Asus Rog Flow X13 Review: The Ultra-Perfect Ultraportable

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Unveiled at CES 2021, and always in a spirit of growing innovation, the ROG Flow X13 from Asus is a true gem of technology. This 13.4-inch ultraportable has the particularity of offering an optional extra powerful eGPU, the ROG XG Mobile, which is equipped with several very interesting features, but which especially benefits from an RTX 3080 mobile chip.

CES 2021 was a chance for Asus to uncover a few advancements. After the new emphasis of the Zenbook Duo that we introduced to you half a month prior, here is another scope of PCs for gamers in ultraportable configuration: the ROG Flow X13 offers the medium chance of facilitating an eGPU, the ROG XG Mobile, which essentially supports the exhibition of the PC. No concessions on segments for super roaming gaming. We’ve had the option to get our hands on the best in class ROG Flow X13 Supernova Edition, and we’re giving you a full audit of what to us resembles the ideal gaming PC.

Asus Flow X13

Price And Availability :

ROG Flow X13 is available in several different versions depending on your budget:

  • the Supernova bundle we tested is priced at € 3,499.
  • ROG Flow X13 on its own starts at € 1,499. It integrates a 120Hz screen, a Ryzen 7 5800HS and 16GB of LPDDR4x ram.
  • for its part, the ROG XG Mobile exists in two versions, the first including an RTX 3070 is priced at € 999, while the second which offers an RTX 3080 is sold for € 1,999.

ROG Flow X15 Datasheet :

 

What’s In The Box: Size Matters!

Let’s start with the beginning. Asus has provided us here with the Bundle kit integrating the eGPU. So we end up with a “huge” box, which actually contains two. The first obviously contains the Flow X13, as well as its power cable and its transformer delivering a powerful 100w recharge. The second box integrates the eGPU, as well as the power cable of the latter.

Asus Flow X13

Laptop Design And Connections: Top Finishes

At first glance, this laptop seems very similar to anything the competition can offer. A black aluminum shell with striped patterns recalls the brand’s gaming universe, while remaining in a sober style that will suit anyone looking for a powerful and stylish laptop, without sporting a too pronounced “gamer” look. At the bottom, to the left of the outer shell, is a small inset with iridescent reflections bearing the logo of the brand as well as the mention “Supernova” which corresponds to the name of the edition of the Flow X13 that we have here in our hands.

In terms of dimensions, the laptop is small, thin and light. 30 centimeters long by 22.2 centimeters wide and only 1.58cm thick. All in a very light weight of just 1.3 kg.

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On the left edge, we find a combined 3.5mm TRRS mini-jack port allowing you to connect a microphone/headset combo, an HDMI 2.0 socket and a “ROG XG Mobile Interface” connector protected by a small rubber hatch. It is in fact a proprietary PCIe remote, which allows the eGPU to be connected.

Flow X13

The right edge houses the computer’s power-off and on-button, a button that also serves as a fingerprint sensor (for unlocking with Windows Hello). It also benefits from a USB 3.1 port, as well as a USB type C connector for charging and data transfer. And finally, there is a small space dedicated to air extraction.

The underside of the device is typical of what we are used to seeing on this kind of ultraportable: two air inlets cool the whole thing, and two side openings are dedicated to the distribution of stereo sound.

When you open the hood, you are faced with a comfortable 13.4-inch touchscreen, the characteristics of which we will detail a little later in the test. The latter is framed by thin 4 mm edges on the sides. The upper edge measures 0.8 mm. If it is slightly thicker, it is to house two microphones, as well as a webcam offering an unfortunately low resolution of 720p. On the lower part, there is a generous “chiclet” type keyboard backlit in white. This offers 3 different backlight levels: the first corresponds to the off mode, the second to the medium level, and the third to the maximum level. Its power is also largely satisfactory day and night to consult its keyboard. Typing is smooth and pleasant, and the 3mm spacing between each key will amply limit errors when entering text.

Just below said keyboard, you will find a multitouch trackpad 11 cm long by 6.1 cm wide, quite sufficient and comfortable to use. Last point, the ROG Flow X13 benefits from an “ergolift” hinge allowing it to be folded in both directions: thanks to it, you can open it in the opposite direction and put it on a table to, for example, watch movies. , or even use it vertically as a tablet. Far from being new, this small technology offers a great adaptation of the product to your use, and makes the experience much more pleasant.

From the first grip, we feel that we are facing a premium product extremely well finished and just as pleasant to the eye as it is to the hands. Its design is very pleasant and the device exudes reliability as well as solidity. Personal note: after many laptop tests on the site, it has very rarely happened to me to have been so seduced by a product.

eGPU Design And Connections: You Wanted It, You Got it

Second part, but not least, the eGPU, which is ultimately the highlight of this Asus ROG Flow X13. On the design side, the latter takes in absolute all the codes of the laptop. However, the shell here is plastic (very well made). On the front, there is a cable to connect to the “ROG XG Mobile Interface” port, as well as a large air extraction area. The left side will offer nothing special, except a “retractable foot”, which keeps the eGPU in a vertical position. Finally, on the right side is a backlit area in red which will house a fan.

In terms of dimensions, this eGPU measures 20.7cm wide by 15.6cm long, all for a thickness of 2.9cm and a weight of “only” one kilogram. All this allows you to keep this extension on you when using on the go.

It’s actually at the back of the eGPU that everything happens. To begin with, you obviously have a socket intended to house the mains socket, which will allow you to power the device. But Asus has not been poor in connectivity. We thus have access to 1 Ethernet port, 2 video ports (one HDMI 2.0 and one DisplayPort), and no less than 4 USB-A 3.0 ports. Special mention to the SD card reader placed on the top of the device.

As you can see, this eGPU is not only there to improve the graphics performance of the ROG Flow X13, but is in fact a complete extension of the laptop motherboard, thus allowing to supplement all things unavailable on the laptop directly.

Screen: At 60 Hz From Perfection, But Asus Has Previously Planned

Now that the introductions are done, let’s get to the heart of the matter. The ROG Flow X13 offers a 13.4-inch glossy finished IPS touch screen, which offers a WQUXGA resolution of 3840 pixels wide by 2400 pixels high. The latter covers 116% of the sRGB color space and 85% of the DCI-P3 spectrum. It also benefits from the “Pantone Validated” certification, which will ensure reliability between the colors displayed on the screen and your prints. Perfect for graphic designers!

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Finally the only “concern” of this screen remains its refresh rate of only 60 Hz. We will therefore be limited to 60 images per second, which may seem light for the most demanding players. However, Asus has planned the blow: when buying, you can opt for an FHD+ panel with 120 Hz refresh.

Asus Flow X13

In absolute terms, this screen is on the verge of perfection. The restitution is good, the colors bright and pure, while the striking contrasts make everyday use really pleasant. The details, too, are absolutely stunning, all thanks to the 4K screen. It is very rare to find such a good screen on a laptop of such a small size, so much so that the only fault that we manage to find is its frequency which may seem a little low to play demanding games of the first person shooter type.

A small point on the touch part of this screen: it is today a technology totally mastered by Asus. The panel responds instantly and supports the multiple gestures usual on Windows 10 in touch. Combined with the “Ergolift” hinge, you can fully plan to use this computer as an ultra powerful tablet.

Sound: Excellent, Nothing To Say

The two speakers located on either side of the laptop offer very good sound. Obviously, here we are on two 1W speakers, so don’t expect transcendent bass. However, the whole is very well balanced, even at full volume. We did not feel any saturation during our various tests, and listening is very pleasant. In addition, the frequencies are well balanced, without one taking precedence over the other.

Compared for example to the sound of the Zenbook Duo 2021 that we presented to you recently and whose audio part was signed Harmann Kardon, the sound here benefits from a much better controlled balance, making the listening almost flawless with regard to the materials used.

Hardware :

Before tackling the hardware part, we wanted to warn you that we are here facing a PC embedding the best in terms of mobile hardware. No concession has been made on this laptop once the eGPU is connected (except the 720p webcam…). The Asus ROG Flow X13 is equipped with an AMD Ryzen 9 5980HS processor. The most powerful AMD processor for a laptop to date. 8 cores, 16 threads, running at 3 GHz and being able to go up to 4.8 GHz in boost mode, all for a TDP (understand here “the resultant heat dissipation”) of only 35 W. This monster is assisted by 32 GB of LPDDR4X RAM at 4266 MHz, while the graphics are provided by an Nvidia chip under Turing technology, the GTX 1650 Max-Q, which offers 4 GB of GDDR6 memory.

Asus Flow X13: results obtained under PC Mark with the laptop alone

As you can see, the basic graphics part offers a nice performance for a laptop, which will allow you to play many titles in average graphics quality. As these benchmarks show, it’s still powerful enough to play at over 30 FPS on Battlefield 5 in 2K. In the mobile version is without eGPU, you can very easily do graphics, a little 3D and a little video games, without having too much worry about performance.

But it’s when you bring ROG XG Mobile into the mix that ROG Flow X13 unlocks its full potential. The latter is equipped with a mobile version of an Nvidia RTX 3080 with 16 GB GDDR6 of dedicated video memory. While this mobile version of the RTX 3080 is certainly 50% less powerful than its counterpart intended for desktop computers, it is nonetheless the most powerful mobile graphics chip on the market. It will allow you to fully enjoy all your games in high definition, but also to benefit from impressive performance for video editing. You can also connect two additional screens via this eGPU for greater ease of use.

Asus has made the very relevant choice to deport the graphics power, which allows, on the one hand to maintain a foolproof design and portability, without making too many compromises on the graphics part when the eGPU is disconnected, but d on the other hand to limit the internal heating in the laptop.

Finally, a little point on the available storage. Whatever your configuration, you will benefit from a terabyte of storage in NVME M.2 SSD. This is the bare minimum so far for everyday use and without suffering from the ever increasing weight of the files, folders and software we use.

Autonomy And Charging :

The Asus ROG Flow X13 is equipped with a 62 Wh battery which offers, according to Asus, a battery life of 10 hours of video viewing (locally). On the recharging side, the AC adapter is capable of providing 100 watt recharging.

During our tests, in versatile use, which integrates video games, web browsing, and video streaming, the battery held 6 hours at maximum performance. With less fuel-intensive use and power settings set in economy, the ROG Flow X13 keeps its promises and slightly exceeds them with 10 h 36 of autonomy, which is very respectable.

On the charging side, the supplied AC adapter can half-charge the battery in just 30 minutes. It will take a little over an additional 45 minutes to charge the remaining 30%, which adds up to an hour and a quarter of a full charge. A meal break will be enough for you to leave to finish your day which is an excellent point.

Note that once connected to ROG XG Mobile, the latter also acts as a charger. It therefore allows you to choose between transporting the eGPU with the laptop for optimal performance, or transporting the laptop and its power cord alone for more lightness.

Conclusion: The Best Laptop Gamer, really?

Asus has achieved a feat on this ROG Flow X13: to offer an ultraportable ready to compete with more standard gaming laptops and even, and to titillate the mid-range gaming towers. Perfectly finished design, powerful, versatile, it is very difficult to find negative points even when looking well, except the webcam which offers a quality below what we would like to have today with the development teleworking.

If the graphics power offset may irritate some, it is nonetheless “the best” solution allowing to combine portability and power without concession. If you are looking for a versatile, functional laptop capable of withstanding the heaviest processes, this is the ideal model that we can advise you. And if you can afford it, the optional ROG XG Mobile will let you take full advantage of the power of your device.

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