Two Essential USB C Devices for New Laptops

I recently upgraded my aging Dell XPS 2720 all-in-one desktop computer for a Dell XPS 15 9500 laptop. It is awesome indeed and comes with a gorgeous UHD+ screen with 3840×2400 resolution. To help my budget I downgraded the GPU to the older NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 TI since I’m not a hardcore gamer. I was able to save even more by purchasing it from the Dell Outlet. One interesting design feature of the XPS 15 is that it only has USB Type-C ports.  Since there are no legacy USB (USB Type A) ports or even an HDMI port, this design feature initially complicated my plans to use the computer as desktop replacement because I could not connect my mouse, keyboard, or monitor. I was going to need a USB C adapter and better yet a USB C hub.



What is USB Type C?

USB (universal serial bus) was first introduced in 1996 and was intended to standardize ports for computer peripheral devices. You may recall in the old days computers had separate ports for a keyboard, a mouse, and a printer. USB Type-C is the latest USB connector type and it’s a major improvement over earlier ones. It’s a small, rectangular connector that unlike previous versions is now reversible. So you don’t have to worry about which way is up when you plug it. It can be plugged in either right-side up or upside down.  Additionally USB Type-C supports higher data transfer speeds than previous USB standards and can also be used for charging devices. It’s becoming more common on laptops and smartphones, and is slowly replacing older USB connectors.


Anker USB C to USB 3.0 Adapter

I really like USB C not only for the higher data throughput but also because you can’t accidentally jam the plug in upside down. When I unboxed my new laptop I was immediately impressed by the UHD+ screen and the sleek form factor but I still needed to connect my legacy USB Logitech wireless mouse and other devices. Fortunately I was able to remedy this situation by using the Anker USB C to USB 3.0 Adapter. This handy adapter allows any legacy USB device to connect to a USB C port not just a mouse or keyboard. It supports up to 5 Gbps transfer speeds and even has a tiny LED indicator that illuminates when connected. An additional bonus is that the Anker USB C Adapter is compatible with a wide variety of computers including MacBooks, Lenovo ThinkPads, Samsung Notebooks, and more.

anker usb c adapter


UtechSmart 11 in 1 USB C Hub

The Anker USB C adapter was great for my Logitech wireless keyboard and mouse receiver but I had other legacy USB devices that needed connecting including an external monitor and even an ANT+ wireless adapter for my indoor bike trainer.

A USB C hub is a device that allows you to connect multiple devices to a single USB C port. This can be helpful if you’re trying to connect multiple devices to a laptop or tablet that only has a single USB C port. Most hubs will have multiple legacy USB ports, as well as other ports like HDMI or Ethernet. Some hubs are also powered, which means they can provide power to devices that need it. This can be helpful if you’re trying to connect power-hungry devices like an external hard drive or a 4K monitor. After doing some research, I ordered the UtechSmart 11 in 1 USB C Hub. This is a fantastic adapter and a must for anyone using a newer laptop with only USB Type C ports.

USB C Hub, UtechSmart Triple Display USB Type C Adapter Docking Station with 2 HDMI


In addition to having two USB 3.0 and two 2.0 ports it also has dual HDMI ports for running multiple monitors as well as 87W USB C power delivery port and a RJ45 1000 Mbps Gigabit ethernet port. As if that wasn’t enough there is a even third video port for a VGA monitor and Micro SD card slot.

The UtechSmart USB C hub is packed with more features than I need and it’s also quite small for portability.  With all these devices connected you may worry about over heating but it has been designed with several safety features including over-current protection, over-voltage protection, short circuit protection and high-temperature protection.


In Summary

By leveraging the UtechSmart USB C Hub all of my devices are connected including dual 27” QHD 2560×1440 monitors and I have happily transitioned from my outdated bulky XPS 2720 desktop to the Dell XPS 15 9500. And the best part of the switch is that by disconnecting 1 cable from the Utechsmart hub my “desktop” becomes mobile again and is ready to hit the road.  Thanks for reading!

Peter Viola

Creative, customer focused, results oriented, Senior Web Systems Engineer who enjoys providing the highest level of customer service supporting complex Windows hosting solutions. MCITP, MCSA, MCTS

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