ASUS does not rest in its quest for the ultimate gaming laptop, and if it has to experiment with unusual form factors without giving up the foundation that makes a great gaming laptop, it does.
The Asus ROG Flow X13 that we have tested in its version with the XG Mobile eGPU, is one of the most interesting (and versatile) gaming laptops that we can find on the market, raised to the heights of the market with its 8-core Ryzen 9 5980HS and externally hardened with an Nvidia RTX 3080 GPU. And all in a convertible PC package. Almost nothing.
Asus ROG Flow X13 Specification
|ASUS ROG FLOW X13|
|SCREEN||13.4 “WUXGA (1,920 x 1,200 px), 120 Hz|
4K panel option
|PROCESSOR||AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS|
|GPU||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 4 GB GDDR6|
Optional eGPU RTX 3080
|MEMORY||16 GB LPDDR4X|
|STORAGE||1 TB SSD|
|CONNECTIONS||1 x USB 3.2|
2 x USB Type C Power Delivery
|CONNECTIVITY||WiFi 6 (802.11ax)|
|OPERATING SYSTEM||Windows 10 Home|
|DIMENSIONS AND WEIGHT||299 x 221 x 15.2 mm|
|OTHERS||720p webcam, backlit keyboard|
|PRICE||From 1,699 euros|
Version with dock: 3,599 euros
This gaming laptop, while making sense on its own, is conceived as part of a bundle that includes the RTX 3080 eGPU.
ASUS has taken care of this down to the smallest detail, from a specific port to connect it (and something else) to a couple of cases with which to take this not cheap gaming equipment from one place to another, but we liked it so much.
No one would say by the looks that this laptop is a gaming device
ASUS insists on this new ROG Flow X13 with an idea that we have already seen in several of its gaming equipment: make them accessible to everyone at the design level.
The ASUS ROG Flow X13 no one would tell at first glance that it is the classic gaming laptop. It is true that there are subtle clues like the ROG plate or the texture and tone of its case. But no logos, colors or fanfare.
The Asus ROG Flow X13 passes perfectly for an ultrabook both for its small size and weight and for its “discreet” appearance within the world of gaming laptops.
Beyond personal considerations about lights and others, this Asus ROG Flow X13 offers a very outstanding design both for dimensions and for the finish.
The equipment, considering its aspirations, screen and interior, is slim (1.5 cm) and quite light. It only weighs 1.3 kg and we are talking about a laptop of almost 13.5 inches. In addition, it gives us a full feeling of robustness (something that is especially appreciated in the rigidity of the screen assembly and its magnesium alloy finish) without being rough and careful for details.
We have, for example, rubber protections in places prone to being in contact with surfaces (both on the bottom and next to the screen), soft finishes between parts of the casing, and its curious texture, which is also maintained on the wrist rest of the inside.
It is never easy to hit the connectivity of a team that has serious aspirations but cannot go in dimensions or extravagances.
The Asus ROG Flow X13 divides its main connectivity on the two sides exclusively. Nothing to pull the back as we can see in other gaming models.
The standard connectivity of the Asus ROG Flow X13 is quite fair but it has an ace “under the lid”
On the right side, where one of the air vents of the equipment is located (the other two are in the back, in addition to the lower air intakes of the case), there is still room to offer two USB ports. One is Type A but current (USB 3.2 Gen 2) while the second is a Type C (USB 3.2 Gen 2) with DisplayPort output and Power Delivery.
The rest of the side is for the power button, in an unusual position (closer to the front of the laptop than to the back). This element, without any indication, acts as a fingerprint reader to achieve a comfortable biometric identification, although due to the size and location of this power button, this identification is not as intuitive and effective as we expected at this point.
Already on the left side there is only apparent room for an HDMI 2.0b output and the 3.5mm combo audio jack, in addition to the battery and device status LEDs.
And that’s it? Not at all. Right on that left side, next to an XGm indication we find the last available port of this Asus ROG Flow X13.
We wanted to baptize it as the ” door of the second phase of connectivity ” of this laptop because we can connect the eGPU of the Asus ROG Flow X13, whose casing is also a port hub.
This is the ROG XG Mobile with RTX 3080
The ROG XG Mobile module, in its edition of 2021, has as its main protagonist the Nvidia RTX 3080 graphics (ROG Boost at 1810 MHz and 150 W), which is connected to the laptop thanks to a combined PCIe 3.0 port (x8 ) and USB-C.
This module, surprisingly compact and not very heavy (1 kg), maintains the aesthetics of the Asus ROG Flow X13 both in color and in the texture of its case. Of course, it must be powered externally ( 280 W source ) but with this, we gain the load of the laptop at the same time.
With it connected to the ASUS laptop, in addition to the graphics power of the RTX 3080, we gained a good number of extra ports, including another HDMI 2.0b, a DisplayPort 1.4 with G-Sync support, four USB-A 3.2 Gen ports 1, an SD card slot (on one side), and a Gigabit Ethernet port. Wide connectivity but in the end, even with the eGPU connected, we only have one USB-C available, little for these times.
The eGPU, in addition to an RTX 3080, adds an extra 8 ports to the laptop but none of them are USB-C
By the way, this XGm port is protected by a rubber tab that, once removed, is not attached to the equipment by anything, so we predict a loss that is very likely and quite fast.
In the box of the Asus ROG Flow X13 there is also a USB-C to Ethernet adapter, which, despite being appreciated, we already know that it will remove one of the two USB-C series of this equipment.
As for wireless connectivity, this ROG Flow X13 is a laptop with 2×2 WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1.
Convertibles need … a touch screen!
If with the design of the Asus ROG Flow X13 one already realizes that this laptop aspires much more than being a simple equipment to play, the touch technology of the screen has just confirmed it.
The surprise when talking about the screen of the Asus ROG Flow X13 is given by the fact that this element can be completely folded over the keyboard. Why? Well basically because ASUS has decided to create a convertible gaming laptop and it provides it with a touch screen. The reason, without fully sharing it, points to the union in a single team of almost all the possibilities around a laptop that exists on the market: convertible, ultrabook, and gaming.
Of all the equipment placement options that this convertible format leaves us, we are undoubtedly left with stand mode with the support of wireless controls.
The 13.4-inch screen on the Asus ROG Flow X13 is tactile. In fact, we are facing a convertible laptop, another twist on the market for gaming equipment that wants to be as versatile as possible.
Once recovered from this surprise, it is time to look closely if this unexpected extra affects what one expects to find on the screen of a laptop to play.
The Asus ROG Flow X13 offers a 13.4-inch panel , somewhat far from ideal for a gaming laptop screen. Here Asus has chosen to choose a diagonal as versatile as possible and it has undoubtedly been a risky decision. Even because of the format, which adopts a 16:10 midway through the two main protests in the market.
The IPS– type panel offers 4K resolution in the version with eGPU. They are 3840×2400 pixels with 116% coverage for the sRGB, 86% Adobe, and 85% DCI-P3 color space. It is a factory-calibrated panel and Pantone certified, in addition to Gorilla Glass protection and Adaptive-Sync support.
The screen has a glossy finish that gives it a lot of showmanship. The brightness of 350 nits is enough for a comfortable viewing outdoors while the contrast of 1500: 1, the viewing angles and the good calibration as standard make this laptop a team to enjoy the multimedia aspect without major problems.
This touch panel has been designed with the aim of attracting the attention of professionals or amateurs who also want to take advantage of it as a creative element. For this, in addition to the possibility of adopting a tablet format, a highly sensitive ASUS stylus pen is included.
The most complete model of the ASUS ROG Flow X13 bets on a 4K panel but at 60 Hz
Whoever is looking for a more gaming role for the screen, there are two lower models that have FullHD screens but a refresh rate of 120 Hz.
Good sound with Dolby Atmos technology
Although this Asus ROG Flow X13, due to its small size, does not have visible speakers on the top, this does not mean that this laptop does not have a good sound system.
The loudspeakers are located at the bottom and offer a sound that is powerful enough and well balanced at all frequencies, including bass. It is also Dolby Atmos, something that can be easily appreciated.
Asus has also been interested in that if we want to use the equipment to make recordings or video calls, we can do it with quality. This comes mainly from the sound side thanks to an effective reduction of background noise, while in the webcam image section, we continue with somewhat discreet options. In this case we are talking about a 720p webcam with only fair performance.
The Ryzen 9 have no competition right now
In anticipation of Intel’s next-generation gaming processors, AMD is launching its 8-core Ryzen 9 5980HS at 3.1 GHz (up to 4.8 GHz) with 16 MB of cache. These processors can be found both in the version of the Flow X13 with external graphics and in the classic model. All of them belong to the Zen 3 family with a 7 nm manufacturing process, with a very low TPD of only 35W.
Our test model actually had this strong Ryzen 9 accompanied for the occasion by 32 GB of LPDDR4X RAM, which is soldered to the board. There is no option to choose a configuration with less RAM if we want to opt for the external graphics.
The version of the ASUS ROG Flow 13 with eGPU offers only one configuration with Ryzen 9, 32 GB of RAM and a 1 TB SSD.
With such a cover letter, the gross performance of this team leaves no room for doubt for any mobility task you intend to perform. It is especially forceful in working with several cores at the same time, a comfort zone for the Ryzen and a starting point from which they have been putting the batteries to Intel for a few years.
In Cinebench R23, in the MultiCore test we obtained a score of almost 10,000, while in PCMark 8, in the Creative test, this Asus ROG Flow X13 reached 6642 points.
The storage unit is a 1 TB M.2 2230 NVMe PCIe 3.0 SSD, also without the possibility of changing when buying the equipment. Its performance, measured with CrystaldiskMark, gave us figures of 2500 and 2000 MB / s in the read and write tests respectively. They are not bad but they fall a little short especially in random work for a team of this budget.
The Ryzen processor is accompanied by its corresponding integrated graphics unit but we also have a dedicated graphics card, specifically the Nvidia GTX 1650 Max-Q (4GB of memory and 40W), a discrete model for a gaming computer but that can be used for graphics tasks demanding when we do not have the eGPU module nearby as if it were a portable workstation.
In the tests with 3DMark we reached 3254 points in the Time Spy test and 1686 in the Time Spy Extreme test. Those figures rise sharply when we connect the eGPU, then reaching 10571 and 5618 in the Time Spy and Time Spy Extreme tests respectively. The PCMark 8 Creative test also improves with the help of Nvidia’s most powerful graphics, reaching 8132 points in the Creative test.
In a more practical way, playing with High or Ultra options and 1080p resolution, in most current games we can maintain phrase rates higher than 35 fps without problem. An example we have in Shadow of The Tomb Raider and Far Cry 5, two titles playable at 1080p and 50 fps with the only help of the GTX 1650 graphics.
In terms of cooling, with such a processor and compact design, ASUS has included numerous advances to ensure that the equipment does not overheat and thus jeopardize the durability of internal components or lower the overall performance of the equipment.
The most important thing is the triple system of larger heatsinks in combination with the liquid metal thermal compound on the CPU, the thinner and flat heat pipes, as well as the two main fans with an anti-dust system.
All very beautiful on paper, and in fact it is possible to keep the heat of the components contained (maximum of the processor around 93 degrees centigrade very centered on the bottom and under the screen, but not on the wrist rests), but at the cost of a quite noisy operation of the fans when we demand the team.
The funny thing is that there is no middle ground at the sound level: either the fans are heard in an important way or the equipment remains completely silent for more common tasks.
The extra of a graphics like the RTX 3080 to play
Although we have seen that for gaming at 1080p and not too many demands, this ASUS ROG Flow X13 has a behavior more than worth considering the type of gaming laptop we are talking about, the great attraction of this laptop is that, with the help of a eGPU packaged exclusively for this Flow X13 Supernova edition, the ASUS convertible transforms into a more than solvent gamer notebook.
The apparent innocence of the Asus ROG Flow X13 is erased as soon as we connect the eGPU with Nvidia RTC 3080 and we have one of the best laptops on the market to play in 4K
The dedicated graphics that we gain with this addition is neither more nor less than an Nvidia RTX 3080 with Boost up to 1810 MHz and 150W . The system detects it instantly after connecting it and “blocking” it by means of a very small switch to the port. Thereafter the gaming performance increases accordingly.
The 4k game, if that is what we want, is solvent in titles of our test battery such as Far Cry 5 or Shadow of The Tomb Raider, both above 60 fps with Ultra settings. Others more current like Cyberpunk 2770, stayed at 29 fps.
If we pass the same battery of tests to these games opting for the 1080p resolution, the fps rise to 76 and 94 fps in the case of Tomb Raider and Far Cry 5 respectively, while Cyberpunk 2770 already exceeds 48 fps.
In use, the eGPU does not suffer from excessive heating, around 85 degrees Celsius according to our tests. It helps a lot that by the design of the eGPU we can keep the RTX 3080 positioned vertically. Of course, the noise of the fans when we are playing at full throttle is not logically discreet.
All control of the equipment from an app
As usual in ASUS gaming equipment, the ROG Flow X13 laptop includes Armory Crate software, one of the most complete suites on the market to manage aspects of the equipment such as performance, cooling operation or screen configuration.
In addition to a panel where you can have the status of the equipment at a quick glance, there are options to configure from the Aura Sync lighting system (if we had compatible peripherals in addition to the integrated keyboard that we have already talked about) to the cooling modes, profiles of the screen (with a large number of options available) or real-time monitoring of the system.
ASUS does not forget something important: autonomy
ASUS can boast (and well also) being one of the few manufacturers that take special care of the autonomy of their gaming laptops. In this ASUS ROG Flow X13 we have a 4-cell, 62 Wh lithium-ion battery.
This battery has to cope with a bright, high-resolution display, as well as a power-demanding main processor and graphics.
ASUS always takes care of the autonomy of its gaming laptops and despite the demanding data sheet of this ROG Flow X13, we can achieve up to 6 hours of autonomy
With that starting point, our usual tests with screen brightness between 35% and 50%, mixed tasks that include multimedia content and always-on connectivity, left us averages of between 4.5 and 6 hours of autonomy.
The data, based on the technical characteristics of the equipment, seem correct to us, although it is not one of the ASUS equipment that offers the best autonomy. In the case of wanting to play with a power supply, we can only opt for a little more than one hour of autonomy, also counting on the drop in performance associated with the use of the equipment’s own battery as exclusive power.
For charging the equipment ASUS has not opted for a heavy proprietary charger. It leaves everything in the hands of a fast charge of 100 W via USB-C that we can achieve in two ways: with the serial charger that is quite compact and light, or via the eGPU, which at the same time powers the external graphics card. to provide power and recharge the laptop to which it is connected.
Keyboard and touchpad conditioned by the compact size
It is not very common to find compact teams but at the same time with such a clear gamer spirit. One of the direct consequences is the lack of space to develop with all the splendor that one expects from a computer to play, mainly the keyboard.The keyboard of a compact gaming laptop is one of the main victims. Despite this, the keyboard of the ROG Flow X13 has good travel and is versatile
In this ASUS ROG Flow X13 we have a full keyboard but without a dedicated numeric part, good key separation but with key elements such as the direction keys or the space bar which have had to be reduced compared to the classic size. Despite this, ASUS includes its typical extra half row with, among others, direct controls for its configuration and management software of the equipment, in addition to those dedicated to the sound.
In operation, the keyboard on the ASUS ROG Flow X13 has been comfortable and fast for me to type as well as suitable for gaming. It’s unmatched by a mechanical keyboard but the 1.7mm key travel strikes me as a great achievement for how slim and compact the laptop is. I also liked the activation force , which is adequate for the main purpose of the team, which we consider to be to play.
The keyboard is backlit, with compatibility with the ASUS Aura Sync system. But do not expect an explosion of color or anything similar because the backlighting is quite conservative and conforms to the white color (which we can regulate in intensity or effect pattern) from the corresponding application.
The visibility of the keyboard when the backlighting makes more sense is very good, being quite soft and illuminating both the letters and the background of them.
As for the touchpad, its size is somewhat smaller than we expected, but it has been accurate, smooth for scrolling and with a soft and not very loud click.
ASUS ROG Flow X13 Supernova, the opinion, and note of techeens
When you invest more than 3,500 euros in a laptop, in addition to specialization, you seek to achieve the greatest versatility possible. It is the starting point for the ASUS ROG Flow X13 , the first gaming convertible on the market.
Starting from the excellent base of an impeccable technical sheet except for the SSD unit, where the very powerful Ryzen 9 of the Zen 3 family stands out, ASUS configures a team with a clear focus on gaming at the highest level in a laptop, but without giving up a more professional or classic use where the convertible format , the compatibility with a stylus and the highest quality of finish and portability, are not negotiable.
The fair behavior of the GTX 1650 graphics for creative and more work tasks becomes extraordinary when we connect the eGPU with an RTX 3080 with which to take full advantage of its well-calibrated 4K panel. If we have paid for it, what less than to be able to enjoy its full potential practically anywhere.