Best Value Laptops with Thunderbolt 3 in 2021

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What is thunderbolt 3?

It’s simply a port that allow many kinds of connections. They can be charging ports, can transfer data up to 20 times faster than normal network cables, and can connect external GPU and 4K displays into your laptop. The data transferring speed can go up to 40Gb/s. That is the fastest data transferring cable up to date. Though, this connection technology is only available for laptops with intel processors.

More and more laptops are made with the Thunderbolt 3 port, as it recently became a standard.

Now, many laptops made with thunderbolt 3 are pretty expensive. So in this review, I made a list of the best and cheapest laptops that feature the thunderbolt 3 port.

The thunderbolt port has gained a lot of popularity over the past few years, and it’s becoming more and more mainstream on new laptops.

Are Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C the same thing?

No, thunderbolt 3 and USB-C aren’t the same thing. 

First of all, USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 have the same port design. Though, Thunderbolt 3’s connectivity type is widely different and superior in every way than USB-C. 

Many people mix the two, and you wouldn’t be alone being confused. The two ports have the same appearance, but the Thunderbolt one has a little bolt logo, while the USB-C still has the unique 3 prong logo that we all know from all USB ports.

Thunderbolt 3 has every feature of USB-C ports, but the opposite isn’t true.

Thunderbolt 3 combines the features of USB, but with many additional capabilities.

You can use Thunderbolt 3 to plug an external graphic card. There’s pretty much no noticeable lag or delay compared to an internal graphic card. Pretty convenient if you don’t have a gaming laptop!

Thunderbolt 3 is also greatly faster than USB-C. Thunderbolt 3 can allow up to 40 Gb/s of data transfer, while USB-C can reach 10Gb/s.

Thunderbolt 3 can connect two 4k displays at once, or one 5k with 60Hz, while USB-C can only connect one 4k display.

1) Lenovo Yoga 730 (best battery life Thunderbolt 3 laptop)

  • Display Size: 13.3″ 1920×1080, touch
  • Processor: 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-8250U
  • RAM: 8GB DDR4 SDRAM
  • Storage: 256GB SSD
  • Graphics: Intel UHD Grphics 620
  • Networking: 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.1
  • Operating system: Windows 10 (64-bit)

For

Against

Our verdict

Let’s start with the Lenovo Yoga 730. It’s an excellent and affordable 2-in-1 laptop and features the Thunderbolt 3 port.

2-in-1 laptops are becoming more and more popular amongst multimedia laptop users, and having the Thunderbolt 3 makes it even more convenient.

In case you’re wondering, the reason why it’s called a 2-in-1 laptop is because of its convertibility into a tablet and a laptop at the same time. It’s versatile and usable in multiple types of environments.

Flip the Yoga 730 into a tablet to take notes in class, or digital arts. Put it in laptop mode, where you can comfortably edit videos and play games (thanks to the possibility of using an external graphic card).

It has 8GB of RAM, which is plenty enough to perform normal tasks. For the storage, it has a 256GB SSD, which isn’t the most optimal storage size, but big enough if you’re careful with not installing too many unnecessary programs.

It features the 8th gen Intel Core i5-8250U, which is very power efficient, making the battery life last way longer than with other CPUs.

With its 360 degree hinge, the lenovo Yoga 730 offers three different modes: tablet, tent and laptop. When changing between those modes, the display and UI automatically, allowing for a more customized experience. Use it in tablet mode when you’re not at home, and have to move it a lot.

Put the laptop in tent mode when you watch YouTube videos on the kitchen table, or anything that requires the laptop to rest on a surface with an angle. Think of it as a stand.

Finally, use the standard laptop mode for your desk. Play games at the comfort of your own home, after a long day of work, with an eGPU plugged in (thanks Thunderbolt 3).

It weighs 4.2 lbs. It has a nice display of 15.6” in size and resolution of 1920×1080. It’s made with the IPS panel, making the viewing angle excellent, and the image look crisp and clear.

2) Dell XPS 13 (best powerful Thunderbolt 3 laptop)​

  • Display: 13.4″, 1080p
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-1065G7
  • Weight: 2.8 lbs
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 512 NVMe SSD
  • Graphics: Intel Iris Plus
  • Size: 11.6 x 7.8 x 0.6 inches

For

Against

Our verdict

Let’s start with the Lenovo Yoga 730. It’s an excellent and affordable 2-in-1 laptop and features the Thunderbolt 3 port.

2-in-1 laptops are becoming more and more popular amongst multimedia laptop users, and having the Thunderbolt 3 makes it even more convenient.

In case you’re wondering, the reason why it’s called a 2-in-1 laptop is because of its convertibility into a tablet and a laptop at the same time. It’s versatile and usable in multiple types of environments.

Flip the Yoga 730 into a tablet to take notes in class, or digital arts. Put it in laptop mode, where you can comfortably edit videos and play games (thanks to the possibility of using an external graphic card).

It has 8GB of RAM, which is plenty enough to perform normal tasks. For the storage, it has a 256GB SSD, which isn’t the most optimal storage size, but big enough if you’re careful with not installing too many unnecessary programs.

It features the 8th gen Intel Core i5-8250U, which is very power efficient, making the battery life last way longer than with other CPUs.

With its 360 degree hinge, the lenovo Yoga 730 offers three different modes: tablet, tent and laptop. When changing between those modes, the display and UI automatically, allowing for a more customized experience. Use it in tablet mode when you’re not at home, and have to move it a lot.

Put the laptop in tent mode when you watch YouTube videos on the kitchen table, or anything that requires the laptop to rest on a surface with an angle. Think of it as a stand.

Finally, use the standard laptop mode for your desk. Play games at the comfort of your own home, after a long day of work, with an eGPU plugged in (thanks Thunderbolt 3).

It weighs 4.2 lbs. It has a nice display of 15.6” in size and resolution of 1920×1080. It’s made with the IPS panel, making the viewing angle excellent, and the image look crisp and clear.

Thunderbolt 3 FAQ

Can you use Thunderbolt 3 to charge a laptop?

The answer is yes. Thunderbolt 3 is the same connector as USB-C, which can also allow up to 100W of power. So as long your laptop supports USB charging, Thunderbolt 3 charging is possible.

Are Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C the same thing?

No. The thing you have to remember, is that USB-C is the port design, while Thunderbolt 3 is the connection standard. Thunderbolt 3 uses the USB-C port shape, but with additional connectivity features, with USB, power charging and Display.

How do I know if my laptop supports Thunderbolt 3?

Look at the USB-C connector on your laptop. If there’s a Thunderbolt logo next to it, it means it supports it. If you don’t see it, you can still go check on the manufacturer’s product page of your laptop (example: search your laptop on the Dell website), and it should be listed as the main feature.

Why would I need Thunderbolt 3?

It’s the most advanced and fastest port that ever existed. It’s capable of connecting two external 4k displays, an external GPU, transferring data at 40 Gb/s and charging your laptop.

Why is Thunderbolt 3 so expensive?

Because they’re pretty advanced pieces of technology. They’re 4 times faster than USB-C, being capable of passing up to 40 Gb/s through a thin cable. Pretty impressive if you ask me.

What can I do with Thunderbolt 3?

Thunderbolt 3 can reach up to 40 Gb/s of data transfer. It’s twice as fast as the previous generation, and crushes the speed of USB 3.1 (which is 10 Gb/s). It supports up to two 4K displays connections at once, with video and audio. It can also be used as a charging port.

Is Thunderbolt 3 worth it?

I’ll admit, those ports can be pretty pricey. But its biggest advantage is its ultra-fast data transfering capabilities. If you’re gonna need a laptop for moving data quickly, like raw camera files transfer, connecting an external GPU, or connecting external 4K displays into your laptop, then it’s definitely worth it.

Can you use USB-C cable into Thunderbolt 3 port?

Yes, Thunderbolt 3 supports USB-C, as Thunderbolt 3 is backward-compatible with earlier generation and with USB-C cables. So plugging a USB-C into a Thunderbolt 3 will work just fine.

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