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ASUS ROG Flow X13 (GV301) Review – Gaming Laptop

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ASUS ROG Flow X13 is one of those rare laptops that leave you with your mouth wide open. However, at the same time, it is completely clear that only a rare few will purchase such laptops. The ROG Flow X13 alone costs around $949.99, which is a high price for such hardware, but nothing unexpected. Together with its biggest plus – the ROG XG Mobile external graphics card – the ROG Flow X13 reaches an absolutely astronomical price of $2500, and at such a price, such a set is not available in every store.

It is completely clear that right now, for $2500, a reasonably thinking gaming enthusiast will put together an excellent desktop computer and still have money left to purchase a similarly equipped laptop, at least with this same GeForce RTX 3050 Ti graphics card.

ASUS ROG Flow X13

The ROG XG Mobile external graphics card is the brilliance and also the downside of the ROG Flow X13, even despite the price of the ROG XG Mobile graphics card. It is quite loud, warm, and creates vibrations on the table. It also needs to be handled with care because you can’t simply detach the ROG XG Mobile graphics card from the laptop.

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It will have to be disconnected in the software (just like USB flash drives in the old days) to ensure that the ROG XG Mobile graphics card detaches correctly. Even if you turn off the ROG Flow X13 and only then detach the ROG XG Mobile graphics card, the laptop will think that the ROG XG Mobile graphics card was detached incorrectly.

Also Read: Review Of the MSI Cyborg 15 A12V (Core I7 12th Gen, RTX 4060) Laptop

Technical Specifications of ASUS ROG Flow X13

Details Specification
Processor AMD Ryzen 9 5980HX, up to 4.8 GHz, 8 cores, 16 MB Cache
Graphics Card Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti (35 – 40 W, ROG Boost 1135 MHz, 4 GB GDDR6) + Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 (8 GB GDDR6, 150 W)
RAM 32 GB SO-DIMM 4266 MHz LPDDR4
Screen IPS-level 13.4 inches, 1920 x 1200, 16:10, 120 Hz
SSD 1 TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0 SSD
Ports 1x 3.5mm combo audio, 1x HDMI 2.0b, 1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, 2x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C with DisplayPort / Power Delivery, 1x ROG XG Mobile Interface
Wireless Connections Wi-Fi 6 802.11ax + Bluetooth v5.1
Dimensions 29.9 x 22.2 x 1.58 ~ 1.58 cm
Weight 1.30 kg
Battery 62 Wh, 100 W USB Type-C charging device
Additional ROG XG Mobile external graphics card (GC31S with Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080)
Software ASUS, Armoury Crate
Price US$949.99

ASUS ROG Flow X13 Overview

ASUS ROG Flow X13 laptop is quite simple, there isn’t much extravagance here. The laptop features a convenient 16:10 aspect ratio screen with a 120 Hz refresh rate, and it’s also a touchscreen with a included digital stylus. The hinges of the ROG Flow X13 allow it to fold back 360 degrees, but at the same time, this means that the hinges aren’t very rigid – in a more jostled mode of transportation, the screen might not hold its position.

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Also Read: MSI Raider GE67 HX Gaming Laptop Review, Specs and Features

The outer surface of the laptop’s lid and the bottom are made of an aluminum alloy, while inside around the keyboard, there’s high-quality plastic. Unfortunately, the entire ROG Flow X13 is a fingerprint magnet, and it’s quite difficult to clean.

I would describe the range of ports on the ASUS ROG Flow X13 as limited – there’s an HDMI port, one USB Type-A port, and two USB Type-C ports (since this is an AMD processor, Thunderbolt is not found here), as well as a 3.5mm headphone jack. Additionally, there’s a slot for the ROG XG Mobile external graphics card. The good news is that the ROG XG Mobile external graphics card also offers four additional USB Type-A ports, one HDMI, one DisplayPort, LAN, and even an SD card reader slot.

ASUS ROG Flow X13

From what I’ve gathered online, the laptop does not allow for the replacement or addition of RAM memory; only the SSD memory can be changed, and even then, it is physically quite small, limiting potential choices.

For its approximate price of $949, the ROG Flow X13 seems fairly reasonable. It’s well-built, and it even includes an entry-level Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti graphics card, which makes the ASUS ROG Flow X13 warm but not excessively hot. The fans of the ROG Flow X13 almost never turn off, which can be annoying (only in Silent mode will the laptop be quiet). Even during performance tests, the laptop’s casing itself did not exceed 35 degrees Celsius, but it’s important to note that the processor temperature remains between 50 and 60 degrees Celsius even in idle mode. In Silent mode, it drops to 45 degrees Celsius in idle mode.

Also Read: MSI Stealth 15M – Slim Gaming Laptop Review

Touchpad and Keyboard of ASUS ROG Flow X13

It should be noted that the ASUS ROG Flow X13 is a compact laptop, so some sacrifices have been made, particularly in the size of the touchpad, which is quite regrettable even for a 13-inch class, measuring 6 x 10 cm. I would assume that a mouse would typically be used with a laptop of this kind.

However, a sensible amount of space has been allocated for the keyboard – it’s the right size, comfortable, quiet, and responsive. The ROG Flow X13’s keyboard has backlighting in only white, but that’s certainly not a complaint. There are also a couple of additional keys for adjusting volume, muting the microphone, and invoking the Armoury Crate software.

ASUS ROG Flow X13

ROG XG Mobile Graphics Card

The ASUS ROG Flow X13 is complemented by the ROG XG Mobile external graphics card (GC31S with Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080). This is a 150W laptop graphics card, not a full-fledged desktop GeForce RTX 3080 graphics card, which theoretically consumes 320 to 350W.

ASUS ROG Flow X13

Related: Best Lenovo Laptop of 2023

The ROG XG Mobile external graphics card is housed in plastic, with cooling openings and a rather small fan that is quite loud (and a bit whiny). Additionally, at lower speeds, the fan vibrates, which can be felt on the tabletop.

The ROG XG Mobile external graphics card uses a standard computer power cable, and it’s capable of powering the ROG Flow X13 laptop as well.

The coolest part is using the ROG XG Mobile as a docking station, as it provides LAN, four USB ports, SD, HDMI, and DisplayPort ports. A rigid and rather short cable (about 35 cm with the plug) is included for connecting the ROG XG Mobile external graphics card to the ASUS ROG Flow X13 laptop.

In in-game built-in performance tests, the ROG XG Mobile external graphics card (GC31S with Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080) performs roughly on par with a desktop GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER or GeForce GTX 1080 Ti. Accordingly, these results are actually very good

It’s nice to see that the ROG XG Mobile external graphics card wasn’t a one-day project; this same graphics card can also be used together with recently released ASUS laptops, such as the ROG Flow X16.

Related: Review of Lenovo IdeaPad L340

Software – ASUS ROG Flow X13

The ROG Flow X13 comes with ASUS software designed for setting the laptop’s battery charge level, as well as for BIOS and other updates.

Power settings are managed through ASUS Armoury Crate – you can choose between Silent, Performance, and Turbo modes. There’s also a manual mode that allows you to tweak the performance-to-fan-noise ratio. You can also set specific preferences for each installed game, which load automatically when you start the game. Armoury Crate also allows for some customization of keyboard backlighting, although it’s not RGB, so don’t expect any extravagant effects.

ASUS ROG Flow X13

Additionally, McAfee LiveSafe antivirus software is included in the computer. However, nowadays, I don’t see a reason to add any additional antivirus to Windows 11.

ASUS ROG Flow X13 Performance

The AMD Ryzen 9 5980HX laptop processor has come a long way, offering not only a substantial leap in power but also maintaining low temperatures even under heavy loads. As mentioned earlier, the Ryzen 9 5980HX never exceeded 96 degrees in any performance test or game, which is quite forgivable for such a powerhouse in such a small chassis.

All tests were conducted with the ROG XG Mobile graphics card connected, as the built-in RTX 3050 Ti is an entry-level graphics card with 4 GB of video memory, falling short of even the GTX 1650 model in laptops (excluding purely theoretical ray-tracing support).

The ASUS ROG Flow X13 demonstrates impressive 3DMark performance test results, but it’s worth noting that the external RTX 3080 graphics card doesn’t quite reach the level of the RTX 3070 that we saw in the ROG Strix Scar 17. It’s important to mention that 3DMark already warned that the external RTX 3080 graphics card might not perform at its full potential, as it can be limited by the connection speed with the laptop.

ASUS ROG Flow X13

In the Passmark PerformanceTest 9.0, this laptop achieved a rather modest score of 4708 points, which is roughly on par with the ASUS ROG Strix G (4653.7 points) and ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (5056). The highest result we’ve seen from our tested devices in this test is the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme with 7809.2 points, but that’s a completely different class of device.

ASUS ROG Flow X13

Other performance test data:

PCMark 10: 6568

3DMark Fire Strike Ultra: 7943

3DMark Time Spy: 11,565

Cinebench R20: 4721

The laptop features a moderately fast 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0 SSD.

In in-game built-in performance tests (Ultra settings), the laptop achieved the following results:

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey: (1080p Ultra) 67 frames per second

Far Cry New Dawn: (1080p Ultra) 83 frames per second

Division 2: (1080p Ultra) 91 frames per second

Related: Review of Lenovo Thinkpad Z13

Battery

The ASUS ROG Flow X13 is definitely not an office laptop. With just one charge, it can last only about 4.5 to 5 hours in Silent mode, but switching to Performance mode reduces battery life by approximately an hour.

In gaming mode, the ROG Flow X13 will operate for just over an hour and a half, but it’s important to note that this is with the RTX 3050 Ti graphics card. Utilizing the external RTX 3080 also charges the ROG Flow X13 battery at the same time.

ASUS ROG Flow X13 Review Conclusion

ASUS has tried to make the ASUS ROG Flow X13 a very interesting laptop, but buying it on its own doesn’t make much sense. The ROG Flow X13 should only be considered when paired with the external ROG XG Mobile graphics card, as without it, the ROG Flow X13 is expensive and not particularly fast for gaming. Yes, it’s compact, but not fast.

The ROG XG Mobile graphics card makes the ASUS ROG Flow X13 package unreasonably expensive. ASUS hasn’t abandoned the ROG XG Mobile graphics card, as it can also be used with very recently announced ASUS laptops. Overall, I would consider the ASUS ROG Flow X13 an intriguing concept.

Related: Review of Lenovo Laptop ThinkPad P16v Gen 1 Mobile Workstation

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