Asus ROG Flow X13 To buy or not - A Super Gaming Machine

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Asus ROG Flow X13 To buy or not - A Super Gaming Machine

The Flow X13 itself appears like a high-end efficiency unit. Within is AMD's Ryzen 9 5980HS, a monstrous 8-core and 16-wire handheld processor—which is probably the most powerful CPU we've ever seen in a 13-inch chassis. This is combined with an entry level Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 with a Max-Q architecture, 32GB of memory, 1TB of storage, and a 16:10 3840 x 2400 touch monitor. You can also select a 120Hz FHD display.

On paper, this is an outstanding multimedia system that might contend really well with the likes of the Dell XPS 13, in the $1,000-$2,000 price range. But Asus doesn't market it that way: it prices it as an ultra-portable gaming laptop and combines it with its own external GPU called XG Handheld. Asus claims this GPU can produce power equal to the GeForce RTX 3080—Nvidia's top of the line. But here's the kicker: right now, you can only purchase the Flow X13 packed with the XG Smartphone. Configuration requires $3,299.99.

CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 5980HS 

Display: 13.4 inch, 3840 x 2400, 16:10, 60Hz touchscreen

Storage: 1TB M.2 2230 NVMe PCIe 3.0

Battery: 62Wh, four cells


Webcam: 720p HD

Weight: 2.9 pounds

Graphic Card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 with Max-Q interface.

Size: 11.79 x 8.78 x 0.62 inches

Yeah, that's a lot of income. It's more than any range of great high-end gaming laptops cost. It's over $1,000 cheaper than the Razer Blade Stealth 13 and more than double the price of Asus' own Zephyrus G14, the two strongest gaming laptops in the ultra-portable segment. The point is that for $3,299, you're basically purchasing three laptops: one that competes with the Dell XPS 13, one that competes with the Blade Stealth, and one that competes with even larger systems like the Razer Blade Pro 17.

I just wish the three computers could be marketed separately—and I wish I could give them different ratings. Since the Flow X13 is genuinely an outstanding laptop and one of the most efficient 13-inch systems on the market today. But by placing this as a console rig and charging it with a $3,000 price tag, Asus has pushed Flow into the luxury gaming segment. And though it holds its own against the rivals there, it also comes with more sacrifices than I would have expected to see from a $3,000 device.

I'm going to start by describing what makes the Flow X13 so perfect as a general-purpose laptop, because there's a lot going on. Not only is it small enough that it seems like holding nothing, but it's also the coolest laptop I've used in the past year. The lid, the palm, and the bottom of the deck both have a gritty corduroy look that's hard to avoid rubbing your hands around. It also brings a clean, modern look to the entire thing.

Like several Asus laptops, the Flow X13 has an ErgoLift hinge that tilts the keyboard slightly off the table when the clamshell is opened. This hinge was a little more rounded than any I've seen on fold-down laptops in the past, and it wasn't sharp in my lap at all.

Another nice thing: the 16:10 computer. Most gaming laptops are already 16:9, however this year, more high-end enterprise and productivity laptops are beginning to switch to 16:10 and 3:2 screens. That's for good reason: you get noticeably more vertical space with a resolution of 16:10, which allows even less clicking and zooming out during the working day.

The panel is also compatible with the Asus Pen, and Asus claims it is "especially scratch-resistant." Although I didn't go too long to attempt to scratch the thing, I was struck at how durable it was in general. I've offered it a decent amount of touchscreen use in my first day of testing, and I've never seen some sort of fingerprints or smudge left behind. One note: there's a noticeable hinge wobble while you're using the clamshell touchscreen, which wasn't a concern for me, but maybe for certain people.

It's a tornado inside this laptop. Clearly, the Ryzen 9 5980HS is a powerhouse. It managed my decently heavy load of picture editing, Spotify listening, and heaps of Chrome tabs and applications with no problems; I've never seen fans spin up before. The X13 might be a perfect option for someone who wants a 13.4-inch laptop for computing or any heavy duty or school work.

Audio is pretty sweet, too. It doesn't get as noisy as an external mic, but the bass and drums are some of the greatest I've ever experienced on a laptop. You can also switch between presets for music, games, movies, etc. in the preloaded Dolby Access app. The Flow also supports two-way AI noise cancelation for video calls.

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