Best answer: Sadly, Microsoft did not include Thunderbolt 3 or USB-C support in the new Surface Laptop 2. Luckily, there are many alternatives.

Why no USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 for Surface Laptop 2?

Microsoft is often criticized for its dismissal of USB-C, touting its own Surface Connect Port for things like docks and extra ports, such as Microsoft's own Surface Dock. Frustratingly, it prevents the Surface Laptop 2 and similarly USB-C-less Surface Pro 6 from accessing external GPUs, which would vastly increase the usefulness of those devices, particularly as a true desktop replacement.

Microsoft tends to refer to market demand for USB-C when defending its lack of support for the input. It's certainly true that other, older standard USB ports are more widespread, particularly when it comes to legacy devices. However, USB-C and particularly Thunderbolt 3 are far more useful and versatile that Microsoft could really be doing more to push the tech, sporting vastly higher bandwidth. That said, Thunderbolt 3 tends to be more costly to implement than old-school USB ports, which would undoubtedly drive the price of the Surface Laptop up even more. Intel dropped the licensing fee associated with Thunderbolt 3's implementation, though, in an attempt to improve adoption. So far it seems to have helped with almost every OEM ... except for Microsoft.

Microsoft isn't ignoring USB-C completely though, including it in its Surface Book 2 and upcoming Surface Studio 2. There's still no support for Thunderbolt 3, though, and that's frustratingly.

Best alternatives

While we wait for Microsoft to get with the program, there are many great alternatives worth your consideration if you need Thunderbolt 3-powered USB-C ports. These are a couple of our favorites.

XPS 13 brings some thunder(bolt)

Dell XPS 13

Thin and light, sleek and sexy.

Dell has been bringing fire (and thunder) to its laptop lineup as of late, and its Dell XPS 13 is widely regarded as one of the best 13-inch laptops out there. With a huge array of configuration options, even the cheapest model comes with two Thunderbolt 3-enabled USB-C ports which support power delivery and external GPUs. This device is well worth your consideration.

The Dell XPS 13 more closely matches the Surface Laptop 2's form factor, but if you're interested in spending a little more for additional features like inking and multiple display configuration modes, check out the versatile HP Spectre x360.

Go 360 degrees (with inking)

HP Spectre x360

More flexibility.

If you're interested in something with a little more flexibility, consider the HP Spectre x360. It rocks Thunderbolt 3 ports in addition to a 360 hinge, making it ideal for inking and art work.

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