Review unit on loan from ASUS Singapore
This is the review of the ASUS ROG Flow X13 (2023) GV302 gaming laptop from the perspective of an artist & graphic designer.
This laptop is the smaller sibling of the ASUS ROG Flow X16 (2022). I reviewed the Flow X16 last year and found that to be a terrific gaming laptop with the main downside being the mini-LED display is too heavy and can move down when the laptop is lifted. The Flow X13 does not have that issue.
Specs for the review unit
This seems like the only configuration sold in Singapore:
- Processor: AMD Ryzen 9 7940HS (8-core/16-thread, 16MB L3 cache, up to 5.2 GHz max boost)
- Graphics: NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 4050 Laptop GPU, ROG Boost: 1655MHz* at 60W (1605MHz Boost Clock+50MHz OC, 45W+15W Dynamic Boost), 6GB GDDR6
- Display: 13.4-inch IPS LCD, touchscreen, glossy, 500 nits brightness, 3ms response time
- Colour support: 100% DCI P3
- Resolution: 2560 x 1600 at 165Hz
- RAM: 16GB LPDDR5
- 1TB PCIe® 4.0 NVMe™ M.2 SSD (2230)
- 3.5mm audio jack, USB 3.2 gen 2 Type A, full-size HDMI 2.1, ROG XG Mobile Interface and USB 3.2 gen 2 Type-C (with displayPort), USB 4 Type C, microSD card slot
- Camera: 1080P FHD IR Camera for Windows Hello
- Speaker: 2x with Dolby Atmos
- Connection: Wifi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3
- Battery: 75Whr
- Power supply: 130W USB-C charger
- Weight: 1.3kg
- Dimensions WDH: 29.9 x 21.2 x 1.67 ~ 1.87 cm (11.77" x 8.35" x 0.66" ~ 0.74")
- 2 years international warranty
The two carrying cases are well made. They have good padding on top and bottom but not on the side where the zips are. The zips and surface material are designed to keep out water.
You can use your own USB-C GaN charger too. I used my 100W charger and could charge the laptop at 1% per minute.
The ASUS ROG Flow X13 is a beautiful, compact, powerful gaming laptop with solid build quality. The display is bright, sharp and vibrant. Gaming performance with the NVIDIA Geforce RTX is good for 1080P gaming. There's a good selection of ports.
Downsides would be the downward-facing speakers which have good clarity but don't sound as good for voice and singing. I was able to get 6+ hours battery life with display at maximum brightness, at 9 hours at 50% brightness. Battery life is decent for office type work.
The laptop can be paired with a larger external display for gaming and work, and portable alone for bringing around. This laptop is for those who value portability with option for gaming.
Things included in the box are:
- ASUS Pen 2
- USB-C to USB-C charging cable for pen
- 3x pen nibs and one nib remover
- 1x shoulder strap
- 1x hand strap
- 1x carrying case for the laptop
- 1x carrying case for the external GPU
- 130W USB-C charger and power cable
The laptop weighs 1.3kg and is considered lightweight. Thickness is 1.87cm.
The design asesthetics of the parallel lines can be seen on the lid, back, keyboard top and touchpad.
This is not just a visual design but a tactile design as well since these lines are actually grooves that feel satisfying to touch.
The downside here is the surfaces are susceptible to fingerprints but thankfully those are easy to wipe away.
The back also has those parallel grooves. The back cover can be removed with cross-hair screwdriver but I did not open the back to see.
Two downward facing speakers support Dolby Atmos and has decent audio quality. There's good clarity and sufficient loudness. It could use more bass but it's not an issue. Voice sounds slightly hollow due to the downward facing speakers so instruments sound better.
The 13.4-inch ROG Nebula Display is bright, vibrant and sharp.
This is an IPS LCD touchscreen glossy display. Resolution is 2560 x 1600 at 165Hz. Maximum brightness is said to be 500 nits, and colour support is 100% DCI-P3.
I measured colour support for 100% sRGB, 90% AdobeRGB, 97% DCI P3, 87% NTSC and a maximum brightness of 346 nits.
Viewing angles are good with minimal shift for colours and brightness. The anti-reflective coating on the display is quite effective and makes white reflections less glaring.
ASUS was able to make this laptop so compact thanks to the thin bezels. The 1080P camera at the top can be used for Windows Hello face unlock and it works quite effectively and fast.
When the laptop is folded into a tablet, handling is not that easy due to the thin bezels.
The hinge is stiff and the display isn't that heavy so the laptop can be lifted without the display wobbling. This is an improvement over the mini-LCD display on the ASUS ROG Flow X16 which is easy to fall back when laptop is lifted. That mini-LED display can reach 1100 nits brightness but 500 nits brightness (or 346 nits measured) on the Flow X13 is definitely not dim in any sense.
Keyboard and touchpad
Keyboard is full size and comfortable to work with. Keyboard layout is quite standard. The function keys are shortcuts by default and there's no Function Lock feature to switch them to F1-F12.
At the top are four additional shortcut keys that can be customised. There's no power button on the top because that's on the (right) side. There's no fingerprint sensor.
The keys are backlit with three brightness, and Aura lighting patterns limited to static, breathing and strobing with no way to customise the colour (white).
The keys are matte textured. There's good travel and feedback. Overall typing experience is excellent.
The touchpad is big, accurate and sensitive. There are left and right areas but you can also use two fingers to right click. Windows finger gestures are supported.
Ports on the left are:
- ROG XG Mobile Interface and USB 3.2 gen 2 Type C with displayPort 1.4
- MicroSD card slot
- Full-size HDMI 2.1
- 3.5mm audio jack
On the right, there are:
- Power button
- USB 3.2 gen 2 Tyoe A
- USB 4 type C with charging
Selection of ports is decent. I wished the microSD card slot is a full-size SD card slot though.
The processor used is the AMD Ryzen 9 7940HS (8-core/16-thread, base 4.0Ghz to 5.2 GHz max boost). According to benchmarks online, the performance is somewhere between the top performing 12 and 13th gen Intel processors with maybe 10% difference on either way.
This is a powerful laptop that provides mostly smooth lag-free performance even with multi-tasking.
The only times when the laptop may feel sluggish is when photos and videos are exporting in the background and you're doing work in the foreground. The thing is the processor is powerful so you'll be done exporting photos and videos fast and system will be back to full responsiveness. I'll use the time when exporting photos and videos to check my email.
Gaming performance is decent with the NVIDIA Geforce RTX 4050 (6GB).
With Red Dead Redemption 2, I was able to get 30-35 FPS and 40-45 FPS at 2560x1600 and 1920 x 1200 resolution respectively. Dropping down to 1680 x 1050 could reach 55 FPS.
With Hades, a dungeon crawler game, I could get 165 FPS at 2560 x 1600 resolution.
The laptop has to be connected to power to get better gaming performance.
To get the best gaming performance, you either reduce the resolution, get a better graphics card or connect an external GPU.
Pen and drawing performance
This is the ASUS Pen 2 that supports tilt, 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity and palm rejection.
Three nibs with different textures are included. The plastic nib is smooth and good for writing. The textured nib has more resistance and is suitable for drawing.
Pen nib has slight movement.
Cursor tracking is accurate to the extreme edge regardless of the angle fo the pen. And the display is laminated so there's minimal gap between the pen tip and the line beneath,
The pen works best for writing than drawing.
1. Initial activation force is quite low. Slow diagonal lines suffer for wobble and jitter so that affects accuracy.
2. Lines are not able to taper smoothly and sharply
3. Line transition from thin to thick and back is quite smooth. Jitter and wobble can be seen with these diagonal lines too.
4. Lines can be drawing with consistent width with consistent pressure.
5. Dots can be drawn easily.
Downsides to the drawing performances comes down to the diagonal line wobble and difficult to drawing tapered strokes.
Tilt works fine.
The ASUS ROG Flow X13 is a powerful, portable gaming laptop. I don't really have much negative things to say.
If you want better gaming performance, I would recommend going with the RTX 4060 or 4070 if those options are available and if you have the budget. Or check out other gaming laptops from ASUS such as those from the Zephyrus or Strix series.
One of the main selling point here is how compact this laptop is.
Battery life of 6-9 hours is quite decent for office type work.
You can decide whether this is worth your money from the findings I have presented.
Pros and cons at a glance
+ Beautiful design
+ Compact and lightweight (1.3kg)
+ Convertible folding design is more versatile
+ Solid build quality
+ Good selection of ports
+ Supports USB-C charging
+ Bright, vibrant, sharp 13.4-inch IPS LCD touchscreen display
+ Good colour support (100% sRGB, 97% P3 measured)
+ Anti-reflective coating on the glossy display is quite effective
+ Keyboard is big and has excellent typing experience
+ Big, accurate touchpad
+ Has pen support for drawing
+ Decent gaming performance limited to 1080P
+ Has option to connect an external GPU
+ Smooth overall performance for non-gaming work
+ 6-9 hours battery life depending on brightness
- No fingerprint unlock
- Power button on the side
- Downward facing speakers
- Pen suffers from diagonal line wobble