Micro-USB Cables: A Guide for Non-Technical Persons

When they first arrived on the market, micro-USB cables took the world by storm. They’ve quickly become essential for just about every technological need and device you can possibly think of. But there are so many types, it’s easy to get them confused. This guide to micro USB types will help you know what kind you need and how to choose one.

Micro-A USB

Most newer devices like cell phones, GPS devices, and digital cameras now use the micro-A USB type. It’s smaller than the mini-B USB variety and has a rectangular female-only connector. Even though it’s small, it still can transfer data and charge devices quickly.

Micro-B USB

Micro-B USB is the counterpart to the micro-A USB. It’s commonly used in mobile devices like cell phones and other portable electronics. Micro-B USB has male and female connectors, which makes it more versatile – you can use either connector type.
Visually, you can recognize a micro-B USB by its tapered corners. Rather than being fully a rectangle, it’s shaped like a half-hexagon.

Micro-B USB 3.0

As the name suggests, this type of USB is very similar to its predecessor, micro-B USB. But note that it’s not backwards compatible, so a device designed to work with micro-B USB generally won’t work with version 3.0.
Visually, the main difference between micro-B USB 3.0 and the original is that version 3.0 has additional pins on the side, which means it has more wires, letting it work better and faster.

Mini-B USB

The mini-B is now slightly outdated and isn’t recommended for use with new devices, but it’s still worth mentioning because back when it was new, it was the industry standard. Nowadays, it’s mostly been abandoned in favor of the micro-B, though.

How to Choose a Micro USB Cable

Your Devices’ Needs

The most important factor when you’re buying a micro-USB cable is whether or not they’ll work with the devices you want to use them with. If you’re not sure what kind of micro-USB cable you need, check your devices. The packaging will specify what type they use.

Reinforced Sheath

Cables with a braided or cable sheath tend to last longer than other cables. USB cables tend to see a lot of use. Make sure yours will be able to stand up to being tossed in a bag or being jostled around in a drawer. USB cables are the kind of thing you want to buy once and not worry about needing to replace.

Reinforced Joint

Some micro-USB cables have cushioning or some other kind of reinforcement holding the plug and the cord together. Like a reinforced sheath, this helps keep your cable from fraying after you’ve plugged and unplugged it a hundred times.
Although micro-USBs are increasingly on their way out as more modern options come onto the market, they’re certainly still here to stay. Plenty of devices will continue to use them in the future.
Now, you’ll be able to shop for your micro-USB cable confidently!

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