Thu. Jan 20th, 2022

After distributing an ambitious gaming convertible notebook last year, svelte ROG Flow X13, Asus Flow Z13 is taking that idea further with the tablet. Think of it like a soup-up Surface Pro: Z13 packs on Intel’s new 12th-gen processors, and NVIDIA’s RTX 3050 Ti all on one smooth slate. Weighing in at 2.43 pounds, this is clearly not to replace smaller tablets like the iPad. Instead, ASUS sees it as a way to bring your PC games everywhere – say a compressed airplane tray table – without the bulk of a laptop.

Gallery: ASUS ROG Flow Z13 | 12 photos

Like the ROG Flow X13, the Z13 ASUS XG Mobile can connect to an external GPU, which supports up to AMD’s Radeon RX 6850M in addition to NVIDIA’s Mobile RTX 30-Series lineup. That eGPU still relies on a custom PCIe connection, which can reach up to 63 Gbps of graphics bandwidth, enabling it to exceed the Thunderbolt 4’s 40 Gbps. I was wary of XG Mobile last year, considering just how expensive and similar EGPU has been. And that was before we learned that 3080 would cost 1,500, and it did It wasn’t nearly as fast as critics would like. At the very least, the Z13 promises to be a better performer than the X13 with its built-in hardware, so an eGPU will probably be unnecessary.

Personally, the Z13 is exactly what you expect to see from a ROG gaming laptop. The preview unit ASUS sent me to borrow is dense and sturdy, surprisingly for its 12mm thickness. Unlike the iPad and other tablets, it feels strong enough to survive a backpack ride without a protective case. From the front, you can easily mistaken it for a notebook. Though from the side and back, it’s like a super surface with a flexible kickstand and keyboard cover.

Devindra Hardawar / Engadget

Unfortunately, I was unable to run any games and benchmarks on the ROG Z13. (I’d like to bet on ASUS software and drivers aren’t ready for serious tests yet.) But I can see why this might be mandatory: an RTX 3050 Ti on a machine would be a dream for this size trip (at least, when it’s safe again). . And its 4K 13-inch display was perfectly fine for productivity work (a 1080p 120Hz option is also included). Although in terms of its size, the Z13 seemed too heavy to use as a standard tablet. It’s not nearly as “lapable” as the Surface Pro devices; Too heavy to get stuck while you type.

ASUS ROG Flow Z13 keyboard

Devindra Hardawar / Engadget

ASUS actually deserves credit for incorporating the keyboard case with the Z13, which Microsoft still refuses to do with the Surface Pro. And the typing experience actually seems quite decent, unless the Z13 is firmly planted on a flat surface. I see this as a solid alternative to casual gaming, but WASD inputs don’t seem as responsive as a basic desktop gaming keyboard. Basically, if you’re hoping to compete while using the Z13, plan on bringing a separate keyboard.

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