In this age of computers, internet, and advanced technology, you would rarely find a home without a laptop or a computer.

When you possess such devices, it is pertinent that you know every aspect of the appliance. You will find that the laptop has several connectivity ports on the sides.

Of course, these are not ornamental ports. Each port has a unique significance. This journey will take you all these ports in detail.

Let us begin with the most common of laptop or computer ports, the USB port.

USB Ports

Ask any child to identify the USB port, and it will do it casually. The USB or Universal Serial Bus is the most common port on a laptop or a computer.

You will find a minimum of two to three different types of USB ports on any laptop. If by chance, you are using a MacBook Pro, it is the only port available on it.

The principal purpose of the USB port is to allow the transfer of files/data between devices such as laptops, computers, printers, scanners, smartphones, storage disks, and so on.

A USB port also serves as a charging point for your devices like smartphones, Bluetooth speakers, and so on. Sometimes, they also double up as laptop charging points.

It also enables you to connect external attachments like keyboards and mouse.

Can you use your USB port to view the video?

No, you cannot do so. The standard USB port does not have its video standard.

However, it facilitates connection to computer monitors using a Universal Docking Station or an adapter with DisplayLink technology.

Depending on their individual characteristics, USB ports come in different types.

Source: Wikipedia – Two USB 3.0 Standard-A receptacles (left) and two USB 2.0 Standard-A receptacles (right)

As on date, there are three types of USB connection ports, USB-Type A, USB-Type B, and USB-Type C. Let us look at these ports in brief.

USB Type A is a 4-pin connector that comes in different versions. They are USB 1.1, USB 2, USB 3.0, and USB 3.1. It is easy to identify the type of port by looking at its colour.

The USB 2.0 ports are usually black or grey in colour whereas USB 3.0 is blue or turquoise coloured.

You also know the USB 3.0 port as USB 3.1 Gen 1 today. You have two generations of USB 3.1 port. The first generation USB 3.1 Gen 1 sports a transfer speed of 5 GB/sec whereas the USB 3.1 Gen 2 offers 10 GB/sec.

USB-Type C

The USB-Type C is the latest entrant to the block. It is slimmer and smaller compared to USB-Type A or B thereby making it easy to handle faster transfer speeds and higher currents.

The laptops are getting slimmer today. Therefore, laptop manufacturers prefer to have USB-Type C ports today.

Ethernet Port –  RJ-45

Today, most of the laptops come with WiFi-enabled features that allow them to access the internet without using wires.

However, many households do not have WiFi. Therefore, you need an Ethernet port to connect to the internet using a compatible Ethernet cable.

This port, also known as the RJ-45 (Registered Jack-45) Ethernet port, comes with an 8-pin and 8-contact connector.

Some of the latest RJ-45 connectors come with LED lights to indicate packet detection and transmission strength.

HDMI Port

The USB port should suffice for transmitting standard data and files.

You need HDMI (High-Definition Media Interface) port for transferring audio and video signals between your laptop and other devices like TV monitors, other laptops, digital cameras, projectors, video game consoles and so on.

The latest version of the HDMI port is HDMI 2.1. You have laptops having the older versions such as HDMI 2.0 and HDMI 1.4 as well.

A compatible graphics card is necessary to enable transmission of video signals with 4K resolution.

If your laptop or computer has HDMI-output and the computer monitor has DVI, you should connect it through a special adapter.

HDMI Type-A, Type-C, and Type-D plugs

If your USB-Type C supports video modes, you can use an adapter that goes from USB Type C to HDMI. These adapters are available in the market at reasonable rates.

SD Card Reader

The SD Card Reader port is available on almost all the new laptops today. It enables you to transfer files to/from an SD Card.

It is a handy port to have when you want to transfer photos from your DSLR camera SD card to your laptop.

You can use this slot to read the tiny micro SD cards like the ones you have on smartphones. Micro SD cards are not very expensive. It can store a lot of information as well.

If your laptop does not come with an SD card reader, you can buy the cheap USB-based external card reader and use it through the USB ports.

Display Port

The Display port is similar to the HDMI ports in many ways. It is handy for transmitting audio and video signals to external display devices like TV monitors or computer monitors.

Modern-day laptops come with either of the two types of display ports, the standard DisplayPort or the mini DisplayPort.

Display Connectors Explained! – Tech Tips

As the name suggests, smaller laptops come with the mini display ports whereas the bigger ones have the standard display ports.

You also have display ports with a locking mechanism to prevent the accidental detaching of cables.

DVI Ports

Laptops do not come with the Digital Video Interface (DVI) ports, but monitors with HD resolution and desktop computers come with such options.

Source: Wikipedia

The DVI port is the ideal one to connect to your TV monitors because most of the display monitors come with only DVI or VGA connectors.

However, laptop owners need not worry because you can use an HDMI-DVI adapter to connect your laptop to such devices.

VGA Port

You will not find VGA (Video Graphics Array) ports on laptops. However, desktop computers and monitors come with VGA ports.

This analogue connection comprises of a 15-pin connector to transmit video signals from your CPU to the monitor screen.

Projectors come with this connection port. The disadvantage of the VGA port is that it can send output up to 1920 X 1200.

It is not compatible with transmitting HD resolution videos. Therefore, the modern-day computers come with DVI ports instead of the VGA ports.

Audio Jack

All laptops, computers, smartphones, and laptops come with audio jacks, also known as headphone jacks. The standard size of the Headphone jack is 3.5mm.

Yes, the iPhone and PixelSmartphones do not come with the port.

Thunderbolt 3

The Thunderbolt 3 port is similar to the USB-Type C ports, but they operate differently.

Thunderbolt as Fast As Possible

The benefit of Thunderbolt 3 is that it supports speeds up to 40 GB/sec. The Thunderbolt 3 port can work as a USB-Type C port, but the vice versa is not possible.

What is Thunderbolt 3?

Laptops having this port come with a thunder-like inscription beside the port. Using a Thunderbolt 3 compatible cable allows you to enjoy the entire features of this port.

We have gone through an exhaustive list of computer and laptop ports. You can now deduce that these ports have great utility.

A laptop is incomplete without these ports. They enable your laptops/computers to connect with external devices.

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