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ASUS ROG Flow X13 takes the fight to the Razer Blade Stealth

ROG Flow X13
ROG Flow X13 (Image credit: ASUS)

What you need to know

  • The ROG Flow X13 is ASUS' first gaming Ultrabook.
  • Powered by AMD Ryzen 5000 processors and NVIDIA GTX 1650 graphics.
  • XG Mobile external GPU has an RTX 3080 inside and a direct PCIe 3.0 connection to the CPU.

CES 2021 may well be a different type of event to past years but the big hitters are still heading to the virtual Vegas streets with some incredible new hardware. One of ASUS' standout new laptops is this, the ROG Flow X13, which is an Ultrabook built for gaming.

It's also, finally, some true competition for the Razer Blade Stealth in the "gaming Ultrabook" category. One that now has two members, at least.

So, why is it so impressive? Let's examine some specs, first.

CategoryASUS ROG Flow X13
OSWindows 10 Home
Windows 10 Pro
ProcessorAMD Ryzen 7 5800HS
AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS
AMD Ryzen 9 5980HS
RAMUp to 32GB LPDDR4x-4266MHz
GraphicsNVIDIA GTX 1650
StorageUp to 1TB M.2 PCIe Gen3x4 SSD
Display13.4 inches
16:10 aspect ratio
IPS, 60Hz
116% sRGB
IPS, 120Hz
100% sRGB
PortsROG XG Mobile interface
USB-A 3.2
Two USB-C 3.2
3.5mm audio
AudioDual speakers
Dolby Atmos
ConnectivityWi-Fi 6
Bluetooth 5.1
CameraFront-facing 720p
Keyboard1.7mm travel
Dimensions11.77 x 8.74 x 0.62 inches
(299mm x 222mm x 15.8mm)
Weight2.9 pounds (1.32kg)

In short, the fact the Flow X13 is a 13-inch, thin and light laptop with an 8-core Ryzen 9 and NVIDIA GTX 1650 inside is remarkable. Where Razer's competing product goes with Intel, ASUS has used its partnership with AMD to squeeze the latest and greatest Ryzen Mobile chips into the Flow X13. Later in 2021 ASUS will release a special edition, the Supernova, with AMD's Ryzen 9 5980HS which clocks up to 4.8GHz on a single core.

Source: ASUS (Image credit: Source: ASUS)

The HS chips ASUS is using in the Flow X13 normally operate with a 35W TDP, but this can increase to 54W as required and when both power and thermal headroom allows.

Ryzen 5000 alone is enough to stand up and take notice, but everything else inside this laptop is pretty remarkable. You get a choice of either high resolution or high refresh rate displays, Up to 32GB of high-speed DDR4 RAM and up to 1TB of PCIe SSD storage. This thing is fast.

The GTX 1650 inside is pretty phenomenal on its own for something this size, but the party piece is its companion, the ROG XG Mobile. Whereas Intel-powered laptops usually rely on Thunderbolt 3 to hook up an external GPU, ASUS has decided to get a little more creative with its Ryzen system.

ROG XG Mobile

Source: ASUS (Image credit: Source: ASUS)

The ROG XG Mobile is a highly portable eGPU designed to expand the capabilities of the Flow X13. And expand, it does, with an NVIDIA RTX 3080 crammed inside along with a bunch of connectivity that turns this sleek laptop into a full desktop system.

CategoryASUS ROG XG Mobile
GraphicsNVIDIA RTX 3080
ConnectionROG XG Mobile interface
USB-C 3.2
PortsFour USB-A 3.2
HDMI 2.0a
DisplayPort 1.4
SD card reader
Dimensions8.19 x 6.1 x 1.17 inches
(208mm x 155mm x 29.6mm)
Weight2.2 pounds (0.99kg)

Without using Thunderbolt, ASUS has crafted a solution that provides a custom PCIe 3.0 x8 interface that hooks the XG Mobile directly into the CPU. Better yet, ASUS says it's actually faster than Thunderbolt 4. Yowzers.

The GPU is clocked at 1810MHz with a 150W TDP, and the internal 280W power supply on the XG Mobile is also capable of keeping the laptop powered, so you only ever need one wall outlet. It's not even that big, either, weighing only 2.2lbs and occupying a laptop footprint. It truly is a portable eGPU.

Availability wise, there's still much we don't know. Right now ASUS is only saying that the Flow X13 should be available in North America from Q1 2021, with nothing concrete on the XG Mobile at this time. Pricing is still to be announced.

Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

  • Looks awesome. Any word on whether this convertible supports inking?
  • It has pen support. Here' s a great video about it.
  • I want to see more options for gaming laptops where it comes in 2 parts like this. Fast powerful laptop on its own, but not so powerful that you get only a 2hr battery, but then paired with an accessory it becomes a PC with desktop performance while battery isn't an issue.
  • Definitely. And since you can usually switch between integrated and dedicated graphics easily, the battery life issue can certainly be mitigated.
  • This looks great, I have the Razer Blade and Core X eGPU and am very pleased with it but will be keeping my eye on Asus products going forward as this custom PCIe 3.0 x8 interface might mean users like me can really have the best of both worlds...
  • I will admit I'm a little clueless on the whole sRGB thing, but how can it be over 100%? I didn't think that was how those ratings worked.
  • Ryzen 7, 1650, 16GB, FHD - Looks like I'm getting a new 2-in-1 laptop.