You’ve likely heard computer enthusiasts tell you that ports are very significant when it comes to laptops. And they would be right to say so, as you can’t change the number of ports when it comes to laptops as you can do with desktops. Which is why you should ensure that the number and types of ports the laptop comes with fit your needs. This article explains the different types of laptop ports. You should think carefully about the type of port you should have in your laptop, as you can’t use certain devices if the laptop doesn’t have any compatible ports for them.
Now, with that out of the way, here are the various types of ports you can find on a laptop.
Different Types of Ports in A Laptop
1. 3.5mm Audio Jack
This port is basic and common, and you more than likely already know about it. It’s used in most computers, tablets and phones. Through it, you can connect to your laptop to any wired headphones, earphones or speakers.
Unlike a desktop computer, laptops usually come with just one audio jack that controls both the sound production and microphone input, rather than using two separate ports.
If the laptop you’re looking at has two audio ports, then you might want to consider looking at other options. Most laptops that use the separate ports aren’t that bad. However, it is an outdated design that wastes space that can be used for something else. Plus, there’s even a small chance that it’s a very old model and doesn’t have more modern technology.
The ethernet port is often overlooked but has a significant role in increasing the laptop’s convenience. In fact, this is one of the most desirable choices among the different types of laptop ports. This kind of port is available in student laptops and work laptops, along with desktop computers.
Though laptops can have wireless connections to Wi-Fi networks, there are times where you’ll have weak signal. For instance, if you go to a hotel where the router is far away from you. or you’re using the laptop in a room that’s far the router. During these times, if you have an ethernet cable nearby, you can plug it into the laptop’s ethernet port to have the strongest connection.
It’s generally easy to notice on the laptop’s side, but you can check the product description if you don’t see anything. The port is called “Gigabit Ethernet” in most laptop specifications. If the earlier mentioned situations or similar ones often occur with you, we strongly advise getting a laptop with this port. Otherwise, you have to buy a separate adapter or a docking adapter to do the same thing.
HDMI is another port that’s extremely handy but doesn’t come with every laptop. You can use this port to connect the laptop’s screen to any external monitors or TVs. As laptop screens are generally quite small, having an HDMI port can give the user a large advantage. You can both mirror your screen to the other display or use it as an extra display with the port.
Do keep in mind, though, that the quality of the secondary display depends on the capability of your laptop’s graphics card. To ensure both the HDMI port and display output of good quality, you’d need to ensure that you get a good laptop.
For instance, the best laptops under Rs. 50000 come with this kind of port, along with a dedicated GPU. The ones that don’t have such GPU also come with reliable integrated GPUs at this price.
Another benefit you’ll get from having an HDMI port is transmitting audio alongside the video. Therefore, if your TV or monitor has speakers, the audio will play from them.
4. USB Type-A
USB Type-A ports are common in nearly every laptop and desktop computers. These USB ports are practically essential, due to their versatility. You can connect just about any kind of peripheral to this port, including keyboards, mice, speakers, flash drives or any adapters. For this reason, you should ensure that the laptop you get has a good number of USB Type-A ports. In terms of speed, these ports can transfer data as fast as USB 2.0 or even 3.0, depending on the power of the rest of the laptop.
We suggest getting a laptop with at least 3 USB ports, one for keyboard, one for mouse and one for any kind of adapter if the need arises. For instance, if the laptop you get doesn’t have HDMI, you can create such a connection by putting in an external adapter into the USB Type-A port.
5. USB Type C
Though you can get most things done with a Type-A port, you should strive to get this one as well. For the most parts, you’ll find it in higher-end laptops. That’s because this type of port is new and it’s supposed to be an improvement of the older Type-A port.
It is supposed to replace Type-A ports eventually, so it’s a good way to future proof your laptop. Many of the better quality computer accessories will become only supported by this kind of port as well. For this kind of port, the size of the laptop doesn’t generally matter. It’s much smaller than the Type-A ports, and thus most good laptops can include it.
This port can also double as a Thunderbolt port if your laptop supports it. If it does, you’ll see the usual lightning sign next to the port. The best thing about this port is that it can also work as a USB Power Delivery port, which allows you to charge your laptop through it. If it supports USB-PD, you’ll also see a battery sign next to the port.
6. SD Card Reader
Among different types of laptop ports, some also work as storage slots alongside being connectors to peripherals. SD Card slots come with many good laptops and are incredibly handy. If you want to manage data from your Smartphones Memory Card, you can just pull it out and put it inside this slot.
Although, many laptops support different types of SD cards in one slot. For example, you can put in a larger card from a Digital Camera as well. It’s not necessary to have these, as SD Card Readers come by fairly cheap. However, it’s still something to have in mind if you want to get a laptop with a lot of convenience options.
7. Thunderbolt 3
Thunderbolt ports can transfer data faster than any other USB ports. In fact, it’s about four times faster than the fastest of regular USB ports, being able to transfer data with as much as 40 Gbps of speed. This port is a must-have on high-end laptops. It can connect to two 4k monitors at once, and also allows connections to external graphics cards.
As such, you have the ability to use incredibly graphics-intensive applications. Most of the times, these ports are also USB Type C ports, so they can be used to charge the laptop. Furthermore, you also gain access to a host of peripherals you generally wouldn’t have access to.
This is more of a port that you should strive to keep away from, rather than own. Not because it’s bad- it’s just an incredibly old video output port, dating back all the way to the 80s. As it’s not particularly advanced, it can even cause signal degradation when using longer cables.
Another significant limitation is that it’s video output only goes up to 1920×1200. So, if you see a laptop using this kind of port, you should stay away from it regardless of any high specifications. After all, such a port could be more of a gimmick, which can indicate potentially unreliable hardware.
Recommended Reading: 11 Best laptops under Rs. 30000
Different types of Laptop Ports – Frequently asked questions
1. Can I still use a lot of peripherals on a Laptop with two USB ports?
Yes, you can, you just need to spend extra money to do so. There are many USB Docks available that you can connect to one of the USB ports and have access to 3 or more new USB ports. These are rather bulky, though. So your mobility might be a little limited.
2. Can I use any port to connect my Laptop with a Home Theatre System?
In fact, you can. You can connect some good Home Theatre Systems to your laptop through an HDMI port. But, you have to ensure that the System itself specifically supports such a feature.
3. Which is the right way to plug a pin into a USB Type C port?
You might have noticed that most USB Type C pins seem quite even. That’s because USB Type C supports plugging in to both sides. Hence, you don’t have to worry about accidentally plugging the port inside with the wrong side up. That’s more of a problem with older Type-A ports.
Recommended Reading: 11 Best laptops under 40000
That’s everything you need to know about the different types of laptop ports. Of course, there are other types of ports as well, but they’re obsolete for the most part or only available in laptops for a very specific way of use. If you get a laptop considering all the ports mentioned in this article, you should be well-set.
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