Note 3 with USB 3.0 Port

AH Primetime: Do we Really Need USB 3.0 Ports on our Smartphones or Tablets?

October 7, 2013 - Written By Cory McNutt

USB 3.0 has been out since 2010, yet its adoption rate on products has been slow, to say the least, however, Samsung decided to “break the ice” and include it on their new flagship smartphone, the Galaxy Note 3.0. Some are questioning its necessity because Wi-Fi is almost as fast for data transfer, and considerably slower than a 2.0 Amp charging cable plugged into an electrical outlet.  Although hard to find online under charger accessories for smartphones, Samsung includes a 2.0 amp charger with a Galaxy Note 3 purchase…Samsung also included the 2.0 amp charger with the Galaxy Note 2 – So the question remains, is the USB 3.0 a sales gimmick or the future of USB ports?

Note 3 with USB 3.0 Port

You can see how the plug design (below) would fit into the port on the Galaxy Note 3 (above), actually making it much easier to plug the USB 3.0 connector into the Note 3’s port, especially with the Samsung logo on the top of the cable that they provide. I know it was a pain to plug the older style cable in my Galaxy Note 2. One nice thing about USB 3.0 it is backward compatible, so you can always use your standard USB cable to plug into your Note 3, if you are somewhere without your USB 3.0 cable.

USB 3.0 Cable

The Universal Serial Bus (USB) cable was the brainchild of a consortium backed by Intel, Microsoft, and Compaq. Even though it has come a long way since its 1996 introduction, it offered unheard of features and abilities for its time, although it never took off until its version 1.1 in 1998 arrived. It allowed a user to do the following:

  • Connect peripherals without turning off the computer first.
  • Capability to draw power without a separate AC connection.
  • Transfer rate of data at 12Mbps.

While most devices use the USB 2.0 “Hi-Speed” connectivity, USB 3.0, dubbed SuperSpeed USB, is finally starting to be included in new devices, especially PCs and laptops, but not smartphones and tablets – Samsung simply started what should be a natural progression as more manufacturers begin to adopt the new standard to their devices as well. We just wanted to educate you on the features of the USB 3.0, and only you can decide if it seems pertinent to you, after all, what will it hurt. It is a ten-fold leap in transfer speeds with other improved capabilities, all while maintaining backward compatibly with USB 2.0.

Quick Facts about USB 3.0:

  • It is FAST – the old 480Mbps jumps up to 4.8Gbps, although most devices will not transfer data that fast, you will eventually be able to transfer a 27GB movie in a little over a minute vs. 15 or more minutes with USB 2.0.
  • It is Bi-Directional – with USB 3.0 you can send and receive data simultaneously.
  • It is more Power Efficient – The non-active or idle device will not have its power drained by the host controller. The battery-powered device will also charge at a much faster rate while plugged into you main computer as the power output is jumped USB 2.0 of 500ma to USB 3.0 at 900mA.
  • It is Backward Compatible – Your existing USB 2.0 gear will work just fine in USB 3.0 ports, so if your 3.0 cable is not available, you can use the standard 2.0 cables, albeit, at a slower rate.

USB 3.0 has had a slower than expected adoption rate even though it started to appear on motherboards in 2011. With thumb drives, hard drives, adapter cards, and Operating Systems now utilizing USB 3.0, we should start seeing the standard trickle down to smartphones and tablets, especially since Samsung started using it on the Galaxy Note 3. Some people think it is just a gimmick by Samsung, but you know what, it did not cause the price of the phone to increase, it makes it easier to plug the device into the plug, the transfer rate is faster, charging is faster, and it is backward compatible – sorry, but I do not see a downside here, do you. Why all of the dissing; was there that much resistance to switch to USB 2.0? Let us know what you think in the comments or on Google+.