Hint: When its maker doesn’t know what it’s doing.
It wasn’t that long ago when a 5-volt/1-amp charger was good enough to charge most smartphones. But as screen sizes keep growing, SoCs get more powerful, data hungry apps become commonplace, and (as a result) batteries get bigger, good luck waiting for modern smartphones to recharge if you continue to use these 5-watt chargers.
Which is why many phone and SoC makers have taken matters into their own hands. In addition to the common Battery Charging v1.2 spec from the USB Implementers Forum, which is the non-profit organization behind the USB standard, we also see plenty of proprietary fast-charging methods out there in the market, such as Apple’s 2.4A discovery scheme, Qualcomm’s Quick Charge, Huawei/HiSilicon’s Fast Charging Protocol, and Oppo’s VOOC, just to name a few.
One that’s gaining a lot of attention lately is USB-C, which beyond its user-friendly reversible connector, is able to power 5V devices with up to 3A of current. On compatible high-power devices such as today’s smartphones, this mode will allow them to charge up faster. There’s also something else called USB Power Delivery, which increases power transfers even further for more powerful devices (see box story).
A do-it-all standard designed to accommodate past, current, and future devices, it’s only a matter of time before USB-C becomes a universal standard. This explains why you’ve been seeing more and more USB-C-based products, big and small, popping up in the last 12 months - from Google’s Pixel and Samsung’s Galaxy S8 phones to Nintendo’s Switch gaming console, Apple’s MacBook Pros laptops and LG’s Ultra Fine monitors.
New standard, new teething issues
Now, most people don’t (and shouldn’t) care about how USB works or the nuances of USB charging. If your phone has a USB Type-C port and your laptop has a regular USB Type-A port, to connect the two, all you need is a simple USB-Type-Cto-A cable, right? I mean, it’s just a cable with two different plugs, what can go wrong?
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Google I/O 2021
Google’s annual developer conference around everything the company does. While a lot of the technologies announced just fade into the background of what makes every Google service work, and therefore too boring for the everyman to read about, here are the top three that we’d love to see become reality.
XIAOMI MI 11 - THE AFFORDABLE FLAGSHIP
The Xiaomi Mi 11 has all the core features of what Xiaomi wants to offer in a 2021 flagship, without some of its over-the-top features from the Mi 11 Ultra. For instance, Mi 11 doesn’t have the secondary AMOLED display, multi-point direct ToF laser focusing, or IP-rated water resistance, all of which is available on the Mi 11 Ultra.
RESIDENT EVIL VILLAGE
A CARNIVAL OF HORRORS
NIER REPLICANT VER1.22474487139…
POST APOCALYPSE GONE MILD
From CPU To XPU
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Ashwalkers: A Survival Journey
A Surprisingly Complex Apocalypse
Apple 12.9-Inch iPad Pro (2021) - Ridiculously Powerful
M1 was Apple’s first custom processor, and never in my years of writing about notebooks have I seen a processor that’s so powerful and efficient. In my review, I said it rewrote the notebook rulebook. So what did Apple do next? Naturally, it took the M1 chip and put it in the iPad Pro.
No Rest For The Wicked
With not one, not two, but three Diablo games in the pipeline and well on their way to release, I don’t think I can stress this enough: it’s a fantastic time to be a fan of Blizzard’s beloved dungeon-crawler franchise. On our end, we’ve already thrown a few punches at both Immortal and D2R’s Technical Alpha sessions, and so far, we’re quite satisfied with what they’ve got on the menu.
A Relaxing Thrill Ride
Monster Hunter: Rise
Leading The Charge For 2021 Gaming Notebooks
ASUS ROG Strix Scar 15 (G533)
24-Inch M1 iMac – How To Pick The Perfect Preorder
Here’s our guide to help you buy the one you need.
24-Inch M1 iMac
New colors, new chip, and much, more
Decoding the Price Signals
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Kingston Workflow Station
A dock for creative types
‘It's Always Been About Exclusion'
America is a diverse nation of immigrants—but it was not intended to be, and its historical biases continue to haunt the present.
Who Guards The Security Guards?
The people asked to enforce covid safety rules put up with low pay, minimal training, and some dangerously angry customers
Save Energy (And Money, Too)
Tax breaks and the prospect of lower utility bills make these projects worth a look.
Corsair TBT100 Thunderbolt 3 Dock
A stylish, diminutive dock for power and connectivity
US HOLDS FIRST OIL LEASE SALE FOR ALASKA'S ARCTIC REFUGE
The U.S. government held its first-ever oil and gas lease sale for Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, an event critics labeled as a bust with major oil companies staying on the sidelines and a state corporation emerging as the main bidder.
NEVADA'S CARLIN TREND
AMERICA’S GREATEST GOLD-MINING DISTRICT