While most of us usually look for specs such as RAMs and cores, the tech-savvy people also include Thunderbolt 3 ports in their laptop specifications.
Why? Well, because thunderbolt ports bring more speed and performance to computer hardware by allowing more data transferability options between to computers or laptops.
Thunderbolt laptops have grown in popularity sine 2011 for both manufacturers and consumers.
But while a thunderbolt laptop is the latest in hardware development, it comes at a pretty hefty price.
Because of this, we made a list in which you can find some of the cheapest laptops with Thunderbolt 3.
At a Glance – Our Top Picks
|Lenovo Yoga 730 13||Features: Lightweight, 8th Gen i5 or i7, 2-in-1 Laptop, Full HD or 4K Display, both IPS Anti-Glare Multi-touch, Pen support, Fingerprint Reader|
Benefits: Best value. Powerful 2-in-1 laptop on a budget. Great for every day use, office or streaming.
TB3 Ports: 2x 4 PCIe
|Dell G5 15 Gaming||Features: 8th Gen i5/i7 + GTX 1050TI GPU, Full HD IPS Anti-Glare Display, 2-in-1 SD/MicroMedia Card|
Benefits: The best entry-level pricing gaming laptop. Added bonus is that it's highly upgradeable
TB3 Ports: 1x 4 PCIe
|Dell G7 15 Gaming (7588)||Features: Full HD Anti-Glare LED Display, 8th Gen i7-8750H, GTX 1060 - 6GB with Max-Q, 8 to 32GB RAM, 128GB to 1TB Storage|
Benefits: Enjoy a high spec gaming laptop that's still budget-friendly and easily upgradeable.
TB3 Ports: 1x 4 PCIe
|Lenovo Yoga 730 15||Features: Lightweight, 8th Gen i5 or i7, 2-in-1 Laptop, Full HD or 4K Display, both IPS Anti-Glare Multi-touch, Pen support, Fingerprint Reader |
Benefits: Among the cheapest laptops in our list. Great value as it's a 2-in-1 laptop.
TB3 Ports: 1x 4 PCIe
|HP Omen 15||Features: i5-8300H/ i7-8750H, GTX 1050Ti 4GB/GTX 1060 6GB, Full HD Anti-glare Micro-edge WLED-backlit Display, 128GB/256GB SSD + 1TB HDD |
Benefits: Best value for gamers looking for a high-performance gaming laptop at a lower price
TB3 Ports: 1x 4 PCIe
|Dell Precision 15 3000||Features: Quad Core i5-6300HQ/i7-6820HQ, 128/512GB NVMe SSD, 16GB to 32GB RAM, Full HD Anti-Glare LED-backlit Non-touch/Touch|
Benefits: You get a powerful mobile workstation with great price-to-performance ratio as well as connectivity .
TB3 Ports: 1x 4 PCIe
|Razer Blade Stealth 12.5||Features: 7th Gen i7-7500U CPU, 4K Touchscreen, 16GB RAM LPDDR3, 512GB SSD Storage|
Benefits: High quality budget-friendly laptop that's portable, great for everyday use and light gaming.
TB3 Ports: 2x 4 PCIe
Before going into detail about every laptop on our list, let’s clarify why Thunderbolt 3 is such a desirable feature.
What is Thunderbolt 3?
Thunderbolt’s third version is one port that brings together all the capabilities featured in the previous versions.
It has the same physical proprieties as USB 3.1, but it is far more compact and requires less space which makes easy to incorporate in laptops that have a sleek design to its edges and facets. These laptops can be designed for ultra-core gaming due to their ability to connect to external graphics amplifiers with no lag between the processing. You can learn more about Thunderbolt 3: What is Thunderbolt 3? Revolutionary tech for your notebook
USB Type C vs Thunderbolt 3
Is Thunderbolt 3 the same as USB-C?
The short answer is “No“.
The distinguishable feature between the two is that USB-C refers to the port’s shape and Thunderbolt 3 is a connectivity standard. Thunderbolt 3 merges the connectivity of Thunderbolt, USB, DisplayPort, and power through one USB-C connector.
While it is true that USB-C devices will also connect through a Thunderbolt 3 port, they will not have the same speed and power as a TB 3 connected device.
We mentioned before that Thunderbolt 3 has a speed of 40Gbps, which is twice as fast as the data connection for Thunderbolt 2. A Thunderbolt 3 laptop which connects to a desktop monitor and an external graphics card will have almost zero delays, its enhanced performance making it perfect for activities such as gaming.
A USB comes in many types, and their version number refers to their capabilities like speed and cable compatibility. USB has the following types: USB Type-A, USB Type-B, and USB Type-C (USB-C) and its versions are USB 1.1, USB 2.0, USB 3.0., USB 3.1 Gen 1, and USB 3.1 Gen 2.
USB-C ports can be used to connect with USB 3.1 devices, with some having power outputs of 100 watts at 20 volts. The power output of a USB-C enables larger devices to be charged as well as smaller devices by eliminating excess charging wires.
Thunderbolt 3 can do the same things as a USB-C, but the USB-C is not able to perform the same capabilities as a Thunderbolt 3.
The speed and video display of Thunderbolt 3 is far greater than that of USB-C. Thunderbolt 3 has a speed of 40Gbps while USB-C works only 10 Gbps. Thunderbolt 3 be connected to present the video content on two 4K displays or one 5k display at 60hz while USB-C can only be used in one 4K display.
Now that we have concluded our brief explanation regarding USB type C and Thunderbolt 3, we can move on to our list of cheapest laptops with TB3.
1. Lenovo Yoga 730 13 – Best Value
While there are little differences between the two models, the 730 features the 8th generation of Intel’s Core series, dual Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports, far-field mics and a feature for quick charging.
The case of the laptop is entirely made out of metal, having a silver lid on which the Lenovo Yoga logo is imprinted.
Due to Intel’s 8th Gen Core processors, 730 has a strong performance, but it does not fare all that well when it comes to color reproduction on the display.
It features 8GB of RAM and 256GB SSD, which allows it to process multiple programs simultaneously without any issues.
Currently, Lenovo Yoga 730 (13) can be either bought with Intel Core i5-8250U or Core i7-8550U. The Intel Core i7-8550U is part of the new 8th Generation Kaby Lake Refresh, having double the cores of its previous version (4 cores) and Hyper-Threading technology.
The chip also features an integrated graphics chip called Intel UHD Graphics 620. While Intel Graphics UHD620 is able to run games such as CS: GO and DOTA2 at acceptable frame rates and Full HD resolution, it is far from being a gaming laptop.
The Yoga 730 weighs 2.7 pounds is 11.5 x 8 x 0.6 inches, making it smaller and lighter than its predecessor and other 2-in-1 laptops from Dell and HP.
The 4K display is bright and has a good contrast ratio and almost the entire sRGB color spectrum.
The laptop can be operated via the full HD touchscreen or the digitizer pen, which is also included in the purchase. It has a better cooling system than its 720 version, which enables it to have better boost performance and to perform better in the long run.
The touchscreen display is an IPS LCD panel which is extremely responsive. The colors and contrasts are above-average, but the brightness levels are average as well and but outdoors the settings would have to be turned on to the max. While other visual aspects and angles are pretty decent, it doesn’t really compare with a MacBook Air.
The connectivity has also seen some improvement as it has added not one, but two Thunderbolt 3 ports. The preinstalled operating system is Windows 10 Home as usual.
Another disappointment with this Windows Thunderbolt notebooks is the weak sound of its speakers.
- Light, well-built
- Strong performance
- 4k vibrant display
- 2-in -1 flexibility
- responsive touchpad
- Cheapest brand new laptop with Thunderbolt 3
- Oversaturated screen
- Weak speakers
- Low battery life
2. Dell G5 15 Gaming – Best Budget Gaming Laptop
The Dell G5 15 is a mid-range thunderbolt gaming laptop that is capable of running Full HD games with seamless frame rates. While it does not have the most convenient build, the Dell 15 is one of the cheapest laptops with TB3.
It has a sturdy build, being among the heaviest gaming laptops, with a weight of 6 pounds (2.7 kg) but in spite of this, it is rather thin when compared to other budget gaming laptops. Its measurements are 15.3 x 10.8 x 1 inches (389.1 x 274.8 x 24.9 mm).
Dell has been the first one release a laptop with Thunderbolt 3, back in 2016, with their premium ultrabook XPS line. Because of its price, we’re not going to include it in our list, but you can read more about it here: Best Laptops with Thunderbolt 3.
G5’s configurations include a six-core Intel Core i7-8750H CPU, 8 GB of RAM, with Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4 GB graphics and a 128GB SSD and 1TB, 5,400-rpm hard drive. This configuration is not offered by Dell directly, but on Newegg, it is available for around $900 USD.
The cheaper downgraded version features the quad-core Intel Core i5-8300H CPU and has a 256GB M.2 PCIe-NVMe SSD with no HDD, and the same GPU and RAM specs as the version mentioned above.
The Intel Core i7-8750H G15 can also be upgraded to 16GB RAM and a GeForce GTX 1060 with Max Q and 6GB VRAM, with 256GB SSD and 1TB hard drive, all at a price of $1,099.99.
Windows 10 Home is preinstalled on the laptop. The keyboard has just 1.2 mm of travel and they make a decent clicking sound when typing, however, a bit more travel would have been better. Unfortunately, there is no multicolored backlighting.
Dell G5 15 has an excellent battery life for a gaming laptop, lasting for 6 hours and 17 minutes, which is over 2 hours longer than the average.
On the left side, you’ll find a Noble security lock slot, a jack for the power adapter, an SD card reader, an RJ-45 Ethernet port (10/100), and a USB 3.1 Gen 2 port. The HDMI 2.0 and the USB 3.1 Type-A are incorporated on the right side, along with the Thunderbolt 3 port and mic jack.
This Thunderbolt laptop comes with a 15.6-inch IPS display that features anti-glare and Full HD (1920×1080) resolution. But only 58 percent of sRGB color gamut is covered, which renders it rather mute in terms of color and contrast.
- Good battery life
- Powerful speakers
- Aesthetic design
- Noisy fans when gaming
- Mediocre performance
- Display lacks brightness
3. Dell G7 15 Gaming – High-spec Budget Friendly Laptop
The G7 incorporates Intel’s latest Coffee Lake CPUs (up to a Core i9) and Nvidia’s GTX 1060 Max-Q GPU. But our model’s specs are Intel Core i7-8750H and GTX 1060 Max-Q, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, a 128GB SSD and 1TB HD. The model is very easy to upgrade, just a bit of unscrewing and you can integrate or change system configurations.
This Thunderbolt laptop can harness the power of 12 processing threads (due to Intel’s Hyper-Threading technology), and it is quite the multitasker, as it would be noticed in our benchmark results.
Dell’s newest gaming rendition is very stylish. The G7 15 has a sleek design with white and blue color themes, a refreshing change from the usual black and red gaming options.
The G7’s Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 with Max-Q Design with 6GB of GDDR5 video memory runs well on most intensive games, although you will not be able to operate at its highest settings.
In terms of battery life, Dell scored impressive results for a gaming Thunderbolt laptop. The G7’s battery life was of 5 hours and 37 minutes, with intense streaming at 150 nits of brightness.
The G7’s 2.2-GHz Core with 16GB of RAM is perfect for those that switch between 20 open tabs and streaming platforms like Twitch or YouTube, while other systems are running on the background. As usual, this is a Windows notebook, having it preinstalled on the device.
While it does not have the largest array of ports, but it definitely has enough slots, jacks, and inputs. It does make up for the number of ports by including a Thunderbolt 3 port, and two USB 3.1 ports, HDMI 2.0 and a headset jack. On the other side, it features a USB 3.1 port, and an Ethernet port, a 2-in-1 card reader, and a Noble lock slot.
When it comes to the sound quality of the speakers, this Thunderbolt 3 laptop get loud, having clarity and booming bass.
- Nice exterior design
- Easily upgradeable
- impressive multitasker
- good performance
- impressive battery life
- Dim screen
- Shallow and cramped keyboard
4. Lenovo Yoga 730 15 – Cheapest Thunderbolt 3 Laptop
The Yoga 730 comes in several different configurations, with either Core i5 or i7 U processors, 256 or 512 SSD storage, from 8 to 24 GB of RAM and FHD or a UHD IPS touchscreen. The same battery and GTX 1050 4GB graphics card are available for 730 regardless of the above-mentioned configurations.
Both cases come with a Lenovo Active Pen 2 attached to them, which supports 4,096 pressure levels. While it is nice to have a stylus incorporated into the price, the plastic dongle which tethers the pen blocks the ports.
The Yoga 730’s outer case is fashioned out of aluminum and features a dark shade finish, known as Lenovo’s Iron Grey. The Lenovo logo sits subtly on the left side of the screen, with slim bezels surrounding the panel.
The Yoga is rather heavy, weighing 1.89kg. Its 15.6-inch screen is fitted in a chassis that measures 360mm by 249mm with a thickness of 17.15mm. Yoga’s 360 hinges feel sturdy and it has a solid screen, in spite of its slimness.
In terms of connectivity, The Yoga features two full-size USB 3.0 sockets and, of course, a Thunderbolt 3 port. A full-sized HDMI output is also included along with a mic jack.
A neat feature of this Yoga is a fingerprint reader which is located below the keyboard. It comes in handy for those that have a hard time remembering passwords.
The Yoga’s keyboard is light and shallow, almost imperceptible when you glide your fingers to type. There is no snapping or clicking sound to the buttons, meaning that this Thunderbolt laptop gives you a quitter and faster typing experience.
Unfortunately, there is no number pad, but seeing as the Yoga was designed to appeal more to creatives, the layout is decent.
The Yoga 730 features a 15.6-inch touchscreen has a native resolution of 3840×2160, which comes with a decent contrast ratio (1066:1) as well as brightness (298.8 cd/m²), which are adequate for browsing and for photo editing or visual work.
The color temperature of 6632K is good, and it covers 84.1% of the sRGB color gamut, 61.5% of the Adobe RGB gamut, and 68% of the DCI-P3 gamut. These numbers are important for the target audience of Yoga 730, which are artists and video makers.
The Active Pen is included when you buy the notebook, which fares pretty well for a graphics tablet, with 4096 levels of pressure.
The device’s speakers of this Thunderbolt laptop are well-balanced, have an ample bass and have decent clarity for listening to music on YouTube or streaming on Netflix.
The i7-8550U model comes from the Kaby Lake Refresh range, and while it managed to keep the same architecture, additional cores were integrated to enhance the processing power.
The i7-8550U model features four Hyper-Threaded cores, are clocked to a mere 1.8GHz, but Intel’s improved Turbo Boost circuitry can give it an enhancement of up to 4GHz, which is decent for multitasking.
The Full-HD variant of the Yoga 730-15 is probably our cheapest laptop with Thunderbolt 3, being sold at $688. It is more inexpensive than the 4K version and it comes with a brighter and higher contrast.
- Variety of ports
- Built-in fingerprint scanner
- Loud speakers
- Comes with Stylus
- Good display
- Very affordable
- No SD card slot
- Small trackpad
- Noisy fans when pressure is low
5. HP Omen 15 – Best Value for Gamers
This laptop does not mess around when it comes to specifications. HP has different cores, RAM and graphics configurations. The more expensive version comes with an i7-8750H Intel Core, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q GPU with 8GB VRAM, 16GB of RAM, 256GB SSD, a 2TB 5,400-rpm HDD, and a display of 1080p with 144-Hz.
The more affordable version will set you back $1,299, having Intel Core i7-8750H, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPU with 6GB VRAM, 16GB of RAM, a 128GB SSD, a 1TB 7,200-rpm HDD, 1080p, 60-Hz display.
The cheapest Omen 15 model is priced at around $979, featuring an i5-8300H CPU, GTX 1050 Ti with 4GB VRAM, 8GB of RAM, a 128GB SSD, a 1TB 7,200-rpm HDD, and a display of 1080p with 60-Hz.
The 4K panel option is available for all configurations, but it does add another hundred dollars to the base model price.
The chassis for the HP Omen 15 has definitely seen an improvement in terms of style when compared to its predecessors. Aluminum and carbon fiber blend together in an interesting pattern with a deep red crisscross with the HP logo resting in the middle of it.
The keyboard features multi-colored lighting in four zones, which makes for a comfortable typing experience, even though the travel is lower than that average used in gaming laptops.
The 4.0 x 2.1-inch touchpad is smooth to the touch and comes with two discrete buttons that were plenty responsive. Despite that, Windows 10 gestures like two-finger scrolling and three-finger tab switching worked well.
The Omen 15 has incorporated a number of ports that that cover all your gaming and streaming requirements. It features a USB 3.0 port, an SD card slot and separate headphone and microphone jacks on the left side.
The Thunderbolt 3 port is located in the back along with RJ45 Ethernet port, one USB 3.0 port with always-on charging, an HDMI 2.0 port, a Mini DisplayPort, a security lock slot, while the right side has the power jack and another USB 3.0 port.
When it comes to its display, The Omen 15’s 15.6-inch, 1080p panel offers solid colors and smooth video with a refresh rate of 144-Hz.
This Thunderbolt laptop impresses with its Bang & Olufsen speakers, delivering a sharp and clear sound.
The Omen 15’s GTX 1070 Max-Q GPU with 8GB of VRAM performs smoothly event at the highest settings of the game, delivering very good frame rates with no issues.
But the only disadvantage to Omen 15 is that it is very heavy, and has a really thick build. This thunderbolt 3 laptop has a weight of 5.4 pounds and measures 14.2 x 10.4 x 1.0 inches.
As gaming laptops are very power-intensive, we didn’t expect the battery life to last that much. The battery life of Omen 15’s battery life lasted for around four hours with continues tasks, and web surfing at over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness.
The Omen 15 can get a little heated when running games at full power for a prolonged period of time. However, it breezed through smaller tasks like streaming 1080 videos.
A neat feature is its Network Booster which can arrange bandwidth usage depending on the priority of the tasks. You can adjust your laptop’s performance in three modes: Comfort (lowers CPU and GPU), Default (standard) and Performance (raises the CPU and GPU).
- Great graphics
- Solid display
- Comfortable keyboard
- Powerful processor
- Good sound
- A bit too heavy
- Limited battery life
6. Dell Precision 15 3000 (3510) – Solid Budget Workstation
The Dell Precision 15 3000 Series (3510) is an affordable workstation which is powerful enough to perform desktop tasks.
It comes with an AMD FirePro professional graphics card, NVMe storage, a variety of cores, memory and displays options including an HD touchscreen.
There are many customization options for the processor models, ranging from Intel Core i5-6300 to the Intel Quad Core i7-6820HQ, and the memory can be upgraded up to 32GB of DDR4. Storage wise, the options can start from 128 SSD and go up to 1TB NVMe.
Precision 3510 is a heavy piece of equipment. This 15-inch laptop weighs 5.7 pounds and measures 14.6 x 9.9 x 0.1-inch. You shouldn’t try to lug this to work and back in a shoulder bag. The chassis has a minimalist design, with no flex when used or pressed down. The matte finish can leave some smudgy fingerprints, which can get a bit annoying (especially if you have OCD).
3510 has incorporated security features for protecting data, such as vPro for remote management and TPM (Trusted Platform Module) for biometric and sensitive data protection. Optional upgrades include a smart-card reader, fingerprint reader, and Thunderbolt 3 port.
It comes with a docking connector, one SD 4.0 memory card reader, three USB 3.0 ports, one HDMI 1.4 output, one PowerShare Capable, a security lock slot, a headphone/microphone jack, an Ethernet jack, a VGA connector, a SIM card slot, and the power jack. And, of course, the Thunderbolt 3 connectivity standard can also be incorporated depending on the upgrade on the model.
The keyboard and touchpad are broad enough to allow you to type and navigate comfortably, and its touch-screen allows you to quickly interact with the user interface. The 3.9 x 2.1-inch touchpad is smooth and responsive to all Windows 10 gestures. In the middle of the keyboard, there is a blue pointing stick which allows you to move the mouse cursor around without having to take your fingers from the home row.
This thunderbolt notebook comes with a 15.6″ screen which is sharp and accurate. The 1080 display covers an sRGB color gamut of an impressive 115.7 percent. The Precision 3510 also scores high on the Delta-E color accuracy range, having a score of 0.5 (0 is best).
The sound of Precision 3510 is very clear and loud with an audible bass, perfect for all multimedia activities. An Audio app is also included, which has several EQ presets.
- Comfortable keyboard
- Plenty of ports
- High-end performance
- Great battery life
- NVMe support
- 5″ HDD or SSD limits battery capacity
- Average display
- Display strangely has two bezels
- Solid build, but has a cheap plastic feel to it
7. Original Razer Blade Stealth 12.5 – High Quality Budget Laptop
Razer is one of those companies that always boasts high-quality hardware paired with amazing performance. The only problem is that their products always come with a hefty price tag. But this older model of Razer from the Blade Stealth series can now be found at quite decent prices on eBay or Amazon nowadays.
The first thing you notice at this notebook is its quality build. The chassis is entirely made out of anodized aluminum, and it’s incredibly thin and light. The attractiveness of its design made me look past my pet peeve for surfaces that attract fingerprints.
It’s about as light and compact as a laptop can get, having a weight of just 1.3kg and measuring 14.8 x 304.6 x 210mm (HWD).
The Razer Blade Stealth is powered by an Intel Core i7-7500U processor and 16GB of LPDDR3 ram, with various PCIe SSD options, which range from 128GB to 512GB. You can also opt for the QHD or UHD screen models.
Razer is rather minimalistic when it comes to connectivity options. The right side has only one HDMI and a USB 3.0 port. On the left side, you have another USB 3.0 port, a headphone/mic jack and a Thunderbolt 3 port. The Thunderbolt 3 connectivity also doubles as a charger.
Another eye-catching feature that will definitely impress is Razer’s Chroma keyboard. This backlit keyboard features millions of color combinations which can be used to make a variety of fun patterns. But what makes this keyboard different is that each key has its own LED which can be independently customized and controlled.
The 12.5” QHD screen of this Thunderbolt laptop features a maximum resolution of 2560×1440 px. The Sharp IGZO panel has excellent viewing angles and vivid color accuracy with an sRGB gamut of 99%. The screen can be upgraded to a 4k wide panel, but it will cost you extra. The screen also has touch capabilities, which is appropriate for a device of its size.
The Stealth laptop had to compromise battery life in order to keep the size and weight low. The 45wh battery last around 4 hours, depending on the tasks and Windows applications you run. You can get almost 7 hours with light usage, such as browsing online or using Windows Office.
Keep in mind that if you want to upgrade to the 4K-resolution display, this will significantly eat away at your battery life.
The speakers on this laptop are pretty average, to say the least. They are located on each side of the keyboard and are facing upward, which is a huge plus. The sound emitted from them lacks bass, so the music quality is a little lacking. The speakers are plenty loud though. The laptop’s two fans keep it cool and are very silent even when at full use.
Even though Razer is the top gaming hardware producer, this Thunderbolt 3 laptop is not recommended for hardcore gaming, as it lacks higher-end graphics being more of a notebook that dedicated to light gaming. While upgrading the RAM and hard drive space is understandable, we don’t recommend the optional 4K display, as it is costly and lowers battery life significantly.
- Qualitative Display
- Attractive Design
- Average Battery Life
So there you have it, our list with the cheapest laptops with Thunderbolt 3. While all the mentioned models come with their advantages and disadvantages, we recommend that you look for the laptop which best suits your activities of interest.
For example, Dell G7 is a good option if you want to use your laptop mostly for gaming, Yoga 730 is a fine option for creative work, and Precision 3510 is for business work. Of course, price is also a decisive factor in this matter, which is why we made this list in the first place to help you find a cheap Thunderbolt 3 laptop.