5 portable battery packs all ready for the USB Type-C revolution5
For the past couple decades now, the Universal Serial Bus (or just USB to its friends) has been changing the way we connect, access, and power all manner of electronic devices. For smartphones in particular (with the glaring exception of just-can't-play-nice-with-others Apple), USB –and specifically, micro USB– has evolved as the gold standard of wired connectivity. But now there's a new USB-kid on the block, with the arrival of the reversible USB Type-C connector.
Featured prominently on 2016 flagships like the HTC 10 and LG G5, the USB Type-C interface supports reversible Lightning-style plugs, and when paired with USB 3.1 support, opens the door for high-speed data, extra-fast charging, and all sorts of other goodies.
While all that sounds good, change doesn't come without a few bumps along the way, and as we noted last year when warning you that you might not want to get too, too excited about USB Type-C just then, there are a few issues standing in the way of the interface becoming the hottest thing since sliced bread.
A really big one there is availability; interfaces like USB are only so useful as they are universal – hence the name. And while micro USB is great because everyone's got cables and compatible accessories lying around, moving to a new connector feels like starting from scratch. All of a sudden, our drawers full of cables are no good, and it starts becoming more of headache to make sure we're pairing cables, phones, and accessories with matching components.
We're getting there, though, piece by piece.
More and more users are picking up phones with USB Type-C interfaces, and there are plenty of places you can get USB Type-C cables (or even adapters to allow you to use existing cables with new hardware) … so all we need are the accessories.
The good news is that by now there are already some good options out there – and the number's growing every day. When lamenting the lack of built-for-USB-Type-C gear last year, we called particular attention to those most life-saving of all mobile accessories, the portable battery pack. Today we're going to check out how this product type has begun adapting to the new world of USB Type-C, and looking at some of the models currently equipped to work with all your new Type-C hardware.