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How to make the jump to USB-C: so you can use the universal charger and keep old devices


Highlights: USB-C will be mandatory in the European Union for all mobile devices that are launched from the end of 2024. EL PAÍS tests twelve 'gadgets' that ensure an easy and sustainable transition. Buying a USB-C adapter allows you to take advantage of the investment already made in computers, chargers and cables for mobile devices. There is also an adapter to charge your old USB-A cables, which you can also continue to use with a new phone or tablet with a universal connector.

The requirement of the new connector in the EU will reduce the generation of electronic waste, but leaves old accessories unusable. EL PAÍS tests twelve 'gadgets' that ensure an easy and sustainable transition

The launch of the iPhone 15, Apple's first phones with USB-C, is giving a new push to the transition to the universal connector. Manufacturers of chargers, accessories and cables have taken the opportunity to launch their own offers that stimulate this change. And it is that the USB-C will be mandatory in the European Union for all mobile devices that are launched from the end of 2024, in a measure approved thinking both the convenience of users and reducing electronic waste.

With that objective of a lower environmental impact, for years most of the main mobile manufacturers no longer include a charger with their new models, assuming that everyone has at least one. Since then, in the box of Apple, Google or Samsung phones does come a cable to connect them to a USB-C charger, but not everyone has one of those new chargers. Also, not all chargers with the new connector have adequate power to charge any device. The new system is a very versatile but very complex standard. These twelve gadgets, tested by EL PAÍS, make the jump to USB-C simple and environmentally friendly; And for a tight price, they discourage jumping in for uncertified bargains, which can damage equipment.

The dream of the universal charger

The tiny 3-watt Anker Nano 30 allows you to charge any mobile phone, tablet and even light laptops such as MacBook Air, Surface Go or Chromebook. Compared to the official chargers of mobile device manufacturers, it is much smaller, and also cheaper. Its offer price is around 19 euros and has the Power Delivery certifications (the standard for fast and trouble-free charging) and USB-IF (security guarantee, against chargers that damage batteries or burn circuits). You always have to look for these two certifications in USB-C chargers and cables, a connection system that can cause many more problems than the old USB.

More information

This is how the change of the iPhone to USB-C affects: can the same charger be used with any mobile?

Another good alternative, cheaper, is the Ugreen Nexode Mini of 30 watts, which on offer is around 14 euros. 20-watt chargers can be obtained at a lower price and are an option if you only intend to charge mobile phones and do not need to do it at maximum speed.

And for those who want to charge several devices at the same time, including a more powerful computer, there are the Ugreen Nexode 65-watt multichargers, for 37 euros, and Anker Nano II 100-watt, for 70 euros. Both include two USB-C ports and one of the usual USB.

One cable to charge them all

At this point in the transition to USB-C it is easy to have at home a cable with the universal connector, which has come in the box with any device. Will it be worth to charge any mobile, tablet and computer at the right speed and without problems? That of a laptop should be worth, being the most powerful device.

In another case, or if the cable is not identified or you want a spare, it is best to play it safe. The Cable Matters brand, which measures 2 meters and charges up to 240 watts, has Power Delivery and USB-IF certifications and costs 14 euros. In addition to charging any computer, tablet or phone with USB-C connector, it allows data transfer at USB 2.0 speed between those devices and their accessories. If you do not need so much power, this cable of the Ugreen brand, 1 meter and 60 watts, is a very good option and costs 6 euros. It is also available, more expensive, with other lengths.

Save the old USBs

The USB of a lifetime has been around for so long (more than two decades) that in almost any house there are chargers, cables and accessories with this connection. There is no need to throw them away when making the leap to USB-C: they can adapt and work perfectly, even if they do not take advantage of all the speed of the new connector. The AmazonBasics adapter, from USB-C male to USB-A female, costs about 7 euros and allows you to take advantage of the pen drive, hard drives and other accessories that use the usual connector. With this adapter, which is USB-IF certified, you can also continue to use the old USB-A cables to charge your phone or tablet with a new universal USB-C charger.

Buying a USB-C adapter allows you to take advantage of the investment already made in computers, mobile devices, cables and chargers with the old USB-A connector. Ugreen

There is also an adapter for the opposite case: if you have made the leap to USB-C and use the brand new universal cable, but almost all public charging points still have the usual USB port. For this situation, and to take advantage of old chargers, there is the Ugreen USB-A to USB-C female male adapter. It is sold in a pack of two, for 16 euros, and also allows you to connect new devices to computers that only have the old connector.

Take advantage of iPhone accessories

Those who renew their Apple phone and switch to one of the newly released models with USB-C, will find that their old accessories and cables for iPhone no longer serve them. Unless they go through the box again and buy the Apple USB-C to Lightning adapter, which costs 35 euros. Today it is the only option on the market for iPhone 15 users (and also those who have an iPad with USB-C) to take advantage of the hundreds of millions of cables and accessories with the Lightning connector, which have been sold since Apple launched this own system in 2012.

The reverse adapter, for which there are options of different brands, allows you to charge with a USB-C cable the old iPhone and also the iPad and accessories (such as keyboards and wireless mice) that have the old connector. This Boutop Lightning to USB-C adapter, which is sold in packs of two for 17 euros, allows charging with a power of up to 27 watts and is Made for iPhone certification, which Apple grants to manufacturers of accessories it considers safe.

To charge without plug

External batteries are the essential accessory for those who work with the mobile or tablet and may need to charge it at any time or place. The Anker 323 PowerCore battery costs 22 euros on sale, has 12 watts of charging power and 10,000 milliampere-hours of capacity (enough to charge an iPhone 15 twice). The Belkin Boost Charge 20k costs 53 euros, has twice the capacity and charges devices by USB-C to up to 30 watts, so it serves both mobile phones and tablets as well as light laptops. Both batteries have a USB-C port (which also recharges themselves) and a USB-A port to maintain compatibility with older devices.

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Source: elparis

All tech articles on 2023-09-27

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