Laptop ports and connectors

The most important laptop connections


Laptop ports are used to connect additional monitors, external mouses, hard drives and other kinds of devices. But how do laptop ports and connectors work, and what is the difference between the various connections?

It only takes a power adapter, linked to a charging cable, for a laptop to work. All other ports and connectors are intended to be used for external devices. Above all, this includes one or more USB ports to connect your laptop to an external mouse or hard drive. But what do you need HDMI and VGA connectors for and how many different laptop ports and connectors are there? Read on to learn everything you need to know.

Laptop ports and connectors

Which laptop connectors do you need on a daily basis? The most important laptop connectors are for monitors, USB ports, the headphone jack and SD card slots. If you want to listen to music on your laptop you can use the small headphone jack, which is a standard with most notebooks. Additionally, you can find a similar looking jack, designed as an input for a microphone. You might need to use a microphone for voice over IP services such as Skype. If you own a headset that is equipped with both earphones and a microphone you can connect it to your laptop using these jacks. Then just use a software like Skype to call someone. Most laptops also provide a slot for SD cards, which can be used as a memory card for digital cameras. By using the SD card slot you can quickly transfer files from the SD card to your laptop’s memory. You can get to know more laptop connectors below.

Monitor inputs for laptops

You can connect your laptop to your TV screen or to an external monitor by simply using the monitor inputs of your notebook. Using these monitor inputs you can watch the movies and videos from your laptop on your TV screen or LED monitor. Furthermore, you can connect your laptop to several monitors at the same time. This can be especially helpful when you are editing photos or cutting videos using a professionally software. It is much easier to keep track of open windows when you are using more than one monitor. The common monitor inputs are VGA, DVI or HDMI connectors. But what is the difference between a VGA and a HDMI connector?

VGA connectors

Contrary to the widespread belief that you can only get the best resolution with a HDMI connector, it is also possible to transmit an image in full HD format using a VGA connector. But what exactly is VGA? VGA is short for Video Graphics Array and has long been the standard connector for external devices that transmit video signals. However, VGA connectors only transmit analogue signals. This in turn means, that the transmission of signals using a VGA cable is very susceptible to sources of disturbance. Different electronic devices also transmitting signals can cause disturbances. These include for example your telephone, your TV or even your mobile phone. VGA connectors are still widely used for monitors, TVs or projectors.

HDMI and DVI connectors for laptops

By now VGA connectors have been replaced by different types of image reproduction connectors, namely HDMI and DVI connectors. Compared to VGA, a DVI connector has the advantage allowing more than one monitor to be connected using only one connection. Unfortunately, a DVI connector does not transmit audio signals. This changed when HDMI was introduced: a HDMI standard connector can transmit audio and video signals simultaneously. You can find more information on VGA and DVI in the report DVI vs. VGA.

Besides the transmission of audio and video signals, these monitor connections serve another important function: Should your laptop monitor ever be broken, you can bypass this defect by connecting an external monitor using a VGA cable or another connector for monitor input. That way you can still work with your laptop until you get a repair. Just contact your local TrustATec service partner for a display replacement. We offer you quick and easy help.

Connect your laptop to your TV screen with HDMI

If you want to connect your laptop to an external monitor while also being able to hear the audio, you have to use a HDMI connector. First of all, both your laptop and monitor or TV have to be equipped with a HDMI connector. But what is the advantage of using HDMI and what does HDMI actually mean? HDMI is short for High Definition Multimedia Interface. The term Multimedia highlights the usage versatility of the connector. Compared to a VGA or DVI connector, a HDMI simultaneously transmits both video and audio signals. That means that you do not only see a video, which is transmitted from your laptop to i.e. your TV, but you can also hear the audio of said visual. With the help of a HDMI connector you can play a DVD or Blu-ray on your laptop and transmit the video in full resolution to a monitor or TV. HDMI is sufficient for both a full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixel and for an even better 4K resolution of 4096 x 2160 pixel. The more pixel your HDMI resolution can transmit, the clearer the image you get.

Laptop USB 2.0 and USB 3.0

Most external devices with the exception of monitors are connected to a laptop using a USB port. The standard laptop connectors are the USB ports 2.0 and USB 3.0. The only difference between USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ist the speed at which data can be transmitted. This difference in speed can matter when it comes to external hard drives: If you connect an external hard drive with USB 3.0 to a laptop with a USB 3.0 port, you are able to transfer large files like movies or videos faster from the hard drive to your laptop, and vice versa. Different types of external devices, such as printers, mouses and USB drives also connect via a USB 2.0 or USB 3.0 port. USB 3.0 ports are downward compatible. Read what is meant by that in our blog entry “Convert to USB 3.0”.

If you have any questions concerning your laptop’s connectors, just visit your local TrustATec service partner. Our technicians will explain your device to you in all details within our Computer Set-Up service.

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