The First True Gaming Tablet


While gaming laptops are not anything new, there’s a theme a number of the height performers: they’re nonetheless all cumbersome and heavy. Asus is considered one of few firms seeking to exchange that, with experimental units like 2021’s ROG Flow X13 and now, the tablet-form ROG Flow Z13.

The concept is interesting – it’s a 2-in-1 no longer dissimilar in design to Microsoft’s Surface Pro line, however with a devoted GPU and different top-end specifications that put it in keeping with full-on gaming laptops.

There’s additionally compatibility with the corporate’s XG Mobile eGPU to spice issues up, which has the prospective to show the Flow Z13 right into a desktop gaming powerhouse – nevertheless it all comes at a very excessive top rate in comparison to competing gaming laptops.

Has Asus accomplished sufficient to tempt customers from conventional gaming laptops?

Design & Build

  • Portable 2-in-1 design
  • Lighter than a standard gaming laptop computer
  • Rear-facing consumption vents stay it cool

The Asus ROG Flow Z13 is, merely put, a wonder of engineering. The 2-in-1 tablet slightly measures any greater than Microsoft’s Surface Pro 8, but manages to pack in sufficient tech to qualify as a fully-fledged gaming laptop computer with a Twelfth-gen Intel CPU and an Nvidia GPU at its center.

Take one have a look at the Flow Z13 and it’s transparent that portability was once an enormous focal point for Asus. Despite the laptop-level tech on be offering from the convertible, it measures in at 1.18kg and 11.9mm thick – making it a lot more straightforward to hold round than a standard gaming laptop computer, and it’s the perfect measurement to slide into small rucksacks too.

For reference, the Alienware M15 R5 measures in at 2.5kg and 23mm thick.

It’s price noting that whilst the Flow Z13 is light-weight and conveyable in comparison to gaming laptops, it’s a lot greater and heavier than same old tablets just like the 680g iPad Pro, making it onerous to make use of as a real tablet. You’ll most likely be the usage of the Flow Z13 on a desk (and most likely plugged in) nearly all of the time.

The entrance of the Flow Z13 appears to be like moderately same old with small, however nonetheless noticeable bezels, that encompass the 13.4in panel nevertheless it greater than makes up for it at the rear. Flip the 2-in-1 over and also you’ll to find the signature Asus ROG branding, whole with stylized vents and angular patterns that make it transparent it’s a gaming software.

If that wasn’t evident sufficient, then possibly the small RGB-emblazoned window that will provide you with a glance into the internals of the tablet may give it away. Though just a small design characteristic, it’s person who players – together with this author – truly admire.

You’ll additionally discover a small 8Mp digicam at the rear of the tablet, an advantage in comparison to same old gaming laptops, accompanied by means of a 720p digicam at the entrance. These aren’t industry-leading cameras in anyway, however they’ll suffice for a fast snap and a video name.

Ventilation is extremely necessary on a gaming software the place temperatures can upward push in no time. It’s a specific ache level for gaming laptop computer customers with consumption fanatics generally at the backside proscribing the place the laptop computer can be utilized.

The 2-in-1 design of the Flow Z13 way the consumption vents are at the rear quite than the ground, permitting you to apply it to a mattress with out overheating problems whilst vents at the height expel warmth with out you or your arms getting scorching. That interprets to higher gaming functionality, however extra on that later.

Keyboard, Trackpad & Ports

  • Great keyboard revel in with nice shuttle and backlit keys
  • Responsive trackpad, however slightly small
  • Fewer ports than a standard gaming laptop computer

The light-weight keyboard gives an incredibly high-end typing revel in with nice shuttle, a lovely click on or even backlit keys. It’s no longer rather mechanical keyboard ranges, however for a keyboard that skinny, it’s nice to look. That pattern continues with the trackpad that, whilst slightly at the small aspect when compared to a few laptops, felt extraordinarily responsive in use.

The 2-in-1 nature of the Flow Z13 way you’ll detach the keyboard each time you prefer, opting as a substitute for a real tablet variety issue. It’s nice for gaming with a controller, particularly for those who’re quick on table house, with the 160-degree kickstand offering nice angles.

There are downsides to the 2-in-1 variety issue although. For example, the kickstand design way it gained’t keep nonetheless when sat to your lap, and there’s a loss of ports in comparison to the laptop computer pageant too.

You’ll discover a unmarried USB-C Thunderbolt 4 port at the left aspect, accompanied by means of Asus’ proprietary port for its XG Mobile eGPU (extra on that during a bit of), in addition to a USB-A port and a headphone jack at the proper. There’s additionally a microSD card slot underneath the kickstand if you wish to upload any additional garage.

The energy button, housed at the proper, doubles up as a fingerprint reader. It’s no longer a brand new idea, to be had on smartphones, tablets and laptops for a while, nevertheless it works in addition to you’d be expecting, reading your fingerprint for authentication as you flip it on. It works the primary time more often than not, however you do must consider about finger placement.

Screen & Speakers

  • Phenomenal Mini-LED exhibit
  • Among the brightest shows round
  • Speakers are positive for YouTube movies, however headphones are advisable

At the center of the ROG Flow Z13 is the 13.4in Mini-LED exhibit with complete touchscreen fortify – to be anticipated from a tablet, in the end. The 16:10 facet ratio might glance slightly bit peculiar for a tablet when opponents are generally a lot squarer in form, however the wider facet ratio does lend itself neatly to gaming and leisure.

Importantly, the Flow Z13 is to be had in two flavours of Mini-LED exhibit; [email protected] and [email protected], with the previous supplied for assessment. While you will be tempted to move for the 4K style, I’d argue that at simply 13.4in, the Full HD solution is sharp sufficient for an relaxing gaming revel in, and the buttery-smooth 120Hz refresh charge is the most important for players.

I’d best truly counsel the high-res style to video editors and content material creators that paintings in 4K video.

Resolution and refresh charge apart, the Flow Z13 exhibit is lovely with colourful shade, numerous element and a degree of brightness that places maximum opponents to disgrace at an excellent 483nits in checks. The 99% sRGB and 76% AdobeRGB shade gamut might put some colour-correcting creatives off, nevertheless it’s nice for gaming and of higher high quality than maximum gaming laptop computer opponents.

When it involves audio, the Flow Z13 sports activities two side-mounted audio system which can be greater than sufficient for gazing YouTube movies and informal gameplay, however the loss of bass way maximum devoted players will go for a gaming headset. 

Asus XG Mobile

  • Turns the 2-in-1 right into a desktop with a couple of shows and extra connectivity
  • Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 energy
  • Can’t improve the RTX 3080 in long run

If you need extra gaming prowess than the RTX 3050 Ti from the Flow Z13, you’ll choose to shop for a package deal together with Asus’ XG Mobile. It’s Asus’ spin at the eGPU the usage of proprietary tech, providing an upgraded Nvidia RTX 3080 cell GPU.

That’s no longer dangerous for a black field that measures in at 208 x 155 x 29.6mm and 1kg, taking on little or no house on a table or in a rucksack.

The XG Mobile connects to the Flow Z13 by way of a proprietary port on its left aspect, locked into position by way of a small transfer at the again of the connector. Asus claims that there are over 67 wires throughout the cable that let PCIe 3.0 knowledge switch speeds of round 63Gbps, nearly double the 32Gbps on be offering from competing Thunderbolt 4 eGPUs.

I’ll cross into extra element about the way it plays slightly later.

It’s no longer simply an eGPU although; the XG Mobile vastly expands connectivity, that includes an HDMI 2.0 port, DisplayPort 1.4, 4 USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports, an RJ-45 Ethernet jack and an SD card reader for just right measure.

The XG Mobile necessarily turns the Flow Z13 right into a desktop PC setup, taking into account a hybrid revel in with complete connectivity, desktop-level energy and a multi-display setup at house, and a transportable 2-in-1 variety issue while you’re at the cross. It gained’t are compatible everyone’s wishes, nevertheless it’ll scratch the itch for some.

The best catch to the machine? Unlike a typical eGPU, the RTX 3080 throughout the XG Mobile can’t be swapped out someday. That’s positive for now, with the RTX 3080 being probably the most robust GPUs round, however video games will proceed to get extra challenging and someday, it simply gained’t be sufficient.

When that point comes, you’ll don’t have any selection however to get a completely new XG Mobile – if Asus is making them for the next-gen playing cards, anyway. For now, it stays one of the crucial absolute best techniques to get a desktop-level gaming revel in from both the ROG Flow Z13 or remaining 12 months’s X13 – albeit at a top rate.

Specs & Performance

  • Full gaming laptop computer spec with discrete GPU
  • Great recreation functionality when plugged in
  • XG Mobile can energy a desktop-level revel in

The Asus ROG Flow Z13 is available in two core configurations: a variant with an impressive Intel Core i9-12900H and an AMD-flavoured variant to be had carrying the Ryzen 9-5900HS, however this best comes with the Full HD exhibit.

Regardless of the style you go for, you’ll get the Nvidia RTX 3050 Ti with 4GB of GDDR6 reminiscence, 1TB of SSD garage, 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM and whole Windows 11 to play with. For reference, I’ve reviewed the Intel style right here.

When it involves functionality, it in large part is determined by the way you’re the usage of the Flow Z13; attached to energy, attached to the XG Mobile eGPU or on battery, and not using a marvel that the latter supplies the least quantity of grunt when gaming.

Most players will most likely use the Flow Z13 attached to energy, so let’s get started there. Utilising the Twelfth-gen Intel CPU and Nvidia’s RTX 3050 Ti, it will have to come as no marvel that the convertible is in a position to powering a tight gaming revel in.

While you gained’t be capable of play the likes of Cyberpunk 2077 at RTX Ultra graphics settings – it hit simply 22fps all through checking out – you’ll succeed in a gradual 60fps in maximum video games at a medium preset. The Flow Z13 conveniently surpassed the 60fps mark in Wolfenstein: Youngblood at medium high quality, and it’s a identical tale in Far Cry: New Dawn, however cranking it as much as extremely introduced it right down to 54fps.

That’s moderately same old for the spec on be offering, but when you need extra energy – be it for gaming or content material advent – you then’ll need to hook it as much as the XG Mobile eGPU for a extra desktop-level revel in. Aside from the additional connectivity on be offering, the eGPU supplies RTX 3080 energy that may truly give the tablet a spice up in functionality.

When attached to the eGPU, we noticed important jumps in benchmark effects around the board. Far Cry: New Dawn at Ultra jumped from 54- to 102fps, or even Cyberpunk 2077 was once playable at its RTX Ultra high quality settings with a mean of 57fps in checks.

Considering the small dimensions of the convertible and eGPU in comparison to a typical desktop, it’s spectacular, even supposing it’s price noting that the XG Mobile fanatics are significantly louder than the virtually inaudible fanatics at the tablet itself when gaming, pumping out numerous scorching air to stay the GPU working easily.

While the tablet variety issue would recommend nice cell functionality, gaming laptops let us know in a different way – and it’s no other with the Flow Z13. In a bid to stay battery intake down when unplugged from the mains, the {hardware} doesn’t carry out at height velocity and there’s a slight dip in functionality, even with the ROG Armoury preset set to functionality mode.

Though no longer as dramatic as chances are you’ll be expecting, I noticed dips around the board in checking out, with Far Cry: New Dawn at Ultra losing from 54- to 41fps. The best recreation to really endure was once Cyberpunk 2077, which best controlled 12fps at RTX Ultra on battery.

Again, that is common amongst gaming laptops, nevertheless it’s price mentioning for those who had goals of enjoying AAA video games on lengthy automobile trips.

While GPU functionality can range relying at the setup you’ve were given, CPU-based duties like internet surfing, video calling and working a couple of apps directly carry out at a identical point without reference to its setup.

Our Geekbench 5 benchmarks noticed a multi-core ranking of eleven, 685 attached to the XG Mobile, 11,249 on battery energy and 8405 on battery, making it an overly succesful system for paintings in addition to play.

You can see how the ROG Flow Z13 compares to the gaming laptop computer pageant in all 3 paperwork underneath. For reference, the contest is benchmarked on plugged-in functionality.

Performance apart, the remainder of the specification is unsurprisingly high-end with connectivity choices together with the newest Wi-Fi 6E AX211 and Bluetooth 5.2.  

Battery Life

  • Disappointing battery lifestyles when gaming
  • Battery is not significantly better when operating/gazing motion pictures

Battery lifestyles is some other house to imagine; whilst the dream of enjoying AAA video games untethered from the wall is imaginable, you’ll best get round 60-90 mins of playtime ahead of the 56Wh battery runs flat. It’s then that you just’ll wish to succeed in for the mid-sized 100W USB-C charger.

Thankfully, that’s no longer indicative of basic battery lifestyles; much less performance-intense duties like internet surfing, gazing motion pictures and video calling all fare relatively higher at the battery. In our standard video loop check, the Flow Z13 stretched to 5 hours and quarter-hour.

While that’ll be adequate for some, it is on the low finish of the size and can most likely do away with those who need to use the Flow Z13 for paintings functions – particularly the ones clear of the place of work. 

Price & Availability

The Asus ROG Flow Z13 isn’t the most affordable round, beginning at £1,899.99 in the United Kingdom and $1,799 in the USA – and that’s with out the XG Mobile. If you need to package deal the dock with the tablet, the associated fee is going as much as around £2,998/$3,229 – round the similar value as a high-end gaming PC with similar, if no longer higher, specifications.

It’s basically depending on whether or not you’ll employ the hybrid nature of the tablet as a result of for those who favour functionality over variety issue, there are extra robust gaming laptops at a inexpensive value level like Asus’ personal ROG Strix G15 and others in our absolute best gaming laptop computer chart.

If you’re , the Asus ROG Flow Z13 – in quite a lot of configurations – are to be had to pre-order at Amazon and Overclockers in the United Kingdom with supply scheduled for mid-April, and it’s a identical state of affairs for the ones in the USA purchasing from Newegg.  

Verdict

If you prefer the speculation of Microsoft’s Surface Pro 8 however are do away with by means of the built-in graphics on be offering, the Asus ROG Flow Z13 might enchantment to you.

The spectacular internals – together with a top-end Twelfth-gen Core i9 processor and Nvidia’s RTX 3050 Ti – be offering a tight gaming revel in in a sort issue nearer to a typical tablet than a standard gaming laptop computer, providing a extra light-weight, moveable design that’s simple to throw right into a rucksack.

The 13.4in Mini-LED exhibit is far brighter than opponents, the design is intuitive and the shape issue way it is flexible in use too.

However, whether or not the RTX 3050 Ti functionality can be just right sufficient in a couple of years’ time is but to be noticed, and in contrast to some gaming laptops, the elements can’t be upgraded.

You do have the opportunity to select up the XG Mobile dock which brings no longer best RTX 380 energy however extra USB ports, exhibit connectors and Ethernet connectivity for a extra desktop-esque revel in, nevertheless it’s a sizeable added value on what’s already a top rate gaming software.

In all probability, the ROG Flow Z13 can be a distinct segment product just like remaining 12 months’s X13, nevertheless it’s refreshing for Asus to check out one thing other to a standard laptop computer with benefits no longer best to measurement and weight however components like air flow, which the Flow Z13 nails.

Specs

Asus ROG Flow Z13: Specs

  • Dimensions: 302 x 204 x 12 mm with out keyboard, 17.6 mm thick with keyboard
  • Weight: 1.18 kg with out keyboard, 1.52 kg with keyboard
  • CPU: Intel Core i9-12900H or AMD Ryzen 9-5900HS
  • GPU: Intel Iris Xe (built-in), Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti (4GB DDR6)
  • Asus XG Mobile (not obligatory): Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 (16GB GDDR6)
  • Memory: 16GB LPDDR5
  • Storage: 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 4.0 SSD
  • Display: 13.4in Mini-LED exhibit, 1920 x 1200, 16:10 facet ratio, 120Hz
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6E AX211, Bluetooth 5.2
  • Ports: Thunderbolt 4, ROG XG Mobile port, USB 2.0 Type-A, 3.5mm headphone jack, microSD card reader
  • Camera: 720p webcam, 8Mp rear digicam
  • Battery: 56Wh
  • Charger: 100W USB-C
  • OS: Windows 11 Home



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