Be it faster data transfers, the ability to connect an eGPU for converting the gadget into a powerful gaming station, connecting multiple 4K or even a 5K monitors, the thunderbolt 3 port can do it all. Not only that, the port also is capable of handling charging speeds upto 100 watts. But, the tougher question is which thunderbolt 3 laptop is best-suited for your needs?
There are many laptops that come with this elusive port, but not all the devices offer a similar performances. That’s why after spending huge time researching, reviewing, and comparing multiple devices, we’ve listed out the 13 best options suited for diverse use-cases. For instance, the first 4 models come with top-notch specs, the models between 4-8 offer high-value for money, and the last 4 options are cheap machines.
- Do you need a Thunderbolt 3 Laptop?
- Minimum & Recommended System Requirements
- 13 Best Thunderbolt 3 Laptops in 2021
- 1. Best Overall: MSI GS65 Stealth 002
- 2. Best Runner Up: Razer Blade 15
- 3. Best with 4K Screen: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme
- 4. Best From Apple: Apple MacBook Pro
- 5. Best 2-in-1 Convertible: HP Spectre x360 15t
- 6. Best Desktop Replacement: Acer Predator Helios 500
- 7. Best with GTX 1050 Ti: Asus ZenBook Pro 15
- 8. Best Workstation: HP Zbook 15V G5
- 9. Best For Students: Dell XPS 13 9300
- 10. Best Budget MacBook: Apple MacBook Air
- 11. Best with Intel i5: Lenovo ThinkPad T480
- 12. Best Battery Life: Lenovo Yoga 730
- 13. Cheapest Option: Acer Swift 3
- Frequently Asked Questions
Do you need a Thunderbolt 3 Laptop?
Faster connectivity is an underrated yet highly desirable feature in most computing devices. While purchasing a laptop majority of our attention is taken by the CPU, RAM, Display, GPU, Battery, etc, glancing at the existing port management is also necessary. Although we usually look for USB 3.1 ports, it’s now time to welcome the unhindered and limitless functionality associated with the Thunderbolt 3 ports.
Although a USB 3.1 Type-C port is capable of reaching data transfer speeds of up to 10 Gbps, a Thunderbolt 3 port quadruples up the same at 40 Gbps. It makes your device suitable for diverse video protocols with support for HDMI, DisplayPort, and USB Type-C functionality.
Both, USB Type-C and Thunderbolt 3 ports flaunt a USB Power delivery tech, can be reversibly connected, and use the same orifice to connect with. This is where the similarities end. While the Type-C port allows pairing with a single 4K display, the Thunderbolt 3 supports multiple displays at once. Also, the thunderbolt 3 port is backward compatible which means every Thunderbolt 3 slot is USB Type-C compatible.
You should get a laptop with a thunderbolt 3 port, under the below circumstances:
- Lag-free experience on External Screens (even on 4K and 5K resolutions.)
- If you’re using Thunderbolt-based storage.
- If you work a lot with external displays.
- If you’re connecting eGPUs.
- If you use a docking station and want a smooth experience.
Minimum & Recommended System Requirements
|Minimum System Requirements||Recommended System Requirements|
|CPU||Intel Core i5||Intel Core i7|
|RAM||8GB||16GB or better|
|Storage||256GB SSD||512GB SSD and/or 1TB HDD|
|Display||14-inch HD LED (1366 x 768)||15.6-inch FHD IPS (1920 x 1080)|
|GPU||Integrated Intel UHD 620||NVIDIA GeForce GPU with 4GB+ VRAM|
|Battery||Up to 5 Hours||Up to 8 hours|
|Weight||Less than 10 lbs/pounds||Less than 6 lbs/pounds|
13 Best Thunderbolt 3 Laptops in 2021
|MSI GS65 Stealth 002|
|Razer Blade 15|
|Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme|
|Apple MacBook Pro|
|HP Spectre x360 15t|
|Acer Predator Helios 500|
|Asus ZenBook Pro 15|
|HP Zbook 15V G5|
|Dell XPS 13 9300|
|Apple MacBook Air|
|Lenovo ThinkPad T480|
|Lenovo Yoga 730|
|Acer Swift 3|
If you are looking to purchase a laptop that comes with Thunderbolt 3 Ports, you must account for the high-end activities to indulge in. Besides offering architectural access to DisplayPort and PCI Express connections, Thunderbolt also simplifies 4K transfers, offers twice as much video bandwidth as HDMI slots, and even supports high-end gaming.
Therefore, you must look for a laptop that has the firepower to support the aligned activities, thereby justifying the availability of Thunderbolt 3 Ports.
1. Best Overall: MSI GS65 Stealth 002
In terms of processing power, MSI features the Intel Core i7-8750H SoC with a base clocking speed of 2.2GHz. Besides that, you also get the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 GPU and 8GB of VRAM support – a hardware conglomerate that can handle even the most demanding games with ease.
MSI brings forth 32GB of RAM which is substantial for 3D modelers, data scientists, professional gamers, and machine learning enthusiasts. In terms of storage, this laptop features the 512GB SSD unit, which provides ample storage space and supports faster boot-ups. The company offers Windows 10 OS, straight out of the box.
The 15.6-inch Full HD IPS panel is extremely refreshing to look at. However, what further enhances the panel is the screen refresh rate of 144Hz and 7ms, making gaming experiences extremely productive! However, it has exceptional connectivity features in place that allow you to pair external 4K displays for a cohesive gaming experience.
When it comes to the physical elements, MSI packs in a customizable and durable backlit keyboard. Apart from that, the silky glass touchpad is also an innovative addition, featuring gesture-recognizing and responsive capabilities. Although, the trackpad isn’t as good as the ones on Apple MacBooks, but we found it to be really smooth while testing the device.
The Max-Q layout corresponding to the GPU renders additional sleekness to the GS65 Stealth. Other standout structural features include the gold-trim hinges, dragon logo, and an innovative cooling system with 6 copper pipes and several cooling fans at the helm. The laptop weighs a mere 4.19 pounds and is still quite sleek despite the innovative hardware sets on display.
The port management steals the show with the gadget packing in a highly impactful Thunderbolt 3 port followed by a host of USB Type-C and even a Type-A output. MSI also focuses on the legacy devices by providing the conventional HDMI and DisplayPort into the mix. The power adapter on display is also 28 percent slimmer as compared to other gadgets packing in the same hardware.
MSI also features some of the best wireless, LAN, and Bluetooth connectivity standards and that too with a function and long-lasting battery to carry you through the day. You get a standard 9-hour backup upon moderate to heavy usage. Overall, this is a high-end gaming device that allows you to pair additional external displays and gaming rigs with ease.
- Exceptional Dynaudio Speaker Conglomerate
- Great processing power
- Exceptional RAM support
- Brilliant graphic card
- Resourceful port arrangement
- Underwhelming storage capacity
2. Best Runner Up: Razer Blade 15
The new Razer Blade 15 comes with an extended specs sheet that readily validates the presence of the Thunderbolt 3 port. Besides supporting high-end gaming requirements, this gadget is also well-known for an extended array of wireless and legacy connectivity standards.
This device boasts of dependable, gaming-centric performance with the Intel Core i7-9750H CPU at the helm. The base clocking speed for the same is 2.6GHz which can be turbocharged up to 4.5GHz. In terms of graphics support, you get the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GPU clubbed with 6GB of VRAM. If you seek additional gaming power, you can opt for the model flaunting the NVidia GeForce RTX 2060 GPU with the same amount of VRAM.
In terms of memory support, the device offers 16GB RAM and a built-in 256GB SSD storage unit. The RTX version, on the other hand, packs in a 512GB SSD storage unit followed by a 2.5-inch SATA slot for upgrading the same. Windows 10 is the pre-existing operating system, offered by Razer.
The 15.6-inch Full HD display is enthralling and offers a cumulative display resolution of 1920×1080 pixels. The AMOLED panel brings forth a 100 percent sRGB color palette and a screen refresh rate of 144Hz, making the gadget an appropriate gaming tool.
Other utilitarian specs associated with the same include a backlit keyboard with Chroma lighting followed by a responsive touchpad. Besides that, the gadget also features powerful speakers, built-in webcam, and integrated microphones.
The CNC-backed aluminum chassis is a class-leading addition that adds to the structural durability of the laptop. The gadget is extremely thin at 0.78-inch despite packing in a lot of hardware. The Razer Blade 15 isn’t even heavy and weighs a mere less than 5 pounds.
The port arrangement is what stands out with the Thunderbolt 3 port offering support to pair better 4K displays and additional gaming units, all at once. However, the gadget doesn’t forget the legacy and USB 3.1 devices which can also be connected via USB Type-C, Type-A, Mini Display, and HDMI ports. Razer also supports Gigabit Ethernet and exceptional wireless connectivity.
The existing battery offers up to 6 hours of backup on the base model but the advanced RTX powered unit comes with a bigger battery and offers slightly more than 7 hours, courtesy of the less-demanding IPS panel. Overall, the Razer Blade 15 is a powerful gadget with an excellent and well-diversified arrangement of ports.
- Thunderbolt 3 port is strategically placed
- USB Type-C and other output slots are also available
- Exceptional display
- Brilliant graphics unit
- Excellent screen refresh rate
- Underwhelming storage capacity
3. Best with 4K Screen: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme
If you are looking to go heavy in the connectivity and processing department, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme (2nd Gen) is the perfect laptop to consider.
The Intel Core i7-9750H processor leads the charts with a clock speed of up to 2.6GHz. Besides that, the graphics and gaming needs are well-handled by the NVidia GeForce GTX 1650 GPU and 4GB VRAM.
The processing performance is further amplified by 16GB of built-in RAM support. Lenovo doesn’t compromise a bit in the storage department and even brings forth a fast 1TB SSD storage unit. In terms of the operating system, you get the conventional and responsive Windows 10.
The existing OLED display is further bolstered by a cumulative resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels. The anti-glare panel minimizes any kind of strain on your eyes and boasts of sharper viewing angles courtesy of the Dolby Vision technology with HDR 400.
The company packs in a spill-resistant backlit keyboard followed by a sensitive touchpad with an integrated fingerprint scanner. This laptop also boasts of a resourceful set of speakers, 720p webcam, and a microphone array.
The physical structure is extremely aesthetic courtesy of the Max-Q GPU technology and the sleeker chassis. The gadget weighs a mere 3.76 pounds and also features a decent arrangement of ports. On the right side, Lenovo features two Thunderbolt 3 ports that support external display and peripheral addition whilst even charging the device at 100 watts. Other specs include HDMI 2.0 on the right and two USB 3.1 slots on the left side of the laptop.
The existing battery offers an underwhelming backup of up to 6 hours. While the new ThinkPad X1 Extreme 2nd Gen from Lenovo is a performance-oriented device, it also contributes massively in the connectivity department with Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 standards.
- 4K Display
- Exceptional connectivity support
- Two Thunderbolt 3 ports
- Aesthetic chassis
- Excellent storage capacity
- Underwhelming battery
4. Best From Apple: Apple MacBook Pro
Nothing beats MacBooks when functionality, futuristic innovations, and processing performances are concerned. That said, the MacBook Pro 16 is no exception and a perfect laptop to consider if you are seeking resourcefulness.
MacBook Pro features a 9th gen H-series i7 processor with a base clocking speed of up to 2.6GHz. Besides that, Apple also brings forth a powerful AMD Radeon Pro 5300M GPU with 4GB of functional VRAM. The smaller 13-inch variant of the MacBook Pro is also available with an 8th gen Intel Core i5 processor and Intel Iris plus 645 integrated GPU if you are looking for something less powerful and more affordable.
The device features 16GB of built-in RAM followed by a 512GB Ultra-Fast SSD storage unit. The operating platform associated with the device is Mac OS X Cheetah.
This gadget flaunts a 16-inch IPS screen with 3072 x 1920 pixels as the cumulative resolution. The existing Retina Display technology also boasts of the elusive P3 color palette, making way for exceptional color reproduction standards
This MacBook flaunts a durable and aesthetic Magic Keyboard followed by an efficient trackpad, Touch Bar, and the intuitive Touch ID support. Other specs include the exceptional thermal architecture followed by dual-cancellation, 6 Speaker layout, and a powerful microphone.
Apple MacBook Pro features excellent craftsmanship and weighs only 4.3 pounds. However, in terms of port management, this version stacks in 4 Thunderbolt 3 ports which allow the fastest possible data transfers while making way for efficient pairing with external 6K displays. All the existing ports feature the versatility of the USB-C output but the device misses out on connectivity for older, legacy devices.
The battery on display offers 11 hours of steady backup. To sum it up, the New MacBook Pro is an efficient device with exceptional, high-end connectivity options in the form of 4 Thunderbolt 3 ports. However, you can always opt for the MacBook Pro 13-inch variant that brings forth a 256GB SSD unit and two Thunderbolt 3 ports.
- Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports
- Excellent display
- A brilliant graphics processing unit
- Exceptional build quality
- No option to connect legacy systems
- Not meant for gaming
5. Best 2-in-1 Convertible: HP Spectre x360 15t
In case you are looking for an adequately-powered notebook with support for Thunderbolt 3, we would suggest you consider the HP Spectre x360 15t, owing to the portability it exhibits. While there are quite a few notebooks with similar capabilities, having a convertible makes your professional and personal indulgences, far more interactive.
HP houses the reliable and powerful Intel Core i7-9750H processor— capable of managing audio editing, video editing, 3D rendering, and other relevant and demanding tasks with ease. Moreover, each of these indulgences and processes gets the requisite boost with a high-speed TB3 port to rely on. The mobile SoC furthers the capabilities of the Spectre x360 15t by exhibiting HyperThreading support and hexa-core architecture.
Next in line is the mid-range GTX 1650 GPU, clubbed with 4GB RAM. This graphics card is more than capable of managing moderately-demanding games and creative processes. Besides, if you consider adding an external 1080p display using the Thunderbolt 3 port, the GTX 1650 can come forth as a resourceful ally for better rendering performances.
However, we were most impressed with the dual-socketed, 16GB RAM, which is more than capable of processing data, files, gaming logic, and more at 2666MHz. Besides, HP also offers a massive, 1TB storage capacity, courtesy of the NVMe-compatible SSD module. The existing solid-state drive is also capable of booting up the resourceful and interactive Windows 10 Pro OS, in almost no time.
The 15.6-inch UHD screen is a stellar inclusion. While the overall resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels is worth applauding, HP takes pride in offering a touch screen panel, bolstered further by the Corning Gorilla Glass protection, WLED-backlit technology, and the micro-Edge paneling for better clarity and increased screen real-estate.
Productivity-wise, the Spectre x360 15t highlights several important resources, including the quad-speakers with excellent acoustic output, backlit keyboard with dedicated numeric keypad and decent key travel, IR-powered 1080p webcam, digital microphones, and a 360-degree form factor that pushes forth a gem-cut layout. The convertible weighs less than 5 pounds but cannot be termed light and fit for single-handed usage.
Coming to the connectivity suite, you get access to 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports, allowing you to charge the 2-in-1, set up external workflows, and manage data transfers at 40Gbps. Besides, you also get access to the HDMI 2.0, Type-C, and USB 3.1 slot, followed by an SD card reader, Bluetooth 5 combo, and the Wi-Fi 6 standard powered by Intel. As far as autonomy is concerned, HP promises 15 hours of steady backup, despite the 4K panel being used in its entirety.
Therefore, if portability clubbed with Thunderbolt 3 support is one of your priorities, the HP Spectre x360 15t with stylus support, qualifies as a rewarding purchase.
- H-series processor with HyperThreading support
- Dual-socketed system memory
- Massive storage space
- Wi-Fi 6 support
- Two Thunderbolt 3 ports
- Heavy as compared to other convertibles
- Not meant for high-end gamers
6. Best Desktop Replacement: Acer Predator Helios 500
If you are looking for a powerful desktop replacement, the Predator Helios 500 from Acer is the device to consider. Despite featuring a middling battery, this laptop has a lot of bells and whistles for a productivity-centric user.
This laptop boasts of exceptional performance courtesy of the Intel Core i7-8750H CPU. The base clock speed for the same is 2.2GHz which can also be turbocharged, based on preferences. Acer flaunts the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 GPU with 8GB of VRAM support.
The processing power is further amplified by 16GB of built-in RAM. In terms of storage, you get a 512GB SSD storage unit along with the 1TB HDD. Alongside the dual storage module, Acer features Windows 10 Home edition as the featured operating platform.
In terms of display, you get a massive 17.3-inch screen with a cumulative resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. The existing display panel makes the best use of the G-Sync anti-tearing technology followed by a decent refresh rate of 144Hz.
Acer brings an exciting backlit keyboard into the mix followed by a standard touchpad. Other specs include dual speakers followed by an exceptional webcam and integrated microphone. Acer Predator Helios also boasts of an excellent thermal cooling design which renders the gadget slightly heavier than expected at 8.82 pounds.
In terms of port management, there are 4 USB ports with three being USB 3.0 outputs and one being the all-encompassing Thunderbolt 3. The Thunderbolt 3 allows you to amplify the gaming hardware and display by pairing additional gadgets and rigs. The battery module on display only offers a 4-hour backup upon heavy usage.
Overall, the Predator Helios 500 is a powerful device and precisely crafted for a professional gamer who is willing to use the connectivity perks to amplify the gaming prowess.
- Excellent display
- Brilliant processing components
- Decent port arrangement with one Thunderbolt 3 in place
- Dual storage system
- Underwhelming battery support
7. Best with GTX 1050 Ti: Asus ZenBook Pro 15
The Asus ZenBook Pro 15 is an extremely resourceful machine that leaves no stone unturned when it comes to amplifying user productivity. Therefore, if you are looking for a 4K laptop that covers all bases, this is the perfect option to invest in.
The ZenBook Pro 15 doesn’t shy away from excellent processing performance with the Intel Core i7-8750H SoC at the helm. Gaming and video editing requirements are perfectly handled by the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti GPU that is ably assisted by 4GB of integrated VRAM. The existing processor is complemented by 16GB RAM whereas the storage requirements are handled by the 512GB solid-state storage unit.
In terms of display, the 15.6-inch LCD panel brings forth a cumulative resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels (4K). The UHD panel assumes a display-to-body ratio of 83 percent which is visually enthralling. The 178-degree wide-viewing angle further enhances the viewing experience.
The device boasts of an excellent keyboard with silver backlit technology. That said, the touchpad associated with the same is also equally responsive and supports multiple gestures. In addition to that, this device also brings forth an excellent set of speakers with Harman Kardon technology at the helm. Another standout feature is the excellent thermal cooling technology with three exceptional heat pipes to rely on.
The ZenBook Pro 15 features a unibody chassis that weighs a mere 4.2 lbs. Despite being a sleek device, the port arrangement is extremely intuitive. Asus features two USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports with 10gbps throughput followed by an HDMI output and the innovative USB Type-C Thunderbolt 3 port with transfer speeds of up to 40gbps.
The battery module associated with this device easily lasts for up to 9.5 hours without requiring a recharge. Overall, the Asus ZenBook Pro 15 is a functional device that wins it in terms of display and connectivity perks.
- Enthralling display
- An exceptional set of ports
- Powerful battery
- Decent storage support
- Ability to pair external 4K displays using the Thunderbolt 3 port
- Lagging touchpad
- Heats up a bit more than expected
8. Best Workstation: HP Zbook 15V G5
If you are looking for a powerful workstation, the new HP Zbook 15V G5 is a laptop that automatically comes to the mind.
Built for handling demanding productivity tasks, this device features an 8th gen Intel Core i7 processor. Despite the average base clocking speeds of up to 2.2GHz, this device performs better than expected courtesy of the NVIDIA Quadro P600 GPU and 4GB of associated memory.
You get access to 32GB RAM for further amplifying the processing performances. However, it is the dual-storage unit that steals the show. HP brings forth a 2TB SSD module for faster data rendering whereas the 2TB HDD quietly sits back and enhances the storage capacity of the device.
The 15.6-inch Full HD panel boasts a cumulative resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. Most importantly, the LCD panel supports multi-touch, thereby adding to the functionality of the concerned workstation.
It comes with a backlit keyboard and an extremely responsive touchpad. Besides that, this gadget also comes integrated with the fingerprint scanner that increases the security standards. Other features include built-in B&O speakers, HD webcam, and an integrated microphone.
The HP Zbook 15V G5 is crafted with perfection and the durable chassis is designed to tolerate the harshest working conditions. Despite being an inch thick, the gadget weighs a mere 4.72 pounds. Most importantly, this workstation boasts of an excellent port arrangement with three USB 3.1 ports, HDMI output, and the highly functional Thunderbolt 3 port. The existing Thunderbolt 3 output allows users to pair additional graphics hardware and other peripherals with ease.
The featured battery isn’t built to last and only offers a 5-hour backup. Overall, the HP Zbook 15V G5 is an extremely resourceful workstation, precisely manufactured for the professionals who are into 3D modeling, product development using CAD software such as Revit, AutoCAD, Cinema 4D, SolidWorks, and the usage of other tools like SolidEdge, and more.
- Brilliant display
- Powerful processing conglomerate
- A class-leading dual storage module
- Support for 3Modeling and other high-end software sets
- Middling battery
9. Best For Students: Dell XPS 13 9300
The new and improved Dell XPS 13 9300 reinvents craftsmanship and features some of the best features to appear on a touchscreen notebook.
The processing conglomerate is presided over by the 10th gen Intel Core i7-1065G7 mobile chipset. The existing SoC can reach turbo clocking speeds of up to 3.9GHz whilst working closely with 8MB of built-in cache memory. While the cache memory speeds up the processes, graphics and visuals are perfectly handled by the integrated Intel Iris Plus GPU.
This gadget features 16GB of RAM followed by an ultra-fast solid-state storage unit with 512GB of capacity. The PCIe storage module makes way for faster boot-ups.
Dell packs in a brilliant display with the 13.4-inch screen making way for Full HD+ resolution. With 1920 x 1200 pixels and Dolby Vision tech at the helm, HP scales by the display quality a notch-higher, in terms of visual quality. The InfinityEdge IPS panel features Corning Gorilla Glass 6 for enhanced durability. Besides that, the company also brings forth the EyeSafe technology for minimizing pressure on the eyes.
The exciting backlit keyboard clubbed with an intuitive touchpad is redesigned to perfection. Besides that Dell also integrates a powerful HD webcam, supporting facial recognition. Not just that, the company also brings forth other innovative additions in a Lid sensor and a near-perfect thermal cooling layout with dual pipes added into the mix.
From a structural point of view, the XPS 13 9300 is extremely light. The company doesn’t compromise on durability and this aluminum-clad laptop still weighs only 2.8 pounds, making it extremely portable. This device brings forth two Thunderbolt 3 ports which enhances the functionality while making it a good fit for external pairings and gaming indulgences. Dell also features other I/O slots followed by Wi-Fi 6 and exceptional Bluetooth connectivity standards.
The device offers a 19-hour backup, upon moderate usage. Therefore, if you are looking for a touch-based notebook and not a convertible, the new Dell XPS 13 9300 is a gadget that’s worthy of your attention.
- Brilliant display
- 10th gen Mobile processors
- Decent storage support
- Two Thunderbolt 3 compatible slots
- Excellent aesthetics
- Excellent battery
- Lack of other legacy ports
10. Best Budget MacBook: Apple MacBook Air
The MacBook Air is a decent gadget to own, provided you are more inclined towards professional productivity on the move. Here is one feathery device that amps up the existing connectivity features to suit diverse user requirements.
The 10th gen, Intel Core i5 processor makes way for excellent performances for the given price point. The quad-core chipset also supports turbo clocking at up to 3.8GHz. Moving on, the machine features the Integrated Iris Plus GPU for handling casual gaming and demanding professional applications with ease.
The MacBook Air pitches 8GB of integrated RAM. In terms of storage, you get a 512GB SSD unit that is fast and responsive. Apple offers Mac OS X, as the featured operating platform.
The 13.3-inch screen boasts of the True Tone innovation and makes way for a Retina Display panel. The overall display resolution on the same is 2560 x 1600 pixels which make way for 48 percent better color reproduction.
The company integrates a Magic keyboard with 1mm key travel. Besides that, you can also experience the futuristic trackpad with an integrated fingerprint scanner as the Touch ID. Other features include a functional webcam, integrated microphones, and powerful speakers with extra volume and bass to account for.
The MacBook Air is an exceptionally crafted masterpiece that is sleek and weighs a mere 2.8 pounds. In terms of the port arrangement, Apple brings forth two Thunderbolt 3 ports that support external GPUs, 4K monitors, and almost everything else that is required to increase professional functionality. Besides that, you also get the USB 3.1 ports on this device for pairing legacy devices.
The existing battery offers a 12-hour backup to productive users. That said, unlike the Pro, the MacBook Air is restricted in terms of power but still offers exceptional levels of functionality, if you seek portability and enhanced connectivity options.
- Brilliant display
- 10th gen processor with decent turbo clocking speeds
- Two Thunderbolt 3 ports
- Well-crafted chassis
- Exceptional battery
- Middling camera
11. Best with Intel i5: Lenovo ThinkPad T480
If you are strictly looking for a business notebook without giving too much attention to the existing display panel, the ThinkPad T480 from Lenovo is an unbeatable choice.
To start with, the Intel Core i5-8250U processor is power-packed and can reach turbo clocking speeds of up to 3.40GHz. The integrated Intel UHD 620 graphics processing unit also performs, as per expectation.
In terms of memory management, the ThinkPad fits in 16GB RAM and 6MB of quick access cache memory. Diverse storage requirements are handled by the 256GB SSD which can be upgraded, if and when required. Lenovo stacks in the Windows 10 Pro version as the featured OS for business-oriented users.
Lenovo brings for a 14-inch HD panel with 1366 x 768 pixels at the helm. Although the display isn’t the brightest one in the market, the anti-glare LED-backlit screen comes forth with a decent contrast ratio and an anti-glare functionality.
In addition to that internal hardware, the company also features a durable keyboard and a responsive, buttonless touchpad. Besides that, there is a pointing stick embedded into the keyboard which makes navigation easier than ever. Apart from that, this gadget also brings forth a futuristic webcam, integrated speakers with Dolby audio support, and optimized microphones.
The design elements are pretty aesthetic but the company concentrates on prioritizing durability, more than anything else. Despite flaunting a sleek chassis, the gadget weighs almost 3.7 pounds. However, it is the port arrangement that stands out with Lenovo making w for a standard USB Type-C port followed by the USB Type-A and other legacy display ports.
However, on the left, you get the Thunderbolt 3 output which allows you to pair massive 4K displays and additional GPUs for increasing the functionality of the gadget. The battery on this notebook is better than excellent with Lenovo making up for the dull screen with an 18-hour backup.
Overall, this is strictly a business notebook with the Thunderbolt 3 port offering the flexibility of enhancing the screen and graphics quality by making room for external additions.
- A decent set of ports
- Brilliant keyboard with an intuitive pointing stick
- Class-leading battery
- Decent processing components
- Features a fingerprint reader
- Dull display
- Predictable and boring design
12. Best Battery Life: Lenovo Yoga 730
Lenovo continues to lead the market in gadgets with integrated Thunderbolt 3 ports. Besides offering exceptional connectivity, Lenovo Yoga 730 is also remarkably portable and easy to carry around.
The Intel Core i5-8250U chipset is a reasonable addition, capable of handling web browsing, podcasting, and other demanding activities with ease. Graphics and casual gaming are taken care of by the Intel UHD 620 integrated GPU.
The standard 8GB RAM module persists whereas the 256GB SSD storage unit is pretty efficient for storing larger files with ease. The existing memory support makes sure that the gadget is snappy and boots up quicker than most of the other convertibles in plain sight. Lenovo features Windows 10, straight out of the closet.
The 13.3-inch 1080p panel is reasonably bright. The thinner bezels at 5.9mm increase the screen-to-chassis ratio while making way for better viewing angles. The FHD display panel also features anti-glare support and multi-touch functionality.
This convertible brings in a durable, backlit keyboard and a pretty efficient touchpad, clubbed with a responsive fingerprint reader. Besides that, you can always make use of the excellent sound system on display, bolstered by the Dolby Atmos acoustic tech. Other attributes include a handy webcam and an integrated array of microphones.
Featuring polished aluminum, this device looks extremely high-end and weighs a paltry 2.47 pounds. Despite the sleekest possible chassis, Lenovo doesn’t compromise on the connectivity perks with two Thunderbolt 3 ports added into the mix. You also get access to USB 3.0, in case there are legacy devices and peripherals to account for.
The Yoga 730 shelters an excellent battery with almost 12 hours of steady backup, even under the most taxing circumstances. This convertible is probably the most portable device money can buy while making way for decent processing power and a powerful battery unit.
- Brilliant design
- Two Thunderbolt 3 ports
- Supports multiple form factors, including tent and tablet mode
- Powerful battery
- Excellent speakers
- Inadequate storage capacity
13. Cheapest Option: Acer Swift 3
The last laptop on our list is a nifty performer from Acer. The Acer Swift 3 is best known for the exceptional battery backup and the decent connectivity-specific perks it offers.
The 10th gen Intel Core i5 processor is pretty standard but the turbo clocking speed of up to 3.6GHz comes in handy, in handling more demanding tasks. The Intel UHD integrated graphics card is a basic but performance-centric inclusion.
The Acer Swift 3 isn’t RAM heavy and features 8GB of the same. However, the 256GB PCIe SSD storage unit is ultra-fast and makes way for the fastest boot-up experience. Windows 10 Home edition is persisted with the integrated OS, followed by the WoV functionality.
The 14-inch Full HD panel is a standout inclusion with an overall resolution of 1920×1080 pixels. The IPS LED-backlit screen boasts of Widescreen viewing experience and doesn’t strain the eyes upon continued usage. Acer boasts of precision imagery with the 0.17-inch bezels making way for almost an 84 percent screen-to-chassis ratio.
Acer stacks in a backlit keyboard followed by an intuitive touchpad with the Bio-Protection solution for Fingerprint access clubbed along. You also get access to an HD SHDR webcam followed by an integrated microphone array with Acer Purified voice tech. The dual speaker setup also boasts of excellent acoustic output.
This is a meticulously crafted device that weighs less than 3 pounds and features a host of handy connectivity features including the USB 3.1, HDMI, and the all-inclusive Thunderbolt 3 port. Besides that, you also get dual-band Wi-Fi 6 connectivity standard on this gadget.
The battery module offers an 11-hour backup. Without a doubt, the Acer Swift 3 is probably one of the more affordable notebooks with Thunderbolt 3 support, further validated by the 1080p display and excellent heat management.
- Brilliant display
- Crafty design
- Powerful battery
- Thunderbolt 3 Port
- Solid keyboard
- Middling speakers
- No keys for media control on the keyboard
Frequently Asked Questions
The power offered by a Thunderbolt 3 USB connection via the USB Power Delivery technology is enough to charge most laptops. Any Thunderbolt 3 port can receive and send across almost 100W of power which is more than sufficient for a standard notebook.
Yes, a Thunderbolt 3 port can easily transform a mid-range device into a gaming rig by allowing you to connect an external GPU. Most importantly, the data transfer speeds are in the line of 40gbps which means that the external GPU receives quick instructions, in a similar way to any dedicated unit.
If you believe in physically checking and validating the assumptions, look for the thunderbolt logo beside a USB 3.1 Gen 2 port. However, most USB Type-C slots do not have this sign and in most cases, the inclusion is notified in the instruction manual itself.
Provided you want to set up a sizeable workstation, the Thunderbolt 3 port allows you to connect two 4K displays at 60fps, one 120fps 4K panel, or a 5K display @60fps. For more than one connection, you might just need a gadget with multiple Thunderbolt 3 ports or an external dock.
No, only having a USB 3.1 Gen 2 port doesn’t make the laptop Thunderbolt 3 complaint. In addition to having the reversible port, you would also need a specific hardware unit i.e. the Alpine Ridge chip controller for the gadget to support faster transfers and other utilities offered by the Thunderbolt port.
If you are strictly looking for a gadget with Thunderbolt 3 functionality, you must pre-assign your requirements, beforehand. The laptop market is evolving rapidly and there are umpteen options if you only seek decent Thunderbolt connectivity. However, for a professional gamer, the MSI GS65 Stealth 002 is a great option with the Thunderbolt 3 port allowing you to dock multiple displays and gaming rigs, at once.
When it comes to setting up productive workstations, the ThinkPad X1 Extreme from Lenovo and the HP Zbook 15V G5are the top-most contenders. That said, a MacBook Pro is the best option if you seek more than two Thunderbolt 3 ports, for enhanced productivity.