What is the Most Important Port on a Laptop?

When shopping, you consider a laptop’s CPU, storage, RAM, and screen size. Do you, however, consider the ports?

The number of ports on a laptop can range from a single USB Type-C port to an absurd quantity that runs the length of the chassis.

However, the importance of such ports, not their quantity, is more important. The three essential ports that you absolutely cannot be without in 2021 have been listed by us.

For how many? The real port area gets less and smaller as laptops get thinner and thinner. There are three ports that, in our opinion, must be present, regardless of size.

Basic components like a headphone jack and the connection for your power adapter are not on this list because they are obvious.

These are the necessities that everyone would desire. A good USB-C hub could make up the difference if your laptop is lacking one or more of these ports.

Most Important Port on a Laptop

1.) Type-C USB 3.2 or Better

Yes, normal USB-A still predominates in our society, and yes, it functions just fine.

Laptops, however, don’t perform as well as a smartphone when it comes to reading email while on the road.

The same is true for USB: If you’re buying a new laptop, you absolutely must acquire one with a USB Type-C connector that, ideally, supports USB 3.2 or later.

You can save a ton of time by using these more recent USB-C connectors because they transfer files quickly.

A feature known as Alternate Mode, or Alt-Mode, which can run a video stream over HDMI or DisplayPort (it can also support VGA, but let’s not speak about that), may also be supported by them.

USB-C is more practical because it can serve two purposes, although Alt-Mode is not automatically included and needs to be specially supported by the manufacturer.

If you desire this feature, be sure your laptop can handle it by doing some study. Good news! A lot of people do.

Additionally, USB 3.2 is compatible with the USB Power Delivery protocol.

If the manufacturers so desire, USB 3.2 Gen 2 can charge items and even the laptop itself because it can handle up to 100 watts of power.

For functionality and flexibility, a USB 3.2 port is just unbeatable. That’s not exactly accurate, though.

Both USB4 and Thunderbolt 4 are newer technologies that support USB-C and Thunderbolt devices as well as power delivery and external displays.

They are even faster at transferring data than previous versions.

Although Thunderbolt 4 uses the same type of connector as USB Type-C, we’re treating it all as one large option for the sake of this tale even though it is technically a different kind of port than USB.

2.) HDMI

The most widespread display port available is HDMI, and occasionally connecting your laptop to a bigger screen is essential.

We advise getting a second full-size display if you use a laptop to conduct your business from home.

It makes a huge difference to work on a bigger screen and possibly even a full-size keyboard.

Another significant advantage when traveling is the ability to stream Netflix or Disney Plus from your laptop to the modest 1080p hotel TVs.

Oh, and don’t forget the convenience of being able to connect to a projector for presentations. Where it’s at is HDMI.

3.) Ethernet

While Wi-Fi is great for on-the-go use, a connected Internet connection is still preferable.

Ethernet is typically faster than a wireless connection, has a more reliable signal, and is also more secure.

For the majority of uses, Wi-Fi will suffice, but if your laptop is also used for gaming, an ethernet connector is a need.

Even expandable “dropjaw” models add some bulk to the chassis of a laptop with an ethernet connection or socket, but it’s worth it for the fast, reliable internet it provides.

The Others

These are our top selections for the ports that every laptop should have. There might be others, depending on your circumstances.

An SD card slot would be beneficial for an extremely affordable Windows 10 clamshell with 256GB of storage or less.

An outdated VGA port might be the simplest solution if you need to communicate with a lot of vintage equipment.

Not to be overlooked is the revered headphone jack, which anyone with premium headphones may desire—unless, of course, they’re using a USB port to power an external DAC.

All of those are excellent (well, aside from the VGA connector), but they won’t be as important for your future laptop.

Be sure to purchase at least one USB-C port that is USB 3.2 or higher if you’re shopping for your next portable PC so that you’re covered for those three ports.