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Asus ROG Flow X13 review: This ‘thin and light’ just makes the cut

Asus ROG Flow X13 gaming laptop, launched in 2021   | Photo Credit: Asus

It is a contentious time for gaming devices amid constant new releases and rollouts of new technologies and components. But Taiwanese company Asus has managed to hold its own. After the success of the ROG Phone 5, Asus has been on a roll; one of their latest additions is the Flow X13, their first 13-inch gaming device.

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I was keen to check out how the company translated their celebrated mobile gaming devices into the Flow X13 range and was pleasantly surprised – but was I convinced?

The matte black finish of the exterior design means fewer fingerprint marks and also easy cleaning. I was not, however, a fan of its 15-inch keyboard that stretches from edge to edge and it is clear Asus wanted to mimic a desktop design here, complete with a slight white backlight. But, it sure does get dusty. Be sure to use an anti-static cleaning component for this one to avoid unseemly smudges that will hamper your viewing and the general look of the device.

Read More | How to keep your gadgets and work-from-home space clean

I was surprised at the easy carry of the device, despite the fact it has dual fans, a touchscreen, an industry-standard GPU and multiple heat pipes among other components that tend to add weight and body to a laptop. Instead, the 1.3-kilogram build being 15.8 millimetres thin qualifies it as ‘thin and light’, proving the product slogan of ‘compact is the new impact’ correct.

The processing power of the Flow X13 is no joke. It harnesses the power of AMD’s new Ryzen 5000 series of CPUs over which eSports fanatics salivate. When playing Control and Hitman 3, the graphics were liquid smooth with practically no latency in responsiveness to controls. The responsive GPU is paired with a discrete Nvidia GeForce GPU for even better performance, even when untethered from the XG Mobile eGPU.

With two CPUs, this is no surprise. The 62 Watts per hour battery life extended by the Flow X13 makes it too easy to lose time gaming, streaming and getting basic work done. While at that, a single charge lasted 18 hours during non-stop streaming (a full season of the oh-so-cringe Sex/Life) took about 14 hours. Gaming naturally required a charge here and there across the 12-hour usage of the device.

Fun with display and sound

Whether you are playing something expansively beautiful like New World or something tight-framed like Call Of Duty: Warzone, you are in control of how the display of the laptop works for you. You can seamlessly switch between a 4K panel and an FHD+ 120 Hertz panel for smooth gaming. The best part is both modes are pantone-validated for superior fidelity, with a comfortable 16:10 aspect ratio, offering up more space for toolbars and tabs, so no need to hunt for them. And as per standard, the panels are covered with Corning Gorilla Glass for hardy protection.

Asus ROG Flow X13 gaming laptop, launched in 2021

Asus ROG Flow X13 gaming laptop, launched in 2021   | Photo Credit: Asus

Are you really gaming if the physical world around you does not fall away? Immersion has been taken note of with the Flow X13 thanks to virtual 5.1.2-channel surround sound powered by Dolby Atmos. The speakers can go pretty high without meeting any unpleasant shrillness and proportionally playing up dynamic elements such as background sounds in games or films.

The microphone is pretty great with the Asus ROG Flow X13. Asus leverages Two-Way AI Noise Cancelation, their new Machine Learning audio utility to reduce background noise from the microphone and incoming audio. Begone, distracting keyboard pitter-patter, mouse clicks and other disruptive noises. But naturally louder noises like nearby conversations or outside construction are still audible.

While the Asus ROG Flow X13 gaming laptop has its admirable qualities, it does not break the gaming laptop glass ceiling as does the Lenovo Legion 5 in terms of graphics, performance, sound and design, largely due to the lower 35 watt 1650 graphics which is the norm for most 13-inch laptops.

For the just-under-₹ 2 lakh price tag, the Asus ROG Flow X13 just does not deliver all that Asus probably could have offered in one of its landmark gaming devices. I would suggest going for the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 if you want something that will be your gaming buddy for the next couple of years or so.

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Printable version | Sep 29, 2021 5:27:19 AM |

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