A tablet is the fastest way to get on the internet and experience all that it has to offer in all its glory. Using a bigger screen, a tablet bridges the gap between the internet experience on your smartphone and your laptop (or desktop PC).
They are lighter than laptops, and a tablet’s touch screen provides a snappier UI experience while browsing websites. Further, its slight form makes it suitable for streaming your favorite web series when you are done working and want to kick back to unwind from the day’s stresses.
Tablets have been around for over a decade. While earlier models used micro-USB ports (on most Android devices) or the 30-pin port on the Apple iPad, modern tablets use Thunderbolt and USB-C. These versatile ports enable power, data, and video signal on a single port/cable, making it super convenient to connect with compatible devices, including high-resolution external monitors.
Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C provide an excellent connectivity solution for all computing devices, including tablets. Unfortunately, there aren’t any Thunderbolt 3 devices that strictly fit the “Tablet” classification. So, you’ll have to consider getting a 2-in-1 laptop (or a convertible laptop) with a Thunderbolt 3 port. But with manufacturers widely accepting Thunderbolt 4, finding a convertible laptop with Thunderbolt 3 means relegating your computing needs to an older generation of CPUs.
Convertible laptops hold a considerable edge over tablets with the specifications they offer. These 2-in-1 laptops offer desktop-class CPU modules, whereas most tablets use CPUs better suited for mobility rather than processing power. Some high-end convertible laptops may also feature dedicated GPUs, allowing you to play your favorite games or accomplish other graphics-intensive tasks like video editing.
However, new-generation tablets are changing this trend, and you can easily get a powerful tablet that delivers excellent performance, allowing you to accomplish all your tasks easily. Most such tablets also offer you the convenience of a detachable keyboard.
So you can use common apps like word processors, spreadsheets, and other software, so you won’t miss using a laptop to complete all your official work. And once you are done with work, you can literally put the keyboard aside and have fun doing the cool stuff you like on your tablet. Unfortunately, 2-in-1 laptops don’t have this convenience, so choosing between a convertible laptop and a tablet (with a detachable keyboard) is crucial. Folding phones offer a middle ground between tablets and phones, but they’re still a high-end product at this time.
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Comparison of the Best Tablets with Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C
|Apple 2022 11-inch iPad Pro||Display: 11” LED|
CPU: Apple M2
Rear Camera: 12MP (Wide)+10MP (Ultrawide)
Front Camera: 12MP
Wi-Fi/Bluetooth: Wi-Fi 6E/BT 5.3
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|SAMSUNG Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra||Display: 14.6” Super AMOLED|
Resolution: 2960x1848 (WQXGA+)
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
Rear Camera: 13MP
Front Camera: 12MP
Wi-Fi/Bluetooth: Wi-Fi 6/BT 5.0
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|Lenovo Tab M10 Plus (3rd Gen)||Display: 10.6” IPS|
CPU: MediaTek Helio G80
Rear Camera: 8MP
Front Camera: 8MP
Wi-Fi/Bluetooth: Wi-Fi 5/BT 5.0
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|ASUS ROG Flow Z13||Display: 13.4” IPS|
CPU: Intel Core i7-12700H
Rear Camera: 8MP
Front Camera: 720p
Wi-Fi/Bluetooth: Wi-Fi 6E/BT 5.2
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|Acer Spin 5||Display: 13.5” IPS|
CPU: Intel Core i5-1035G4
Rear Camera: N.A.
Front Camera: 720p
Wi-Fi/Bluetooth: Wi-Fi 6/BT 5.0
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1. Apple 2022 11-inch iPad Pro – Best Thunderbolt 3 Tablet
Apple is known for making premium products, and the 11-inch Apple iPad Pro is no exception. Like all Apple products, it has an unmistakable appeal, and its premium design is complemented well by the premium specifications.
The tablet uses the latest Apple M2 chip and ensures you get unmatched processing power even on a tablet. The mighty M2 CPU features an 8-core CPU, 10-core GPU, and a 16-core neural engine, amongst other things. This variant is the most affordable, with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage. Of course, several different variants exist, including the top-end variant with 16GB RAM and 2TB storage. But those are expensive, making them unpopular for more common use cases.
The iPad Pro features two brilliant cameras on the rear, one each for wide and ultrawide angle shots. The 12MP wide-angle and 10MP ultrawide cameras have apertures of f/1.8 and f/2.4, respectively. The cameras feature 2x optical zoom and have several handy features that ensure you take a perfect picture each time. However, the user-facing camera is the best, with its 12MP resolution, f/2.4 aperture, and a range of portrait modes and lighting effects that help enhance the quality of your video calls.
Besides exceptional processing power, Apple provides a visual treat with its 11-inch Liquid Retina Display with a 2388×1668 resolution and 264ppi pixel density. You also get SDR Brightness of 600nits, True Tone, and a wide P3 color gamut that ensures natural-looking colors that are vibrant and accurate.
The tablet support 4K video recording, and since Apple uses the M2 chip, the iPad Pro supports hardware-accelerated H.264, HEVC, and media engines that make the video experience truly memorable.
Lastly, the iPad Pro supports 2nd Gen Apple Pencil; the screen displays a pointer when you hover it over it, giving you precise control over the user interface.
The iPad Pro features a USB-C port with Thunderbolt 3 support. So, you get data transfer speed up to 40Gbps, video support, and power delivery all on one port. Further, you can use AirPlay to mirror the screen in 4K and use USB-C DisplayPort for connecting high-resolution external displays.
Apple ensures you get high-speed wireless connectivity with Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3. And while this variant doesn’t support cellular connectivity, you can consider using a variant with WWAN 5G support using either an eSIM or a Nano-SIM.Our Take
The Apple iPad Pro beats all other tablets, hands down. It combines tremendous performance, attractive aesthetics, and unmatched utility into one cohesive tablet for all your computing needs.
It’s lightweight and versatile, making it a worthwhile replacement for most laptops. And with support for Apple Pencil, the iPad Pro is super convenient, whether while working or during professional presentations.
- The Thunderbolt 3 port combines high-speed data transfer, Power Delivery, and video signals on a single port.
- It has excellent cameras that allow you to take eye-catching photos.
- It supports Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3 for state-of-the-art wireless connectivity.
- The Apple M2 processor provides excellent performance.
- Several configuration variants to choose from.
- Only two mundane color variants
2. SAMSUNG Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra – Large Screen AMOLED Display
The S8 Ultra is the newest and most powerful tablet in the Samsung line-up. It uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, and Samsung pairs this with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage. Of course, there are more variants that offer higher specifications for more demanding needs.
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor is Qualcomm’s top-of-the-line processor and features an 8-core CPU, Adreno 730 GPU, and a clock speed of up to 3GHz. Compared with its closest sibling, the Snapdragon 888, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 is far ahead of the curve and ensures your tablet delivers the expected performance.
The S8 Ultra is heavier than the iPad, and the cameras aren’t as impressive. But if you are after productivity, the S8 Ultra delivers excellent performance thanks to its large display that gives you ample screen real estate for efficient multitasking.
The 14-inch Super AMOLED screen does an exceptional job with the display. For starters, it’s one of the few with such a large screen, making it the natural choice for professionals who prefer larger display screens.
The S8 Ultra has a 2960×1848 resolution, and the AMOLED panel ensures superior image quality with true blacks and an infinite contrast ratio. Unfortunately, the huge screen (for a tablet) makes the device unwieldy compared to other tablets on the market.
The device has a single USB-C port for wired connectivity. There is no 3.5mm audio port for connecting headphones, so you must use Bluetooth.
The S8 Ultra supports Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0, which is disappointing considering the price you pay and the competition. The iPad Pro is a worthwhile competitor that’s cheaper and supports Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3. Moreover, the S8 Ultra lacks LTE/5G connectivity, and you’ll have to scale down to the S8+ if you want WWAN connectivity.Our Take
While the connectivity option will leave you wanting more, the S8 Ultra’s 14-inch AMOLED display gives you unmatched screen real estate and superior image quality. The tablet comes with the S-pen, Samsung’s answer to the Apple Pencil.
- The large 14-inch display is great for enhancing productivity.
- The AMOLED screen provides stunning image quality thanks to deep blacks.
- Three configuration variants cater to user cases ranging from daily to professional use.
- It has a Micro SD card slot for expanding storage up to 1TB.
- The back camera support 4K video recording at 30fps.
- No LTE/5G connectivity.
- It is expensive.
- You only get Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 despite the premium price.
3. Lenovo Tab M10 Plus (3rd Gen) – Cheapest Tablet
The M10 Plus is an expensive and arguably the lightest tablet on the market. However, inexpensive means you will get few top-of-the-line features like a high-performance processor or the latest wireless connectivity standards. Nevertheless, it is a good tablet for anyone on a tight budget or for students who need it for learning or attending online classes.
The tablet features the MediaTek Helio G80 8-core processor with a clock speed of 1.8GHz. Lenovo pairs this with 8GB RAM and an eMCP128GB storage. The tablet also features a media card reader to extend the storage capacity to 1TB.
The cameras on the M10 Plus are functional at best as it features two 8MP cameras, one each for front and rear-facing shots.
The tablet has a modest 10-inch IPS panel touchscreen with a 2000x1200p resolution and up to 400nits brightness. The screen is TUV Rheinland certified for Low Blue Light emissions, meaning you can read and view endless content without feeling any stress on your eyes.
In fact, the M10 Plus features a Reading Mode that tries to replicate the experience of reading an actual book. Thus, it further helps reduce eye strain by managing the mono/grayscale settings so you stay focused on the article you are reading.
The M10 Plus offers several connectivity options to connect you to the digital world. It features Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 5.0 for wireless connectivity and ancillary wireless technologies like Wi-Fi Direct and Wi-Fi Display. Additionally, the tablet equips you to use location-based apps with its support for GPS and GLONASS.
The M10 Plus offers USB-C 2.0, so you can charge your device, but it won’t support video signals, and the data speed will mainly depend peripheral you connect. Apart from the media card reader (and USB-C), this tablet includes a 3.5mm combo audio jack for connecting your headset for video calls.Our Take
The M10 Plus is a pocket-friendly tablet with USB-C connectivity and is ideal as a learning device. It has all the basic functionality, giving you a comprehensive tablet experience. However, the low cost means you’ll have to forego several performance features, but the M10 Plus is perfect for first-time tablet users who want an entry-level device for basic needs.
- The tablet has dedicated reading modes that help preserve battery charge and prevents eye strain.
- The 10-inch screen comes with TUV Rheinland certification for Low Blue Light emissions.
- The expandable memory slot lets you extend the storage up to 1TB.
- The lightweight and compact design makes it easy to carry.
- No Wi-Fi 6/6E for high-speed connectivity.
- Not suitable for high-performance tasks.
4. ASUS ROG Flow Z13 – Gaming Tablet with Detachable Keyboard
The Z13 is a high-performance gaming laptop in the body of a conventional tablet. It features an ideal configuration that allows you to play any game of your choice, and it includes a detachable keyboard, making it the perfect device for accomplishing varied tasks.
The tablet has a 12th-generation Intel Core i7-12700H processor (14-core, 24MB Cache, and up to 4.70GHz clock speed). It also has a colossal 16GB DDR5 RAM and 512GB storage. But what sets this tablet apart from its competitors is its dedicated Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 GPU which plays a vital part in delivering gaming performance on a tablet.
The Z12 has a 13.4-inch FHD+ IPS display panel with a refresh rate of 120Hz and a 1920×1200 resolution. The Pantone-validated screen has a 100% sRGB color gamut that helps display accurate, lifelike colors. It supports Adaptive-Sync and has a response time of 30ms, which isn’t exactly “high-performance,” but remember, this is a table we are talking about.
Apart from being a gaming powerhouse, the Asus ROG Flow Z13 offers the best connectivity option amongst tablets, including Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2, and the following ports.
1x Thunderbolt 4
1x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 (Alt Mode DisplayPort and Power Delivery)
1x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2
1x USB 2.0
1x 3.2mm combo audio jack
1x media card reader
1x ROX XG Mobile Interface
The Z13 is a one-of-a-kind tablet with high-end specifications that you’ll usually find on gaming laptops. While it’s packed with gaming features that allow you to play the latest games competitively, it also includes a detachable keyboard that you can use as a laptop to get work done.
Thus, it’s perfect for anyone who wants to game on the go but is okay with paying a premium price for this versatile device.
- High-end specifications deliver top-notch performance.
- The Thunderbolt 4 and USB-C ports provide excellent physical connectivity.
- Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 provide high-speed network connectivity.
- A dedicated GPU on a tablet enables high-performance gaming.
- The weight makes it impractical as a tablet.
5. Acer Spin 5 – Thunderbolt 3 Convertible Laptop
It is 2023, and finding a Thunderbolt 3 laptop is getting to be challenging, and finding a convertible laptop with Thunderbolt 3 is an even more significant challenge. Newer CPUs and Thunderbolt 4 have taken over the laptop space, and you can get these newer features for the same (if not better) price.
Manufacturers have adopted Thunderbolt 4, so finding a Thunderbolt 3 device means settling for older specifications. The Acer Spin 5 is one such convertible Thunderbolt 3 laptop with a 10th-generation Intel i5-1035G4 processor that Acer pairs with 8GB DDR4 RAM and 256GB SSD storage.
The 2-in-1 laptop features a 13.5-inch IPS panel display with a 2256×1504 resolution. The LED-backlit display has a 3:2 aspect ratio, making it the ideal notebook for working professionals as they get more vertical screen real estate enabling them to view more lines of text.
The display covers 98% of the sRGB color space and has a contrast ratio of 1400:1. So the visuals look attractive, and the images appear lifelike and vibrant.
The Acer Spin 5 has a versatile set of port and wireless connectivity options. The laptop features the following ports.
2x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1
2x Thunderbolt 3
1x Media card reader
1x 3.5mm audio jack
Acer doesn’t include a WWAN slot for LTE/5G connectivity, so you must rely on its Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 support for wireless connectivity.Our Take
The Acer Spin 5 is a convertible laptop that gives you the best of two worlds, tablets and laptops. The configurations are dated, and you can get newer generation CPUs with Thunderbolt 4 ports for the same price.
Despite this, the Acer Spin 5 is an excellent pick if you want a versatile device that you can use for work and pleasure. Moreover, the Spin 5’s compact size and lightweight design make it convenient to carry on your business trip.
- The 2-in-1 design gives you the benefit of a laptop and a tablet.
- Two Thunderbolt 3 ports enable you to connect additional peripheral devices.
- Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 provide high-speed network connectivity.
- The Active Style makes using the device in tablet mode convenient.
- The backlit keyboard makes it easy to type in dimly lit rooms.
- Outdated processor and RAM modules.
- Heats up during peak performance.
USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 offer tremendous utility, combining power, data, and video signals on a single port. Since USB-C provides manufacturers with considerably more flexibility, it is the preferred technology in computing, and we are confident you’ll see more tablets feature USB-C in the future. As for Thunderbolt 3, since Thunderbolt 4’s launch and its becoming mainstream, it is increasingly challenging to find Thunderbolt 3 devices. With its Thunderbolt 3 support, the Apple iPad Pro is an exception, and new tablets from other manufacturers mostly use Thunderbolt 4.
That said, we have curated a list of the best USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 devices that will cover most use cases. However, every user has a unique need, and finding a suitable device often also depends on personal needs and preferences.