USB Flash Drives Types and Uses

Universal Serial Bus – USB, is an established industry standard for cables and connectors for computers and other digital and storage devices.

About USB Port Types

The types of USB Flash Drives range based capacity, size, shape, physical properties and compatibility with devices. That is why we need to look at USB Port Types as this is the most obvious physical difference. Here are a few different USB Port Types out there:
The standard rectangle shaped USB 2.0 Type A has a block inside that is black and so it’s barely noticeable, but if you have a 3.0 port you will see the same shape, but the block is bright blue. USB 3.1 ports have a red block and ports that have a yellow block. Those indicate that the port is always on. The colorful USB 3.0 Type A port on your laptop allows you to connect and charge your device while the laptop is in sleep mode. Newer devices use oval shaped Type – C port and iOS devices also use a Lightning connector.

USB Port Speed

There is another not outwardly noticeable difference and that is a number of wire connections which directly impact the speed of data transfer and makes USB 3.0, 3.1 and 3.2 superior over 2.0. USB 2.0 Type A  4 connector wires so there is only one parth to relay data to or from the Flash Drive where 3.0, 3.1 and 3.2 have 9 wire connections allowing simultaneous communications therefore considerably increasing the speed of data transfer.

USB Flash Drive Speed

The speed of transfer through the port to the USB Flash Drive will also be affected by the Speed of the USB Flash Drive itself. USB Flash Drive 2.0 and 3.0 are backwards compatible, but the speed will be affected if you are using a USB 2.0 black port with a USB 3.0 Blue Flash Drive and vice versa. In any case if you are mixing USB 3.0 Type A and USB 2.0 type A the data will transfer at the rate of the lower capacity.

Here are the differences in USB Flash Drive Type A Speeds:

USB 2.0 max speed of up to 480 MB/sec
USB 3.0 max speed of up to 5 GB/sec
USB 3.1 max speed of up to 10 GB/sec
USB 3.2 max speed of up to 20 GB/sec

USB Flash Drive Capacity

In terms of capacity, USB Flash Drives range from 128 mb to 2T. Capacity and price are closely correlated, so what works for you will depend on type and amount of data you are hoping to transfer from your device to the USB Flash Drive. We’ll look at this topic more deeply in future blog posts, so stay tuned.


USB 3.1 Type – C

This port is oval in shape and you’ll notice that there is no difference which way it goes into the port, where USB Type A (the rectangular shape described above) and Type B (more square) often used for printers and servers, clearly have to be inserted only one way. USB Type – C is an emerging trend that hopes to replace all other USB Types for standardization and ease of use. Imagine if all devices used one USB Type. USB 3.1 Type – C is not faster than USB 3.1 Type – A, but it will be slower than USB 3.2 Type – A. How fast do you need to go again depends on the type and amount of data you are transferring from one device to the other.


USB Flash with Dual Drive 

There are USB Flash Drive Devices with Dual D or Dual Drive. They are sleek and have both USB Type A and USB Type C connections so you can easily use it on a variety of devices you may have. Your laptop may have a USB Type A port and your cell phone may have a USB Type C port.

Here are a few USB Flash Drive Dual Type C / Type A products


USB with OTG

USB with OTG (on the go) is a standardized feature that allows your mobile device to read the USB Flash Drive. Most Android phones are equipped with OTG technology, but some are not. Fear not, you can use OTG connector if your phone is not OTG enabled. To find out if your phone is OTG equipped look for this logo on the packaging or see product detailed description on the manufacturers website.

Here are a few recommended USB Flash Drives with OTG