These are the best Thunderbolt 4 laptops in April 2021: Dell XPS 13, Acer Swift 3 and more
Thunderbolt 3 has been around for a while, but this year, we are witnessing PCs finally moving to the newer standard. While technically Thunderbolt 4 is not a huge jump over its predecessor, it is more reliable. Overall, the speeds remain the same, but Intel has tightened the minimum requirements so that customers get a better experience. Thunderbolt 4 is very similar to USB 4 and Thunderbolt 3, but Intel has now specified every Thunderbolt 4 laptop has to offer at least one Thunderbolt 4 port for charging, and support for dual 4K displays or a single 8K display.
Thunderbolt 4 offers 40Gbps speeds, dual 4K displays, support for charging devices, and of course, you can attach a host of docks to expand the connectivity options. However, these features have been optional on Thunderbolt 3. For instance, certain laptops that have a Thunderbolt 3 port do not support charging while some Thunderbolt cables only support slower speeds of 20Gbps, or skip on supporting external displays.
If you want to get the latest version of Thunderbolt on your laptop, here are some of the best ones you should consider.
Navigate This Guide:
- Best overall laptop: Dell XPS 13 9310
- Best gaming laptop: ASUS TUF Dash F15
- Best 2-in-1 laptop: HP Spectre x360 14
- Best laptop on a budget: Acer Swift 3
- Best business laptop: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano
- Best 17-inch laptop: LG Gram 17
Best Overall Laptop: Dell XPS 13 9310
Dell introduced the XPS 13 9310 late last year as one of the first laptops to offer Thunderbolt 4. We have repeatedly recommended this laptop, as it is a go-to laptop for someone looking for a combination of power, longevity, and good looks. The notebook is powered by up to an 11th-gen Intel Core i7-1185G7 processor, 16GB 4267MHz of LPDDR4x memory, and 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD.
Dell offers its top-of-the-line displays on its XPS lineup and this one features a 13.4-inch 16:10 ratio screen, and you can opt for a 1200p or 2400p resolution. Apart from the two Thunderbolt 4 ports, you get a microSD card slot, and a headphone and mic combo jack. Dell claims a battery life of up to 14 hours on the full-HD+ model which sounds great for all-day workloads. It is also Intel Evo certified which means that it is specifically recommended by Intel to offer a premium experience to the end-user.
Best Gaming Laptop: ASUS TUF Dash F15
One of the first laptops to feature Intel’s new 11th-gen Tiger Lake-H processors made for thin and light gaming notebooks, the ASUS TUF Dash F15 is also one of the first gaming laptops to feature a Thunderbolt 4 port. Unlike the previous TUF series gaming notebooks, this one is slightly more expensive due to the next-gen hardware on the inside and a higher quality build on the outside. The laptop comes in a fairly slim chassis and offers clean aesthetics. Available in either white or black color options, you get mint-colored backlighting for the keyboard, and as for graphics performance, the laptop can be configured with either the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 or the RTX 3070. Thanks to the Thunderbolt 4 port, the laptop can be hooked to a large 4K monitor for a more immersive gaming experience.
Best 2-in-1 Laptop: HP Spectre x360 14
The HP Spectre x360 14 is one of the most premium and best 2-in-1 laptops on the market today, and the latest variant comes with Thunderbolt 4. HP is offering the laptop with a standard full-HD resolution 13.5-inch panel that comes with 400-nits of brightness or you can go for a 3K2K (3000 x 2000-pixels) OLED panel or even a 1,000-nit option that comes with a special anti-reflective coating for better privacy. The laptop is available with up to an Intel Core i7-1165G7, 16GB of RAM, 1TB storage with 32GB Intel Optane, and if you go for the anti-reflective display option, that gets you 2TB of storage. The gem-cut edges at the back along with the color accents are still around which give the Spectre series a distinct look.
Best Laptop On a Budget: Acer Swift 3
If you are looking for a laptop with Thunderbolt 4 that isn’t very expensive, then the Acer Swift 3 could be your answer. This laptop has been a part of our best laptops list as the best budget option and the newest variant includes important updates including the Thunderbolt standard as well as the processor.
You can get the Swift 3 with up to an Intel Core i7-1165G7 processor with Iris Xe graphics, a 14-inch IPS full-HD 16:10 display, up to 16GB of RAM, and 1TB of SSD storage. It is also a pretty lightweight machine at 1.2kg and is also Intel Evo certified, just like XPS 13.
Best Business Laptop: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano
The ThinkPad range has been the go-to choice for business professionals as it offers top-of-the-line security features along with solid build quality. The new 2021 version of the Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Nano comes with updated Thunderbolt 4 ports along with the latest internal hardware. It looks stunning with its Woven finish on the lid and while it is actually the same height as the X1 Carbon, it has a smaller footprint.
The laptop comes with a 2-in-1 design and features a 13-inch 16:10 aspect ratio IPS display with a 2K (2160 x 1350 pixels) resolution, 100% sRGB coverage, and support for Dolby Vision. The laptop can be configured with the latest Intel 11th-gen vPro processors, 16GB of LPDDR4x 4267MHz memory, 1TB PCIe SSD, and a 48Whr battery that can last up to 13 hours. The laptop also comes with human-presence detection with Windows Hello & IR camera, a match-on-chip fingerprint reader, and a webcam privacy cover.
Best 17-Inch Laptop: LG Gram 17
A new addition to LG’s super-lightweight range of ‘Gram’ laptops, the new Gram 17 launched earlier this year at CES 2021. This is a recommended option for someone looking for a large 17-inch notebook with Thunderbolt 4 connectivity. It is also the lightest 17-inch laptop that you can get on the market today at just 1.35kg, which is less than most 15-inch or even 13-inch laptops.
The Gram 17 comes with a 17-inch WQXGA (2560 x 1600 pixels) IPS display with a 16:10 aspect ratio which means you get more real-estate. The laptop is powered by the Intel Core i7-1165G7 processor with 16GB LPDDR4X, 4266MHz RAM, 1TB M.2 NVMe SSD, and an 80Whr battery that claims to offer around 19 hours of battery life.
Expect more laptops with Thunderbolt 4 to flood the market in the coming months. If you don’t want to spend the extra money and stick to the older standard, then you can also take a look at our list of best laptops with Thunderbolt 3. Speaking of fast connectivity, we recently listed out some of the best laptops available with 5G that could help you stay connected to a reliable and fast network, even when you are on the go.