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I know obviously speeds would be a key factor, but is there any spot on way to tell if a device is USB 2.0 or 3.0 such as a flash drive.

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This sight actually shows the plugs "such as a flash drive" like you are asking rather than the female side that everyone is posting: moddiy.com/pages/… –  user142485 Jan 3 '13 at 23:07

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

On the hardware side, I have been noticing that the plastic in the plug is generally BLUE for USB3.0 and WHITE for USB 2.0.

I also believe there is a special USB "symbol" that denotes a USB 3.x connector.

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Can you provide any pictures to make it clearer, as I just bought a USB 3.0 flash drive at the source, and judging by it's write speeds, I've been jipped, that's aside from the fact it's branded nexxtech but in my computer displays as danelec. –  user88311 Jan 3 '13 at 22:30
An USB3 device does not have to be fast. I got plenty of flash drives which top at 5MB/second, and are equally fast if equipped with USB2 or an USB3 interface. Putting USB3 on them makes as much sense as selling SATA-3 mechanical harddrives. (As in, barely any technical sense, but they do sell a lot better). –  Hennes Jan 3 '13 at 22:39

USB3 has more pins than USB2.

USB1 and USB2 have four pins, two for power, one pair for data. USB3 has those four in the standard place, and two extra pairs for 'superspeed' communication.

Wikipedia has two pictures of this, though I must admit is is not clear when you look at them. It should be much easier when looking at a physical device. (Note that both USB3 ports are blue in the pictures below, which matches @mdpc answer.)

enter image description here

Added the picture from Scott's link here: enter image description here

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Here is a better image pinoutsguide.com/connectors/usb_3_plug.gif, also as I was researching the answer to a similar USB3 question I discovered that, while recommended, they are not required to be blue. –  Scott Chamberlain Jan 3 '13 at 22:42

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