Zit Seng's Blog

A Singaporean's technology and lifestyle blog

The Mess Of USB-C

USB-C, or USB Type-C, was supposed to be that connector which would make our lives easier. It has a reversible connector, and when both ends are USB-C, you could swap ends too. It all sounds really nice. Except that, in reality, USB-C has made life really, really, complicated, and it could be some time before things get easier.

This isn’t the first time I’m writing about this mess. Earlier last month I posted about how USB-C has become universally complicated, and then again about how USB-C wasn’t easier. I’m irked enough to write yet again because of the bunch of USB-C stuff I’ve begun to amass.

The thing is that USB-C is simpler only in that physical connectivity. Beyond that physical, mechanical, connection, it’s really a mess.

But it seems most of us agree it’s the way moving forward. During this transition period, we’ve little choice but to deal with not just the complex interoperability issues, but from the consumer’s perspective, the need to buy a bunch of different cables and adapters.

So now cables and adapters are not just simple, boring, passive devices. You might have heard of Google engineer Benson Leung who went on a mission to check out bad USB-C cables adapters/cables.

Well, you know what, just because a cable appears to work doesn’t mean they’ll work very well. It’s no longer a case of a binary work/don’t-work. That means there’s a varying level of functionality. That’s right, not just quality, but functionality.

You see, I’ve one of those USB-C to VGA multiport adapter thingy. The VGA connection works. Sometimes. But every now and then, the display would flicker. It’s almost as if there is some bad connection sort of thing. Well, maybe it’s really just a bad connection, and I was just unlucky.

Except that I’ve got another USB-C to HDMI multiport adapter thingy, and it too, had similar problems with display flicker from time to time.

Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to blog about these adapters soon. Stay tuned.

The case in point here is that it’s not so straight forward now to simply go to Qoo10 or Lazada or the likes, not that I have anything against Qoo10 or Lazada, and pick out any USB-C accessory and believe that it should just work.

Hopefully everything will sort out nicely sooner than too long. USB-C everywhere working ubiquitously will be fantastic. (Now, if they could just make the USB-C connector attach magnetically…)

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