It has been a while since we have come across something really exciting in the tech world and while incredibly powerful notebooks are always fun to ogle at, the thought of a compact, portable gaming tablet was something to truly get excited about. The ASUS ROG Flow Z13 aims to be the world’s first viable gaming tablet and from our time with it, I think it could really be just that.
The ROG Flow Z13 is the latest entry into ASUS’ line-up of external-GPU-powered devices promising portability and versatility while still achieving full-scale GPU performance. By offering users an external GPU connector that plugs into the tablet, you can use a standard desktop GPU configuration while keeping the device light.
While we didn’t get the added eGPU connection to use with the ROG Flow Z13, we still got to test the raw performance and usage of the gaming tablet, which was surprisingly good, given its unsuspecting aesthetics. Users have a choice in configuration between an Intel Core i9-12900H, Core i7-12700H and Core i5-12500H. For graphical power, the lowest tier comes equipped with Intel Iris XE graphics, while the top of the line is powered by an RTX 3050Ti.
The display stays the same at 13.4” across all three models, with the only real difference coming in the shape of a UHD+, DCI-P3 screen, sporting a 60Hz panel, while the lower tier options come standard with an FHD+, sRGB, 120Hz panel. No matter your device tier, the ROG Flow Z13 sports a 16:10 aspect ratio, with a 30ms response time touch panel with stylus support, and Dolby Vision HDR support.
ASUS ROG Flow Z13 Specs
- UHD+ 16:10 (3840 x 2400, WQUXGA)
- glossy display
- Touch Screen
- Refresh Rate:60Hz
- Response Time:30ms
- Pantone Validated
- Support stylus: Yes
- MUX Switch + Optimus
- Support Dolby Vision HDR:Yes
- 8GB*2 LPDDR5 on board
- Max Capacity:16GB
- Support dual-channel memory
- 1TB PCIe® 4.0 NVMe™ M.2 SSD (2230)
- 1x 3.5mm Combo Audio Jack
- 1x card reader (microSD) (UHS-II)
- 1x ROG XG Mobile Interface
- 1x USB 2.0 Type-A
- 1x Thunderbolt™ 4 supports DisplayPort™
- 1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C support DisplayPort™ / power delivery / G-SYNC
- Backlit Chiclet Keyboard 1-Zone RGB
- 8MP camera and 720P HD camera
- Dolby Atmos
- Hi-Res certification
- Smart Amp Technology
- AI noise-canceling technology
- Built-in 3-microphone array
- 2-speaker system with Smart Amplifier Technology
- Wi-Fi 6E(802.11ax) (Dual band) 2*2 + Bluetooth 5.2 (*BT version may change may change with OS upgrades.)
- 56WHrs, 4S1P, 4-cell Li-ion
- TYPE-C, 100W AC Adapter, Output: 20V DC, 5A, 100W, Input: 100~240V AC, 50/60Hz universal
The ROG Flow Z13 immediately strikes a note with its sleek industrial design that takes design notes from “retro-futurism” and a unique view window on the back of the tablet. While the tablet is on, the rear window lights up with glorious RGB, offering users a look into some of the mainboard components housed in the aluminium chassis. The window also provides the components more height for the components inside, which ASUS claims afford the ROG Flow Z13 more performance.
The Flow Z13 comes equipped with a 170-degree kickstand that allows for viewing at almost any angle. The integrated kickstand was incredibly helpful in holding up the screen, whether the magnetic detachable keyboard was being used or not. I never had any problems with the screen falling over, even while working on my lap, and was super helpful while watching content while doing things like cooking. Sadly, the kickstand was less-than-helpful while using the device in portrait mode but that wasn’t very often anyway.
Staying with the design, while it does boast an aesthetic that looks like it comes straight off an aircraft carrier warship, it is not so ostentatious as to stick out unnecessarily while using it in a public space. Combining the compact 13.4” screen design with the flushed anodized finish on the aluminium chassis gives you a premium experience no matter where you go.
The modularity of the ROG Flow Z13 lent itself to almost any occasion, whether I needed a fully operational workstation or gaming system, a tablet/notebook to work on graphic design, as well as a simple screen for content consumption. The keyboard could simply be removed or rotated 180 degrees for ease of storage whenever I needed the tablet function, and I could simply snap it straight back on for instant use. It was truly a simple and seamless process.
ASUS ROG Flow Z13 Performance
The Flow Z13 is labelled as a “gaming tablet”, bolstered by the fact that it is released under the ASUS ROG brand. Despite offering a 4K 120Hz panel, without the eGPU attachment to it, you will not be able to get 4K gaming even at 60Hz from the 3050Ti. However, you can get decent 1080p gameplay at high refresh rates, and even 1440p if you are willing to lower your FPS expectations, depending on the game you are looking to play.
It is important to remember that this is a gaming tablet so there are bound to be some limitations in terms of performance but it still exceeded all of my expectations. What became routine rather quickly was messing around on titles like Surviving Mars where I could use the touch and stylus support to act as a mouse, and manage my Marsian colony. Unfortunately, the small screen size meant I couldn’t really play on the tablet for long periods of time – in fact, the battery would typically last longer than my eyes would.
Speaking of the battery life, the ROG Flow Z13 comes equipped with a 56Whrs battery that, while seems on the lower end of the scale compared to most gaming devices on the market, it was impressive considering the size of the tablet. Even while off power and with the performance settings cranked up, I was able to get roughly two hours of battery life while gaming, which extended to about three if you were doing strictly workstation tasks such as spreadsheets or general browsing.
While consuming content on Netflix or YouTube, the drainage would depend heavily on what I was watching, as content with additions like Dolby Vision or Atmos drained the battery slightly faster than standard 1080p YouTube content. However, the difference was minimal and you probably wouldn’t even notice it on a day-to-day basis.
The ROG Flow Z13 managed to keep fairly cool despite its compact setting in most cases and while it would get understandably hot while I was gaming or even using Illustrator, it was never unbearably hot to the point where I needed to put it down to cool off. ASUS claims that the Flow Z13 peaks at about 90 degrees for the CPU and 70 degrees for the GPU, and despite running it all day at max performance, I barely peaked at 80 degrees for the CPU and 65 degrees for the GPU.
Overall, the ROG Flow Z13 was one of the most impressive pieces of tech I have experienced in some time. The compact and light form factor made carrying it around and using it super simple and easy in almost any location. The gaming performance is nothing to write home about but it was still incredibly impressive that this little machine could perform that way. It is still a premium tablet but given the choice between the Flow Z13 and other tablets, this would be my first choice.
ASUS ROG Flow Z13
Performance - 9/10
Design - 8/10
Cooling - 8/10
Value - 9/10
The ASUS ROG Flow Z13 was one of the most impressive pieces of tech I have experienced in some time, and it is still a premium tablet but given the choice between the Flow Z13 and other tablets, this would be my first choice
Keyboard is a little flimsy