Asus ROG Circulate X13 evaluation: The king of small gaming laptops?

MSRP $1,500.00

“The ROG Circulate X13 is an ultracompact and surprisingly highly effective gaming laptop computer.”

Execs

Wonderful portability

Good efficiency for its measurement

Snug keyboard and touchpad

XG Cell is an effective choice

120Hz refresh price

Cons

Mediocre battery life

Display screen could possibly be brighter

Awkward port configuration

The Razer Blade Stealth 13 was, for a very long time, the smallest gaming laptop computer you may purchase. The Asus ROG Circulate X13 has one thing to say about that, although.

It’s the second 13-inch gaming laptop computer you should buy proper now, however in some methods, it takes issues even additional. With as much as an RTX 3050 Ti GPU and Ryzen 9 5900HS processor, you may relaxation assured that these are essentially the most highly effective elements you may presumably stuff right into a laptop computer of this measurement.

Most configurations include the fascinating XG Cell exterior graphics enclosure. However my evaluation unit is a stand-alone mannequin, bought completely at Finest Purchase for $1,500. That’s not a nasty value for a premium gaming laptop computer. Regardless of some smaller points I had, the ROG Circulate X13 delivers on the promise of gaming on the go within the smallest attainable bundle.

Design

Judging by its measurement, the ROG Circulate X13 is what was once known as an “Ultrabook.” Due to a 360-hinge and a touchscreen, it’s additionally a convertible 2-in-1.

However with its styling and efficiency, it’s unabashedly a gaming laptop computer. A tiny gaming laptop computer. The straightforward, all-black exterior resembles the opposite gaming laptops within the ROG lineup, together with the Zephyrus G15 or among the older M-series laptops. The lid options textured diagonal strains throughout the entrance and a small nameplate within the backside nook for the brand. A extra delicate model of that texture is discovered on the palm rests. It’s a reasonably minimalist design, as long as you may look previous the everyday gamer font used on the keycaps.

Asus claims the textured strains additionally deliver added energy to the construction. Whether or not or not it’s true, the Circulate X13 feels very sturdy. The lid doesn’t bend very a lot, particularly close to the highest. The weakest level of the laptop computer is on the lid alongside the hinge. That’s a standard weak level, particularly for laptops with a 360-degree hinge — which is one other distinctive facet of this laptop computer. There’s very slight give within the keyboard, however total, it’s a rigid-feeling laptop computer.

In fact, the scale of the Circulate X13 is its calling card. I can’t overstate how impressively small this factor is. A laptop computer with these dimensions simply shouldn’t be capable of deal with an Eight-core CPU and discrete RTX graphics card — and but, right here it’s.

The ROG Circulate X13 isn’t alone, although. The Razer Blade Stealth 13 is sort of equivalent in dimensions. Razer’s 13-inch gaming laptop computer is zero.2 inches thinner than the Circulate X13 and has a unique form because of the facet of the display screen. The taller 16:10 form of the Circulate X13 makes it barely longer on the desk, whereas the 16:9 Razer Blade Stealth 13 is wider. The ROG Circulate X13 is lighter at simply 2.87 kilos. By way of uncooked portability, I’m completely happy to name it a draw, making the Circulate X13 one of many very smallest gaming laptops you should buy.

There are additionally a number of 14-inch gaming laptops which can be solely marginally bigger than the ROG Circulate X13. It actually has a smaller total print than laptops just like the Razer Blade 14, ROG Zephyrus G14, or Predator Triton 300 SE — however not by as a lot as you may assume. Every is round an inch or so bigger in both route relying on the laptop computer, and most are heavier. Nonetheless, they characterize a strong different to the ROG Circulate X13.

Ports

By way of ports, the ROG Circulate X13 has the naked minimal for a gaming laptop computer. On the suitable, it has a USB-C port for charging and USB-A. On the left, it’s a headphone jack and HDMI. That’s pretty restricted, particularly on the USB facet of issues.

Then there’s essentially the most unique factor in regards to the ROG Circulate X13,: Its proprietary PCIe interface discovered on the left facet of the laptop computer below a flap.

The position of the USB-C cable is annoying, particularly for right-handed folks. Due to the necessity for vents, the ports are positioned additional down alongside the facet. That is frequent in gaming laptops, however as a result of the system is powered by USB-C (and since there’s just one USB-C port), there’s just one place to plug it in — and right-handed of us will discover themselves preventing the cable for house with their mouse. It’s an annoyance second USB-C port on the left facet might have solved. Sadly, that house is reserved for Asus’ proprietary port for connection to the XG Cell exterior graphics card enclosure. Should you’re not planning on utilizing it, although, it’s simply wasted house.

One other slight annoyance? The place of the facility button. Like many convertible 2-in-1s, it’s positioned on the facet of the gadget, proper subsequent to a USB port. This button, although, is extraordinarily delicate, resulting in many unintended presses whereas looking for a port and even simply readjusting the laptop computer on my desk.

Keyboard and touchpad

I may not love the aesthetic of the ROG keyboard used right here, however I can’t deny its typing pleasures. It’s a big, luxurious format — the identical measurement that you simply’ll discover on a 15-inch laptop computer. Greater than that, the keys function a chunky 1.7mm of journey, which is mainly unparalleled lately. The lengthy journey makes for quick, exact typing that I immediately loved. No studying curve in anyway.

Curiously, the ROG Circulate X13 doesn’t embody RGB backlighting. There’s no rainbow of colours anyplace on this laptop computer. Some may discover that refreshing, although individually backlit keys is actually a cost-saving measure. There are three ranges of backlighting management, which is the minimal I’d anticipate to see in a laptop computer.

The touchpad is sweet, too. I wouldn’t have minded if it had been barely wider, nevertheless it has clean floor and the monitoring feels correct.

The ROG Circulate X13 doesn’t embody a Home windows Whats up IR digital camera for facial recognition, however the fingerprint reader is constructed into the facility button.

Show

The ROG Circulate X13 makes use of a 13.Four-inch show with a 1920 x 1200 decision. That unusual decision comes from its 16:10 facet ratio, which is more and more changing into the brand new commonplace, matching what you discover on the MacBook Professional, Dell XPS 13, and Lenovo Legion 5 Professional. Taller screens aren’t nice for film watching, however for day by day work and basic utilization, the 16:10 facet ratio gives a bigger canvas for nearly all the things you do.

The ROG Circulate X13 has a shiny, touch-enabled, show, which is exclusive in comparison with the Razer Blade Stealth 13. It makes for a brighter and clearer-looking display screen, although reflections generally is a drawback. The display screen maxes out at round 300 nits, which is sweet sufficient for day by day use, as long as you aren’t sitting in a vibrant room or subsequent to a window. At midnight lighting of a horror movie or a recreation with plenty of shadows, you might end up staring again at your self. That’s not very best.

The display screen does produce other strengths, although. First, it has a 120Hz refresh price. That’s good for this quantity of efficiency. Most video games received’t hit that threshold, which means there’s loads of bandwidth to tweak settings in video games and maximize body charges.

Coloration saturation is sweet, with 98% in sRGB and 76% in AdobeRGB shade areas. Dearer laptops just like the Razer Blade 14 are higher on this regard, in addition to in shade accuracy. Asus did job of holding colours natural-looking and never overly heat. They’re “Pantone-validated,” which suggests it exactly matches frequent colours inside the Pantone matching system.

All in all, it is a strong display screen for each work and play.

Asus has paired it with a good set of audio system as effectively. They’re positioned on the underside of the laptop computer, which is ok when you’ve the laptop computer on a desk.

The excellent news, although, is that they sound good. Regardless of being pointed downward, they supply a clearer and extra full-bodied sound than many laptops, whether or not that’s audio for a video or sound results in a recreation. Due to the strong separation, it’s not dangerous for listening to some music both. There’s not plenty of bass right here — they usually nonetheless don’t beat the audio system present in MacBooks.

Efficiency

You’d be proper to be skeptical in regards to the efficiency of the ROG Circulate X13. I used to be, too, particularly given its measurement. My configuration options an AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS, RTX 3050 Ti, 16GB of dual-channel RAM, and a 1TB SSD for $1,500. The RTX 3050 Ti is a more recent graphics card that we haven’t seen present up in lots of laptops, nevertheless it’s a substitute of each the older GTX 1660 Ti and GTX 1650 Ti. These had been generally present in budget-level gaming laptops, and the GTX 1650 Ti is what’s at present within the Razer Blade Stealth 13. Razer’s 13-inch laptop computer hasn’t but been up to date to the RTX 30-series, which means the ROG Circulate X13 is admittedly the one choice in that regard.

So, whereas the ROG Circulate X13 is among the first out of the gate, you may anticipate the RTX 3050 to point out up in an assortment of funds gaming laptops below $1,00zero. Which means the ROG Circulate X13 will seemingly be one of many costlier laptops with this GPU. In fact, you too can purchase a model with an RTX 3050 that’s bundled with an XG Cell, which incorporates an RTX 3080. That’ll earn you much better body charges, but additionally value you $2,800.

The ROG Circulate X13 by itself nonetheless managed to carry its personal when it comes to efficiency.

Laptop computer
3DMark Time Spy
Cinebench R23
Geekbench 5
PCMark 10
Fortnite (1080p Epic)
Civilization VI (1080p Extremely)
Asus ROG Circulate X13 (RTX 3050 Ti)
4503
1420 / 9701
1415 / 7592
6429
47 fps
65 fps
Acer Swift X (RTX 3050 Ti)
4073
1437 / 10135
1287 / 6663
6247
43 fps
66 fps
Acer Predator Triton 300 SE (RTX 3060)
6038
1412 / 5855
1503 / 4606
5776
78 fps
84 fps
HP Envy 14 (GTX 1650 Ti)
3147
1343 / 5028
1398 / 4741
5178
39 fps
n/a

There’s just one different laptop computer we’ve examined with the RTX 3050 Ti, and that’s the Acer Swift X. The ROG Circulate X13 compares effectively towards it, with a slight edge in graphics efficiency. That’s what you’d anticipate in a gaming laptop computer.

The RTX 3050 Ti is a big enchancment over the GTX 1650 Ti, with as a lot as a 30% improve in 3DMark Time Spy scores. We don’t have GTX 1660 Ti laptop computer scores to match towards, however that’s a promising generational leap.

In video games, although, you is likely to be a bit disillusioned. Civilization VI was the one recreation I might play at max settings that stayed over 60 frames per second (fps). Fortnite and Battlefield V required decreasing the settings to recover from 60 fps. The distinction between the ROG Circulate X13 and 14-inch gaming laptops with an RTX 3060 is important.

The quantity of VRAM makes fairly a distinction. The 4GB within the RTX 3050 Ti (versus the 6GB within the RTX 3060) create a hurdle for video games like Murderer’s Creed Valhalla. The sport is sort of unplayable on the ROG Circulate X13, with a mean of simply 20 fps in 1080p at Excessive settings.

So, in case you’re thinking about shopping for the ROG Circulate X13, it’s vital that you recognize what you’re shopping for. Don’t anticipate to play fashionable video games at max settings, at the very least not with out having to place up with some uneven body charges.

The processor efficiency, although, is kind of spectacular. The AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS is a 35-watt processor with eight cores and 16 threads. Intel’s Core i7-11370H is that this chip’s direct competitor, and it comes within the Predator Triton 300 SE. However like most of the Intel-versus-AMD matchups, AMD’s additional cores include improved multithreaded efficiency. The ROG Circulate X13 achieved a whopping 40% higher rating than the Triton 300 SE in Cinebench R23’s multi-core take a look at, and even barely beat it out in single-core. I by no means noticed the Circulate X13 clock as much as the promised Four.6GHz, nevertheless it often boosted as much as Four.5GHz. That’s not dangerous.

All that performs out effectively in day-to-day duties and productiveness. The ROG Circulate X13 scored brilliantly within the full PCMark 10 suite, which ensures that it’s a system that performs as effectively at net searching, videoconferencing, and phrase processing because it does in video games.

Battery life

The battery lifetime of the ROG Circulate X13 is a disappointment. I’m not terribly shocked, contemplating the 120Hz display screen and RTX graphics card.

A 62 watt-hour battery is giant for a 13-inch laptop computer, nevertheless it didn’t show to be fairly sufficient to make the Circulate X13 a battery life champion.

The system lasted simply 5 hours and 25 minutes in our web-browsing take a look at, which cycles by a collection of heavy web sites till the battery dies. That’s not nice, even in contrast with different bigger gaming laptops. The ROG Circulate X13 fared higher in our lightest video playback take a look at, which loops a 1080p native video till the battery dies. It lasted over 9 hours on this take a look at.

The Razer Blade 14 continues to be the longest-lasting gaming laptop computer, even with the RTX 3070 I examined in my evaluation unit. It managed to final a number of extra hours than the ROG Circulate X13, regardless of having a bigger, higher-resolution display screen.

Our take

The ROG Circulate X13 is a novel gaming laptop computer, due to its distinctive eGPU and its unimaginable portability. Regardless of a number of odd design selections and mediocre battery life, it’s onerous to not be wowed by how a lot efficiency Asus stuffed into this compact laptop computer.

Are there any options?

The Razer Blade Stealth 13 is the first different. It’s costlier, although, and is at present nonetheless caught with older graphics card and processor choices.

The varied 14-inch choices are all good choices, regardless of being a bit bigger. The Razer Blade 14, Acer Predator Triton 300, and ROG Zephyrus G14 are all nice 14-inch laptops which can be extra highly effective than the ROG Circulate X13 for the same value.

How lengthy will it final?

The ROG Circulate X13 ought to final you 4 or 5 years, assuming you don’t wish to all the time keep present on the most recent video games and expertise. Even in case you do, the power so as to add on the XG Cell is a pleasant addition that would lengthen this laptop computer’s gaming shelf life.

Do you have to purchase it?

Sure, so so long as you recognize what you’re moving into. That is removed from essentially the most highly effective gaming laptop computer on the planet, but when the portability is a beautiful proposition, you’ve discovered an extremely distinctive laptop computer to suit your life.

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