With all the news coming from its big event yesterday, Samsung glazed over the importance of one new feature of its Galaxy Note 3 — it's the first phone we know of that uses USB 3.0. The benefits of the switch to the more modern standard are two-fold. The obvious plus for USB 3.0 is that it offers far faster data rates, potentially increasing the speed of transferring music, videos, and photos to and from your phone. "Potential" is an important word here: the speeds you'll actually achieve will depend on the quality of the storage Samsung has included in the Galaxy Note 3.
Another less obvious benefit is you'll be able to charge your phone directly from your PC or Mac much faster (assuming you have a USB 3.0-enabled device). USB 2.0 ports generally provide up to 500mA current, while USB 3.0 is 80 percent faster at 900mA, making plugging your phone into your laptop more akin to connecting it to a wall charger.
A new, backwards-compatible port
With the switch to USB 3.0, the Galaxy Note 3 now has a different-shaped connector to most smartphones. It uses USB 3.0 Micro B (pictured above), the same connector found on quite a few portable hard drives. Although it's much wider than the Micro USB connector you're used to, the new port is actually backwards-compatible: a regular Micro USB cable can plug into one side of the port. Given the size of the port, it's unlikely we'll see it used in every smartphone, but we could see new high-end handsets move over to the standard in the coming months.