We have seen many manufacturers strive to achieve the perfect balance when it comes to portable gaming. Asus did this well with its Zephyrus G14 of last year. However, it is going one step further with the Asus ROG Flow X13.
Design and multimedia
At first glance, the ROG Flow X13 looks far from a gaming laptop. It weighs just over 1 kg and comes in at 15 mm thin. Add to that, the 13-inch chassis and it is quite a compact feeling machine. Its magnesium alloy build compliments the traditional Asus branding all across it making for a minimal look rather than a striking one.
Given the nature of the laptop, it is ideal to be carried around in practically any bag. Up front, there is a 13-inch 4K panel with Pantone validation. The edge-to-edge IPS display features a 16:10 aspect ratio with Corning Gorilla Glass protection. Combined with its thin bezels and resolution, multimedia watching on the ROG Flow X13 is a treat especially with powerful Dolby Atmos speakers.
Moreover, the display comes with support for touch input. This is especially useful given it sports a 360-degree hinge allowing you to use the ROG Flow X13 in different orientations. For instance, tent mode could be something that creatives rely on to take advantage of the touchscreen. For the best productivity though, laptop mode makes the most sense.
Display aside, you find a great spacious keyboard on the ROG Flow X13. Despite being in a 13-inch form factor, its layout almost feels like a 15-inch laptop. It gives you access to all the keys you would usually use with a slight sacrifice being the smaller arrow keys. The keys are also back-lit although only with a white light and not RGB. Complementing the keyboard is the laptop’s trackpad which has a decent click. However, it is not something we could get used to in the limited time we had with the machine.
To push gaming on Windows 10, Asus has thrown in some good specifications on the ROG Flow X13. Firstly, you find up to a Ryzen 9 5980HS CPU with 32GB of RAM and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 GPU. On its own, this machine is quite capable. But can it push high-end AAA titles? We know you are confused but here is how Asus managed this.
Asus eGPU support
In addition to the audio jack, HDMI 2.0 port, Type-A USB 3.2 and Type-C USB 3.2 ports, the ROG Flow X13 sports a proprietary PCIe 3.0 x8 connection. According to Asus, this allows for the flow of data in an unrestricted manner. And it is here that you connect Asus’ eGPU. The unit itself weights 1 kg and is the most compact ever. It needs a 280W adaptor for power but more importantly, it can house up to an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 GPU.
The connection process is simple requiring a locking mechanism to ensure the eGPU is in place. Once this is done, a simple click on Asus’ Armoury Crate software allows you to change the laptop’s GPU. When the eGPU module is connected, you do not need to power the laptop via its 100W Type-C USB adaptor. When disconnecting, you need to first disable the eGPU before pulling to cord. If you are wondering what happens if you do not, we were not brave enough to try and find out during our testing.
Regardless, we think this solution is quite an innovative one. The eGPU also gives you access to a much wider selection of I/O and ports such as Ethernet, DisplayPort 1.4 and an SD card reader among others. This serves as a great expansion for both gaming enthusiasts and high-end creative professionals. Out and about, they can carry the portable ROG Flow X13 and when at home, they can take advantage of the extra power for demanding work.
The Asus ROG Flow X13 seems to have made a good first impression. Given the unit we received was a pre-production one, it was not running the latest software available. This meant we were only able to experience the concept of the product to a certain extent. However, we hope to do more comprehensive testing such as benchmarks, gaming tests and cooling performance if we receive a final version of the product from Asus. Currently, the Asus ROG Flow X13 is available in the UAE from leading offline retailers as well as on Amazon. The base variant of the device is priced at Dh6,999.