[Review] A 2-in-1 Gaming Laptop: The ROG Flow X13 (GV301Q-HK6225T)
ROG Flow X13 (GV301Q-HK6225T)
- Mediocre battery life
+ Crisp display
- Minimal ports
+ Comfortable backlit keyboard
+ Solid build
At just 1.6 kg and measuring 15.8 mm thick, the Flow X13 is one of the smallest and lightest gaming laptops out there that you can easily throw into your backpack to carry it around with you everywhere. Despite its lightweight design, the small form factor is built with a magnesium alloy surface topped with a sandblasted finish for better gripping.
It comes with an all-black minimalist design along with textured diagonal lines and a ROG nameplate on the bottom of the lid. Lifting the lid with one hand is pretty easy and it doesn’t bend much, even on the top. On the area where you rest your palms on both sides of the touchpad, you’ll notice thinner diagonal lines, which also provide decent grip if you’re carrying it while the lid is open.
When it comes to ports, I’m disappointed by the bare minimum this laptop has to offer. On the right, it has a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port for charging, a USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A port, and a side-mounted power button integrated with a fingerprint sensor. The rest of the right edge is filled up with an air cooling grille, which keeps the processor and graphics card inside from overheating. On the left, there’s an HDMI 2.0 port and audio jack, along with another USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port as well as its proprietary PCIe jack for the XG Mobile external GPU.
Luckily for me, being a right-handed person means I can choose to charge the device on the left Type-C port when gaming or it will be very frustrating when the charging cable gets in the way of my mouse especially for FPS games.
This unit features a glossy 13.4” IPS level FHD panel with Adaptive Sync, which is super smooth for gaming. It has a 120 Hz refresh rate and a 16:10 aspect ratio, which gives you additional vertical space when you’re scrolling a webpage. While there’s another option that offers you a 4K resolution, however, it only comes with a 60 Hz refresh rate. At any time, I’d go for this unit over the 4K model.
The touch-enabled screen is protected by Corning Glass Gorilla. For those who do creative work, it has 75% Adobe RGB, 75% DCI-P3, and 100% sRGB coverage. Above the display, there’s a 720p HD webcam but lacks a privacy shutter and Windows Hello face recognition.
The 360-degree hinge allows for more flexibility in four different modes: laptop, tent, tablet, and stand. While it’s quite rare to see convertible laptops for gaming, if you’re used to this 2-in-1 design, you’ll probably love it.
Keyboard and Audio
While the Flow X13 doesn’t have a fancy RGB backlit keyboard, I’m still in love with the well-designed keyboard and touchpad. It comes with a generous 1.7 mm key travel distance, which allows me to enjoy a precise and fast typing experience.
Replacing the RGB backlighting is the usual white light that we get on usual laptops. It has three levels of backlighting control, which is the minimum I’d expect from a laptop, especially a ROG laptop.
On the keyboard, you’ll get plenty of function keys besides the volume and brightness controls, including keys that control the speed of the cooling fan, put the laptop into sleep mode, switch the keyboard backlighting effects, quick access to ArmouryCrate, and an unusual screenshot key.
The touchpad is also comfortable with a smooth surface and accurate tracking. It’s actually pretty sensitive that the cursor was moving around on the screen when my bracelet was only resting on top of the touchpad.
In terms of audio, the two down-firing speakers are capable of producing rich sounds, but you won’t be getting heavy bass any time soon. In any case, you can always connect a pair of headsets for a better audio experience.
The configuration of this review model consists of an AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650, 16 GB of RAM, and 1 TB of SSD storage. Overall, this is a mild gaming laptop so you can't expect it to perform like a beast. At 1080p, it managed to hit an average of 39 FPS for Shadow of the Tomb Raider. On the other hand, it can fare an average of 32.87 FPS on Borderlands 3.
Battery-wise, it managed to last for a decent 5 hours for general productivity tasks and some music listening. For gaming, I'd recommend you hook up the AC power the whole time to prevent it from dying halfway when you're about to get too excited after an hour or so. Charging this unit up is a 100 W USB-C charger that can fully charge it up in around 2 hours.
Buy or no buy?
The ROG Flow X13 is a one-of-its-kind convertible gaming laptop, making it a pretty good choice for gamers, creators, and even for work. While not many might use it as a tablet, it's still an option to consider with the bundled pen that's comfortable for use.
If you're more on the casual gamer side who doesn't have high requirements for your game settings and will use it more for work, this one probably fits you as it will do much better than a business laptop. But if you're a serious gamer, it won't fit your appetite and you might even go for the Strix G17, which is slightly more expensive but more powerful.