New USB Type-C standard promises 240W charging for future devices

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When it comes to cable ports, USB Type-C has become the go-to standard for many, especially when we’re talking about smartphones. The standard has also been picked by notebook makers, but it seems to be earmarked for premium or flagship devices as it is yet to filter down to the mid-range or entry-level space.

That may change, however, given that the newly announced USB Type-C standard supports 240W charging.

The previous standard topped out at 100W, so this latest specification more than doubles it.

The USB Implementors Forum (USB-IF) recently unpacked the new standard, detailing what the specifications can deliver. The most notable element of the specification is the aforementioned increased in wattage capacity, which is referred to as Extended Power Range (EPR). The industry group sees USB Type-C 2.1 as the answer that those with a gaming notebook have been wanting.

With previous USB Type-C cables limiting what the power bricks for gaming notebooks could deliver, this change could mean less time when you’re tethered to a power point while playing on your notebook.

That said, before you go thinking that all you’ll need is a new cable, the USB-IF has stated that both 2.1 specced chargers and cables will be needed. Added to this, “All EPR cables shall be visibly identified with EPR cable identification items,” a downloadable specification document (PDF) for USB Type-c 2.1 reads.

The above is something that manufacturers will need to cognisant of as it could lead to arcing damage, especially if the difference in voltage between plug and device exceeds 12 volts, the USB-IF explains. It is therefore highly unlikely that this standard could be used to power a next-gen console for example, so consider yourself warned.

As such, not all cables will be created equal so you will need to check the correct cables and charges are being used.

As for when you’ll be able to use the 2.1 standard, it may still take one to two years before manufacturers bring it to market.

[Image – Photo by Mishaal Zahed on Unsplash]

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Robin-Leigh Chetty

When he's not reviewing the latest smartphones, Robin-Leigh is writing about everything tech-related from IoT and smart cities, to 5G and cloud computing. He's also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games.