Prep for Lumia 950 & Lumia 950 XL: USB Type C – What is it and what to buy

The Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL both feature a USB-C connector supporting the USB 3.1 standard for faster charging and data transfer. It replaces the micro-USB port we've grown accustomed to. This means buying new cables if you lose one or need an extra charger at another place. We'll help explain more about USB Type-C and what cables to get in case you need one.

What is USB Type C?

USB Type-C (the plug's shape) is about the same size as the micro-USB port, but you no longer need to worry if you've inserted it upside-down. Both orientations work, so it's easier to plug in. For reference, the micro-USB connector is considered USB Type-B, while the USB port on your laptop is USB Type-A.

What is USB 3.1?

USB Type-C supports the USB 3.1 standard that is capable of transfer rates of up to 10Gbps. That's double the transfer speed of USB 3.0! Additionally, these cables can support up to 100W of power, which is enough to charge full sized notebooks.

What to get

The Lumia 950 and 950 XL comes with a wall charger with USB Type-C connector at the end. The output is 5V, 3A. Most recent phones come with 5V, 2A micro-USB wall chargers. The Microsoft Store currently does not sell a replacement charger.

USB 3.1 Type-C male to USB 3.0 Type-A male cable


If you want to transfer files between the Lumia 950 or Lumia 950 XL with your PC, you can use a USB-A to USB-C cable. This comes included with your Lumia 950 and 950 XL. If you need to get an extra one and if your laptop or PC has USB 3.0 ports, make sure to get a cable with a USB 3.0 type A male connector on one end and USB Type-C male connector on the other end.

If you end up getting a USB 2.0 cable, the transfer speed is about ten times slower on paper (480Mbps vs. 5,000Mbps). USB 3.0 connectors are usually distinguished from their USB 2.0 counterparts by blue color-coding of the receptacles and plugs, and the initials SS.

After some research, we found a cable from Nekteck on that meets the requirements:

Buy the Nekteck USB 3.1 USB Type-C to USB Type-A USB 3.0 cable

Microsoft Display Dock

Using the USB Type-C port on the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL, you can connect them to the Microsoft Display Dock. This gives you the option to use Continuum and connect the phone with a keyboard, mouse, and external monitor. Early Lumia 950 XL buyers might be lucky to get this accessory for free.

USB-C OTG cable

We'll be testing this in the next few days, but there are USB Type-C OTG cables so you can attach USB flash drives and other hardware to the Lumia 950 and 950 XL. We'll update this shorty after some testing.

USB-C is the future

Expect to see more devices, and not just phones, featuring the USB Type-C connector. It supports faster data transfer, faster charging, and more importantly, it's easier to plug in! Are you getting extra cables already? Sound off in the comments!

Mark Guim

Mark Guim is Video Editor at Windows Central. He switched to Windows because the MacBook Pro isn't Pro enough. You can follow him on Twitter at @markguim.