Cheapest Laptops with Thunderbolt 4

Cheapeste Laptops with Thunderbolt 4

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Thunderbolt 3 turned a few heads in the laptop manufacturing industry, as no one was expecting such a massive demand for the tech so soon. With sales continuously rising, Thunderbolt 4 took less time to appear on high-end and budget devices.

You don’t need to spend big to get the sweet connectivity range of Thunderbolt 4 unless you’re an avid gamer or high-level content creator.

We’ve put together a nice list of products that won’t empty your pockets!

At a glance, our top picks

ImageProductDetailsCheck Price
Dell Inspiron 13 on Amazon
Dell Inspiron 13Processor: Core i7
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce MX450
Display: 13.3” QHD
TB4 Ports: 2 USB-C
Battery Life: 11.5h
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ASUS ZenBook 13 Ultra-Slim Laptop on Amazon
ASUS ZenBook 13 Ultra-Slim LaptopProcessor: Core i5
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
Display: 13.3” OLED FHD NanoEdge Bezel Display
TB4 Ports: 2
Battery Life: 11h
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MSI Prestige14 EVO Pro Laptop on Amazon
MSI Prestige14 EVO Pro LaptopProcessor: Core i5
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe
Display: 14” FHD
TB4 Ports: 2
Battery Life: 12h
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ASUS VivoBook S15 on Amazon
ASUS VivoBook S15Processor: Core i7
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe
Display: 14” FHD Display
TB4 Ports: 2
Battery Life: Up to 8h
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Acer Swift 3 Intel Evo on Amazon
Acer Swift 3 Intel EvoProcessor: Core i7
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe
Display: 14” Full HD
TB4 Ports: 2
Battery Life: 15h
Check on Amazon

1. Dell Inspiron 13 – The best Thunderbolt laptop on a budget!

Dell’s 5310 model makes it to the top of our list! The Inspiron 13 not only provides the most value for money of any laptop on the list, but it also has style and portability in its arsenal. Inspiron 13 is marvelous for professional users looking to get the maximum gaming and business efficiency they can achieve on a budget.

Processor & GPU

The machine has an Intel Core i7-11370H chipset, part of the Tiger Lake series that houses Thunderbolt 4. Additionally, NVIDIA GeForce MX450 with 2GB GDDR6 should suffice for light to medium gaming. If you’re not looking to spend big and still end up with fantastic connectivity, getting Core i7 and GDDR6 processors seems too good to be true! A variant with integrated Intel Iris Xe Graphics also exists; however, it’s not readily available.

Memory

The laptop gives you 16GB RAM (LPDDR4), which gets up to 4267MHz. LPDDR4 offers much better power consumption than DDR4, but you will have to give up bandwidth, which is why the laptop might heat more than usual while gaming.

The device also houses 512 GB m.2 PCIe NVMe SSD, sufficient to have one game on board and keep some spare space for work.

Display & Design

The display/design of Inspiron 13 is one of the main reasons this machine sits at the top of our list. You get a gorgeous QHD (Quad High Definition) display on a 13.3” screen, housed on a beautiful, sleek, and lightweight body with excellent finishing. The laptop weighs 2.7lbs, significantly less than the XPS series and most other laptops in this range.

The lid gets below the body to lift the machine a few centimeters for cooling. The edges are smooth, and the bezels are narrow. We were impressed with the quality of the keyboard as well.

Power

Power management gets a big thumbs up! Because of low-power components (like the RAM), the 54Wh battery will last at least eleven hours. Charging is done via USB-C port, with Express Charge on a 65W charger, making the process quick and easy! The battery is not something you’re going to worry about during the day!

The laptop will get a bit hot while gaming, but otherwise, the cooling is pretty satisfactory. The exhaust fan is below the computer.

Connectivity

You’ll get two USB-C Thunderbolt-4 ports, providing up to 40Gbps of data transfer speeds. Power delivery is present on only one port, which will be used for charging. Intel Wi-Fi 6 2×2 and Bluetooth 5 will suffice for most wireless needs. Using the Dell Connect app, you can connect your laptop with your phone and tablet as well.

There are HDMI 1.4 and USB A(Gen 3.2) ports available in addition to Thunderbolt if you want to transfer video over a different interface. Here is a list of all the ports:

  • 2 x USB-C Thunderbolt4 ports (Power delivery over 1)
  • HDMI 1.4
  • 1 x USB-A (Gen 3.2)
  • 1 x Headset Jack
Our Take

Dell Inspiron 13 gives you portability, style, and connectivity along with above-average processing power. If you want a professional and reliable laptop on which you can occasionally game, Inspiron 13 is the cheapest option.

PROS
  • Good processing power
  • Excellent aesthetics and robust design
  • Battery lasts a long time
  • QH Display
  • NVMe SSD instead of SATA
CONS
  • Might heat during gaming
  • Low power RAM
  • No Ethernet port

2. ASUS ZenBook 13 Ultra-Slim Laptop – Lightweight and a high-end display

It was a tough one, but ASUS came in second instead of first on our list only because of the lower memory. Other than that, the Zenbook 13 Ultra-Slim is an excellent machine concerning performance, battery life, and design.

ASUS has really taken to the Thunderbolt 4 technology, producing a wide assortment of laptops, peripherals, and expansion cards. If there is one deeply immersed manufacturer in the world of Thunderbolt, we’d say it’s ASUS.

For example, it is ThunderboltEX 4 was the first expansion card on the market for Thunderbolt 4. With that in mind, it is easier to comprehend why Thunderbolt 4 has crept into so many contingents of ASUS laptops.

Processor & GPU

The Core i5 1135G7 chipset is paired with an impressive ‎NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 card. Considering the size and power of this laptop, we were pretty surprised to see such processing power on the central unit and the dedicated graphics card. You won’t play too many games, but the combo will suffice for most content creation work.

Memory

Okay, there is a catch here. The memory capabilities could have been higher for this laptop. In fact, this is the main reason why it doesn’t make it to the top of our list. There is 8GB LPDDR4 RAM and a 256GB SSD onboard the machine.

Memory can always be updated, and the Zenbook 13’s PCIe slots are all up to date on the latest tech. However, we generally consider what’s onboard because that is what you are paying for at the moment.

Display & Design

This is where the Zenbook 13 beats out everyone else on this list. It has a 13.3” OLED FHD NanoEdge Bezel Display. We’re still unsure how OLE display’s jumped from the mobile world to laptops, but they sure make the device look gorgeous.

There is no real need for OLED on a laptop, but it definitely gives a more tidy and sharp look in a professional setup. In addition, the design of the machine is quite impressive. The body is made of metal, with high-end finishing and smooth edges. The backlit keyboard is well built, and there is enough spacing between keys.

The laptop is much thinner than any other on this list, and it weighs about 2.4lbs, making it sleek-looking and ultra-portable.

Power

With an OLED display, ASUS needed a good battery. The 67Wh battery will last up to 13h (according to ASUS, we venture about 11h but can’t be sure). Fast charging will take about 45minutes to charge the device.

The laptop cooling profile is quite impressive, considering how packed the components would be in that thin design.

Connectivity

Here is a list of ports:

  • 2 x Thunderbolt 4, USB Type-C ports
  • 1 x HDMI port
  • 1 x USB 3.2 Gen. 1 Type A
  • 1 x audio jack
  • 1 X microSD reader

You get the standard Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5 with the machine.

Our Take

ASUS’s Zenbook 13 is exceptionally portable, good-looking, and packs a punch with its graphics card. If you spend a bit more and upgrade the SSD and RAM, this laptop is as close to perfection on a budget as it can be!

PROS
  • Excellent display
  • Beautiful high-end and think design
  • Excellent battery life
  • Dedicated Graphics Card
CONS
  • You’ll probably need to upgrade the SSD

3. MSI Prestige 14 EVO Professional Laptop – The best work laptop on a Budget!

MSI climbs higher on this list than it usually does, thanks to its Prestige 14 EVO. Known generally for the more expensive gaming series, MSI’s Prestige line has always played second fiddle to other manufacturers regarding content creation and business. However, with the release of its EVO laptops, MSI has managed to carve out space for itself in the non-gaming world.

The Prestige line has been aimed at content creators mainly. Although Prestige 14 EVO might come short in the display section, it hits all other markers for content creation.

Processor & GPU

The machine comes in its Core I5 and i7 variants; however, we’ve chosen the former to stay within budget. The 1185G7 chipset is packed with four cores and a 12 MB Intel® Smart Cache.

The machine does not have a separate Graphics card. Intel’s integrated Iris Xe should be good enough for most of your content creation needs and perhaps light gaming at 1080p.

Memory

The laptop has 16GB (LPDDR4) RAM onboard, which can be updated to 32GB max. In addition, a 512GB NVMe SSD connected via PCIe Gen.4 provides sufficient onboard storage.

Unless you are an avid gamer, the memory onboard the MSI Prestige 14 EVO should be enough to carry out professional content work while keeping ample space free for day-to-day tasks.

Display & Design

The 14” IPS panel, with low power consumption and ultra HD display (1920×1080), might not be what most content creators are used to, but if you are staying on a budget, there are bound to be some disappointments. We’re not saying the display is terrible by any standards, but MSI just did not go the extra mile to get a more robust display with perhaps higher illumination.

The laptop’s design is certainly not that of a budget machine! The 180-degree flip is usually seen on 2-in-1 laptops, but it might be helpful to share your work and present. The device comes in three colors, white, black and pink.

There is a smooth lighting strip across the edges of the lid. The keyboard is excellent, with high-quality keys and ample space for typing. The laptop’s built is sturdy and has a high-end finish. You barely notice the bezels as well.

Power

You can charge the 52Wh battery with a 65W adapter and one of the two Thunderbolt ports. The low power consumption of memory and display allows you to run the machine for 12h and charge to completion in about 15 minutes. The Thunderbolt 4 specification really comes into its own when providing quick charging capabilities.

Connectivity

Here is a list of ports on the machine:

  • 2 x Thunderbolt 4 USB Type-C (with power delivery)
  • 1 x micro-SD jack
  • 1 x Type-A USB
  • 1x Mic-in/Headphone-out Combo Jack

The absence of an HDMI port might have hit hard if this wasn’t a Thunderbolt 4 laptop. Perhaps that explains why there is Power Delivery on both Thunderbolt ports. As with most laptops in this price range, Wi-Fi 6 + Bluetooth v5.1 is present.

Our Take

MSI’s Prestige EVO provides precisely what it was supposed to, good memory and processing on a budget. If you’re a professional content creator, you might not love the display, but if you’re saving money, there will always be a catch.

PROS
  • Excellent Design
  • PCIe Generation 4 slots for storage
  • Excellent battery timing and quick charging
  • Well designed keyboard
  • Power delivery on both TB4 ports
CONS
  • The display might be unimpressive for content creators.
  • Integrated Graphics
  • No HDMI port

4. ASUS VivoBook S15 Thin & Light Laptop – A good student laptop on a budget

ASUS makes it twice to our list, simply because of the large number of Thunderbolt 4 products it has in its store! Its Vivobook S15 is another option if you’re on a budget and crave Thunderbolt 4’s superfast connectivity.

ASUS has marketed its Vivobook series as student-friendly, and the S15 is no exception. It has an elegent design, good processing power, battery life, and low pricing by offering integrated graphics and a standard display.

The story is the same for most laptops in this range, but S15 still deserved a spot on our list because it blended Thunderbolt 4 with the existing functionality without driving up the price!

Processor & GPU

The machine has an Intel Core i7-1165G7 chipset integrated with an Intel Iris Xe graphics interface. This combo will give you functionality for daily tasks, high-end educational softwares (Comsole, Matlab etc) and might even wet the pallet if you’re a gamer.

Memory

The machine has 8GB of RAM and a 512GB PCIe SSD. The PCIe slots are third-generation. Previously, ASUS had planned on releasing SATA interfaces for its Vivobook series, but we are glad they decided on PCIe for the final launch!

Display & Design

The display is pretty standard for this price range. You get a 14” FHD panel with moderate bezels. The laptop is sturdy and sleek. The body is metallic around the keyboard and plastic on the lid and base. You’ll get up to 178 degrees on the tilt.

The quality of the keyboard and mousepad really caught our eye. The keys protrude a bit from the body, giving it a workbook looke. The keyboard is high-quality with ample key spacing. The metallic mousepad with a grid on it give the laptop a very professional look.

Power

The battery will last you eight hours, maybe even more, which is decent enough but still less than others on this list.

The laptop’s cooling profile is quite impressive, though. Metallic bodies tend to run a bit hotter than plastic, but the Vivobook does not run into these problems. Fast charging is present, as expected with Thunderbolt 4.

Connectivity

In addition to Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5, the following ports are present.

  • 2 x Thunderbolt 4, USB Type-C ports
  • 1 x USB 2.0 Gen 3.2, Type-A
  • 1 x HDMI port
  • 1 x microSD card reader
Our Take

Vivobook S15 is a good choice for programmers and students who need to run heavy computational software that does not require high-end graphics. Design and build quality, combined with long battery life, are the highlights for this Vivobook.

PROS
  • Aesthetic design
  • Excellent keyboard and mousepad
  • Quick charging
CONS
  • No dedicated GPU

5. Acer Swift 3 Intel Evo – A battery that runs forever!

Last but not least (we love that phrase!), Acer Swift 3 Intel Evo makes it to our list. Part of the Intel Evo line up, Swift 3 combines a good battery life, less weight and thin design.

Acer took a while to cozy up to Intel’s Thunderbolt technology, but its recent Thunderbolt 3 laptops have sold like hotcakes. That is why it was quick to jump on the Thunderbolt 4 tech, providing a host of expensive and budget options. The Swift 3 is the best Acer budget laptop with Thunderbolt 4.

Processor & GPU

Intel’s Core i7 1165G7 chipset combined with the integrated Iris Xe graphics platform provides all the functionality that other laptops in this range provide. You can run heavy computational software on it if you are a programmer or student, while the integrated graphics card will give you some gaming options.

Intel’s Iris Xe is the best integrated graphics interface in the market right now and can take on the big giants like Nvidia and AMD.

Memory

The laptop has 8GB RAM and a 256GB NVMe SSD. Memory is where Acer Swift 3 lacks compared to others on this list. It is understandable, though!

Acer Swift 3 lives up to the Intel Evo line’s lightweight and long battery life standards while providing a decent build quality and display, so it might be forgiven for asking the buyer to cough up some extra bucks for additional storage and RAM.

Display & Design

The 14” Full HD display works fine for most daily needs, and if you are not gaming, you won’t need a better display anyways. Having said that, with 82.73% body to display ratio and moderate bezels, the size of the display makes up for it!

The machine’s design is thin, lightweight and sleek. The keyboard and mouse won’t blow you away, but the body is strong and has fine edges, giving the laptop a decent look. The laptop weighs in about 2.65lbs.

Power

Battery life and cooling are the highlights of this model. Acer says there battery lasts 16h. but even a few hours less is still outstanding, especially for the price range! In addition, the cooling profile and thermal efficiency of the laptop are excellent too!

Connectivity

Here’s a list of all the ports:

  • 2 x Thunderbolt 4, USB Type –C
  • 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type A
  • 1 x Display Port
  • 1 x Audio Jack
Our Take

Acer Swift 3 is a good option if you are ready to give up graphics functionality. This device’s processing power and exceptional battery life make it an excellent choice for pro’s and students.

PROS
  • Outstadning battery life
  • Good processing power
  • Sturdy design
CONS
  • Memory will need an upgrade
  • No dedicated GPU

Frequently asked Questions

How is Thunderbolt 4 different from USB-C?

USB-C is more of a format then a specification. USB-C ports are slim and round in shape, unlike the previous duck-face-shaped USB A ports. USB-C has become so popular because it can support higfher speeds and can receive and send data from the same ports. This eliminates the need for deciding which end of the cable goes where!

Thunderbolt is a specification, which defines the range of data and power transfer capabilities that a device can offer on that particular port. Thunderbolt 4 offers up to 40Gbps of data transfer rates, which are much higher than anything we’ve seen before.

Can Thunderbolt 4 transfer video?

Yes! You don’t need additional HDMI, VGA, or DisplayPort for video transfer unless you want to! Thunderbolt 4 can transfer up to two 4k video data streams.

Will an older device work with Thunderbolt 4?

Thunderbolt 4 is backward compatible, and as long as you have a USB-C cable that can hook up to your older Thunderbolt 3 or previous device, you can connect it with a Thunderbolt 4. Of course, you’ll only get the lowest ordinary data rates available

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