Best Thunderbolt 3 Laptops Windows Central 2020
Are you looking for a new laptop that has Thunderbolt 3 ports? Well, you're in luck, as we've rounded up what we think are the best Windows laptops with Thunderbolt 3 available today, including the Dell XPS 13. We've got everything from the beautifully designed, to the devices with all-out power.
- Best Overall: Dell XPS 13 (9310)
- Best for Power Users: Dell XPS 15 (9500)
- Best Design: HP Spectre x360 13t
- Best for Gaming: Razer Blade Stealth
- Best for Business: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon
Best Overall: Dell XPS 13
The latest XPS 13 from Dell is packing the latest in mobile processors, powered by Intel's new 11th generation chips that offer better power efficiency and integrated graphics with extra processing power when you need it. It also features a new design with two Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports for the fastest file transfers and the ability to power external accessories such as an eGPU.
It's super thin and weighs only 2.9 pounds (1.33 kg), so it's great to slip into a bag and travel with. It has a beautiful 13.4-inch display, available in either 1080p or 4K configurations (if you're battery conscious, you can grab the 1080p one for extended battery life). It also features Windows Hello for quick biometric authentication too.
Other specs include up to 32GB RAM, 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD, and integrated Intel Iris Graphics for graphical processing. It's an excellent portable laptop, with a 360-degree hinge that lets you turn it into a tablet, which also supports pen input in case you need it.
- Super thin.
- 10th gen processors.
- Excellent design
- Thunderbolt 3 support.
- Only available in two colors.
Get more done with the latest hardware
This refresh has two Thunderbolt 3-enabled USB-C ports for super-fast file transfer and power to external USB-C accessories such as eGPU's.
Best for Power Users: Dell XPS 15
The latest Dell XPS 15 is rocking plenty of ports, one of which is a Thunderbolt 3-enabled Type-C USB port. It also has two USB-C 3.1 ports and an SD card reader. It's rocking newer 10th Gen Intel processors on the inside (up to i9), a 4K OLED panel option, as well as the newer NVIDIA GTX 1650 Ti dedicated GPU.
This is the laptop you want if you're all about raw power. If you need to do video editing or heavy Photoshop work, you simply can't go wrong with the Dell XPS 15. You can configure it with an Intel Core i9 processor, 32GB RAM, a dedicated GPU (or an external one with the Thunderbolt 3 port), and a 2TB PCIe SSD drive. That's a super expensive configuration, of course, but it's possible.
It also has a sizeable 97WHr battery that should keep you from running out of power all day. The 15.6-inch display also doesn't feel that big, thanks to the InfinityEdge display first pioneered by Dell. It feels more like a 14-inch laptop, which means it fits into your bag much easier than other 15-inch laptops.
- Raw power
- Powerful GPU
- 4K option
- Touch available
- Thunderbolt 3 support
Best for Power Users
Get everything done
This laptop should be able to do everything you need. It also features a Thunderbolt 3 enabled USB-C port for fast file transfer.
Best Design: HP Spectre 15t
The latest HP Spectre 15t is beautiful, featuring a unique gem-cut design with USB-C ports planted in the corners. It has one Thunderbolt 3 Type-C port, which makes it perfect for our list. The HP Spectre 15t's "gem-cut" design brings sharp, angular edges to the metal chassis. The design is an abrupt departure from the more rounded hinge area from the last model. It's especially noticeable near the back, where the corners have been lopped off in favor of hard angles.
The Spectre x360t also features an updated processor to the latest Intel 10th Generation Core i7 processor, Gigabit Wi-Fi. The company moved the fingerprint reader from the side to the top deck. The display bezels are now 5.7% thinner than the last model (though they're still rather large on the top and bottom).
The Spectre x360 15t's 15.6-inch full HD or 4K display is one of the better ones we've tested. With around 320 nits of brightness and 98 percent sRGB color accuracy, the tones, and balance look great. Like other HP models, there are options for a 4K panel – which, while looking great, is likely overkill for many – and HP's new privacy screen dubbed Sure View.
- Handsome, elegant gem-cut design
- Excellent battery life
- Pen included
- Great price point
- No place to store the pen
This 2-in-1 features two USB-C 3.1 ports and two Thunderbolt 3 ports, so you can plug in an external GPU if you want an extra boost in power.
Best for Gaming: Razer Blade Stealth
The latest Razer Blade Stealth features a single Thunderbolt 3 port, a must-have for a gaming laptop as it means you can hook up an external GPU for more hardcore gaming. The new Blade Stealth shares the design language Razer first brought to the table in the Blade 15. That means super-skinny bezels around the up to 4K touch display, a drop of 60% over the previous Blade Stealth. There is also a 1080p matte display, and both configurations promise 100% sRGB color space.
The new Blade Stealth comes with a 10th Gen Intel Core i7-1065G7 quad-core processor, 8GB or 16GB of RAM, up to 512GB of PCIe SSD storage, a Windows Hello compatible IR camera, and a 53.1Wh battery good for up to 13 hours of use. It also has NVIDIA GTX 1650 graphics for gaming a content creation.
- Sleek design
- Lots of power
- Configurable display
- Windows Hello IR camera
Best for Gaming
Game for (a lot) of the day
This laptop has a Thunderbolt 3-powered USB-C port, one USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 port, and two USB 3.1 Type-A ports. Attach an external GPU for a gaming session.
Best for Business: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon
If you're looking for something for the workplace, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 is your best buy. Featuring two Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports and two USB-C 3.2 ports, there's a lot of room for all your USB-C accessories. It can be configured with a 14-inch 4K IPS display with HDR and touch, a common trend in laptops this year. That display also has X-Rite Pantone color calibration, making it perfect for graphics professionals.
The processor also jumps to a 10th Generation Intel Core i5 or i7 series. For graphics, users get an all-new NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 with Max-Q graphics, a jump from the previous NVIDIA GTX 1050 Ti. Additional features include DDR4 RAM and dual 2TB PCIe SSD, which can be configured for RAID.
For a business device, Lenovo rates the ThinkPad X1 Extreme with 14 hours of battery life, which should easily get you through a workday. It's also relatively light at 3.76 pounds, making it a great choice if you need to commute to work.
- Business in the front
- Super powerful
- Large display
- Optional 4K
- Long-lasting battery
- Audio is just okay
Best for Business
The X1 Extreme is all about portable performance
To enjoy extreme levels of performance, Lenovo decided to throw everything into the X1 Extreme Gen 2 without going overboard.
Thunderbolt 3 is a hardware capability upgrade for USB-C ports that delivers more power thanks to an increased amount of PCIe lanes. Thunderbolt 3 ports come with four PCIe lanes, allowing for more data to be parsed at any given time. This enables unique use cases like faster file transfers, power delivery, and even the use of external GPUs.
Whether you're looking for a Thunderbolt 3-enabled laptop that puts emphasis on design like the HP Spectre, or something with all the power and all the ports, like the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon, there's something for everyone in the world of Thunderbolt 3 laptops.
Zac Bowden is a senior editor at Windows Central, which means he covers a wide array of software and hardware here at Windows Central. Joining Mobile Nations in 2016, you can usually find him playing with new Windows 10 builds or secret unreleased prototype devices. Hit him up on Twitter: @zacbowden.
Cale Hunt is a full-time writer for Windows Central, focusing mainly on PC hardware and VR. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and when he has some free time, you can usually find him practicing guitar or reorganizing his ever-growing library. If you hear him say, "Sorry!" it's only because he's Canadian.
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