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

After introducing an ambitious convertible laptop last year, the elegant ROG Flow X13, ASUS takes that concept even further with the Flow Z13 tablet. Think of it like a boosted Surface Pro: The Z13 packs in new 12th-generation Intel processors and up to NVIDIA’s RTX 3050 Ti all in a neat slate. Weighing in at 2.43 pounds, it’s clearly not intended to replace smaller tablets like the iPad. Instead, ASUS sees it as a way to bring PC gaming everywhere – say a narrow tray table – without the bulk of a laptop.

Gallery: ASUS ROG Flow Z13 | 12 pics

Like the ROG Flow X13, the Z13 can connect to an external ASUS XG Mobile GPU, which supports up to AMD’s Radeon RX 6850M as well as NVIDIA’s portable RTX 30 lineup. The eGPU still relies on a dedicated PCIe connection, which can hit 63 Gbps of graphics bandwidth, making it more capable than Thunderbolt 4’s 40 Gbps. I was wary of XG Mobile last year, given how expensive similar eGPUs are. And that was before we knew it would cost $1,500 with the 3080, and it wasn’t as fast as the reviewers would have liked. At least the Z13 promises better performance than the X13 with its hardware built in, so an eGPU probably won’t be necessary.

Personally, the Z13 is exactly what you’d expect from an ROG gaming laptop. The preview unit that ASUS sent me to borrow felt dense and sturdy, surprisingly 12mm thick. Unlike other iPads and tablets, it feels robust enough to survive on the go on its back without a protective case. From the front, you could easily mistake it for a laptop. From the sides and back, it looks more like a super flat surface, with a flexible kickstand and keyboard cover.

Devendra Hardwar / Engadjit

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to run any games or benchmark tests on the ROG Z13. (I bet ASUS software and drivers aren’t ready for serious testing yet.) But I can understand why that might be compelling: an RTX 3050 Ti in a machine this big would be a travel dream (at least, when it’s safe again). And its 13-inch 4K screen was well suited for productivity tasks (there’s also a 1080p 120Hz option). Given its size, the Z13 felt too heavy to use as a standard tablet. Nor are they “perishable” like the Surface Pro devices; It’s too heavy to stay in place while you type.

ASUS ROG Flow Z13 keyboard

Devendra Hardwar / Engadjit

ASUS deserves credit for actually including a keyboard case with the Z13, something Microsoft still refuses to do with the Surface Pro. And the typing experience actually feels pretty decent, as long as the Z13 is held firmly on a flat surface. I can see it’s a solid option for casual gaming, but WASD inputs don’t feel nearly as responsive as a basic desktop gaming keyboard. Basically, if you’re anticipating competition while using the Z13, plan to bring a separate keyboard.

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