There are so many devices and so many cables out there, it can be confusing and overwhelming trying to find out which combination you need to connect with confidence. That’s why we have come up with this Comsol guide to connecting different devices.
Whether you’re charging or transferring data, we have got you covered.
Computers and Printers
For many years the most trusted way to connect your PC or Mac to a printer was using a Serial cable, you have most probably seen one before and the most common ones had a smaller 9pin “Female” plug on one end and a larger 25pin “Male” plug on the other end.
As things advanced the majority of devices at both ends merged to USB connections which were easier for the end user as they did not require the “screw in” connections that were on many Serial connectors and the handy fact that most users would have had spare USB cables in the home or office in case of breakage or to connect a new device.
USB ports are smaller for manufacturers too, which helped greatly as devices such as laptops became much smaller. USB especially in 2.0 and 3.0 variety also offer greater speed than Serial allowing todays larger files to be transferred and printed much more quickly.
USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 cables
USB (Universal Serial Bus) has been around since the mid 1990’s and in its most common variety comes with a “Type A” connector at one end and “Type B” connector at the other. With a goal to of standardizing connectors and allowing all sorts of modern digital devices to our PC’s and laptops these amazing cables have become a part of our everyday lives.
Capable of providing power, communication, data, and audio it’s hard to imagine your life today with this humble little cable. As devices changed and got smaller and more portable a need for a more compact connection became necessary. USB Mini and Micro allowed seemingly impossibly small connections to our cameras and small desktop peripheries such as mice, keyboards and MP3 players.
As I’m sure you have guessed by now, this technology has not stood still. In the future the new type USB-C connectors will connect you in more ways than you ever thought imaginable! The USB3.0 and soon to be available USB4 cables will both be available with USB-C Connectors, if you are like me, this probably all sounds a little confusing right? Well, here is how you remember it like a Pro!
USB3.0 or USB4 refers to the cable itself and therefore it’s actual capabilities. Both of those cables can have a USB-C connector at the end (Put simply the plug or receptor your device connects to) Got it? Too easy right!?
"So why should I care?" I hear you all saying… Well that is simple, USB-C plugs are amazing little things.
USB Type C Connector
They are reversible and the same at both ends, so no more annoying moments trying to force in the plug only to find that it is upside down. Secondly, USB-C connections are already found on new PC’s, Laptops and a host of other devices.
Today you can used it for PD (Power Delivery) which allows 2 way charging for connected devices. ALT-Mode which allows compatibility with Display Port and Thunderbolt signals as well as conversion of Digital audio into analogue sound, great for connecting (with an adapter) your wired headphones to a new Phone or Tablet that doesn’t have and older style 3.5mm headphone plug.
NextGen USB 3.0 & 4.0 Cable
The capability of the current and next generation USB cables are simply amazing.
From a point of data transfer alone you want one of these in your life. Take an original USB 1.0 cable and try to transfer a 4K movie and you might want to go for a nice long weekend break somewhere while it transfers across.
Put a USB3.0 or 4.0 cable in the mix and you will barely have time to get the popcorn out of the microwave before the credits will be rolling. For large external HD’s such as backup drives, this also means no more waiting to either complete a fresh backup or transfer data from one PC to the next. But that is far from the end of the story! In either standalone mode or via a dock, your NextGen USB cable can handle 2 way power supply to multiple devices. Allowing you to be transferring files whilst charging both the host device and say a phone or tablet.
As if all this wasn’t enough, NextGen USB technology also Alt-Mode which adds the ability for this one cable to also handle Display Port and Thunderbolt signals giving you the ability to run multiple external displays and connect to Mac whilst also handling power and data transfer. Put simply this one cable can handle all your digital connecting and charging needs in one and at speeds like you have never imagined before.
Older connection that allowed fast data and transfer speeds for large files such as video or audio when compared to USB1.0. Usually found on older Macs and Laptops as well as older video cameras and external HDs.
eSata is faster than USB1.0 and has similar speeds to Firewire and primarily used to connect external devices such as HDs in docking stations or caddy enclosure.
RCA and 3.5mm Stereo Cables
Developed in the 1930s by the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) this cable delivered originally high quality mono audio and eventually video and stereo audio signals with these analogue AV cables. Choose these cables for analogue devices. Connect devices such as DVD players, games consoles, stereos and TVs.
Smartphones and Tablets
Smartphones and tablets connect in many ways to either wall chargers or other devices for sync and data transfer purposes. The cable attachment is also used to provide charge capability to the devices rechargeable battery and in most cases the ability to transfer data and files in either direction commonly known as “Sync”.
As technology moves us forwards and our need to use our devices away from home or the office for longer periods of time increases, we often find ourselves away from charge and cables that were once essential. Thankfully we are now moving towards a time where our newer devices no longer require cable connections to perform many of their functions.
Although cables will always offer the fastest, most secure and reliable way for our tables and smartphones charge and connect, new technology like Bluetooth, WiFi, Mobile Cellular Data and Wireless Charging will mean that you always have options when you are on the go and your charger and Sync cable are not at hand.
USB Wall and Car Chargers
Put simply, the more amps the charger has, the faster you can charge your larger devices! Incredibly you can now charge up to ten devices from the one charger, a real must for us living in the 21st century when it’s possible that all home or office users may need to charge multiple devices at the same time.
For Android Quick Charge devices, choose the Quick Charge 3.0 chargers to take advantage of faster charging speeds where you can go from 0% charge to 80% in less than 35 minutes! All Comsol Apple cables are Apple certified under the Apple MFi licensing program, which guarantees hassle free charging and data transfer. The latest iPhone 13 connected to a 30W charger will go from zero to full in under 2 hours!
As an Apple iOS user, always be sure to choose Apple Certified products as Non-certified cables risk being de-activated by Apple and may not be compatible with future iOS upgrades.
To ensure you get the correct charger and power cord for your laptop, check and match the voltage and amperage of your laptop or existing charger. The Voltage (V) and Amperage (A) will be on the product’s rating label – usually moulded into the plastic which houses the electrical circuits.
On older style chargers that have a Power “Brick” in between the wall plug and the charger tip, matching the voltage and amperage is critical to avoid damaging your laptop. You will also need the correct charger to tip to fit your laptops power socket.
This is where our new best friend the USB-C cable will change the future of laptop charging. With a USB-C connector you will be able to charge your laptop with any compatible wall charging brick or cable, power will be regulated meaning easy charge and no fear of damage.
Cat 5 Ethernet & Cat 6 Ethernet
A Cat5e (Category 5 Enhanced) cable is the most cost effective way to connect you computer, IP phone or other device to a Network.
It can also utilise the PoE (Power Over Ethernet) function that can power devices such as CCTV cameras without the need for an independent power supply. With plenty of flexibility due to its twisted pair design, it offers most home and small business users a cost effective and efficient way to connect over distance of up to 100m.
If you need faster transfer speeds and you are travelling a shorter distance then you should consider the more capable Cat6 cable. Both use the same RJ45 connector but Cat6 can support data transfer at up to 2.5x faster than Cat5e over distances under 10m.
As always, which one to choose depends on your personal usage and requirements.
A power bank is a modern miracle!
A portable rechargeable battery that can re-charge your mobile device wherever you go. Never again will you have that sinking feeling as your phone or tablet reaches 1% battery when you are nowhere near a power outlet.
With both cable and wireless variants and ones that have huge battery charge storage capability, a modern power bank can charge almost anything on the go. From Laptops to Digital cameras, your smartphone or tablet, even your wireless headphones, the latest power banks hold enough storage to connect to multiple devices multiple times between re-charges.
To help with the jargon, the two many figures to look out for are Amps and mAh (Milliamp hours). In general the larger the figure in mAh, the larger the capacity of the onboard battery of the power bank, meaning you can do more recharges of your devices before the power bank itself needs recharging.
Whereas a power bank that has a higher Amp output rating means your device will charge faster, which is always a cool feature. We can also now add into the mix the true magic that is wireless power bank charging. If your portable device and power bank both have wireless charging capability, then you can experience these same recharging capabilities without having to carry around (Or risk losing!) your charging/sync cable.
Many of the latest devices even have magnetic wireless charging which ensures a secure connection between devices as well as ensuring the fast-charging capability.