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View Poll Results: Your preferred power source?
12V Lighter Socket 148 47.59%
USB Type-A Port 81 26.05%
USB Type-C Port 55 17.68%
Wireless Charging 27 8.68%
Voters: 311. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 23rd July 2021, 17:00   #1
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Default 12V Socket vs USB Port vs Wireless: Your preferred way to charge?

Cars today are slowly losing 12V ports in favour of USB ports in the centre console. This move has drawn mixed responses from car owners, with some preferring USB ports for the convenience, while others prefer 12V ports for the flexibility offered.


12V Lighter Socket



12V Socket vs USB Port vs Wireless: Your preferred way to charge?-12v-port-1.jpeg
12V Socket vs USB Port vs Wireless: Your preferred way to charge?-12v-port.jpeg
  • With 12V sockets you can connect a variety of devices, like a mini-fridge, tyre inflator, and can even charge your laptop.
  • You need to buy an extra adapter to connect your phone or other USB powered devices to the 12V socket.
  • The adapter is clunky and can stick out like a sore thumb on a neatly designed dashboard.
  • 12V socket can deliver a significant amount of power, and so the charging speed would depend on your choice of 12V to USB adapter, vs. the slow 0.5A USB ports that a lot of OEMs offer.
  • Due to the modular nature and linking of multiple devices, the chances of a loose connection are higher in setups using the 12V sockets.
  • If something goes wrong it is easier to fix the low-tech 12V socket, as compared to an inbuilt USB charger.

USB Chargers



12V Socket vs USB Port vs Wireless: Your preferred way to charge?-usb-ports.jpeg
  • USB chargers are designed into the car and therefore are more aesthetically integrated than the 12V sockets with add-ons plugged in. The dashboard looks cleaner and less cluttered.
  • Most consumers use these ports just to charge their phones and nothing else. For them, integrated USB ports are most convenient as they need not buy additional adapters.
  • Some ports offer the additional functionality of a wired connection to Android Auto / Apple CarPlay. These ports often come with a higher power output to facilitate faster charging too.
  • Equipping cars with the technology that's evolving rapidly means that they may become outdated quickly. For example, Type-A ports are already being replaced by Type-C ports and Type-A chargers in cars may soon become obsolete. The 12V socket has been used as a standard for decades now, and the versatility keeps it relevant.
  • Some cars come with just 1 USB port. That means you can connect either your phone or your dashcam.
  • If there is just 1 USB port provided at the front, it's inconvenient for the front passenger as well. More so if Android Auto tries to automatically connect to the passenger's phone.

Both 12V sockets and USB chargers have their pros and cons. While some prefer one over the other, some drivers find it best to have both. This gives them an option to choose which one to use for the maximum utility. USB ports in the centre console give a clean look, while the 12V socket can be hidden away under the front centre armrest, for example.

USB Type-C



12V Socket vs USB Port vs Wireless: Your preferred way to charge?-type-c.jpeg

Some of the newer cars come with Type-C USB ports only (eg. Octavia and Kushaq). It's also safe to assume that in general, the Type-C ports included by OEMs will output more current than the legacy Type-A ports, resulting in faster charging times. One downside is that some phones and a lot of devices like dashcams are still not Type-C, which means that you will need to buy a new cable or an adapter to operate them.

Wireless chargers



12V Socket vs USB Port vs Wireless: Your preferred way to charge?-wireless-charging.jpeg

Wireless chargers are becoming more and more common in cars today. However, not many phones are compatible with these chargers, and hence they are not used that regularly. Along with the slower charging speeds, phones also tend to heat up more when being wirelessly charged. It also might not work if your phone has a back cover.

AC Power Socket



12V Socket vs USB Port vs Wireless: Your preferred way to charge?-laptop-charger.jpeg

A select few cars come with a separate 220VAC power socket in addition to the with 12V ports / USB ports. The Kia Carnival is an example.


BHPians, what kind of charging ports do you prefer in your cars?

Last edited by Rehaan : 23rd July 2021 at 18:15. Reason: Changing point as per anandhsub's post below.
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Old 23rd July 2021, 17:13   #2
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Default re: 12V Socket vs USB Port vs Wireless: Your preferred way to charge?

While I have no doubt that Type-C is the way of the future (at least from the 3 options listed), I've still voted for Type-A in the current poll.

Right now it's just more popular, and I imagine if I had to buy a car today, having a Type-A port would inevitably be more convenient... at least for the first few years.


Perhaps in the future Type-C could even take over from the 12V Lighter Socket, as they are currently rated for up to a whopping 100W of power, and with the 2.1 spec in the near future that could increase to a jaw-dropping 240 Watts!

USB PD (Power Delivery) also has the ability to step the regular USB voltage up from 5V to 9, 15 or 20 volts. So that would be a good replacement for a lot of lighter-socket powered devices that need the higher voltage to run.


I'm actually wondering why I voted for Type-A...

Maybe it's because I just don't want to buy any more charging cables right now!


Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing.

Last edited by Rehaan : 23rd July 2021 at 17:20.
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Old 23rd July 2021, 17:42   #3
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Default Re: 12V Socket vs USB Port vs Wireless: Your preferred way to charge?

Voted for the traditional USB-A

I’m yet to come across a wireless charger which doesn’t heat up the phone beyond what a regular USB A or C would do and at the same time is faster than them!

For USB-C will wait for it to become more popular and then shift over, till then the USB-A is absolutely fine.

12V socket I only use for something like a tyre inflator and not for charging.

Last edited by CEF_Beasts : 23rd July 2021 at 17:45.
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Old 23rd July 2021, 17:51   #4
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Default Re: 12V Socket vs USB Port vs Wireless: Your preferred way to charge?

Voted for USB-A.

- Standard cable available for all phones.
- We still have very few USB-C to USB-A converters.
- Not all phones have wireless charging + heating is pretty bad at times.
- 12V Chargers are not the cleanest solution, at least, for me.
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Old 23rd July 2021, 18:03   #5
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Default Re: 12V Socket vs USB Port vs Wireless: Your preferred way to charge?

Voted for Type C. But there is a nuance. It is not any of these in fact it must be a combination of these.

The 12V socket cannot be replaced because of the versatlity it offers. It should come as standard in the center console and in the boot. No two ways about it.

The question is whether we should have Type A or Type C.

Instead of Type A, cars should now start providing Type C. Cars are mostly a long term commitment and now with Type C becoming more common, most new phones and tablets will have Type C cables coming in the box itself.

Not just that, it is the step forward in terms of technology and we should embrace it. Sure it'll cause minor inconvenience for a little while but the mobile technology will move at rocket speed. I reckon in a year or two, majority of smartphones will get Type C making this a frictionless experience in the long-term.
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Old 23rd July 2021, 18:04   #6
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Default Re: 12V Socket vs USB Port vs Wireless: Your preferred way to charge?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiragM View Post

Wireless chargers



It also doesn't work if your phone has a back cover.
Not true. Not sure about iphones with the magsafe, but all Samsung phones can be wireless charged with a back cover.

I do so for my S20FE 5g and have a wireless charger fitted in my Verna which doubles up as an mobile mount.

However in terms of preference, I like the 12V charger the best. I am not certain that an usb port, be it USB-A or USB-C can take the abuse of plugging in and out for more than 5 years. None of my phone chargers have worked for more than a couple of years.
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Old 23rd July 2021, 18:11   #7
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Default Re: 12V Socket vs USB Port vs Wireless: Your preferred way to charge?

Did not vote. Personally, think there is a value to having either USB A or USB C ports in all cars - they are superior to having a adapter fitted into a 12 V charger. However, I would be surprised if cars come with ONLY USB ports and without a 12 V charger - clearly, a 12 V charger can offer greater power output and help power a air pump etc.

Don’t see any difference between Type A and Type C - both my cars have Type A but I have enough Type C wires to not care if I had to use a car with only Type C slots in future.

Don’t like wireless charging at present - it is the future but will likely work only once this technology develops further.
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Old 23rd July 2021, 18:40   #8
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Default Re: 12V Socket vs USB Port vs Wireless: Your preferred way to charge?

Wireless chargers still need to be perfected.And who knows how good the wireless chargers provided by these automakers are.
Would like a combination of 12V Socket and Type-C
ports.Within 2 years,most people will have phones with Type-C charging port.
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Old 23rd July 2021, 20:34   #9
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Default Re: 12V Socket vs USB Port vs Wireless: Your preferred way to charge?

Ideally, I would like to have the 12V Lighter Socket AND a dual-USB port. I do not care whether it is USB A or C, since converters/cables are available aplenty and cheap!

However, since this poll had only one option, assuming I had to choose just one, I voted for 12V Lighter Socket.

The 12V lighter socket is a very versatile feature that can be used for many purposes. I use the socket in my car for powering my portable tyre inflator. It can also be used for so many other electrical accessories such as vacuum cleaners. I would not imagine a car not having that socket. That is a must for me.

In addition, the same socket can easily be converted into USB ports by just inserting a USB socket/charger of one's choice. There are so many of different types and power rating available easily in the market. Below for example is my charger which fits snugly into the 12V socket.

12V Socket vs USB Port vs Wireless: Your preferred way to charge?-img_20180816_1530101.jpg
12V Lighter Socket can easily double as a dual-USB port!

With this, I get the best of the both worlds. I can use this as a dual-USB port and remove this and use the lighter socket for my air compressor whenever needed.

Last edited by Dr.AD : 23rd July 2021 at 20:37.
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Old 23rd July 2021, 21:33   #10
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Default Re: 12V Socket vs USB Port vs Wireless: Your preferred way to charge?

12v charger all the way. During the time I have owned my car
- smart phones arrived
-mini usb became the pin of choice
-charging currents went up from 1.3 to 2.4a
- usb c came asking
-qc came, followed by 2.0 and 3.0
- my current phone uses USB pd.

If my car had only a usb port, I would have been stuck with it. Every time i spend 500 on a new 12v charger and I'm good for the next 2 years until the next standard comes.

The convenience of integration is not worth it imo.
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Old 23rd July 2021, 23:57   #11
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Default Re: 12V Socket vs USB Port vs Wireless: Your preferred way to charge?

Wireless charging facility on phones will take more time to be easily available. As of right now, none of the phones in my family have this feature. However, I'm planning to book the Creta to replace an existing vehicle; Creta comes with a wireless charging pad, which is going to be used as a storage space frankly. I'm content with a USB-A socket and the 12v one. The 12v socket is a multi-purpose one and I also use the car vacuum cleaner with it once every fortnight. Also, phones are increasingly starting to come with USB-C facility, so would prefer any of the two USB ports, along with the humble 12v port as well (this is actually indispensable!)
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Old 24th July 2021, 04:50   #12
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Default Re: 12V Socket vs USB Port vs Wireless: Your preferred way to charge?

I voted for the 12v Socket.

I feel that the poll is slightly flawed. Let me explain. The 12v socket is like a 3 pin power outlet in our homes. It can be used for multiple purposes provided you have proper adapters. However, when you come to USB and its types, they serve only a narrow slice of devices[mobiles, tablets, laptops etc]

I prefer USB A type as availability of cables is more. However, USB C is the future.

Regards,
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Old 24th July 2021, 11:21   #13
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Default Re: 12V Socket vs USB Port vs Wireless: Your preferred way to charge?

I have USB port as well as a 12V socket as well as wireless charger in my Venue.
If I am not wrong, every port is having its own benefits.
A plain 12V socket is helpful as most accessories like tire inflator or car vaccum cleaners utilize this type of port.
A simple USB port is useful as it's needed to connect Android Auto and Car play. ( Agreed, wireless Android Auto and Car play are the next "in things").
Lastly the wireless charger is frankly of use only if your phone supports. And unfortunately my OnePlus 7pro doesn't supports it, so it's more or less useless for me. But some friends who have used the wireless charger in my car do complain that charging is a lot slower and frankly speaking it is expected as no-one will expect Hyundai of any other car maker to give a 50W or even a 25 W wireless charger in a budget car.

I still stick to the USB mode as the charging as well Android Auto can be utilized in this mode.

Last edited by MSC : 24th July 2021 at 11:23.
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Old 25th July 2021, 10:04   #14
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Default Re: 12V Socket vs USB Port vs Wireless: Your preferred way to charge?

12V charger socket all the way. Other than the aesthetics part, it is the most convenient. I can buy a charger from market and use it to charge multiple devices which is of paramount requirement during any long drives. Also, the 12V socket is quintessential for using tyre inflators in case of a puncture and an adapter can get you even 220V to charge your laptops. The convenience of a 12V sockets beats its aesthetics downer. I wonder how these tyre inflators can be made to work in vehicles without a 12V socket?!
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Old 25th July 2021, 10:39   #15
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Default Re: 12V Socket vs USB Port vs Wireless: Your preferred way to charge?

Charging protocols are changing by the day, I prefer a 12V socket which I can then decide whether to connect it to a wireless charger or a cable.
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