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.

Gaming

K-pop star turned murderer is new character in Dead by Daylight

Co-developed by BTS collaborator

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Since its meteoric rise into the global pop culture scene, the K-pop industry has infiltrated every facet of our world including smartphones and social media. One industry that K-pop stars and K-pop stans haven’t penetrated yet is the video game world. That’s changing soon, though. Well, somehow. Popular horror multiplayer game Dead by Daylight is adding a K-pop star as its newest killer.

In the asymmetrical horror game, four survivors go up against a powerful killer. Over the year, the game’s developer Behaviour Interactive acquired different horror characters in the years since it launched including Michael Myers and Pyramid Head. Despite already being years into its life cycle, the game still adds in new characters at a regular clip.

Today, the game has announced its latest killer, The Trickster. Much like most characters, The Trickster comes with his own lore.

Ji-woon, a former K-pop star and member of boy band NO SPIN, became jealous of his other group members and killed them all. In the game, Ji-woon (or Trickster) can use ranged daggers and a host of abilities. Along with Ji-woon, the game will also introduce a new survivor, Yun-Jin Lee, the K-pop producer who recruited Ji-woon into the boy band. Yun-Jin’s powers include the ability to sprint right after hitting the killer with a palette.

Behaviour Studios developed the two characters with the help of U-KISS’ Kevin Woo and producer DJ Swivel.

Currently, both characters are not in the game yet. They are still under testing in the game’s Player Test Build. Dead by Daylight is available on Steam, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. It also has mobile ports to Android to iOS.

SEE ALSO: Hundreds of K-Pop songs by KakaoM removed from Spotify

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Gaming

Pokémon Legends: Arceus is the first open-world Pokémon game

Coming to the Switch in early 2022

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Since the launch of Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Nintendo fans have continuously clamored for a similar open-world version of the Pokémon franchise. Well, Nintendo apparently heard the overwhelming clamor. Coinciding with the Pokémon Diamon and Pearl remakes, The Nintendo Company announced its first open-world Pokémon game, Pokémon Legends: Arceus.

Unlike the more formulaic entries in the franchise, Pokémon Legends: Arceus differs greatly. For one, the game is set in feudal Japan, a far cry from the main entries’ modern setting. Secondly, it looks like it’s nonlinear at all. It looks like a combination of Pokémon Sword’s and Shield’s Wild Area and Breath of the Wild’s open area. In fact, the teaser trailer even had shots similar to the latter’s trailer. Even the trailer’s music was minimalistic, much like the Zelda game.

Like Diamond and Pearl, Legends: Arceus will take place in the Sinnoh region. But, instead of the usual trio for Sinnoh, the game will offer up three different starter Pokémon: Alola’s Rowlet, Johto’s Cyndaquil, and Unova’s Oshawott. Plus, unlike the usual battle mechanic, players can throw PokéBalls out in the open. (As to how PokéBalls existed back then, we don’t know yet.)

Further, since we’re in the Sinnoh region, the titular legendary Pokémon Arceus is involved in the game’s story. He made a cameo in the trailer’s ending.

Pokémon Legends: Arceus is coming soon to the Nintendo Switch sometime in early 2022.

SEE ALSO: Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl announced for 2021

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Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl announced for 2021

Remakes of the original games

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It’s Pokémon’s 25th anniversary! As you might expect, a major anniversary isn’t complete without a major game announcement. Fresh from a massive content expansion for the current-generation Pokémon Sword and Shield, The Pokémon Company has announced two upcoming remakes of the past generation: Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl.

Much like Let’s Go Eevee and Pikachu, Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl will bring the Nintendo DS games to the Switch. Originally released back in 2006, the original duo took players to Sinnoh to fight against Team Galactic while fighting their way to become the Sinnoh Champion.

Instead of a full-on remake, both games will retain the same quirky design of the original games. According to the trailer launched today, the remakes will look a lot cuter than the old DS graphics. It will also have a few feature improvements to make a player’s experience easier.

Other than that, the remake is faithful to the original. Players can still choose between the original three starters: Chimchar, Turtwig, and Piplup. Further, trainers can hunt for the series’ two legendary Pokémon, Dialga for Diamond and Palkia for Pearl.

At the moment, though, the announcement has not revealed how the remake will adopt the Switch’s different system. For one, unlike the DS, the Switch does not have a secondary screen. For sure, The Pokémon Company will release more details in the coming months.

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl is coming to the Switch in the latter half of this year.

SEE ALSO: Pokémon is holding a virtual concert with Post Malone

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