Most modern Charge laptops have USB-C connectors, but not all of them use this versatile port for battery charging. Looking for a hiccup-free USB-C charging experience? Here’s what you need to know.


Those sleek oval-shaped USB-C ports seem to be everywhere these days. They’ve become ubiquitous on smartphones and tablets, and they regularly show up on laptop and desktop PCs, too. But if you’re in the market for a new laptop, you might be surprised to see them being used for charging (in place of a dedicated power port), in addition to being used for connecting peripherals. How common is it? Nearly half of the best laptops we recommend feature USB-C charging.

Among those that do, however, the feature has nuances that can vary from model to model. Different charging options may be available, and you won’t see any standard specs or labels on today’s laptops that indicate what form the charger may take, or which USB-C ports are used for charging. And that’s before we even get into variations around matters like bandwidth, feature support, and total wattage.

From the basics of USB-C to the cool features and sometimes confusing aspects of the format, here is your explainer for everything USB-C as it relates to laptops.

USB-C (often referred to as USB Type-C) specifically describes the kind of physical USB connector used to Charge on a couple of different USB formats. The connector was first revealed back in 2014 by the USB Implementers Forum. Developed alongside the USB 3.1 specification that same year, the small connector was a major departure from the USB plugs used at the time.

Instead of a blocky, rectangular plug end, USB-C uses a rounded profile, and the 24 pins inside are laid Charge out in such a way that you can plug it in upside-down, a feat the older USB-A standard didn’t support.

More accurately, thanks to a reversible, symmetrical design, there is no upside-down for USB-C. So long as the male plug and female ports line up, you can plug it in for sharing power or data. It’s also smaller than the ubiquitous rectangular USB Type-A, allowing it to be used on devices big and small, from phones to laptops.

USB-C connectors deliver both power and data. The USB-C port is the standard connection for 3.1, Thunderbolt 3 and Thunderbolt 4, along with the latest USB4 format. And thanks to the expanding functionality of USB, those connections can be used for everything from connecting simple external storage and displays to working for power delivery—both inbound power to charge your laptop and outgoing power to juice up your phone or other device. (Learn more about USB-C and its other uses in our article What Is USB-C? An Explainer.)

When it comes to current laptops sold within approximately the last eight years, the answer is, “It depends.” Though USB-C ports have become very common on laptops, and USB-C power for laptops is fairly common, power over USB-C isn’t standard, and it’s not always easy to tell if it’s even supported.

Let’s start simple. If your laptop came with a USB-C style plug on its power adapter, then the answer is “yes.” Note: Using that bundled power adapter is your best bet, since it matches the wattage your laptop needs, while having the right connector type.

Complicating things a bit, some other laptops support USB-C laptop charging but also offer another charging method. Systems like the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 (2021), the Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 7, and the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 all support charging via USB-C but come with a different style of charger in the box. If you want to take advantage of the USB-C charging support, you’ll need to provide your own power cable.

Source: This news is originally published by pcmag

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