USB-C more durable than USB-A?

When trying to charge a phone from public charging stations and power outlets on airliners, one thing that I’ve noticed is that the USB-A (traditional rectangular) ports tend to be “loose like wizard sleeve”. Unless one is willing to hold the connector and apply pressure, therefore, they are useless for charging. I’m not sure how they get like this. I can’t remember a USB-A connector failing mechanically on a home computer or charger. Is it just that if 1,000 different cables have been plugged over a one- or two-year period that the socket is stretched out to the size of the largest? Compare to at home where I might use only three or four different cables in any given socket.

What’s the prognosis for USB-C? Are the tolerances more precise such that the public connectors will remain functional?

7 thoughts on “USB-C more durable than USB-A?

  1. Pro-tip: spend extra$ for high-quality usb cables from brand-name vendors. I bought a cheap’ish ($15 for 3-pack) USB cable from Amazon, and it fried my iPad after 1 use (kept rebooting while plugged in, could not recharge from any cable). Took it to an Apple Genius Bar where they told me they see this problem a lot, caused by cheap faulty cables.

  2. As many MacBook owners have started to find out, USB-C is a terrible mechanical standard and connectors will start to loosen and fail after a surprisingly small number of disconnect cycles.

    • As many IT professionals have started to find out, Apple’s USB-C connector is an insult to the extremely robust USB-C standard and is built to the same quality standard we see from their Lightning connector (AKA: none). I support many hundreds of USB-C charged laptops and phones (probably over 1000 by now), the MacBooks have an extremely high failure rate, the Dell USB-C docks have a near 100% failure rate (it’s the cable, not the connector), but the Dell laptops’ ports and the Lenovo laptops/cables/docks have never have a single reported failure.

  3. Ok my comment yesterday wasn’t unnecessarily glib, it was just too brief:

    “Is it just that if 1,000 different cables have been plugged over a one- or two-year period that the socket is stretched out to the size of the largest?” Tragedy of the Commons, as it were. They’re not exactly bus and tag cables to begin with, they’re used by who knows who doing who knows what, and whatever, so yeah, that’s about the size of it.

    I’ve never had a USB-A fail but nothing used by the public lasts long. Someone who used to maintain dinosaur public telephones should chime in here – they were built like tanks and they still got ruined all the time. I’m sure the ones at old Bell Labs that Neil Sloane used to use lasted a long time but those poor pay phones outside the El in Hyde Park looked like Somalia, at least as I recall. And you really didn’t want to use one after midnight. Or before midnight.

    USB-C is probably *less* intrinsically durable than USB-A but at least the connector is symmetric. As Fazal points out, Micro-USB really is a travesty. We should retributively nuke anyone responsible for Micro-USB.

    In any case, it doesn’t matter because USB-C is the wave of the future according to PC Magazine. “USB-C truly is one port to rule them all, and its reign has just begun.” It’s a good overview. You might review this post in a year or two, by then they’ll really be everywhere.

    There are going to be a lot of new cables sold to keep the wage slaves at Amazon working.
    Remember these?

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