4 Best Cheapest Laptops with Thunderbolt 3 in 2021

By Robin Owens 12 days ago, Hardware

What are the cheapest laptop with Thunderbolt 3 to buy this year?

cheapest laptops with thunderbolt 3

If you’re not tech-savvy, you probably pay attention only to RAM and the number of cores when selecting a laptop, but Thunderbolt 3 ports are another important feature to consider. With Thunderbolt ports, your device offers faster speed and performance, which gives you more options for transferring data between laptops. To make your choice easier, I have compiled this list to help you find the cheapest laptop with Thunderbolt 3 available on the market.

Top 4 Best Cheapest Laptops with Thunderbolt 3

  1. MacBook Air 13 - Our Choice
  2. LG Gram 14 - Lightweight
  3. Acer Swift 3 - Solid performance
  4. ASUS ZenBook 14 - Built-in IR camera

A Thunderbolt port is a great option for external hard drives, mice, keyboards and even USB-C monitors. Some recent laptops support Thunderbolt 3, which accounts for speeds of up to 40Gbps, which is four times faster than USB 3.1 speeds. Using Thunderbolt 3, you can connect two 4K monitors, and the supported USB-C connector lets you use any peripheral.

1. MacBook Air 13

Our Choice
cheapest laptop with thunderbolt 3 macbook air 13

CPU: Intel Core i3 | GPU: Intel Iris Plus | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256GB | Display: 13.3-inch | Weight: 2.8 pound

  • ✚ BRetina screen
  • ✚ Backlit Magic keyboard
  • ✚ Touch ID
  • ✚ Long-lasting battery
  • Lacks Wi-Fi 6 support

The latest Apple MacBook Air 2020 is a cheap laptop with Thunderbolt fitted with a dual-core processor Core i3 with a clock speed of 1.1 GHz, 8 GB of RAM, and 256 GB of storage. On the left side, users can find two ports with Thunderbolt 3 eGPU support. The company claims that the battery lasts 11 hours.

It depends on how actively you use the device. For daily tasks, 7-8 hours may be enough. The Apple MacBook Air 2020 has a great design. As its body is made of recycled aluminum, the surface is resistant to fingerprints. Besides, as it weighs only 2.8 pounds, the MacBook Air 2020 is very easy to carry.

2. LG Gram 14

Lightweight
cheapest laptop with thunderbolt 3 lg gram 14

CPU: Intel Core i5-1035G7 | GPU: Intel Iris Plus | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256GB | Display: 14-inch | Weight: 2.2 pound

  • ✚ Lightweight design
  • ✚ Wide keyboard
  • ✚ High performance
  • ✚ Long-lasting battery
  • Lacks a colorful display

The LG Gram 14 2020 is a cheap laptop with Thunderbolt support that has a 10th Gen Intel Core i5-1035G7 processor with Iris Plus graphics. Despite the lack of a GPU, you can connect it to an eGPU via a Thunderbolt port. The model comes with 8 GB of RAM and a 256 GB M.2 NVMe SSD.

The LG Gram 14 has a good battery that can last up to 18.5 hours, which is great for travel use. The device is lighter than its competitors, which is achieved thanks to the magnesium-alloy body. It not only makes the device lightweight but also protects it from any possible damage.

3. Acer Swift 3

Solid performance
cheapest laptop with thunderbolt 3 acer swift 3

CPU: Intel Core i5-1035G4 | GPU: Intel Iris Plus | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 512GB | Display: 13.5-inch | Weight: 2.62 pound

  • ✚ Lightweight design
  • ✚ Fingerprint reader
  • ✚ Backlit keyboard
  • ✚ Wi-Fi 6 support
  • Mediocre speakers

The Acer Swift 3 is a budget notebook with Thunderbolt 3 support that is great for working on the go. Despite its low cost, the device delivers excellent performance. The model has a 10th generation Intel Core i5-1035G4 processor.

Besides, it comes with an integrated UHD graphics card, which allows it to handle demanding tasks. The Acer Swift 3 has a 13.5-inch non-touch display with a resolution of 2256x1504 pixels on an IPS panel. The panel offers good image quality and has wide viewing angles. It also comes with a high-quality backlit keyboard for exceptional typing comfort. The Acer Swift 3 supports Bluetooth 5.0 and Wi-Fi 6.

4. ASUS ZenBook 14

Built-in IR camera
cheapest laptop with thunderbolt 3 asus zenbook 14

CPU: Intel Core i7-1065G7 | GPU: Intel Iris 5100 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 512GB | Display: 14-inch | Weight: 2.6 pound

  • ✚ Thin profile
  • ✚ NanoEdge bezel display
  • ✚ Number pad
  • ✚ Integrated IR camera
  • Lacks a headphone jack

The ASUS ZenBook 14 is one of the most reliable cheap laptops with Thunderbolt 3, which is powered by the 10th generation Intel Core i7-1065G7 processor. The device has an Iris Plus graphics card, 8 GB of RAM and a 512 GB SSD. Besides, the model has a 14-inch Full HD IPS display. Since the screen has an anti-reflective coating, it delivers bright and accurate images regardless of your environment.

The edge-to-edge backlit keyboard offers plenty of space for comfortable typing. Its responsive trackpad can be used as a touch-sensitive numeric keypad. Besides, the ASUS ZenBook 14 has a unique design with a hinge that allows you to raise the base of the model and change the position of the keyboard for better convenience.

IMAGE NAME FEATURES
cheapest laptop with thunderbolt 3 macbook air 13
MacBook Air 13
Our Choice
  • CPU: Intel Core i3
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 256GB
  • Display: 13.3-inch
CHECK PRICE
cheapest laptop with thunderbolt 3 lg gram 14
LG Gram 14
Lightweight
  • CPU: Intel Core i5
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 256GB
  • Display: 14-inch
CHECK PRICE
cheapest laptop with thunderbolt 3 acer swift 3
Acer Swift 3
Portable
  • CPU: Intel Core i5
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 512GB
  • Display: 13.5-inch
CHECK PRICE

How to Choose the Best Cheapest Laptop with Thunderbolt?

cheapest laptop with thunderbolt 3

Processor

If you are looking for a new laptop, I recommend considering models with the latest processors. The generation of a processor is especially important if you need to buy an advanced model, but if you are looking for a device for basic daily tasks, then the Core i5-8565U is a great choice to start.

Graphics Chip

For basic tasks that don’t involve 3D design, gaming and professional editing, an integrated graphics chip like Intel Iris Plus is a great choice. If you are using a laptop on a more professional level, then a discrete GPU from AMD or Nvidia is a must for you. Central processing units also come in two types as they have low-end and high-end chips. Entry-level models have the Nvidia MX250 or GTX 1650 GPUs, mid-range ones are fitted with the RTX 2050 or RTX 2060 GPUs, while advanced ones come with the RTX 2070 or 2080.

RAM

Cheap laptop models under $250 offer 4 GB of RAM, which is not enough. Make sure to select a model with at least 8 GB of RAM, but it’s better to buy 16 GB. Typically, 32 GB of RAM is more than enough, and 64 GB is necessary only for people who use a laptop for high-intensity tasks.

Storage Drive

I recommend buying a laptop with a solid-state drive instead of a hard drive if you don’t need a lot of internal storage. SSD models offer faster operation and better performance. The latest SSD model known as PCIe x4 or NVME is three times faster than traditional SATA drives. Some devices come with eMMC (technically solid-state) memory, but they are slower compared to mechanical hard drives.

Battery Life

The latest processors have good battery life regardless of their price. As a rule, such models work 7-12 hours without being recharged. I do not recommend buying a laptop that has 4-6 hours of battery life, as you will need to charge it sooner. When buying cheap laptops with Thunderbolt 3 port, opt for models with 10 hours of battery life, as they can withstand at least 7-8 hours of active use.

FAQ

  • • Do budget Thunderbolt 3 laptops support eGPUs?

Any laptop with a Thunderbolt 3 port is compatible with eGPUs. Before buying a device, check whether it has a Thunderbolt 3 port that comes with 4 lanes of PCI Express.

  • • Is Thunderbolt 3 the same as USB-C?

Thunderbolt 3 is based on USB-C, so it works with USB-C cables. However, it has higher performance requirements, thus, some USB-C cables don’t support Thunderbolt speeds.

  • • Can a laptop be charged via Thunderbolt 3 port?

If the Thunderbolt port on your device is compatible with USB Power Delivery, you can use it for charging your laptop.

  • • Is Thunderbolt 3 faster than USB 3?

Thunderbolt 3 offers data transfer speeds of 40 Gbps, which is four times faster than the speeds offered by USB 3.1, eight times faster than USB 3.0 speeds and twice as fast as Thunderbolt 2 speeds.

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