Asus ROG Flow X13 review summary

Expert rating: 3.5/5

Design & display

Audio, Keyboard, and I/O

Performance

Battery


























Rating: 4 out of 5.


























Rating: 3.5 out of 5.


























Rating: 4 out of 5.


























Rating: 3 out of 5.

Pros

  • Portable and Convertible design
  • Responsive and Stylus supported touchscreen
  • 4K for enthralling media consumption
  • Impressive OOTB CPU performance

Cons

  • 4K model has only 60 FPS and some DPI issues
  • Upgradability and interoperability concerns

The pandemic has brought in some significant behavioral changes in our lifestyle, some that are to stay here for long. The rise in demand for laptops in the new Stay-at-Home economy is one such that. But even after work or study from home, you might want to chill with the same machine for devouring the entire Netlfix library or fragging your opponents down in Fortnite. And if the machine transforms seamlessly into all these use cases, it’s all the more convenient. Plus when things get better and you can finally go out and about, the device better be portable too. So, if you are looking for such a personal computer, then Asus has a new proposition for you.

The newly launched Asus ROG Flow X13 is an ultraportable convertible that comes bundled with a state-of-the-art eGPU (External Graphics Processing Unit) and high-end gaming promises. This supplementary box called ROG XG Mobile Interface carries up to Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 and an array of additional ports over that’s already available on the main machine. But since we haven’t received the eGPU at the time of writing, we would be reviewing the Flow X13 sans the eGPU for now. Of course, if and when we get hold of it, we will add that experience here.

Anyways, let’s take a gander at the specs offering below, along with the box ingredients and the contents in general.

Asus ROG Flow X13 Unboxing

Even the packaging oozes premium. There are a lot of things to unearth here:

  • The laptop
  • Adapter and Cord
  • Asus Pen
  • Carry Bag
  • Documentation Papers

Also Read:

Contents


Dimensions and Weight: 299.4 x 222.9 x 15.75 mm; 1.3 kg
Display: 13.4″ 16:10 Touch display, UHD IPS 60Hz, 116% sRGB, Pantone validated, Gorilla Glass, 300 nits
Processor: Ryzen 9 5900HS (Max Boost Clock
up to 4.6GHz, 35W TDP, 16MB L3 cache, 4MB L2 cache)
Graphics: AMD Radeon RX Vega 8 (iGPU); NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 (dGPU), and Nvidia RTX 3070 (eGPU)
RAM: 2 x 8GB LPDDR4x 4266MHz Dual channel
Storage: 1 x M.2 2230 PCIe SSD 256GB + 1TB HDD
Keyboard and Touchpad: 1.7mm travel distance/white backlight; Microsoft Precision trackpad
Webcam: HD 720p
Audio: 2 x Speakers + Smart Amp, Array microphone, Hi Res / Dolby Atmos
Ports: 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, 2 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C (DisplayPort 1.4 PD support), 1 x Audio combo jack (mic-in & headphone), 1 x HDMI (HDMI 2.0b support), 1 x ROG XG Mobile interface (PCIe 3.0 x8 lanes)
Wireless connectivity: Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), Bluetooth v5.2
Operating system: Windows 10 Home
Battery: 62Whr with 100W USB-C (75 x 75 x 28.8mm / 300g)


Now we will see how these specs serve in the real world. This is the Smartprix review of the Asus ROG Flow X13.

Asus ROG Flow X13 Review: Design and Display


























Rating: 4 out of 5.

ROG Flow X13 looks different from any other ROG laptop I have seen before. As in it has shed the design idiosyncrasies usually assosiated with a ROG gaming laptop. For instance, the grey paint over the magnesium alloy body maintains a sober look. The only character, so to speak, is the ribbed texture on the outer surface. But, as an ultraportable, one that you would take out into your office space, the Flow X13’s simplicity offers the required amount of sophistication and should easily blend in the professional ambiance.

Now as a 13″ model with just 1.3 Kgs of heft, it holds a small footprint and is pretty easy to carry around and maneuver into varied forms. The 360° hinge does a fantastic job in converting it into the following modes —

I didn’t find any worrying flex in any part of its body. The hinge is sturdy and stands firmly in whichever position you leave it. The lid is also easy to lift with one hand.

My unit has got a 13.4″ 4K touchscreen with a 60Hz refresh rate and 16:10 aspect ratio. This new taller screen offer a much pleasing FoV, seem more proportional and hence most welcome. Now although the compact size of the screen ensures handiness for tablet-mode interactions using finger and stylus, I faced some scaling issues in certain Windows apps and especially in Ubuntu. The latter was pretty much unusable for more reasons (to be divulged later). Likewise the UHD resolution albeit awesome for media creation and consumption, the graphical load isn’t something a gamer would need. Rather, the other variant with FHD reso and 120Hz smoothness would better fit their bill.

But again, if you casually game or watch videos on this panel, you would enjoy the high def details, Pantone validated, 116% sRGB, and 69.9% DCI-P3 colors. For instance, I did easily engross in the dystopic gloominess of Children of Men, the beautiful romanticism of The Garden Of Words, and the eerie darkness of The Abyss. And if you feel the need to calibrate the visuals, there are toggles for that within the Armory crate settings.

The display is very legible at 300 nits brightness. The touch response is well, responsive enough. The presence of a stylus (with 1,024 pressure levels) might prove useful for some, and the same folks would find the lack of a silo to store it annoying. Finally, the protection of Corning Gorilla Glass on the screen does assure some durability. But if you ask me, the whole thing is built fine.

Let’s see now how the rest of the machine is.

Asus ROG Flow X13 Review: Audio, Keyboard, and I/O


























Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The audio output from the bottom-firing speakers is serviceable for a small room, as in it’s clear but not very loud. No laptop speaker output has resonated with me as much as the ROG Zephyrus G14’s (review) did and ever since then, I have been awaiting a new surprise from Asus. Anyhoo, you get a 3.5mm jack for wired audio. Also, there is noise cancellation on both ends for less surrounding interference during web calls. Even the Dolby Access equalizer settings do enhance the audio. I recommend trying the Movie profile.

Coming downwards, you’ve got a chiclet-style keypad with 1.7mm travel and the N-Key rollover. As you can see it is TKL or tenkeyless. And if you’re wondering about the power button, then worry not, Asus has placed it on the right side. It also doubles as the fingerprint entry into Windows. Weird positioning aside, the thing works well, except for cases where your fingers are moist or smudged. Another good thing about it is how it facilitates faster login by caching the fingerprint whence you press the power button for booting. Rest, the other keys offer firm and precise feedback. The presence of dedicated hotkeys for volume controls, mic input, and Armoury Crate is also welcome. If it had keys for media navigation, that would’ve been even better. The white backlight is also fine.

As for the touchpad, I had no issue using it.

Now since Flow X13’s a convertible, you are bound to use it as a tab and flip it flat down. Considering that, Asus has added bumps on each corner of the keyboard which should protect the keys whilst they are exposed down. That said, the ErgoLift design usually found on several Asus lappies isn’t apparent here.

Anyways to the sides we go. There is a power button, a USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 port, a USB-C 3.2 port Gen 2 socket (w/ DisplayPort 1.4 and Power Delivery support) on the right hand. On the other hand, the left houses a 3.5mm jack (headphone and mic-in), an HDMI 2.0b port, and the ROG XG Mobile (eGPU) interface. Now the latter might not catch your eye for it’s covered by a flap. And when you remove that, inside you’ll see a USB-C port coupled with an 8-lanes PCIe 3.0 socket. So, if you ain’t using the eGPU, you can use that oval cavity as just another Type-C port.

We shall get into the eGPU in a short while, but for now know that it also packs a set of peripherals like four USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports, a DisplayPort 1.4, an HDMI 2.0 port, Ethernet, a DC power jack, and a full SD card slot. That’s plenty good, I would say.

Asus ROG Flow X13 Review: Performance


























Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

As the saying goes, the ROG Flow X13 lets you Work Hard, Play Hard. And if you plug-in the external GPU, well, you can Play Harder!

The main machine or should I say the mean machine bears an AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS CPU coupled with 4GB GDDR6 Nvidia Geforce GTX 1650 graphics (w/ Advanced Optimus, ROG Boost up to 1255MHz at 35W, and 40W with Dynamic Boost), 2 x 8GB LPDDR4X 4266MHz Dual channel RAM setup, and 1 x M.2 2230 PCIe SSD 256GB + 1TB HDD storage. The RAM comes soldered which is understandable considering the compact chassis.

The above set of specs makes it a very dependable recipe for performance.

Asus ROG Flow X13 Benchmark (Turbo Mode, Plugged-in) Scores
3DMark Fire Strike Ultra | Regular 1276 | 5630
3DMark Time Spy 2389
Cinebench R20 4039
CrystalDiskMark Seq Read | Write Speed 2453.73 | 1989.31 MB/s
CrystalDiskMark Random Read | Write Speed 840.78 | 571.32 MB/s
Geekbench 5 Single-Core | Multi-core (CPU) | Compute OpenGL 1411 | 7329 | 36129
PCMark 10 5719
Unigine Superposition (1080p Medium) 4684
Handbrake test (1GB WebM file to H.265 MKV 1080p30 conversion) 30 min
Blender bmw27 | classroom 4m59s | 13m41s

A dozen of Edge tabs or say double that, the ROG won’t sweat. I didn’t come across any lags while teleworking on weekdays. And in the after-hours, it let me play some Fortnite and be done for the day. And during weekends, I tested the following titles and the experience was decent.

Gaming on the Flow X13:

  • Fortnite FHD Ultra: 49 FPS
  • Rocket League: 156 FPS
  • Metro 2033 Redux: 76 FPS
  • GTA 5: 27 FPS
  • Borderlands 2: 71 FPS

Now that’s without bringing in the eGPU, cuz once you swap it in, the results should drastically improve. I say “should” because unfortunately, I couldn’t get my hands on the ROG XG Mobile Interface. The company stated, “internal reasons” for this. Any which ways, from the meeting with Asus SMEs, I have learned a fair deal about the product and here are the key takeaways:

Unlike the case with us reviewers, the public should be able to purchase it standalone, or bundled depending on the requirement. The enclosure comprises a locked RTX 3070 GPU (so no upgradability). And at present, due to software driver and connector incompatibility, you won’t be able to use 3rd party eGPUs with the Flow, and XG Mobile with other laptops.

The XG Mobile connects with the Flow X13 via a custom PCIe 3 interface with 8 lanes. This handless simultaneous transmission of graphics data (63Gbps) and power. Asus claims this setup is (54%) faster than Thunderbolt 4. And while connected, it powers the master device. You can plug and play without a restart. Also, if during use, the power fails, the eGPU would drop connection instantly and switch to the GTX 1650.

Moving to other aspects, you have flatter and better quality heat pipes connecting the core components. Besides these, Asus also employs the ROG intelligent cooling system which consists of heat sinks, a liquid metal compound, a self-cleaning thermal module, and Arc fans with 84x 0.1mm thin fins. The thermals were thus unalarming during heavy loads. What’s more, the fan noises were also in check and inaudible for the most part.

Within the Armory Crate app, you get to tweak and tinker around most of the performance settings like clock speed and fan speed. Even little things like toggle off iGPU mode, Panel Power Saving (Refresh rate) mode, the boot-up sound, etc. Before this sign-on sound or the splash screen appears, I’d to bear a few seconds of the black screen.

Asus ROG Flow X13 Review: Battery


























Rating: 3 out of 5.

Finally, on the battery front, the 62Whr cell ran for a max of 5 hours in the PCMark testing (with full brightness and Better Performance Windows power profile) and it takes about an hour and 30 mins to fill it back. I reckon if you use it at normal brightness levels, turn on iGPU mode, Panel power saving (low refresh rate in battery mode), lower FHD resolution, then perhaps your mileage may improve.

Verdict: Should you buy the Asus ROG Flow X13?


























Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Laptops must portable as much as possible. After all, that is the whole point of them. And if they are convertible as well as powerful, all the better. Well, Asus nails all these factors with the Flow X13.

Thanks to a 13″ display, as well as a slim and compact chassis, weighing just about 1.3kgs, this thing is really made for travel, whenever that’s possible. The 4K resolution on a panel this size is overkill. And for a smoother frames and better scaling across platforms, I suggest the FHD @ 120FPS model instead. The tiny footprint also means the machine has got less stomach for upgradability.

The good thing is that the out-of-the-box specs are impressive. Ryzen 9 is the rock on which it stands, while the Nvidia GTX 1650 also pulls its weight well. Plugin the XG Mobile eGPU and you are in for a considerable boost in graphics performance. It’s still no match for a desktop battle station but is a swashbuckler worth the ROG name.

So, to conclude, at the going rate of ₹1,39,990, the Flow X13 is for a niche of users who fancy gaming on the go. For them, the XG Mobile, which comes at a premium over the laptop’s price should warrant a definite point of differentiation. If you are one, who doesn’t mind sparing the extra cash and the constraints on upgradability and interoperability, check out this and other models of Flow X13 at Flipkart. Finally, even though such a setup makes less sense in the current times, this ROG bundle will be a portable powerhouse when things are back in the flow.

Reasons to buy

  • Portable and Convertible design
  • Responsive and Stylus supported touchscreen
  • 4K for enthralling media consumption
  • Impressive OOTB CPU performance

Reasons to not buy

  • 4K model has only 60 FPS and some DPI issues
  • Upgradability and interoperability concerns

Asus ROG Flow X13 FAQ

Q. Does Asus ROG Flow X13 support G-Sync?

A. Yes, the Asus ROG Flow X13 screen does support G-Sync/ Adaptive Sync.

Q. Is Asus ROG Flow X13 VR-ready?

A. Yes, the Asus ROG Flow X13 is equipped for a Virtual Reality experience.

Q. Does Asus ROG Flow X13 support Thunderbolt 3?

A. No, Asus ROG Flow X13 doesn’t come with a Thunderbolt 3 port. But, the USB-C (3.2 Gen 2) port supports both DisplayPort 1.4 and Power Delivery. Also, the PCI Express with 8 lanes lets you offload graphics at 63Gbps, which is said to be faster than Thunderbolt 4.

Q. Can you charge the Asus ROG Flow X13 using a USB-C cable?

A. Yes, the Asus ROG Flow X13 does support USB-C charging from both ports on either side.

Q. Does Asus ROG Flow X13 have a 4K or touchscreen display?

A. Asus ROG Flow X13 does come in a 4K variant, which is touch and Stylus supported.

Q. Does Asus ROG Flow X13 support Nvidia Optimus?

A. Yes, Asus ROG Flow X13 does feature Nvidia Advanced Optimus.

Q. Will the eGPU work with laptops from other brands? If not now, does Asus plans to extend compatibility in the future?

A. Asus says, “ROG has made a custom connection and eGPU solution to work with the Flow X13. Currently there is no cross compatibility with other brands, but we are open to ideas and can consider extending support to partners in future”.

Q. Would there be an upgradability option for the eGPU in future?

A. Asus says, “Since we wanted a no compromise solution for XG Mobile, we opted for a PCIe X8 based custom XG connector, allowing for un-degraded performance compare to counterpart technologies. The CPU and external GPU get a dedicated 8 lane connection providing optimum performance. This mobile GPU based solution is the perfect partner for the 8-core mobile CPU we have in the laptop. We are committed to the new standard we have created, and we plan to continue launching new adapter in future which will make use of this modern interface”.

Q. Will the buyer be given an option to block a unit of the eGPU at the time of X13’s purchase?

A. Asus says, “Currently we don’t have any pre-booking mechanism in place for the eGPUs, but customers can put a request to their local ASUS exclusive store, and he/she will be notified as and when the XG mobile is available for purchase”.

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