ASUS ROG Flow Z13 is a gaming tablet equipped with NVIDIA RTX 3050 Ti

After delivering an ambitious game convertible notebook last year, the slim ROG Flow X13, ASUS is further advancing this concept with the Flow Z13 tablet. Think of it as an enhanced Surface Pro: Z13 packs Intel’s new 12th-generation processors and up to NVIDIA’s RTX 3050 Ti in stylish slate. It weighs 2.43 pounds and obviously cannot replace smaller tablets such as the iPad. On the contrary, Asus sees it as a way to take your PC games anywhere—such as a narrow airplane tray table—without the need for a large number of laptops.

Gallery: ASUS ROG Flow Z13 | 12 photos

Like ROG Flow X13, Z13 can be connected to ASUS XG Mobile external GPU. In addition to NVIDIA’s mobile RTX 30 series product line, this GPU supports up to AMD’s Radeon RX 6850M. The eGPU still relies on a custom PCIe connection, which can reach up to 63 Gbps of graphics bandwidth, making it more powerful than Thunderbolt 4’s 40 Gbps. Considering the price and flake size of eGPUs, I was cautious about XG Mobile last year.That was before we learned that the price of 3080 was $1,500 Not as fast as the critics hopedAt least, Z13 is expected to have better performance than X13’s built-in hardware, so eGPU may not be needed.

Personally, Z13 is exactly what you expect from ROG gaming laptops. The preview unit that ASUS borrowed from me feels dense and sturdy. What’s surprising is its 12mm thickness. Unlike the iPad and other tablets, it feels sturdy enough to carry a backpack for commuting without a protective cover. From the front, you can easily mistake it for a notebook. However, from the side and back, it looks more like a Super Surface with a flexible stand and keyboard cover.

Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

Unfortunately, I cannot run any games and benchmarks on ROG Z13. (I bet that Asus’ software and drivers are not ready for serious testing.) But I can understand why it will be eye-catching: Equipping with an RTX 3050 Ti in a machine of this size will be a dream of travel (at least, When that is safe again). Its 4K 13-inch display is ideal for productivity tasks (there is also a 1080p 120Hz option). However, given its size, the Z13 feels too heavy to be used as a standard tablet. It is also not as “pleasant” as the Surface Pro device. It is too heavy to stay in place while you are typing.

ASUS ROG Flow Z13 keyboard

Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

Asus’s actual inclusion of the keyboard case in the Z13 is commendable, and Microsoft still refuses to do it on the Surface Pro. And the typing experience actually feels pretty good, as long as the Z13 is firmly placed on a flat surface. I think it is a reliable choice for casual games, but the WASD input is not as responsive as a basic desktop gaming keyboard. Basically, if you want to participate in the competition while using the Z13, please plan to bring a separate keyboard.

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