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Asus ROG Flow X13 - Compact Yet Powerful
A Thin and Light, Do-it-all Convertible Laptop that packs a lot of horsepower with an AMD Ryzen 5000 series processor and a dedicated Nvidia GTX graphics card
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ASUS ROG X Flow 13
The Thin and light form factor is one of the major trends that is being seen in the laptop industry, but the space restraint means a lack of powerful devices. Now if you are in the market for a 2-in-1, a convertible laptop that flip to turn into a tablet, the options to get anything with powerful hardware is very low. With the ROG Flow X13, Asus is offering a unique product aimed at consumers who prefer a thin and lightweight notebook with powerful internals. We had an opportunity to put the ROG Flow X13 through its paces and here is what we found.
When unboxed the laptop which came in a ROG branded box, the tiny footprint of the device was indeed quite surprising. It is a 13.3 screen size laptop but the small bezels help in keeping the overall size smaller than usual. Asus during the product briefing told us the construction of the ROG Flow X13 is done using Aluminum, magnesium while the plastic was used only on the bottom plate. At 15.3mm thickness, the machine feels very dense and no flex was seen when holding the device from the corners. The 360-degree hinge is nicely designed and works really well, with no clicks or hesitation. The hinge also provides the right amount of resistance and the Flow X13 can be flipped open at any angle with one finger and the device holds that angle without any fuss.
I/O Selection and Keyboard.
The small form factor comes with its caveats, the I/O ports are limited to 1 USB Type-A, 1 USB Type-C an HDMI port, and a 3.5mm combo jack. There is a PCIe Express port for attaching the XG Mobile GPU (External GPU) which can be bought separately. There is also a side-mounted power button that doubles as a fingerprint scanner for windows hello and works rather well in fingerprint detection.
The chiclet keyboard offers a decent amount of key travel considering how thin the device is. This ROG laptop comes with only white backlit keys along with Aura Sync technology. This is probably because although there is a dedicated GPU inside, the device is not really targeted at hardcore gamers. The backlight is bright enough and at the same time, it can very dim as well. You also get dedicated buttons for the microphone, volume up/down, and Asus’s Armory Crate application. The Glass trackpad offered, feels very premium and works as advertised, we faced no problems in our usage.
Unlike other ROG laptops the Flow X13 comes with a built-in webcam, the webcam has been tweaked for video communications and offers a good output in 720p. The Dual bottom-firing speakers on the Flow X13 offer decent and loud sound output considering the small footprint of the device.
The wifi performance of the Flow X13 has been excellent in our usage, connected to the Wifi 6 Mesh routers the Flow X13 faced no connection drops and offered high speeds throughout our usage.
The review unit came with an AMD Ryzen 5900HS 8Core/16Thread processor with 16GB of LPDDR4X Ram and Nvidia GTA 1650 GPU with 6GB of VRAM powering a 4k panel. This combination of CPU and GPU offered plenty of performance in gaming and creative applications. Day-to-day usage of emailing, browsing, zoom calls were handled without a sweat.
Ryzen 5000 CPU and Nvidia 1650 GPU combo is not hardcore gaming hardware, but the Flow X13 is not targeted at hardcore gamers. It is an ultra-portable 2-in-1 device with powerful internals that could play most of the AAA titles if you want it to at decent frame rates.
For gaming, we tried Grand Theft Auto 5 Online and Cyberpunk 2077 with the latest driver updates both the games offered very playable frame rates throughout. The Frame rates on Cyberpunk 2077 off course did fluctuate a bit.
The Flow X13 is ideally suited for content creators who are on the move, the inbuilt Nvidia GPU along with the Ryzen 5000 processor works really well while editing large raw images on Photoshop or Lightroom, The AMD Ryzen 8 core CPU with 16threads really help with video editing as well. Using Adobe Premiere, rendering 1080p and 4K video was swift and trouble-free. The Flow X13 also comes with a stylus inside the box and for digital artists, the 13.3-inch gorilla glass-covered touchscreen works really well.
While Flow X13 does offer fairly decent gaming performance, and creative performance, owing to its compact size the fans start being audible very soon and the heat can be felt if you are using it on your lap, which is ideally how an ultra-book would be used. The Heat doesn’t travel to the keyboard, trackpad or palm rests at all, it's mostly at the top of the keyboard and on the back panel. Heat dissipation is good and we did not see any performance throttling and temperatures were manageable.
The X-Flow13 is available with a 1080P -120Hz and a 4K – 60Hz panel, The review unit came with a 4K panel, the Pantone validated screen offers accurate colors with 116% sRGB coverage, which is very important for content creators and professional work. The screen offers a 16:10 aspect ratio and comes with Corning Gorilla Glass protection. The display does get very bright with the 300nits of brightness and is very legible even in outdoor usage cases.
So much power in such a small device would usually mean a small battery and a compromised battery life experience. In our usage, the 62WHrs, 4 Cell lithium-ion battery of the Flow X13 offered consistent 7-8hours of battery backup, which is less than what Asus claims but overall decent. Asus supplies a 100W USB-C PD Charging adapter which supports fast charging as well, we saw the X-Flow13 charging from 10-100% charge in roughly an hour most of the times.
What do we think?
The Flow X13 is a unique device, it can be a tablet, gaming laptop, content creators laptop, and all of this while being portable and easy to carry. For extreme users, the XG-Mobile GPU addon (which can be bought separately) can add extra performance while still maintaining mobility. For artists, the Flow X13 can be used for the complete digital art workflow. For a starting price of Rs. 1,19,990 the ROG Flow X13 is a device that does a lot of things while still being extremely portable. If you are in the market for a Do-it-all ultra-portable that you could use at home, work, and travel with once the pandemic ends, make sure you check out the Asus ROG Flow X13.