REVIEWS: ASUS ROG Flow X13 Ultra Slim 2-in-1 Gaming Laptop – Notebook and docking station introduction

The device I tested today has been tested for several months, but due to the poor availability of almost anything, the release has been postponed. ASUS has been selling the new ROG FloW X13 since Monday, which is quite possibly the most powerful 13.4 “2in1 laptop in the world. They simply decided to stuff an eight-core AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS or an even faster Ryzen 9 5980HS inside, both have a TDP of only 35W, but still Because it is a ROG device, there is also an additional graphics card, which you do not expect with a Yoga-style notebook, you can choose GeForce GTX 1650 with 4GB GDDR6 VRAM or the new GeForce RTX 3050 Ti 4GB. Having a very specific docking station that solves ThunderBolt problems, ATI XGP witnesses probably guess where the wind is blowing from.

Now for the laptop itself, ASUS currently offers three different configurations in the Czech Republic and their recommended prices, including VAT, look as follows:

  • GV301QH-K5252T- 2400p/60Hz/R9-5980HS/32G/1T SSD/GTX1650&RTX3080/Off Black – 89 990 Kč
  • GV301QH-K6042T – 1200p/120Hz/R9-5900HS/16G/512G SSD/GTX1650/Off Black – 40 990 Kč
  • GV301QE-K6038T – 1200p/120Hz/R9-5900HS/16G/512G SSD/RTX3050Ti/Off Black – 44 990 Kč

I had the first most expensive bundle available, which in addition to the laptop itself comes with an external ASUS XG Mobile dock containing an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 GPU with 16GB VRAM and 115W TGP. There is also a cheaper variant of the dock with RTX 3070 8GB, but I do not know the price. I also had an internal test sample of a laptop with a 1920×1200 16:10 120Hz panel in my hands, and I must say that I liked it more than the 3840×2400 panel on the model tested today. In addition, the price is surprisingly favorable for such a hi-end device, the hi-end Lenovo Yoga and Yoga ThinkPad offer a maximum of quad-core Intel Comet Lake or Tiger Lake processors, plus dGPUs.

The model tested today has the following hardware:

  • AMD Ryzen 9 5980HS – 3GHz, Turbo až 4,8GHz, 16MB L3, 35W TDP, 7nm, 8C/16T
  • 32GB RAM LPDDR4X-4266 CL-40-39-45-90 1T
  • AMD Radeon RX Vega 8 Mobile
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Max-Q 4GB GDDR6 35W
  • 13,4“ Sharp SHP151B, 3840×2400 IPS 60Hz, 116% sRGB, dotykové
  • Western Digital PC SN530 1TB PCIe M.2 2230 NVMe Gen3 x4
  • Intel AX200D2WL WiFi 6 (802.11ax + Bluetooth 5.1)
  • 4 cell 62Wh baterie
  • 100W USB-C adaptér
  • Windows 10 Home v20H2

My laptop arrived in a fairly giant box, as inside the box are two smaller boxes, one with a dock and the other with a laptop. Unfortunately, I managed to shuffle the photos of the boxes somewhere, so imagine cardboard boxes with a black glossy print and ASUS ROG logos.

The ASUS ROG Flow X13 itself surprises with its low weight, weighs only 1.30 kg, the body is made of magnesium alloy, which helps the structural integrity of the entire device. When you open the display cover, you will see the fabric that covers the keyboard. It has a relatively standard layout, while there are also extra keys for sound control, microphone and Armor Crate. The keyboard is, of course, backlit with only white, and a full-click touchpad lives under the keyboard. Fingerprints and some grease can easily stick to the surface, but it is not a problem to wipe the keyboard with a cloth.

Unfortunately, we will not find the TrackPoint.

The display is very important, ASUS bet on a great 16:10 aspect ratio, you can choose either a 13.4 “glossy IPS panel with a resolution of 1920×1200 pixels, refresh rate 120Hz, 100% sRGB coverage and Pantone validation or a panel with a resolution of 3840×2400 pixels, 60Hz , 116% sRGB coverage and also with Pantone validation, both panels also have Gorilla Glass protective glass, which protects against scratches, it’s a pity that there is no matte variant, and a relatively standard 720p webcam sits above the display.

On the right side of the laptop we find a modest port equipment, there is a cooling exhaust, a USB-C port that offers 10Gb / s USB connectivity, Power Delivery up to 100 Watts and DisplayPort 1.4. Here we also find the classic USB-A 10Gb / s port and power button (it’s like this on the side and not instead of the Delete key!), The power button also contains a fingerprint reader, which is great for biometrics enthusiasts, just place your finger directly on the button , the laptop should also support automatic login to the system if the finger is placed by the responsible person.

On the back we find two cooling exhausts and that’s it.

On the left side of the notebook we find the remaining set of ports and two status LEDs signaling the switching on of the notebook and the battery status. There is also a 3.5mm audio combo jack, HDMI 2.0b and a second USB-C port is hidden under the rubber cover, which again offers 10Gb / s USB connectivity, PD 100W and DP 1.4. In addition to USB-C, there is a proprietary connector that provides a total of eight PCIe Gen3 lines and is used to connect an external ASUS XG Mobile docking station.

Like other ASUS laptops, ROG Flow uses the bottom of the display cover as a smaller jack, so when opened, the laptop body lifts slightly away from the pad, leaving more room for airflow.

The accessories for the laptop itself are relatively basic, we find a travel 100W USB-C adapter (it supports several different voltages, 5V, 9V, 15V and 20V, so you can charge your mobile phone or a charger).

There is also the ASUS Pen SA201H, which supports MPP 2.0 technology and up to 4096 pressure levels. The laptop display is a touch screen and we can also use this pen for some drawing. Of course, the notebook can be turned into a tablet form or into a tent mode, which can be useful for improving the air flow to the cooling.

Traditionally, I couldn’t resist and looked inside the laptop, thin and flexible devices typically trigger an alarm in me, so I expect soldered RAM, SSD and actually everything. The lower magnesium lid holds a total of eleven screws in place, with different lengths, I recommend not to swap short with long ones.

ASUS used a red PCB, which is quite pleasing, but the average user will not see the board at all. As expected, LPDDR4X memories are soldered, fortunately ASUS offers 16GB as a minimum, the version with 64GB does not exist yet. Somewhat surprisingly, we find here only a short 30 millimeter long M.2 2230 slot that provides four PCIe Gen3 lines. The slot then houses an SSD from WDC, SN530 1TB. So we can replace the SSD, but the choice of 2230 SSDs is very limiting, but it is still positive that we can replace the SSD.

Like the RAM and the WiFi card is soldered, fortunately there is no totally low-end chipset, but a fairly common Intel AX200 WiFi 6 chipset, which also provides Bluetooth.

However, I must not forget the special docking station, ASUS ROG XG Mobile, in the version with GeForce RTX 3080 16GB 115W TGP. This docking station offers surprisingly small dimensions (208 x 155 x 29.6 mm) and weighs 1 kg. In addition to the graphics card, the dock also has a built-in 280W power adapter for powering the laptop, GPU and all USB ports. The port equipment itself is very decent, we find a full SD card reader, four USB-A 5Gb / s ports, Gigabit Ethernet, DisplayPort 1.4 and HDMI 2.0b output.

Of course, so many ports “eat” some of the connectivity, so ASUS uses a proprietary connector that pulls eight PCIe Gen3 lines for the GeForce GPU, and the remaining USB ports are through a USB-C 10Gb / s port, including laptop power. PCI-Express is somewhat hot-plug, but there is a problem on the processor side, the AMD Ryzen 9 5980HS does not have enough PCIe lines to have a GeForce GTX 1650 connected inside the laptop and an external GPU over eight other lines, NVMe SSD over four and other costume jewelery. To use an external GPU, the GTX 1650 on the notebook must be disconnected and turned off, then the external GPU must be connected.

In Windows, ASUS solves this through the Armory Crate utility, which resides in the tray, and if it detects the XG Mobile dock, it will ask you to connect the dock and perform the above-mentioned operations. This connection takes about fifteen seconds, the same operation must be performed when disconnecting the dock, disconnecting the external RTX 3080 and restoring the GTX 1650. This means that we can not just rip this dock, because Windows will fall into BSOD, because their PCIe will disappear on the fly. device. This docking is thus more suitable for longer periods of use, when it often does not go outside, as disconnection and connection is relatively lengthy.

On the other hand, we get the performance as if the add-on card were directly in the laptop, as the connectivity is not shared with other devices, similar to ThunderBolt, which has only four PCIe Gen3 lines available. Personally, I quite like this solution, especially in terms of pulling eight lines out of the laptop and remembering the ATI XGP. The price of the XG Mobile dock itself is still unknown and so far only the highest model in a package with a laptop can be purchased from us. Personally, I hope that ASUS will expand this connector to a larger number of laptops of its own production and add more variants of graphics cards, which could make the solution cheaper and more expandable. There is also the risk of DMA, direct memory access via PCIe and easy data leakage, but this would require specific preparation for this particular laptop, or somehow “clink” the dock with the help of a bribed cleaner.

I would like to point out in advance that the gaming performance will be slightly lower compared to gaming SCAR 17 laptops that use similar processors and graphics, as this 2in1 has a 35W TDP variant of the processor and LPDDR4X memory, which have higher latencies. I did not test the GeForce GTX 1650 Max-Q 4GB 35W graphics card directly in the notebook, as the 1650ka is a bit duplicated in my methodology, I tested the graphics performance with the dock connected and tested how the integrated Vega 8 in the processor is doing.

Software

In terms of pre-installed software, we find a traditional stack of ASUS utilities, the obligatory McAffee and MS Office 365 packages.

There is also a traditional Armory Crate tool, in which we can update drivers, firmware, BIOS, connect and disconnect the dock, set fans and their behavior.

The second relevant tool is the MyAsus program, which focuses more on matters related to warranty and connection with ASUS services.


Source: Diit.cz by diit.cz.

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