If you don’t work in information technology, you’re probably not going to get excited about different kinds of Universal Serial Bus (USB™). But you should – and here’s why.

USB4® is the latest evolution of USB and it has the power to be a game changer. Until recently, it has lived in the shadow of Intel’s much more dramatically named Thunderbolt™, but USB4 is poised to offer data transfer that is a whisker off the same speed and a lot more besides – in a universally accessible format. When you break it down, it’s amazing not more people are talking about it – and demanding it!

So here’s why USB4 really is a no brainer for consumers and manufacturers alike.

1. More data, more quickly

USB4 is fast – and we mean really fast. Thunderbolt is a smidge faster at 41.6 Gb/s, but USB4 is capable of 40 Gbps. Let’s put this in perspective.

In 2019, magazines were raving about the ‘superfast’ speeds possible with USB 3.2 – an eye-watering 20 Gbps! But you can now double that instantly with USB4, meaning twice as much data – which is, let’s face it, everything – transferred between your devices, whatever they are.

If someone offered you a broadband upgrade that doubled the speed of connection, for just a small price increase, would you say yes? Of course you would.

2. Made for multitasking

We live in a multitasking world, everyone wants to do more stuff at the same time. Having higher bandwidth with USB4 means you can do exactly that, run more apps on more devices simultaneously. Way more capability from just one cable.

Let’s say you enjoy editing videos. USB4 will allow you to run multiple monitors at high resolution with very low latency. You can get 16K resolution with HDR at 60 Hz, or two 8K displays at 120 Hz!

USB4 supports the DisplayPort™ protocol for both power and data, so you don’t need a separate cable – you can daisy-chain monitors and hard drives and graphics cards however you want. Best of all, the device driving it all can still be a pretty straightforward consumer product. Once plugged in, those speeds will allow you to run data-hungry games while streaming and playing music.

And USB4 will even charge your devices while it does it. Slick.

3. It’s made of metal

USB4 doesn’t require fancy-schmancy materials like optic cable. It’s made out of the same kind of copper fiber you’ll find in USB 3.2 cables. It’s fully mainstream, which makes it better value for consumers and more cost-effective for manufacturers.

4. Converge IOs / convenience

You know that plastic bag of cables, dongles, connectors and chargers under your desk? That tangled nightmare that you have to have so your laptop can adapt when you travel into different environments?

USB4 can converge all those different IOs into one. One universal port that charges and speaks to everything, everywhere.

5. USB4 is good for everyone

Because of all these things, USB4 is the most universally beneficial upgrade imaginable. This is not a niche advance that will be heralded by gamers and techies while flying over the heads of everyone else. USB4 has the power to make any computer twice as fast and exponentially more useful, whether that’s your grandparents’ laptop or your teenagers’ self-made recording studio. Literally, everyone’s a winner.