Gaming

ROG Flow X13 review: One of a kind

A jack of all trades

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“How is that a gaming laptop?” 

This was the initial reaction of my colleagues when I first took the ROG Flow X13 out of my bag. And who can blame them? One quick glance doesn’t tell you much.

The design is very understated


Nothing here screams gaming. It has a nice subtle ribbed pattern on the cover in a very stealth-ish black.


Perhaps the only dead giveaway that this is, in fact, a gaming machine is the ROG logo which is noticeable but doesn’t dominate the look.

Powered by AMD Ryzen 5000

AMD has been absolutely killing it in the gaming processor department with plenty of reviewers recommending AMD-powered gaming laptops over Intel ones.

The ROG Flow X13 we have specifically has the AMD Ryzen 5900Hs with Radeon Graphics 3.30Hz.  This particular device also has 16GB of RAM along with 1TB of storage. Yes, it’s a beast. For the graphics card, this one is sporting an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 with Max-Q design. More on this later.

For a 2-in-1, it has a fair collection of ports

On the right hand side are: One (1) USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, One (1) USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C support DisplayPort / power delivery that’s sitting right next to the power button that doubles as a fingerprint scanner.


On the left are: One (1) 3.5mm Combo Audio Jack, One (1) HDMI 2.0b, One (1)ROG XG Mobile Interface (More on this later). Also, you’re gonna want to use that headphone jack. The speakers on this thing doesn’t get loud at all, and the sound is just mostly okay.

It also features ASUS’ Ergolift hinge that’s always a satisfying sight.

A 2-in-1 for heavy tasks

Over the time that I’ve had the notebook, I’ve used it more for work than gaming. It’s a healthy 80-20 split, and to no one’s surprise the ROG Flow X13 had zero trouble handling heavy tasks.

I did everything from writing scripts, copy-editing articles, dealing with presentation slides, as well as headache inducing spreadsheets. Typical work stuff. Oh, and I also opted to use Chrome over Microsoft Edge despite recommendations from peers to do otherwise. I can’t quite escape from Chrome just yet.

On top of that, I’ve also handled some basic photo editing and have moved files from different sources. I didn’t notice any considerable heating even on days that I opt to keep my air conditioning turned off to manage my electricity consumption.

I’ve only ever really used it remotely a couple of times and continuously working outside, the machine will give you around six to seven hours depending on how much you push the processor and the display.

The backlit chiclet keyboard is easy enough to get used to. I thought the travel was great but I did wish the keys were a little larger. That said, it’s fairly easy to use and is not a dealbreaker at all. Much of the same can be said about the trackpad. Then again, there’s only so much space you’re working with on a notebook this size.

Speaking of display… 

This particular unit we have has a 4K WQUXGA (3840 x 2400) resolution. It measures 13.4 inches with a 16:10 ratio. If you’re mostly using this for gaming and you don’t have to deal with photo editing a lot, the 1080p version should suffice.

The display is Pantone Validated, has anti-glare, with a 60Hz refresh rate, adaptive sync, and since it has a tablet mode, it naturally has a touch screen.

Like any 2-in-1, you can prop it up in a variety of ways. You can go tent mode like the image above, tablet mode like mentioned earlier, and the mode where the keyboard is facing down and away from you.

Gaming on the notebook 

You can certainly play AAA titles on just the notebook alone but you’ll have to turn the graphics down to medium. That’s precisely what I did when playing Control: Ultimate Edition while out in the wild.

Although, to be perfectly honest, most of the gaming I’ve done with just the notebook is with Final Fantasy VIII Remastered. I’ve been on a bit of a Final Fantasy binge of late spending the past weekends beating Final Fantasy XV on the PS5 and starting FFVIII Remastered on the ROG Flow X13.

Given my choice of games, despite taking advantage only of the built-in GTX 1650, it never felt like the laptop was lacking. But as we all know, this isn’t its final form.

ROG XG Mobile 

To fully unlock the ROG Flow X13’s potential, there’s this little accessory that comes with it — the ROG XG Mobile.

What is it? It’s probably one of the tiniest eGPU’s to exist right now. With these dimensions: 20.8  x 15.5  x 2.96 cm and weighing just 1kg, this is about as mobile an eGPU can get.

What it does is unlock more firepower for the ROG Flow X13. Kind of like Iron Man’s Hulkbuster suit.

 

The ROG XG Mobile is rocking an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 with ROG Boost up to 1810MHz at 150W and adds more ports for your enjoyment. These are:  One (1) HDMI 2.0, One (1) DP 1.4, One (1) RJ-45 Jack, (1) DC input jack, Four (4) USB 3.2 Gen1 port, and One (1) SD Card reader(Standard)/UHS-II(312MB/s)

The full package

This takes playing those AAA titles to the next level. With it you can easily crank up your graphics settings to ‘Very High,’ which is exactly what I did when playing Death Stranding.

The game looks freaking amazing on the 4K screen and has no hiccups whatsoever when the ROG Flow X13 and the ROG XG Mobile are working in tandem.

A couple of hours of Death Stranding and another couple of hours playing Hades were enjoyable. I’d like to note that I only really get to game on PCs during reviews so most of my point of comparison is coming from all the PS4 and PS5 gaming I’ve done in the past few months.

That said, this is exactly the kind of experience I was hoping for but did not really expect from a notebook this size. None of the ultrabooks I’ve used in the past could even come close to this level of satisfaction when it comes to gaming. Pair it with the ROG XG Mobile and it just takes things to another level.

Mobility and versatility 

The true strength and value add of the ROG Flow X13 and ROG XG Mobile combo is not how it can give you the best overall gaming experience. There’s certainly more powerful gaming laptops out there. However, they’re not this light nor versatile.

At around a US$ 3000 package (pricing in the Philippines will be revealed on the February 20 event), you’re getting what others who have reviewed this laptop call a midrange PC performance.

And for sure, you can build a waaaay more powerful PC with that amount. But you won’t be able to lug that PC around wherever you want. You can go the regular laptop gaming route, but nothing is as light with this much oomph. And if you want an ultrabook, you can forget about a high-end experience playing AAA games.

It’s not like you’re only getting the laptop and the eGPU at that price. Also included in the whole package is a stylus, the ROG Chakram Core gaming mouse, and sleeves for both the ROG Flow X13 and the ROG XG Mobile. As far as packages go, that’s premium value right there.

Is the ROG Flow X13 your GadgetMatch?

Personally, it uniquely fits me. I’ve always wanted to build a gaming rig but do not have the space to house one. The ROG Flow X13 package is the closest I can get to high-end PC gaming but with the space-saving and mobility that my lifestyle requires.

For everyone else, well, the ROG Flow X13 isn’t the best at any of the things it’s trying to do or trying to be. However, it’s the only one that’s versatile enough to do all of it. It’s like that rare, invaluable member of a team that can play second fiddle to just about anyone. That’s such an underrated trait and is what this machine should be celebrated for.

Deals

Buy AMD’s Ryzen 7000 series-Star Wars Jedi: Survivor bundle

Cal Kestis’ adventure continues

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AMD Ryzen Jedi Survivor

AMD has an early offer for those anticipating the release of Star Wars Jedi: Survivor.

Until April 1, 2023, customers may avail of the AMD Ryzen Game Bundle which includes select 7000 series processors and access to Star Wars Jedi: Survivor.

Powered by the new Zen 4 architecture, Ryzen 7000 series desktop processors offer incredible performance for gamers — up to 15% faster than the Zen 3 generation.

When purchased, gamers will receive a redemption code and will have until May 6, 2023 to redeem their copy of Star Wars Jedi: Survivor.

The action adventure game is set to release on March 17 for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and Windows.

The sequel to Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order stars now Jedi Knight Cal Kestis, whose story continues with adventures that will push him further than ever as he fights to protect the galaxy from descending into darkness.

Players will discover new planets and visit familiar frontiers in the Star Wars galaxy in the game, each with unique biomes, challenges, and enemies.

Watch the Star Wars Jedi: Survivor trailer. 

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Gaming

Cult classic GoldenEye 007 is coming to Xbox, Switch

Through Game Pass or Switch Online

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Before the stark rise of Call of Duty and Halo, there was 1993’s DOOM. The still-popular title revolutionized the playing field for first-person shooters on the PC. A few years after that iconic game released, another title quietly reinvented the genre for consoles: GoldenEye 007. Whereas DOOM defined the FPS genre for the PC, GoldenEye 007 did the same for consoles. Now, gamers today will officially get a way to play the game on modern hardware without the use of emulators.

Announced today, Rare is releasing the original game on Xbox and Nintendo Switch. Between the two, the focus is on the Xbox version. Both the Xbox One and the Xbox Series X/S will have access to a 4K remaster of the original GoldenEye 007, featuring higher framerates, dual analog sticks support, and local multiplayer. The HD title will come through either the Xbox Game Pass or the Rare Replay collection.

On the other hand, the Nintendo Switch version is as classic as it gets. Released almost in its original form, the Switch version will come as part of the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack package of games for the N64. Additionally, unlike the Xbox version, the Switch is advertising an online multiplayer mode.

Both versions will unlock on January 27.

As it says in the title, GoldenEye 007 is an adaptation of the James Bond film of the same name. Outside of the title’s legacy in the video game world, the film kickstarted the modern era of the James Bond film franchise with Pierce Brosnan’s first outing as the iconic British spy.

SEE ALSO: Original Pokémon Snap is coming to Nintendo Switch Online

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Gaming

Blizzard shuts down almost all games in China

Including Warcraft and Overwatch

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Blizzard’s games are about to become a lot less crowded. After failing to pen another agreement, Blizzard and NetEase have (mostly) parted ways. The breakup means that the former is now forced to close down almost all of its games in China.

Because of the different policies in China, Blizzard has to reply on a local partner to distribute their games in the country. For almost a decade and a half, the developer’s partner has always been NetEase, one of the biggest names in Chinese gaming. Initially, the two companies’ deal ended in December; however, Blizzard sought a six-month extension to seek for a more long-term deal with either NetEase or another client.

While Blizzard on Weibo expressed regrets for the lack of a deal, NetEase is less than happy at being painted a villain amid the commotion. In a separate Weibo post (translated via Wowhead), the Chinese company opened about Blizzard’s persistent search for another client while maintaining a shorter relationship with NetEase. The company likens it to “riding a mule while looking for a horse” or a “divorce while still [trying] to live together.”

In a more brutal fashion, NetEase showed more emotion about the separation by physically shattering Blizzard’s orc statue in NetEase’s offices and streaming them doing so. The company also released a new drink called Blizzard Green Tea in its shop. (The term refers to a modern insult which refers to someone who acts innocently but has more lascivious motivations deep inside.)

As a result of the catastrophic separation, Blizzard has shut down its major games in the country including World of Warcraft, Overwatch 2, and Diablo. Of note, Diablo Immortal remains untouched because of a separate deal with NetEase.

SEE ALSO: Microsoft is being prevented from buying Activision Blizzard

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