Laptops with Thunderbolt 3 support are the future, even if it’s not yet the norm.
While many new models feature support for TB3, these days, not all coveted laptop models feature Thunderbolt 3, and it can be a little tricky picking out the best of them that meets your needs.
A few things to watch out for are Thunderbolt 3 laptops that have less-than-great build quality, or some that have skipped on other legacy ports.
For these reasons, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best Thunderbolt 3 laptops of 2019.
Many of the ones listed have been on the market since 2018. A reason for this is that they’re still quite recent, even if they’re models from last year, and you get amazing performance at great prices since prices drop after a few months.
NOTE: If you’d like a bit more detail on Thunderbolt 3, then feel free to check out our intro article What is Thunderbolt 3?
Best Thunderbolt 3 Laptops
The list will be continuously updated since there’s always room for improvement.
We try to choose laptops based on the value they offer for the price. This is not a list focusing on price tags – if you’re looking for budget Thunderbolt 3 laptops then you can view our Top Picks for Cheapest Thunderbolt 3 Laptops.
Without further ado, let’s get into checking the best Thunderbolt 3 laptops of 2019.
At a Glance – Our Top Picks
|Dell XPS 15 9570||Features: Lightweight, 8th Gen i5-8300H/i7-8750H/i9-8950HK, Full HD or 4K Display, GTX 1050Ti 4GB GDDR5, 8GB to 32GB RAM, 256GB to 1TB SSD |
Benefits: Best Thunderbolt laptop overall, with superior build, and great for everyday use, multimedia editing, CAD work, programming, and lightweight gaming.
TB3 Ports: 1x 4 PCIe
|Apple MacBook Pro (2018)||Features: 8th Gen i7 8850H/i9 8950HK, 500 nits Display w/ True Tone Technology, Radeon Pro 555x/560x - 4GB, Up to 4TB SSD, Up to 32GB RAM|
Benefits: Superior build quality. Gold standard for creatives. Highly configurable.
TB3 Ports: 4x 4 PCIe/2x 4 PCIe
|HP Spectre x360||Features: 8th Gen Intel Core i5/i7, MX150 -2GB GDDR5 / Radeon RX Vega M -4GB / GTX 1050Ti -4GB, 8GB-16GB RAM, 256GB-1TB SSD|
Benefits: Striking design with a royal aesthetic, performance fit for a high-end laptop, 2x Thunderbolt 3 ports and great battery life given it’s specs and the 4K display.
TB3 Ports: 2x 4 PCIe
|Huawei MateBook X Pro (2018)||Features: 3K Touchscreen with 91% screen-to-body-ratio, Intel Core i5/i7, One Touch Power Button, 8GB-16GB RAM, Intel UHD Graphics 620/MX150 -2GB GDDR5|
Benefits: Amazing laptop, that’s well designed and with great specs, that lives up to the hype. One of the best laptops of 2018.
TB3 Ports: 1x 2 PCIe
|MSI GS75 Stealth||Features: 15.6''/17.3'', Intel Core i7, Up to 32GB RAM, GTX 1060 6G/GTX 1070 8G/GTX 1080 8G/RTX 2080 8G Max-Q|
Benefits: A gorgeous gaming laptop, that’s also slim and light with a beast of a GPU that can handle anything you throw at it.
TB3 Ports: 1x 4 PCIe
Dell XPS 15 9570 – Best Thunderbolt Laptop Overall
Excellent all-rounder. Great for multimedia editing, CAD work, programming, everyday use, and even lightweight gaming.
A little bit of history here – the XPS 15 comes from a line of pioneering laptops by Dell, that started in 2015. Before that, many powerful laptops were unsightly – until Dell came along with that year’s Dell XPS 15, which was a thin, powerful and pretty laptop with thinner bezels.
From a design perspective, it’s virtually identical to the last few iterations of the Dell XPS.
The differences are a more slightly embossed dell logo, a slightly lighter color, a repositioned webcam that is now in the center of the bottom bezel, and it now features a fingerprint reader built into the power button.
Design-wise not much has changed, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
The chassis is still best in class, made from aluminum, and it makes for an overall beautiful looking laptop. Some may consider it kind of boring but it’s most likely a matter of taste.
The keyboard deck and palmrest are coated with a rubberized carbon fiber material that’s nice to the touch and durable.
There are also 5 LED lights on the side that tell you the battery life, which is aesthetically pleasing and useful.
Moreover, it features non-slippery rubber feet on the bottom of the laptop that aid in airflow.
When it comes to ports, the selection is good. It offers 2x USB 3.1 ports, 1x Thunderbolt 3 USB-C with 4x PCIe, a full-size SD Card reader, HDMI 2.0, headphone jack and power connector.
The Dell XPS 15 9570 has been upgraded from the previous generation by a significant amount.
For the CPU there are a few options to choose from – the i5, i7 or i9.
The GPU is GeForce GTX 1050Ti and it gets respectable frame-rates, so the XPS is good for light gaming, and it’s also quite good with Adobe software.
The top spec model offers a 4K display, 8th Gen i9-8950HK CPU, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD, and a GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q GPU, but with the reasonable configuration of an i7 8750H, 16 GB RAM, 512 SSD and GTX 1050 Ti you’ll get pretty solid performance.
The i7 8750H is great for gaming and multimedia editing, the RAM is upgradeable up to 32GB RAM, the SSD has great read/write speeds, while the GPU is pretty basic, but considerably better than the integrated graphics card. You’re not going to be able to run graphics-intensive games, however.
When it comes to the screen, here is where the Dell XPS 15 9570 excels.
You can get it either with a 1080p screen or you could go for 4K for an extra $200, at the time of writing, both displays reaching about 400 nits and meet 100% of the Adobe RGB color gamut.
There are many great things about this laptop, even though it has some shortcomings, it’s a solid contender for one of the best and most well-rounded higher-end laptops available.
Considering how thin and light it is, the Dell XPS 15 9570 is a beast of a laptop it’s definitely one of the best laptops you can buy today, if you’re looking for a laptop that’s great in all areas, including lightweight gaming as well as photo, video and audio editing.
The keyboard is pretty good. It’s not quite as good as Apple’s chiclet-style keyboard, but it’s nice. In addition, it’s got pretty good key-travel and LED back-lighting.
Considering the trackpad, while it is great, you may not like it as much if you come from Apple products, as the clicking mechanism feels different. This doesn’t mean it’s not a good trackpad, however – it’s a glass trackpad, with good texture and accurate tracking.
Meanwhile, the battery is a 97Whr battery. With light to moderate use, it will probably take you up to 6hrs with the 4K screen and more with the 1080p.
Most likely, to keep the bezels thin, the webcam is placed at the bottom of the display, which makes for some unflattering shots.
It’s got a fingerprint reader built into the power button. While it is quick, it may not register if you’ve got only half of your fingerprint on it, unlike the Macbook Pro.
- Strong in all respects, whether for intense tasks or everyday use – a perfect blend of multimedia editing/gaming/portability.
- Good battery life on the Full HD display.
- 1 Thunderbolt 3 x 4 PCIe lanes.
- Amazing display, offering approximately 100% sRGB on both Full HD and Ultra HD displays.
- Can run most modern games.
- Solid trackpad and keyboard.
- Fingerprint scanner ensures security and an easy, password-free sign in.
- Lightweight and portable, while providing higher performance.
- Sleek and compact design.
- Battery lasts about 6h with the Ultra HD display.
- The carbon fiber palmrest collects sweat and has to be cleaned regularly.
- Webcam located under display, making for some unflattering shots.
- Doesn’t feature an Ethernet port, so you’ll have to buy an adapter for this, but then you’ll be missing a USB port.
- Sound quality and volume are poor.
- The back-lit keyboard can be irritating in the dark.
- Can get very hot when performing intensive tasks.
MacBook Pro (2018) – Gold Standard for Creatives
Exquisite, with amazing build quality. With x2 or x4 Thunderbolt 3 ports, it can run up to 3 external monitors and output 4k over HDMI.
The Apple MacBook Pro will be the preferred choice for many people these days, and in our
case, especially if they’re looking for a laptop with Thunderbolt 3 ports.
There’s no shortage of T3 ports, regardless of the model you go for. The 15” model comes with a whopping 4x Thunderbolt 3 ports, while the 13” one comes with 2x Thunderbolt 3 ports. On the downside, since you’ve got all Thunderbolt 3 ports and a headphone jack, you’re in dongle hell with the MacBook Pro. So without a ~$50+ dongle, you’re limited to those ports.
As expected of an Apple product, the MacBook Pro features an exquisitely sleek design, it’s lightweight, stylish and features superior quality build. Another advantage to get this laptop would obviously be that it fits in with the Apple ecosystem – if you’re an avid Apple user that is.
If you don’t intend to stick with MacOS, however, do take into account the fact that there is limited support for Linux, and you may have to jump through hoops to get it up and running on the MacBook.
The MacBook Pro’s features a fantastic and color accurate display, it’s bright at 500 nits and has True Tone technology. In case you’re not familiar with True Tone, it debuted with the iPad Pro and it’s also used by some of the latest iPhone models. What this tech does is adapt to ambient light in your environment and adjusts the display to give you the perfect image, no matter where you’re working.
Given that Apple has kept the sleek and thin design of the MacBook Pro, you can rest assured that this machine is very portable, so if you need lots of power on-the-go, then this is could be the laptop you’re looking for.
The MacBook Pro’s configuration is quite versatile, as you can choose between a wide range of specs and prices, depending on what you choose between the 13” or the 15” displays, certain configurations from which to choose.
It’s also been improved with a membrane underneath the keys that make the typing quieter, and also prevents dirt from getting inside the mechanism.
The i9 is great for heavy-duty tasks like some video editing, programming or rendering 3D content, then this is definitely what you want.
For instance, it allows you:
– to scrub through the boring bits of a video
– scroll through a plethora of images
– quickly use emoji
– when you’re making a purchase, when you put your fingerprint in place to make a purchase, the touchbar will remind you if you really do want to spend that amount of money
– while you’re in Safari, the bar will transform into a reel with thumbnails of the tabs you have open so you can easily scroll through them
– easily toggle tracks when listening to music
Additionally, the machine now responds to “Hey Siri..” commands.
- The built-in trackpad is probably one of the best you’ve ever used.
- Long lasting battery and fast charging.
- 4x Thunderbolt 3 Ports on the 15” model and 2x Thunderbolt 3 Ports on the 13” model.
- Handles heavy applications like CAD, XCode and multimedia editing with ease.
- Very sleek, slim and lightweight.
- True Tone technology adjusts to the ambient light in your environment to deliver the best display.
- Great for traveling and programming, graphic design, video editing, music production and business.
- Even though it’s such a beast, it still can’t compete with gaming laptops.
- The keyboard has a unique feel and some people may not like it.
- Physical Escape and Function buttons have been replaced by touchscreen, which may affect workflow of some people – such as Vim users.
- There are no USB-A or Ethernet ports, so you’ll have to buy separate adapters.
HP Spectre x360 15t – Best Value Thunderbolt Laptop
Striking design with a royal aesthetic, performance fit for a high-end laptop, 2x Thunderbolt 3 ports and great battery life given it’s specs and the 4K display.
Unlike the MacBook Pro, which also is very stylish itself, the HP Spectre x360 has a royal-esque vibe to it, that will make you feel like the most stylish person in the room.
An excellent 2-in-1 laptop, it comes with 16GB RAM, up to 2TB NVMe SSD storage, which can get quite pricey, and as is the current standard for high-end laptops, it comes with an 8th-gen Intel Core i7 Processor. It also offers high graphics performance, being equipped with a Radeon RX Vega M GPU – although that’s still not enough to keep up with gaming laptops when it comes to graphic-intensive games.
The HP Spectre x360’s 15t has a great 4K touch display, with 3840 x 2160 resolution and it’s bright with 317 nits and covers 101.7% of the sRGB color spectrum.
The keyboard has 1.3mm travel length, and with a 60g actuation weight, it’s reminiscent of a mechanical keyboard.
Connectivity is balanced, although probably not ideal. It features 2x Thunderbolt 3 ports with 4x PCIe lanes, an HDMI port and headphone jack, an USB Type-A port and a microSD slot.
Additionally, the HP Spectre x360 is super slim, which is a blessing and a curse, and it’s got excellent battery life, considering its specs and the 4K.
Aside from the color I described in my review, which is called Dark Ash Silver, the HP Spectre x360 also comes in Poseidon Blue, which is also gorgeous.
Along with the bronze trim, it really does feel like a premium and classy aesthetic.
Moreover, it covers 99% of the sRGB gamut and 78% Adobe, and it’s quite bright, with 298 nits.
The pen uses an AAAA battery, which is regularly used in styluses, but is not as popular as AAA or AA type batteries, so it is less commonly available. Do make sure that you have AAAA batteries before you buy this laptop, if you’d like to use the HP Pen.
The keyboard is very good. It doesn’t have super deep travel and it doesn’t have a cushiony feel to it. It’s also backlit and it has a number pad as well.
The trackpad is roomy and works ok. It’s not a Microsoft Precision Trackpad, but a Synaptics one.
If you’re playing certain frequencies at high volume, the speakers may give off a bit of a buzz.
It does also come with a mechanical switch on the side of the laptop, so you can be certain that there’s no way anyone else but you will be controlling the camera.
- Best value.
- The overall design, along with how the edges are cut, make for a magnificent design that gives it a royal feel.
- Slim and sleek, which makes it very portable.
- Great keyboard, reminiscent of a mechanical keyboard.
- Super fast NVMe SSD storage.
- Comes with Windows 10 bloatware.
- Speakers aren’t very good.
- Easily overheats, due to the specs and it’s very thin chassis.
Huawei MateBook X Pro (2018) – Cheapest Thunderbolt 3 Laptop
Amazing laptop, that’s well designed and with great specs, that lives up to the hype. One of the best laptops of 2018.
The Huawei MateBook X Pro is Huawei’s flagship laptop. The 2018 model is considered one of the best laptops of 2018, and even though the 2019 model is out, we still think that you get a much better bang for your buck with the 2018 version.
Even though the new MateBook X Pro has a few upgrades, like the NVIDIA MX250, the i7-8565U and the 3 finger swipe, the price increase doesn’t justify choosing it over its predecessor.
Design-wise this looks clean, modern and beautiful, with a premium space gray metal design, beautifully thin bezels, hidden webcam that pops up between the F6 and F7 keys, and a 91% screen to body ratio.
It features 2 USB-C ports, one used for charging while the other being a Thunderbolt 3 with 2 PCIe lanes, which can be an issue for some users. Also, there’s a headphone jack and a legacy USB-A port.
Given the limited ports, you will need to buy a separate adapter for things like Ethernet, HDMI and others.
You can choose from an i5-8250U or i7-8550U in terms of CPU.
The options for RAM are 8GB or 16GB DDR3 – I’m not sure why it isn’t DDR4, but it could have something to do with battery life. While DDR4 is great for performance-oriented laptops, like those for gaming, DDR3 could be the better option for thin laptops that don’t need that level of performance. Additionally, the DDR3 consumes significantly less power than the DDR4.
As for storage, you can choose between 256GB NVMe SSD or 512GB NVMe SSD. It’s also worth mentioning that the SSD on the MateBook X Pro has excellent Read/Write speeds ( ~3700MBs / 2700MBs).
The GPU is the NVIDIA MX 150. While it is solid, it doesn’t make the MateBook X Pro a gaming GPU. It does work great for light gaming, however.
The display is one of the MateBook X Pro’s strong points and it’s one of the best displays in the business. It’s 13.9 inches, it features a 91% screen to body ratio, a 3:2 aspect ratio ( 3000 x 2000 ), and it gives almost an edge to edge display since it’s got such thin bezels.
It covers about 75% of the Adobe RGB gamut and 100% sRGB, the brightness is very good – about 450 nits, and it does have touch support but unfortunately it doesn’t have pen support.
The keyboard is backlit, so useful for when typing at night and it has about 1.2mm travel length. While you could consider it shallow, it does provide a good typing experience and it’s easy to get used to.
The trackpad on the MateBook X is one of the bigger trackpads on any laptop, and it’s also a very good one. It’s very smooth and precise, the only issue being that there may be a slight rattle in the touchpad, as if it has a gap under it. This isn’t a very big issue, and the trackpad is still really good, however it is something that may bother some if they encounter it.
There’s a feature called the “OneHop to transfer”. If you own a Huawei phone, you can tap it to the NFC chip in the palm rest of the laptop, and you can quickly transfer documents from your phone to your laptop or take a screenshot of your laptop’s screen and transfer it onto your phone. If you don’t have a Huawei phone, it won’t be much use however.
This laptop also comes with a fingerprint reader built into the power button. The Windows Hello biometric recognition software is available, but only in the fingerprint reader and not in the pop-up webcam.
Who is this laptop for?
Anyone who wants a professional level ultrabook – students, photographers, video editors.
- Among the best laptops of 2018
- Amazing value at a low price
- Fantastic display – one of the best displays in the business, with 91% screen to body ratio
- Excellent audio
- Solid battery life of 9-10h with regular use
- Good keyboard and trackpad
- Awkward webcam positioning. Even if it’s an innovative placement, it makes for unflattering “up-the-nose” shots
- The “OneHop to Transfer” feature is usable only if you’re using a Huawei phone
- No pen support
- Not a 2-in-1, considering the price and the similar spec competition
- Probably not recommended if you work for the US government
MSI GS75 Stealth – Best Thunderbolt 3 Gaming Laptop
A gorgeous gaming laptop, that’s also slim and light with a beast of a GPU that can handle anything you throw at it.
Design-wise it’s a gorgeous and slim gaming laptop, that doesn’t really look like your usual boxy red-and-black gaming laptop. It’s got an aluminum build, with a matte black sandblasted casting, and classy bronze accents.
The build quality is good, but there is some flex to the chassis and a little bit of screen wobble, so it wouldn’t hurt if it were a bit more sturdy, but it does seem more reinforced when comparing it to the MSI GS65. Overall, it feels solid for a 17-inch machine.
It offers nice connectivity, with 3x USB-A ports, 2 USB-C – one being a Thunderbolt 3, an HDMI, a couple of audio ports, an Ethernet port, a power port and a micro SD card reader.
The MSI CS75 Stealth has an Intel i7 8750H CPU, you have the option to choose between 16 GB RAM or 32 GB RAM, 256 to 512 GB NVMe SSD with R/ 3315MBs and W/ 2515MBs.
For the GPU you get the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, with 8GB GDDR6. This is a beast and it’ll smoothly play about anything you throw at it, which is amazing considering this is a smooth and thin gaming laptop.
From a display aspect, the MSI CS75 Stealth has a fantastic 17” 1080p display, with thin bezels, covers ~99% sRGB and ~78% Adobe RGB, gets really bright at 330 nits and with a 144hz refresh rate, it handles Triple-A titles beautifully.
A note here would be that even though the resolution is 1080p with a high refresh rate, the RTX 2080 GPU does support high-resolution screens. So if the screen were 1440 p or 4K, it would be able to showcase RTX 2080 a bit better. Another detail here is that it doesn’t support G-Sync – while some are fine with this, others may not be.
The keyboard is great. It’s RGB backlit which you can adjust via the keyboard software, and has a travel distance of about 1.5mm, the keys have nice spacing and it’s got a number pad.
The trackpad feels awesome – it’s glass and it’s wide, so it feels great.
An issue here could be that you may find yourself right clicking with your right palm while you type. This depends, of course, on your personal style of typing.
Who is this laptop for?
This laptop among the best gaming laptops with Thunderbolt 3 support, so it’s primarily geared towards gamers but it’s also great for regular usage or machine learning tasks.
- Excellent gaming performance
- Beautiful design, that’s not as boxy as you’d expect from a gaming laptop
- Fantastic display with 144Hz, that handles Triple-A titles beautifully
- Can get hot making the fans quite loud
- Chassis is a bit flexible
- Battery life is below standard
- The audio could be better