Computers

USB-C to USB-A Adapter

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Connect USB-C enabled devices to USB-A devices and peripherals

My tech adoption generally consists of long periods of inertia punctuated with the occasional frenzy of replacement. But I’m very glad to see USB C catch on, even if it means one of those frenzies.

While none of our household’s phones are yet equipped with USB C, my Asus Chromebook is, as is my GoPro camera — and I know it’s the wave of the (near-term) future. Besides the general feeling that there’s never a great time to buy new technology, though, one reason I’ve put off making a wholesale switch to USB C devices is that I have long used USB flashdrives the same way I used to use floppies. That is, I like to put photos from a particular vacation, or documents from a particular tax year, onto dedicated flash drives. They’re backups, usually, with an original on a hard drive or in cloud storage like Google Drive or Dropbox, but it comes in very handy to be able to grab a USB stick full of podcasts for my car, or to give photos to very low-technology relatives. I wanted to access data that is on some of these USB sticks on the Chromebook, but none of the flash drives I have are USB C.

Last year, the discount rack at a local Big Box store gave me the perfect solution for only about $5, though typical retail is higher — about $14 at Amazon. It’s a USB C to USB A adapter. Unlike some USB A to Micro USB OTG cables I’ve tried; after many months of use, the Belkin feels sturdy and secure. I prefer this variety of adapter (a dongle with a few inches of cable) to the stubbier kind that put the USB A plug directly in line with the USB C part, with no play. To me, those look precarious, and likely to stress the port. As frustrating as USB cables can sometimes be, I am happy to report that this one has proved happy with all of the flash drives, USB A charging cables and powerbanks that I’ve tried it with, which means I could travel with a USB C charger without needing a separate USB A one.

-- Timothy Lord 06/29/18