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Smartphone, USB-C/Thunderbolt port, USB-C to USB-C cable TravelMate P215-53

AdeckWattAdeckWatt Member Posts: 6

Tinkerer

edited August 30 in TravelMate and Extensa

Greetings to everyone!

I`ve bought TravelMate P215-53 which has two USB 3.2 Gen 1 and a USB-C/Thunderbolt (USB 3.2 Gen 2 I guess) on board. Unfortunately, it isn`t written much about the latter in the laptop`s documentation, little details can be found on the internet, including Acer website. I contacted Acer support team but got an ambiguous answer which didn`t satisfy me. 

What I`d like to clarify about USB-C/Thunderbolt port of my laptop is the following. My smartphone has USB-C, and the laptop has USB-C/Thunderbolt which at least looks the same as the phone`s, and there are USB-C to USB-C cables, especially this one which is also available from the official Acer store: https://satechi.net/products/usb-c-to-usb-c-gen-2-flat-cable?variant=29948515057752 It`s written on my handy`s power adapter: DC 5.0 V, 2.0 A, 10.0 W (the phone doesn`t support quick charge if it matters). And it is written in the user manual of my TravelMate`s model that its USB-C/Thunderbolt port can provide energy with up to 3 A/5 V parameters. 

So my questions are:

1. If I buy a USB-C to USB-C cable from the link above and plug my smartphone to USB-C/Thunderbolt port of the laptop, will I get faster charging than that with USB-A 3.2 Gen 1? Will it be as fast as via smartphone`s charging adapter in this case? 

2. If I buy a USB-C to USB-C cable from the link above and plug my smartphone to USB-C/Thunderbolt port of the laptop, will I get faster data transmission for my smartphone than that with USB-A 3.2 Gen 1? 

Does anyone have real experience of pairing these gadgets the way I described it? I have Thunderbolt software preinstalled on the laptop – do I need to manage it somehow in order to establish its connection to the phone? 

Acer support team told me I should figure out whether my phone is certified to work with Thunderbolt ports and if so, then everything`s fine. But my phone`s manufacturer fails to answer this question clearly saying laptop`s USB-C is practically the same USB-C that is in the smartphone regardless of Thunderbolt technology. And again I`ve found no instructions on this from Acer, although the topic seems to be acute. In a word, I don`t know what to think about the matter. 

Thanks for help in advance. 


[Edited the thread to add model name to the title]

Best Answer

  • billseybillsey ACE Posts: 25,369 Trailblazer
    Answer ✓

    I can think of no reason the cable shouldn't have worked, at least for charging the phone. Here are the specs on your port, as compared to the previous generation of that TravelMate series:


    Click on "Like" if you find my answer useful or click on "Yes" if it answers your question.

FAQ & Answers

  • JackEJackE ACE Posts: 39,827 Trailblazer
    edited August 23

    >>>In a word, I don`t know what to think about the matter. >>>

    Short answer. Yes, if phone is ThunderBolt v4 certified, then it should be fine with a probability of greater than 90%.

    But if only v3 certified, then yes it should work fine too with a probability of less than 90%.

    In other words, v4 should be backward compatible with V3 certified devices, but less often than v4 certified devices.

    It's a statistical thing with bleeding edge ThunderBolt technology. And as Mark Twain once said, "There are 3 kinds of lies --- (1) lies (2) dam'd lies & (3) statistics."

    Does that clear things up? Cuz if you're looking for 100% guarantees, no such thing exists. 🙂

    Jack E/NJ
  • AdeckWattAdeckWatt Member Posts: 6

    Tinkerer

    Hello, JackE!

    Thank you for your quick response. Excuse me for my stupidity, but still this case appears intertwined and vague. 

    What I managed to get from your answer is that everything is down to the phone's USB-C port, whether it supports Thunderbolt or not. I looked up my phone's specifications once again and found out this phrase: USB Type-C (USB 2.0) OTG 10 W charging. And it's written in its manual that it supports USB 2.0 and newer. My phone was released in 2021, and even more modern phones which in contrast to my model support quick charge have the same point: USB Type-C (USB 2.0) OTG. Nothing is said about Thunderbolt. I searched a bit on the internet and discovered no smartphones in which Thunderbolt support is mentioned apparently. I must have failed to properly understand what you were saying, sorry.

    And I suppose my phone can't work just on USB 2.0 speed because this protocol is old and the phone is new and has USB-C. Still when I plug my phone to the traditional USB 3.2 of TravelMate via the phone's cable from the box, the charging rate and the data transmission speed are quite low. When it comes to charging, the process is very slow, much slower than via the adapter, while the USB-C/Thunderbolt port is thought to provide the same charging characteristics as the phone's adapter (to come to such a conclusion I've compared the electric parameters of both of them).

    So my hypothesis is that being connected to USB-C/Thunderbolt port of my laptop my smartphone might get a speed increase both in charging and data transfer. It is put vividly in the Acer's manual that USB-C compatible gadgets can be plugged in like displays and external storages, but smartphones are not mentioned at all, and that's strange.

    Actually, I was sure I'm not the only one thinking about buying a USB-C to USB-C cable to get the maximum of phone-to-laptop connection as USB-C characteristics seem to surpass these of USB 3.2 Gen 1. But to my surprise not a single smartphone is enlisted in the cable's description I attached above... Again, I thought there are numerous users who purchased such cables to connect their phones to their laptops. I fully realize that everything's relative and statistics can be misleading, but then the only thing left for me is to buy and test the cable having risk of damaging the laptop, the phone or both. 

    I see that my topic refers to smartphone usage more than to laptop usage, but still that's important.

  • AdeckWattAdeckWatt Member Posts: 6

    Tinkerer

    It seems to me that the question should be somehow reformulated. If it was an ordinary USB-C port with no Thunderbolt technology underlying it, would it charge and transmit files to/from a USB-C smartphone faster than USB 3.2 Gen 1 (looks like good old USB but colored blue)? Maybe Thunderbolt just won't be activated when a device which doesn't support it is paired to it, and the port will operate just like a usual USB-C port? 

  • billseybillsey ACE Posts: 25,369 Trailblazer

    It doesn't matter if the phone is Thunderbolt or USB-C, the differences between them are almost all data differences, not power. Your phone will pull the current it needs, up to the limits of the spec for that port. In this case as you have seen that it 5V 3A, or 15W. So, in this case the default phone charger is 5V 2.0A, 10W and the port can provide that, so the phone will charge at the same rate as with the stock charger. If the phone supported a quick charge mode it would pull more current and charge around 50% faster (15W vs 10W) than the stock charger.

    For the data transfer speeds, it is likely dependent on the USB specs for the phone. If the phone have a Thunderbolt 4 port then you should get the full 10Gbps data speeds your laptop supports, if the phone is Thunderbolt 3 you will still get the 10Gbps since the laptop tops out at that speed. If your phone is USB-C gen 1 then the maximum data transfer will be 5Gbps. Each case won't really matter, since you are unlikely to ever be transferring large batches of data between them...

    Click on "Like" if you find my answer useful or click on "Yes" if it answers your question.
  • JackEJackE ACE Posts: 39,827 Trailblazer

    @billsey >>>If the phone supported a quick charge mode it would pull more current and charge around 50% faster (15W vs 10W) than the stock charger.>>>


    Just to add to this confusion, both my phones do slow charge & quick charge unpredictably. Some PC ports are mostly quick. While others are mostly slow. Same with standalone chargers, one of which will only charge one of my phones. And the phones are identical! I suspect that the plug & port contacts either don't align properly or maybe filled with lint. When you actually peer inside a USB C or micro USB port and realize their dinkiness, it's amazing these things line up with the plug contacts at all with all the abuse they get. 🙂

    Jack E/NJ
  • billseybillsey ACE Posts: 25,369 Trailblazer

    There is also a special connection for charge only that takes one of the data lines and grounds it to tell the phone that it can pull more current than the USB spec allows. I don't know if current phones do that any more, it was a USB 2/3 thing...

    Click on "Like" if you find my answer useful or click on "Yes" if it answers your question.
  • Vanilla66Vanilla66 Member Posts: 36 Troubleshooter

    I just tried charging my iPhone 8 with my P214-53 via the computer's USB C port while measuring the charging speed using iMazing on my Mac. It shows the phone is charging at 5-7W (varies over time) and the phone reads the charger as a USB PD charger capable of providing 15W. It's reading the charger voltage as 5V and the charger amperage as 1.644A. The amperage varies over time as well, leading to the varying charging wattage. I guess the phone is not using the full capacity of the charger since it supports fast charging only at 20W.

  • Vanilla66Vanilla66 Member Posts: 36 Troubleshooter

    Regarding data transfer speed, iMazing is reading 480 Mbit/s .

  • JackEJackE ACE Posts: 39,827 Trailblazer

    Seems like about the right speed limit for the iPhone8.

    Jack E/NJ
  • AdeckWattAdeckWatt Member Posts: 6

    Tinkerer

    Hi there!

    Thank you all for the answers!

    Well, in the end I decided to buy the cable at least for the sake of test. And it turned out... it`s not able to pair my smartphone (Android 12) and my laptop in any way!

    When I plugged it in, both devices produced no sound or vibration. My phone showed the popup option usually seen when connected via USB to a computer, but I can`t choose any options from the list because they are inactive. The only option which is preset is charging. But the phone doesn`t seem to charge at all, even its battery menu doesn`t show it. I left it still for 5 minutes, and the phone lost 1% of its battery.

    I tried to reconnect the phone and the laptop with the same cable, but upside down, that is I`ve switched the cable, but that didn`t change anything. I launched Thunderbolt software, it showed nothing. And also I went to Windows Device Manager application, and no unidentified devices are shown their either.

    I`m going to contact the cable`s manufacturer, and if there is a piece of advice from them, I`ll write about it here. I`m sure TravelMate is not to blame, but I suppose there should be some information mentioned on Acer website that not all USB-C gadgets, especially smartphones, are so to say connectable to USB-C ports of their laptops due to these gadgets`s characteristics, that`s the only positive conclusion I can make here.

  • billseybillsey ACE Posts: 25,369 Trailblazer
    Answer ✓

    I can think of no reason the cable shouldn't have worked, at least for charging the phone. Here are the specs on your port, as compared to the previous generation of that TravelMate series:


    Click on "Like" if you find my answer useful or click on "Yes" if it answers your question.
  • AdeckWattAdeckWatt Member Posts: 6

    Tinkerer

    Thank you for providing this informative table! Everything`s fine, I`m almost sure the phone is at fault. Still the whole story makes me comtemplate how little we know about the hardware we use daily and how difficult it can be to find out the truth.

  • Vanilla66Vanilla66 Member Posts: 36 Troubleshooter

    Which model of phone do you have? It might not support USB Power Delivery, the charging standard the laptop uses.

  • JackEJackE ACE Posts: 39,827 Trailblazer

    >>>I suppose there should be some information mentioned on Acer website that not all USB-C gadgets, especially smartphones, are so to say connectable to USB-C ports of their laptops due to these gadgets`s characteristics, that`s the only positive conclusion I can make here.>>>


    Oh yeah. There's some vague info about not all USB -C gadgets are, so to say, connectible. Otherwise known as compatible. Gotta prove and document that all those cables and connectors and phone ports are Type-C(TM) compliant and USB 3.2 (Gen1 & Gen2)-compliant. Yeah, should be super easy to prove and document all that before blaming the phone, the cables, the PC, or other devices for being incompatible or non-compliant or busted. 🙂.


    Jack E/NJ
  • AdeckWattAdeckWatt Member Posts: 6

    Tinkerer

    I have Nokia. And the support team has finally told me my phone doesn`t support any USB-C to USB-C cables. That sounds a bit absurd to me, but... Well, I`ve discovered the truth at last: USB-C ports of smartphones are not created equal (and universal) and are not obliged to be compatible with those of laptops.


    Dear Acer community! I really appreciate your qualified help and warm encouragement! No claims or complaints about Acer products. We should just be careful choosing all that stuff. And again I`m very grateful for support from all of you! Thank you very much! 👍️

  • billseybillsey ACE Posts: 25,369 Trailblazer

    That is so weird... You would think if nothing else the charging would work!

    Click on "Like" if you find my answer useful or click on "Yes" if it answers your question.
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