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Micro USB vs. Mini USB

Even with universal chargers gaining popularity, there’s still some confusion concerning the differences from Micro USB vs. Mini USB. Most mobile manufacturers are moving towards using common charger/data port and Micro USB and Mini USB ports are definitely the two most common choices at the moment.

It’s 2012 and luckily, you no longer have to live with multiple chargers. A few years back, I had one for my mobile phone, one for my personal digital assistant (PDA), one for my mp3 player and one for my laptop.  Nowadays, I only need one universal charger that fits all of my portable devices. This was made possible due to recent advancements in USB technology. Most of the consumer electronics manufacturers have been moving toward Mini USB or Micro USB as common choices for charging cables.


Micro USB

The Micro USB interface was developed by the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) back in 2007 as a sleeker and thinner version of the Mini USB. The Micro USB format also allows for USB OTG (On-The-Go), which is a specification that allows the mobile phones to act like a host allowing a USB Drive, mouse or keyboard to be attached and also connecting USB peripherals directly for communication purposes among them. These advantages forced the manufacturers who had been using their own connectors to adopt the Micro USB technology.

Both Mini USB and Micro USB feature 5 pins. While in the Mini USB, the fifth pin known as the ID pin is typically of no use, in the Micro USB, the Id pin functions as the special AB connector. The IS pin in the Micro USB can function as either an A or B connector with the standard USB technology.

While most of the manufacturers use Micro USB, there are still a handful of popular manufacturers who still use the Mini USB on few of their devices. Mini USB will eventually be phased out since Micro USB acts as the enabler to manufacture thinner and better performing devices.


Mini USB

The Mini USB interface was the first universally accepted charging cable stating in 2005 because of its simplicity and its ability to offer charging as well as file transfer through a single port and cable.

Motorola and Blackberry were quick to adopt the Mini USB and later other manufacturers such as HTC started taking notice of the technology and adopting it as well.

So to sum up, Mini USB was the first universally accepted mobile charging/data transfer interface used in the market. Later, Micro USB was introduced as a thinner and faster version of Mini USB, and has since become the predominant interface of the two.

Vincent Clarke

Vincent Clarke

Vincent graduated from the University of Hawaii in 2007 with a Bachelors in English. Vincent works as a writer and enjoys surfing and mountain climbing. Connect with Vincent on Google+ About Myself

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  • Sudarshansen007

    What is the difference between micro usb (5 pin) with micro usb (4 pin)?Some mobile phone manufacturers provide 4 pin while some provide 5 pin.Can we use either of them on any handset?

    • http://twitter.com/_VHClarke Vincent H. Clarke

      Hi Sudarshansen007,

      The fifth pin is for host to client communication. This is primarily used on USB OTG cables. The OTG cable has a micro-A plug on one side, and a micro-B plug on the other (it cannot have two plugs of the same type). OTG adds a fifth pin to the standard USB connector, called the ID-pin; the micro-A plug has the ID pin grounded, while the ID in the micro-B plug is floating. The device that has a micro-A plugged in becomes an OTG A-device, and the one that has micro-B plugged becomes a B-device. The type of the plug inserted is detected by the state of the pin ID.

  • loop6719

    used to so many cords now I need adapters

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