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Asus ROG Flow X13 Review: 13-Inch Gaming Laptop, Done Right

Asus ROG Flow X13 overview: The king of small gaming laptops?

MSRP $1,500.00

“The ROG Flow X13 is an ultracompact and surprisingly highly effective gaming laptop computer.”

Pros

  • Amazing portability
  • Good efficiency for its measurement
  • Comfortable keyboard and touchpad
  • XG Mobile is an effective possibility
  • 120Hz refresh fee

Cons

  • Mediocre battery life
  • Screen may very well be brighter
  • Expensive for efficiency

The Razer Blade Stealth 13 was, for a very long time, the smallest gaming laptop computer you can purchase. The Asus ROG Flow X13 has one thing to say about that, although.

It’s the second 13-inch gaming laptop computer you should purchase proper now, however in some methods, it takes issues even additional. With as much as an RTX 3050 Ti GPU and Ryzen 9 5900HS processor, you may relaxation assured that these are essentially the most highly effective elements you can probably stuff right into a laptop computer of this measurement.

Most configurations include the fascinating XG Mobile exterior graphics enclosure. But my overview unit is a stand-alone mannequin, bought solely at Best Buy for $1,500. That’s not a foul worth for a premium gaming laptop computer. Despite some smaller points I had, the ROG Flow X13 delivers on the promise of gaming on the go within the smallest attainable package deal.

Design

The textured lid of the ROG Flow X13.

Judging by its measurement, the ROG Flow X13 is what was referred to as an “Ultrabook.” Thanks to a 360-hinge and a touchscreen, it’s additionally a convertible 2-in-1.

But with its styling and performance, it’s unabashedly a gaming laptop. A tiny gaming laptop. The simple, all-black exterior resembles the other gaming laptops in the ROG lineup, including the Zephyrus G15 or a number of the older M-series laptops. The lid options textured diagonal traces throughout the entrance and a small nameplate within the backside nook for the emblem. A extra refined model of that texture is discovered on the palm rests. It’s a reasonably minimalist design, as long as you may look previous the standard gamer font used on the keycaps.

Asus claims the textured traces additionally carry added energy to the construction. Whether or not it’s true, the Flow X13 feels very sturdy. The lid doesn’t bend very a lot, particularly close to the highest. The weakest level of the laptop computer is on the lid alongside the hinge. That’s a typical weak level, particularly for laptops with a 360-degree hinge — which is one other distinctive facet of this laptop computer. There’s very slight give within the keyboard, however general, it’s a rigid-feeling laptop computer.

Of course, the scale of the Flow X13 is its calling card. I can’t overstate how impressively small this factor is. A laptop computer with these dimensions simply shouldn’t have the ability to deal with an 8-core CPU and discrete RTX graphics card — and but, right here it’s.

Playing Fortnite on the ROG Flow X13.

The ROG Flow X13 isn’t alone, although. The Razer Blade Stealth 13 is nearly equivalent in dimensions. Razer’s 13-inch gaming laptop computer is 0.2 inches thinner than the Flow X13 and has a special form as a result of facet of the display. The taller 16:10 form of the Flow X13 makes it barely longer on the desk, whereas the 16:9 Razer Blade Stealth 13 is wider. The ROG Flow X13 is lighter at simply 2.87 kilos. In phrases of uncooked portability, I’m completely happy to name it a draw, making the Flow X13 one of many very smallest gaming laptops you should purchase.

There are additionally a number of 14-inch gaming laptops which can be solely marginally bigger than the ROG Flow X13. It actually has a smaller general print than laptops just like the Razer Blade 14, ROG Zephyrus G14, or Predator Triton 300 SE — however not by as a lot as you may assume. Each is round an inch or so bigger in both course relying on the laptop computer, and most are heavier. Still, they characterize a stable different to the ROG Flow X13.

Ports

The ports of the ROG Flow X13.

In phrases of ports, the ROG Flow X13 has the naked minimal for a gaming laptop computer. On the correct, it has a USB-C port for charging and USB-A. On the left, it’s a headphone jack, HDMI, and yet another USB-C.

Then there’s essentially the most authentic factor concerning the ROG Flow X13,: Its proprietary PCIe interface discovered on the left facet of the laptop computer below a flap.

The placement of the USB ports in the correct facet is annoying, particularly for right-handed folks. You’ll end up preventing over house along with your mouse and the cable protruding if the one USB-A port. Because of the necessity for vents, the ports are situated additional down alongside the facet.

Another slight annoyance? The place of the facility button. Like many convertible 2-in-1s, it’s situated on the facet of the system, proper subsequent to a USB port. This button, although, is extraordinarily delicate, resulting in many unintentional presses whereas trying to find a port and even simply readjusting the laptop computer on my desk.

Keyboard and touchpad

I won’t love the aesthetic of the ROG keyboard used right here, however I can’t deny its typing pleasures. It’s a big, luxurious structure — the identical measurement that you simply’ll discover on a 15-inch laptop computer. More than that, the keys function a chunky 1.7mm of journey, which is mainly unparalleled as of late. The lengthy journey makes for quick, exact typing that I immediately loved. No studying curve in any respect.

Interestingly, the ROG Flow X13 doesn’t embody RGB backlighting. There’s no rainbow of colours anyplace on this laptop computer. Some may discover that refreshing, although individually backlit keys is actually a cost-saving measure. There are three ranges of backlighting management, which is the minimal I’d count on to see in a laptop computer.

The backlit keyboard of the ROG Flow X13.

The touchpad is nice, too. I wouldn’t have minded if it had been barely wider, nevertheless it has clean floor and the monitoring feels correct.

The ROG Flow X13 doesn’t embody a Windows Hello IR digicam for facial recognition, however the fingerprint reader is constructed into the facility button.

Display

The ROG Flow X13 makes use of a 13.4-inch show with a 1920 x 1200 decision. That unusual decision comes from its 16:10 facet ratio, which is more and more turning into the brand new customary, matching what you discover on the MacBook Pro, Dell XPS 13, and Lenovo Legion 5 Pro. Taller screens aren’t nice for film watching, however for every day work and basic utilization, the 16:10 facet ratio offers a bigger canvas for nearly all the things you do.

The ROG Flow X13 has a shiny, touch-enabled, show, which is exclusive in comparison with the Razer Blade Stealth 13. It makes for a brighter and clearer-looking display, although reflections could be a drawback. The display maxes out at round 300 nits, which is nice sufficient for every day use, as long as you aren’t sitting in a vivid room or subsequent to a window. In the darkish lighting of a horror movie or a recreation with plenty of shadows, you could end up staring again at your self. That’s not perfect.

The edge corner of the display on the ROG Flow X13.

The display does produce other strengths, although. First, it has a 120Hz refresh fee. That’s good for this quantity of efficiency. Most video games received’t hit that threshold, which means there’s loads of bandwidth to tweak settings in video games and maximize body charges.

Color saturation is nice, with 98% in sRGB and 76% in AdobeRGB coloration areas. More costly laptops just like the Razer Blade 14 are higher on this regard, in addition to in coloration accuracy. Asus did an excellent job of preserving colours natural-looking and never overly heat. They’re “Pantone-validated,” which suggests it exactly matches widespread colours inside the Pantone matching system.

All in all, it is a stable display for each work and play.

Asus has paired it with a good set of audio system as nicely. They’re situated on the underside of the laptop computer, which is okay when you may have the laptop computer on a desk.

The excellent news, although, is that they sound good. Despite being pointed downward, they supply a clearer and extra full-bodied sound than many laptops, whether or not that’s audio for a video or sound results in a recreation. Thanks to the stable separation, it’s not dangerous for listening to some music both. There’s not a whole lot of bass right here — and so they nonetheless don’t beat the audio system present in MacBooks.

Performance

You could be proper to be skeptical concerning the efficiency of the ROG Flow X13. I used to be, too, particularly given its measurement. My configuration options an AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS, RTX 3050 Ti, 16GB of dual-channel RAM, and a 1TB SSD for $1,500. The RTX 3050 Ti is a more moderen graphics card that we haven’t seen present up in lots of laptops, nevertheless it’s a substitute of each the older GTX 1660 Ti and GTX 1650 Ti. These had been generally present in budget-level gaming laptops, and the GTX 1650 Ti is what’s at present within the Razer Blade Stealth 13. Razer’s 13-inch laptop computer hasn’t but been up to date to the RTX 30-series, which means the ROG Flow X13 is absolutely the one possibility in that regard.

So, whereas the ROG Flow X13 is among the first out of the gate, you may count on the RTX 3050 to point out up in an assortment of finances gaming laptops below $1,000. That means the ROG Flow X13 will seemingly be one of many dearer laptops with this GPU. Of course, you may also purchase a model with an RTX 3050 that’s bundled with an XG Mobile, which incorporates an RTX 3080. That’ll earn you much better body charges, but additionally value you $2,800.

The ROG Flow X13 by itself nonetheless managed to carry its personal when it comes to efficiency.

Laptop 3DMark Time Spy Cinebench R23 Geekbench 5 PCMark 10 Fortnite (1080p Epic) Civilization VI (1080p Ultra)
Asus ROG Flow X13 (RTX 3050 Ti) 4503 1420 / 9701 1415 / 7592 6429 47 fps 65 fps
Acer Swift X (RTX 3050 Ti) 4073 1437 / 10135 1287 / 6663 6247 43 fps 66 fps
Acer Predator Triton 300 SE (RTX 3060) 6038 1412 / 5855 1503 / 4606 5776 78 fps 84 fps
HP Envy 14 (GTX 1650 Ti) 3147 1343 / 5028 1398 / 4741 5178 39 fps n/a

There’s just one different laptop computer we’ve examined with the RTX 3050 Ti, and that’s the Acer Swift X. The ROG Flow X13 compares nicely in opposition to it, with a slight edge in graphics efficiency. That’s what you’d count on in a gaming laptop computer.

The RTX 3050 Ti is a big enchancment over the GTX 1650 Ti, with as a lot as a 30% enhance in 3DMark Time Spy scores. We don’t have GTX 1660 Ti laptop computer scores to check in opposition to, however that’s a promising generational leap.

In video games, although, you is likely to be a little bit upset. Civilization VI was the one recreation I may play at max settings that stayed over 60 frames per second (fps). Fortnite and Battlefield V required decreasing the settings to recover from 60 fps. The distinction between the ROG Flow X13 and 14-inch gaming laptops with an RTX 3060 is critical.

The quantity of VRAM makes fairly a distinction. The 4GB within the RTX 3050 Ti (versus the 6GB within the RTX 3060) create a hurdle for video games like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. The recreation is almost unplayable on the ROG Flow X13, with a mean of simply 20 fps in 1080p at High settings.

Ryzen and Nvidia RTX stickers on the palm rests of the ROG Flow X13.

So, should you’re excited by shopping for the ROG Flow X13, it’s essential that you understand what you’re shopping for. Don’t count on to play fashionable video games at max settings, a minimum of not with out having to place up with some uneven body charges.

The processor efficiency, although, is sort of spectacular. The AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS is a 35-watt processor with eight cores and 16 threads. Intel’s Core i7-11370H is that this chip’s direct competitor, and it comes within the Predator Triton 300 SE. But like most of the Intel-versus-AMD matchups, AMD’s additional cores include improved multithreaded efficiency. The ROG Flow X13 achieved a whopping 40% higher rating than the Triton 300 SE in Cinebench R23’s multi-core check, and even barely beat it out in single-core. I by no means noticed the Flow X13 clock as much as the promised 4.6GHz, nevertheless it often boosted as much as 4.5GHz. That’s not dangerous.

All that performs out nicely in day-to-day duties and productiveness. The ROG Flow X13 scored brilliantly within the full PCMark 10 suite, which ensures that it’s a system that performs as nicely at net searching, videoconferencing, and phrase processing because it does in video games.

Battery life

The Windows lock screen on the ROG Flow X13.

The battery lifetime of the ROG Flow X13 is a disappointment. I’m not terribly shocked, contemplating the 120Hz display and RTX graphics card.

A 62 watt-hour battery is massive for a 13-inch laptop computer, nevertheless it didn’t show to be fairly sufficient to make the Flow X13 a battery life champion.

The system lasted simply 5 hours and 25 minutes in our web-browsing check, which cycles via a sequence of heavy web sites till the battery dies. That’s not nice, even in contrast with different bigger gaming laptops. The ROG Flow X13 fared higher in our lightest video playback check, which loops a 1080p native video till the battery dies. It lasted over 9 hours on this check.

The Razer Blade 14 continues to be the longest-lasting gaming laptop computer, even with the RTX 3070 I examined in my overview unit. It managed to final a number of extra hours than the ROG Flow X13, regardless of having a bigger, higher-resolution display.

Our take

The ROG Flow X13 is a singular gaming laptop computer, due to its distinctive eGPU and its unbelievable portability. Despite a number of odd design decisions and mediocre battery life, it’s laborious to not be wowed by how a lot efficiency Asus stuffed into this compact laptop computer.

Are there any options?

The Razer Blade Stealth 13 is the first different. It’s dearer, although, and is at present nonetheless caught with older graphics card and processor choices.

The varied 14-inch choices are all good choices, regardless of being a bit bigger. The Razer Blade 14, Acer Predator Triton 300, and ROG Zephyrus G14 are all nice 14-inch laptops which can be extra highly effective than the ROG Flow X13 for the same worth.

How lengthy will it final?

The ROG Flow X13 ought to final you 4 or 5 years, assuming you don’t wish to at all times keep present on the newest video games and expertise. Even should you do, the flexibility so as to add on the XG Mobile is a pleasant addition that would prolong this laptop computer’s gaming shelf life.

Should you purchase it?

Yes, so so long as you understand what you’re entering into. This is much from essentially the most highly effective gaming laptop computer on the earth, but when the portability is a gorgeous proposition, you’ve discovered an extremely distinctive laptop computer to suit your life.

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