The ROG Flow X13 is a powerful gaming machine with a massive DAG (Directed Acyclic Graph) that offers up to 7,200 GFLOPS of computing power.
Prepare yourselves, because we’re about to evaluate ROG’s most daring laptop ever. We have the ROG Flow X13, which is perhaps the most powerful portable gaming device on the market right now. The ROG Flow X13 is a tiny and light 2-in-1 gaming laptop that packs Grayskull’s power into a small container.
This is the first time our crew has evaluated a gaming laptop this small and capable. The Zephyrus G14, which was cutting edge at the time of its introduction, came the closest to the ROG Flow X13. The ROG Flow X13 features a low-profile design, with just a little ROG logo on the cover. There’s no RGB in this place, people. It’s elegant and ultrathin, measuring 15.75mm thick at its thickest point. Because the ROG Flow X13 is a 2-in-1, you can turn the screen all the way back to use it as a tablet. The ROG Flow X13 also features a tent mode for improved ventilation, as well as a presentation mode with the keyboard facing the table.
The ROG Flow X13’s ultra-thin chassis is constructed of magnesium alloy, which contributes to its minimal weight. The ROG Flow X13’s 1.4kg weight makes it simple to transport. The I/O ports on this computer, however, seem to be inadequate, considering its small and light form factor. It includes a custom connection for its Power Sword on the left side, as well as a full-sized HDMI connector, a combination headphone/mic jack, and a pair of status LEDs.
The power button, which also serves as a fingerprint scanner, a USB 3.2 Type-A connector, a USB Type-C port, and exhaust vents can all be found on the right side. That’s all there is to the ports. Later on, you’ll witness how the Flow X13 summons Grayskull’s Power.
Rubber feet on the lid’s edge serve as a support in raising the machine just a little to let air to flow through.
The screen of the ROG Flow X13 is available in two colors. The review device we received featured a 4k/60hz display, which I think is a waste on such a small screen. A 1080p/120hz panel is also available, which seems to be the more realistic option. Because the ROG Flow X13 is a 2-in-1 laptop, it features a touch screen and can be used with a stylus. Oh, and there’s a camera on top of the screen, despite the tiny bezels.
The ROG Flow X13’s keyboard is one of the finest I’ve ever used on a small gaming laptop. It has the appropriate amount of travel distance, tactility, and letter spacing. Although it lacks RGB illumination, the white backlight is much gentler on the eyes and has three brightness settings.
The touchpad is very smooth and big enough for comfortable usage. The only issue I have with the new ROG touchpads is that they click everywhere. While sliding your fingertips over the touchpad, it’s extremely simple to inadvertently click anything. It also lacks the concealed numpad seen on previous ROG laptops’ touchpads.
This is the exciting part. Remember the proprietary port I showed you on the left side? It’s for the XG Mobile, the ROG Flow X13’s hidden weapon. It sounds like a character from a Gundam movie. The XG Mobile is a patented external graphics card that not only improves the graphics processing of the ROG Flow X13, but also adds additional ports for connecting peripherals, earning it the moniker “Power Sword” for the Flow X13.
ROG XG Mobile is a smartphone developed by ROG.
ASUS’s own external GPU is the ROG XG Mobile. It utilizes a unique ROG XG Mobile interface, which is currently only accessible on the ROG Flow X13, and contains a mobile 3080 that consumes approximately 150W. It’s powered by a 280W power supply, which means it can power both the external GPU and the ROG Flow X13, removing the need for a second external power source.
In addition, the ROG XG Mobile gives the ROG Flow X13 more I/O ports. It includes a gigabit LAN port, an SD card reader, 1x HDMI 2.0b, 1x DP 1.4 with G-SYNC compatibility, and 4 USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type A ports.
With the addition of the ROG XG Mobile, which weighs about a kilogram, the power that this combination delivers in under 3kg was unimaginable only three years ago. However, unlike other external GPUs, you won’t be able to alter what’s inside the ROG XG Mobile. Furthermore, we’re not sure whether ROG will release another line of laptops with the ROG XG Mobile interface. Keep this in mind since there’s one more thing to think about before handing over your hard-earned cash to a machine this pricey.
One thing to keep in mind is that when you connect the ROG XG Mobile to the ROG Flow X13, it will ask whether you want to use the external GPU. The external GPU will be tethered to the laptop after pressing OK, which may take 10 to 12 seconds. Don’t forget to click on the XG Mobile icon once you’re in this mode to securely disconnect it. If you don’t remove it via this way, your computer may become unstable, and if you try to start it up without the XG Mobile connected, it will ask you to connect it before continuing.
This is the section where ASUS ROG didn’t make any compromises. The ROG Flow X13 is powered by AMD’s newest Ryzen 9 5900HS processor, which has 8 cores and 16 threads and can reach 4.8 GHz when overclocked. Even when used alone, the device we received includes a dedicated GTX 1650 GPU, which is more than capable of running today’s major esports games.
So, one area where ASUS ROG made a concession was future upgradeability. Almost all easy-to-upgrade components are soldered into the ROG Flow X13’s motherboard. Because the RAM is soldered, you’re limited to 16GB, and the NVMe drive is the smaller 2230 form size, which is difficult to come by. This, coupled with the ROG XG Mobile’s unserviceability, makes the ROG Flow X13 the most powerful small laptop – for a short time.
With all of that stated, the high-end Ryzen CPU, the powerful ROG XG Mobile, and the 4k display, I can confidently state that, on paper, this can handle today’s most demanding games. Don’t worry, I’ve got the benchmarks ready in case you want to see how well this computer handles today’s games.
One of the drawbacks of cramming this much power into such a small area is deciding where to put the heat it generates. During my time with the ROG Flow X13, I noticed that the upper part of the laptop was very hot to the touch. When utilizing the laptop as a tablet, this may be an issue. With that temperature, there’s no way you can use it as a tablet in your hands. Surprisingly, the keyboard remained quite cool even after extended gaming sessions. The tent mode may also assist with heat dissipation; however, you must have external peripherals since the keyboard cannot be used in tent mode. And when it’s hot outside, your battery life may suffer as well. The ROG Flow X13 features a 62-Wh battery that lasts 6-8 hours, which is hardly enough for a day at work.
For its size, the ROG Flow X13 is a monster of a computer. When you combine it with the ROG Flow X13, you’ve got a powerful computer in your shoulder bag. Oh, and the ROG Flow X13 comes with a beautiful shoulder bag that can hold both the Flow X13 and the ROG XG Mobile. I can understand how this machine was created out of need. No more carrying around bulky desktop replacements for those who require a lot of power on the move. One example that comes to me is wedding video editors, who need a central command that they can transport without hurting their backs.
By any measure, the ROG Flow X13 and ROG XG Mobile are not inexpensive. Unless you have a lot of extra cash, this is not something you would purchase on a whim or just because you want to. This, in my opinion, is a necessity for individuals or companies with such needs. If you’re going to purchase one, get the 1080p/120Hz variant, since I don’t see the purpose in cramming 4,000 pixels into a little 13″ screen.
Yes, you can purchase the ROG Flow X13 review unit separately from the ROG XG Mobile for $99,000. For 199,995, you can buy it in a package with the newest RTX 3050 Ti discrete GPU. Overall, there is nothing comparable on the market now. Sure, for that amount, you can construct a fully loaded desktop PC AND a gaming laptop, but can you transport that much power anyplace in such a tiny package?
||AMD RyzenTM 9 5900HS/AMD RyzenTM 9 5980HS/AMD RyzenTM 7 5800HS/AMD RyzenTM 9 5900HS/AMD RyzenTM 9 5980HS/AMD RyzenTM 9 5980HS/AM
||NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1650/NVIDIA® GeForce® RTX 3050/NVIDIA® GeForce® RTX 3050 Ti/NVIDIA® GeForce® RTX 3050 Ti/NVIDIA® GeForce® RTX 3050 Ti/NVIDIA® GeForce® RTX 3050 Ti/NVI
||WQUXGA / 60Hz | WUXGA / 120Hz 13′′ WQUXGA / 60Hz | WUXGA / 120Hz 13′′ WQUXGA / 60Hz
||2 x 8GB | 2 x 16GB
||1TB PCIe® 3.0 M.2 2230 NVMeTM SSD
||2*2 Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) + Bluetooth 5.1 (Dual band)
||4-cell Li-ion 62WHrs
components of the highest quality
Form factor is thin and light.
Too hot to use
The cost is high.
Upgradeability is limited.