Unless you’ve been sleeping under a rock, you’ll know that PC connectivity is in the midst of a seismic shift. While the venerable USB-A port has been the default peripheral connector for many years, there’s a new, better performing, more versatile kid on the block. It’s called, er, USB-C.
Rubbish-branding aside, USB-C is quickly becoming the de facto choice for device manufacturers. 2017’s PCs, tablets, smartphones – they’ll all include support for USB-C as it can transmit power, data as well as AV signals with a compact symmetrical connector design that’s simpler to use.
As a result, accessory manufacturers have been rushing to get new USB-C cables, dongles and other devices to market. Startech.com sent along two of their new lines for us to take a look at: the $47.99 Startech.com USB-C to VGA Presentation Adapter and the $45.99 USB-C to HDMI Presentation Adapter (expect to find both a little cheaper online).
Both adapters are targeted at notebook/mobile users that need to connect their devices to presentation equipment (such as a meeting room projector) or a desktop display monitor.
They’re not the first USB-C display adapters to be released by Startech.com. The accessory specialist launched previous generation devices in 2016. These new lines offer two notable enhancements over their predecessors. First, they’re more compact, with a squatter, more square design replacing the long and thin profile of the 2016 models.
Second, they include a new Presentation mode switch that ensures your computer will never sleep while enabled, regardless of its power settings. That desperate flapping action you make in the meeting when your PC decides to go to sleep just as you’re making your killer point? No longer required.
Presentation mode works by automatically making occasional, subtle movements to your mouse pointer on your behalf, which ensures your computer’s screensaver/power settings won’t interrupt the presentation. Handily, it’s a physical switch mounted on the adapter itself, so its easy to enable for the meeting or disable as required when you get back to your desk.
Otherwise, specifications are similar to 2016’s models. The USB-C to HDMI adapter supports a maximum resolution of 3840 x 2160 (Ultra HD 4K) @ 60hz with 7.1 surround support. One note, your notebook’s USB-C port must support DisplayPort over USB-C (DisplayPort Alt mode) in order to work with this adapter. That standard is supported on devices like Google’s Pixel C and Chromebook Pixel as well as the 2016 MacBook Pro, but not, for example, on the Google Pixel or Pixel XL smartphone.
Meanwhile, the USB-C to VGA adapter supports analog resolutions up to 2048 x 1280 @ 60hz and digital resolutions up to 2048 x 1280. Both adapters are compatible with Thunderbolt 3 ports and are protected with a two-year warranty.