 1.0/1.1

USB 1.1
USB 1.1

USB 1.0 is the first version in USB standards which was immediately improved to USB 1.1. It was developed in January 1996 and supported a data transfer speed in the range of 1.5Mbps-12 Mbps.

The USB 1.1 comes with a white port. It has two pins and the cable length is 3-5 meters. USB 1.0/1.1 supports only one-way data transfer.

USB 2.0

USB 2.0
USB 2.0

USB 2.0 was launched in April 2000 with an improved data transfer speed of 480 Mbps. An important update that was introduced in USB 2.0 was that it could charge batteries.

This version also has two pins and supports one-way communication only. USB 2.0 comes with a black port with a maximum 5m cable length. Mini A and B USB types were launched in the USB 2.0 version.

USB 3.0

USB 3.0 port
USB 3.0 port

USB 3.0 is an advanced version of the USB standard that was launched in November 2008. It is capable to transfer a large data rate of 5Gbps and thereby supports some physical symbol encoding and link-level overhead. The encoding can reduce the data rate to 3.2Gbps.

USB 3.0 is suitable for bi-directional data transfer. The port is blue and the cable length in this version is reduced to 3m since longer cables reduce the performance.

USB 3.1 Gen 1

USB 3.1
USB 3.1

USB 3.1 was launched in July 2013 with a peculiar feature to support reduced line encoding. It was a significant quality since it do not cause a significant speed reduction.

The first-generation USB 3.1 comes in teal blue color and supports a 10Gbps data rate. The cable length is maintained at 3m.

Sleep and Charge Ports(Red, Orange, Yellow)

“Sleep and Charge” are special types of ports. They allow the devices like smartphones to keep charging even when the device to which it is connected is turned off, Laptop for example.

This additional functionality of “Sleep and Charge” or “Always On” is available in:

  • USB 3.1 Generation 2, USB 3.2 – Red
USB 3.2
USB 3.1 Gen2, USB 3.2
  • USB 2.0, USB 3.0 – Yellow
USB Always On
USB 2.0, USB 3.0
  • USB 3.0 – Orange
Sleep and Charge USB port
USB 3.0

USB 3.2 was introduced in September 2017. Bidirectional data transfer is possible in this standard with an enhanced speed of 20Gbps.

USB 4.0

USB 4.0 is the latest version of the USB standard. It was launched in August 2019 and is the future of USB. It comes with type C connectors on both sides and is capable to convert the connector type using adapters, if necessary.

The data speed of 40Gbps is supported in USB 4.0 even with a longer cable length of 5m. Massive video file transfers are thus possible with USB 4.0 and that too in both directions.

Which port is the fastest- USB ports Speed Chart

Among all the USB ports, USB 4.0 has the highest speed of 40 Gbps and USB 1.1 is the slowest with a data transfer speed of 12 Mbps.

The Chart given below compares the speed of all ports, available USB connector type for each port, and cable length. Cable length is also an important factor that affects the speed of the port.

Port Standard Data Transfer SpeedUSB Connector TypesCable length
USB 1.112 MbpsUSB-A
USB-B
3 m
USB 2.0480 MbpsUSB-A
USB-B
USB Micro A
USB Micro B
USB Mini A
USB Mini B
Type C
5 m
USB 3.15 GbpsUSB-A
USB-B
USB Micro B
Type C
3 m
USB 3.220 GbpsUSB-A
USB-B
USB Micro B
Type C
3 m
USB 440 GbpsType C0.8 m
This table compares the speed of different USB port standards
Note: It must be noted that the different versions of USB cables (i.e., 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, etc.) are available with different combinations of USB connector types (i.e., Type A, Type B, Type C, etc.). It means that we can select a particular USB cable with a particular USB type so that it suits our requirements.

6 thoughts on “6 Types of USB Cables and Ports(Speed Compared)”

  1. Wow. Thank you very much for the info. So USB (Universal Serial Bus) is no longer as “universal” as it used to be, now with so many types and colors.
    I don’t understand how we ordinary people should know so much about these things, to use them with our phones (just to charge or transfer photos and videos).

    Reply
    • You’re welcome! Yes, USB definitely isn’t as universal as it used to be. With so many different types and colors, it can be a little confusing. But don’t worry, we’re always here to help!

      Reply
  2. This is great info! SO much has changed since I worked in ‘the industry’ in the 80’s, and I learned so much from this! And thank you for the graphics!

    Reply
  3. Hi, Thanks very much for this very useful information and graphics. Chapeau to Helen who directed me to your page. A thought: I think the term is not ‘camper shape’ but ‘chamfer shape’, that is a shape with a chamfer or beveled edge.

    A chamfer /ˈʃæm. fər/ or /ˈtʃæm. fər/ is a transitional edge between two faces of an object. Sometimes defined as a form of bevel, it is often created at a 45° angle between two adjoining right-angled faces.

    Reply

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