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Top 5 Advantages of a USB-C Monitor

Top 5 Advantages of a USB-C Monitor

Dwight Pavlovic
Chances are you may already be familiar with the USB-C connection type to some extent. Whether it’s thanks to your phone or laptop, this type is becoming increasingly common and more aligned with new technology trends.
The advantages of a USB-C monitor specifically centre on efficiency and performance to help consumers get more out of their displays. In particular, they can help cut down on cord clutter or poor-quality data transfers, two hassles that anyone familiar with older tech probably knows all too well. They also play into why the greater shift to USB-C is growing steadily with the pace of adoption.
To help you better understand why this connection type is taking over, we’ll cover five of the top advantages of adding a USB-C display to your media suite. They include these abilities:
1. Transfer video, data, and power using one cord
2. Connect and power USB-C laptops and devices without an adapter
3. Smaller, easy-to-use connection type
4. Conveniently charge other external devices
5. It’s the standard for most new devices
But first, let’s cover exactly what this technology is and where it came from.

Why USB-C?

As the use of USB-C connections becomes more widespread, expectations will change as well. The demand for more efficient data and power delivery grows with the development of new technology. This includes the higher-performing devices we enjoy that, in turn, call for improvements in power and efficiency.
In the last few years, changes in technology have come at an even greater pace than when USB-C was introduced in 2014. And according to most experts, USB-C isn't going away any time soon. This is technology we should plan to use in our peripherals at some point, whether we make the change now or later.
Since its arrival, USB-C has become increasingly common and emerged as the consensus replacement for a whole range of legacy ports. Some of them may be more familiar than others, like the near-ubiquitous USB type-A most of us still use for various purposes or the USB type-B associated with devices like external hard drives.

What is USB 3.1

USB 3.1 is the latest generation of USB-C. It’s substantially more efficient than its predecessors and encompasses a range of features previously spread out across several niche utilities. That leads us to the first advantage of a USB type-C monitor - transfer speed - and the most important reason for why the new connection has evolved so quickly. It is also a big reason why it has become increasingly adopted across the industry.

Top 5 advantages of using a USB-C monitor

1. Transfer video, data, and power using one cord

USB-C’s impact on how we all use our smart TVs and devices is considerable. There are big positives for consumers and their routines, particularly the consolidation of multiple cords - power, data, and specialized types - into a single cord.
Additionally, the latest USB type-C connections, currently in generation 3.1 with 3.2 slated for release later in 2019, can provide data transfers of 10 gigabytes per second (Gbps) and consistent power delivery for up to 100W. That’s far above normal power delivery compared to previous USB charging standards that could only work with compatible devices and would only yield 2.5W.
That’s not the final ceiling for performance with USB-C, though, thanks to Intel®’s powerful Thunderbolt 3 technology and ports. It helps boost type-C’s potential for data transfer speeds from 10 Gbps up to 40 Gbps, and it supports multiple devices.
Beyond providing high-quality output, these features combine to make a USB-C display more fundamentally portable and easier to travel with for most purposes.
Deeper multimedia implications
Thunderbolt 3 provides access to both PCI Express (PCIe) and DisplayPort signals, while built-in alt modes ensure that USB-C provides everything you need for high-quality streaming. Alt modes are the industry’s preferred term for compatibility, and the term describes what types of data USB-C can handle. With alt modes and the right connection, you can actually output HDMI, DisplayPort, VGA, and a host of other supported formats.
Essentially, a USB type-C monitor is prepared to support high-quality visuals right out of the box. And if you assumed that you’re covered for audio, you’re right on the money there, too. But you may not have guessed that you can even use a USB-C port as a dedicated headphone jack. You can just use your legacy pair with an adapter or pick up newer USB-C headphones.

2. Connect USB-C laptops and devices without an adapter

Easy access to the most modern devices is another undeniable advantage of a USB type-C monitor. Why should you bother storing extra cords and adapters when you don’t have to? That’s a big plus for offices and in public spaces where quick and easy access is important.
It also cuts down on accessories budgets because your peripherals depend on only one input/output type rather than half a dozen or more. That means fewer adapters to purchase and fit into your workspace.
But if you do need one, whether it’s for older devices or different output formats, the small size of a USB-C won’t clog up your drawer space. Instead of collecting a variety of necessary adapters or an oversized hub, you can cover a lot of your bases with a compact USB-C multiport adapter.
Just like with USB-C jump drives, these are much smaller than last-generation tech or USB-A equivalents. There is a range of compact designs depending on which ports you need access to most often.

3. Smaller, easier-to-use connection type

Anyone who became familiar with computers before the advent of USB-C is likely to appreciate this new format once they’ve gotten used to it. The first change you’ll notice is the smaller size compared to legacy ports like USB type-A or the inappropriately named micro variants with their oversized backings.
USB-C is smaller than previous generations and much less difficult to use for anything that requires regular plugging and unplugging. That’s thanks in large part to its much more convenient physical configuration.
USB-C is small enough to be comfortable when used with a smartphone or tablet but powerful enough for a range of other concurrent functions. This helps to reduce the planning and design previously required by the lack of port standardization. To illustrate just one of the most important ways it helps, a catchall USB-C potentially reduces half a dozen or more necessary ports on a device to just one or two.
Being truly small is more important than you may think, too. It’s critical to how developers and designers can now start to standardize ports for a much wider range of products. Overall, a USB type-C monitor follows most current trends in technology closely and brings greater comfort to use. It also lowers the impact on your space by minimizing cords, connections, and the need for accessories.
It’s reversible
Another other key change with the design of type-C is that it’s reversible, which is a big improvement compared to type-A and its other predecessors. In a nutshell, this reversibility simply means that a USB-C cord can be inserted in whichever way you prefer.
You no longer need to worry about which way is up or if you have the right end when you need to use it with other devices or just want to reconnect. With a USB-C monitor, that means a little less stress when you have to fish behind your display or change a connection.
The smaller physical design and the convenience of reversibility both tend to put USB-C at the forefront for connectivity.

4. Conveniently charge other external devices

The possibilities opened up for device charging and cord-cutting are another key advantage of a standardized, single-cord solution for data and power. Whether you hate the clutter caused by cords or simply want a better, central solution for charging your devices, a USB-C monitor is a great solution.
Because a USB-C display can deliver 100W back for charging devices, there’s much more potential here than with older standards, even the more recent USB 3.0. That’s why many new laptop models have ditched dedicated power cords in favour of USB-C. As a result, you can say goodbye to the traditional power cord that’s often bulky and not at all fun to travel with.
A strong foundation for your entire office
With a USB-C connection, you can power your display through a laptop or vice versa. Streaming from a laptop to your display is a lot easier without an extra power cord or adapter to worry about, too. It’s also a great function for USB-C monitors being rolled out in office settings because the setup process is vastly streamlined.
USB type-C monitors with the latest generation tech - look for USB 3.1 if you want to confirm before buying - can connect and charge up to six devices. That’s support for all six whether you choose to daisy-chain individually or connect through a multiport adapter. It’s an advanced level of convenience for any type of user, from office workers to families, and especially those who have a shared media space.
More than just creating a hub for charging, a multiport adapter or a USB-C-focused workspace dock is also a great way to organize and easily access all your devices at once.

5. It’s the standard for most new devices

While we’ve discussed how much more common USB-C is becoming, we’ve only covered some of the results of that trend. As we see USB-C being used more, an enabled monitor is a good place to start with this tech. Most of these models also have legacy ports, which means they’re a great way to get familiar with the new format without having to upgrade the rest of your devices or buy a bunch of adapters.
The change to USB-C is still a little more complicated than just upgrading to a single device though. Often we replace items as they age out of usefulness, but the transition to USB-C means it’s important to manage your devices closely. Otherwise, you risk tripping yourself up with accessories. Or worse, buying the wrong product for the rest of your media or office suite.
For now, consolidating cords and connections is still an important step toward greater usability for consumers. It allows manufacturers to build more compact and efficient devices because consolidating legacy ports saves room when a new laptop design is laid out. With fewer ports, engineers can design thinner laptops or pack in better hardware. In short, USB-C is designed to replace a whole range of connections, not just the type-A connections we all use most.
There are plenty of reasons to upgrade to a USB-C monitor sooner rather than later. For one, it typically means you’ll enjoy a performance upgrade, but more importantly, it keeps you ahead of changes that will potentially impact a lot of what you already do.

Finding the best USB-C monitor at HP

If you’re interested in USB-C technology and are ready to start shopping for a new compatible display, there are plenty of options to consider from HP. These include both stand-alone options and full lines like the powerful HP Z range of 4K USB-C monitors.
The HP ENVY curved all-in-one (AiO) is a popular candidate with the benefits of USB-C support, plus a thoroughly streamlined AiO configuration that already minimizes its footprint. With an Ultrawide Quad High Definition (UWQHD) display boasting 3440 x 1440 pixels, you’re sure to see every last detail. And between the USB-C and its AiO design, you’ll deal with much less cord clutter in your workspace.
For a deep selection of high-performance USB-C displays, check out HP Z’s trio of powerful displays, with configurations ranging in size and resolution. While all of the 4K displays in the HP Z series support USB-C connections, they aren’t your only options. You can also find several smaller and more affordable options with similar support if you want something different that’s still embracing the future of tech.

About the Author

Dwight Pavlovic is a contributing writer for HP Tech Takes. Dwight is a music and technology writer based out of West Virginia.

Disclosure: Our site may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page.

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