OK, so let me get to it: the gadget Im talking about is the Asus ROG Flow Z13, a video gaming tablet with a removable keyboard and an optional external GPU.Somewhere between an engineering marvel and an impractical experiment, the Flow Z13 is essentially a Microsoft Surface turned video gaming rig. If that wasnt odd enough, the Flow Z13 gains serious horse power when linked to Asus proprietary eGPU, the XG Mobile.In theory, the ROG Flow Z13 supplies loads of power in a compact chassis along with the flexibility to turn into a gaming workhorse when stationary. Asus ROG Flow Z13Asus ROG Flow Z13, a video gaming tablet, while a remarkable engineering task, eventually fails as a concept. Asus ROG Flow Z13Asus ROG Flow Z13, a video gaming tablet, while an outstanding engineering feat, eventually fails as a concept. Another deal-breaker for me is the poor ergonomics; I d much rather invest this kind of cash on the Flow X13, the laptop variation of this hybrid device.And yet, I do believe the Flow Z13 is the ideal device for someone.
Image: Phillip Tracy/GizmodoIve never had such a conflicted relationship with a gizmo, and its painful. You see, Asus made a really cool thing, however Im having a hard time suggesting it. Its not so much the execution, however rather the rate and, well, the whole principle. OK, so let me get to it: the gadget Im discussing is the Asus ROG Flow Z13, a gaming tablet with a detachable keyboard and an optional external GPU.Somewhere between an engineering marvel and an unwise experiment, the Flow Z13 is basically a Microsoft Surface turned gaming rig. I dont suggest something that can stream from the cloud or run Android games– this is a proper gaming maker, total with a discrete GPU. If that wasnt odd enough, the Flow Z13 gains major horse power when connected to Asus proprietary eGPU, the XG Mobile.In theory, the ROG Flow Z13 offers loads of power in a compact chassis in addition to the flexibility to become a gaming workhorse when stationary. It mainly achieves that pledge; the Flow Z13 is a capable tablet– with or without the eGPU– thanks to its fast performance, good display, and comfy keyboard. There are simply a couple of problems: its pricey (extremely pricey when you include the eGPU), awkward to use or hold in your lap, and the battery life is well listed below average. That stated, if you desire a Surface Pro-like device with more graphics zest, this is your best (and only) wager– otherwise, look somewhere else. Asus ROG Flow Z13Asus ROG Flow Z13, a video gaming tablet, while an excellent engineering feat, ultimately fails as an idea. Asus ROG Flow Z13Asus ROG Flow Z13, a gaming tablet, while an outstanding engineering task, eventually stops working as a principle. What is it?A portable gaming tablet that can connect to an eGPU with an RTX 3080PriceStarts at $1,799 (Reviewed at $1,899); $3,299 with XG Mobile dockProsWonderfully overdesigned, More portable than a lot of laptops, Fast performance, Bright display screen, Comfortable keyboard ConsProhibitively costly with XG Mobile, Poor ergonomics, Subpar battery life, No IR cam Price and configurationsThe ROG Flow Z13 I tested comes with an Intel Core i9-12900H CPU, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti GPU, 16GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, an RTX 3050 Ti GPU, and a 13.4-inch, 1920 x 1200-pixel at 120Hz display. It costs $1,899 at Best Buy. You can buy it bundled with the XG Mobile Dock with an RTX 3080 GPU for– sit down for this–$ 3,300. There is a slightly cheaper design, though the economics dont accumulate. For $1,799, simply $100 less, you can buy a base model with a Core i7-12700 CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and an RTX 3050 GPU. The XG Mobile, which can also be outfitted with a Radeon RX 6850M XT GPU, should cost $1,500 standalone, though Im having difficulty discovering any in stock as of time of writing.Asus site also reveals 4K and Core i5 versions of the Flow Z13, however once again, those are either not in stock yet or just offered in other areas. Pretty but unwise” Loud” enters your mind when looking at the Flow Z13. While I normally choose an understated look, Im offered on the fancy appearance of this tablet, even if its all a bit … additional. Plainly, Asus didnt get the memo about the marketplaces current shift far from overtly “gamery” looks, because the Z13 has them all. RGB lighting lights up the keys and a glass panel on the back (more on this below); sharp, aggressive cutouts (a vent in the shape of “06”) and decals (an eye-roll-inducing “For those who dare” motto) are mapped across the back panel, and there are even pops of red accents here and there. There is so much going on that your eyes have no concept where to focus.Photo: Phillip Tracy/GizmodoAt least, when theyre done marveling at the rear glass windows, beneath which you can see a section of the motherboard highlighted in rainbow-hued RGB lighting. I get the same giddy enjoyment looking at this thing from an inch away as I do peaking through a glass desktop case at a sea of RGB. Its all really sci-fi, and as much as I try to act fully grown, I cant reject that something about this style speaks to my childish geek. Whoever created the Z13 simply wished to make something cool, and this thing looks sick.Its just an ergonomic annoyance. I say that about a lot of detachable tablets, but this one can be especially shocking. That glass window I talked up is raised, so the tablet wobbles when you position it on a flat surface area. A part of me passes away each time I hear it scrape against my glass desk. Asus, why isnt it flush?! Photo: Phillip Tracy/GizmodoThen theres the broader problem of turning a kickstand each time you wish to enter into laptop mode, and how unstable the tablet feels on your lap. The latter problem, it ought to be kept in mind, is hardly a knock against the Flow Z13– it feels as tough as any Surface Pro. Whats great about this type element is that kickstand mode puts your gameplay front and center, with no keyboard between you and the screen.The Flow Z13 is naturally chunkier than your typical tablet, at 11.9 x 8.0 x 0.5 inches and 2.6 pounds without the consisted of keyboard. Include the accessory, and the density jumps to 0.7 inches while the scale ideas to 3.4 pounds. For contrast, the Surface Pro 8 is available in at 11.3 x 8.2 x 0.37 inches and 2 pounds, while the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 is 12.3 x 8.9 x 0.73 inches and 3.8 pounds.Photo: Phillip Tracy/GizmodoThe ROG Flow Z13 was constantly going to be heftier than other tablets on the market offered that it houses a discrete Nvidia GPU. If theres a silver lining, its that the extra thickness allows sufficient area for a USB 2.0 Type-A port. Only one, however, to go along with a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C input, a microSD card slot (under the hinge), and a headphone jack. The power button situated above a volume rocker functions as a finger print sensor. And while were talking Windows Hello, the Flow Z13 lacks an IR video camera for facial acknowledgment, a function that ought to actually be included at this cost. Keyboard worthwhile of a gamerThose who will really game on this thing will be pleased to understand that it ships with one of the better removable keyboards Ive used with a tablet. It advises me of Microsofts Type Cover keyboard in that the keys are happily bouncy and have surprisingly deep travel. My fingers effortlessly derived from one letter to the next and were fulfilled each time with luxurious, springy feedback.Photo: Phillip Tracy/GizmodoThe secrets must be big enough for all but those with massive hands. They are a little smaller sized than what you find on many laptops, however much more comfy than other keyboard devices. And in keeping with the overall style, these secrets are single-zone RGB backlit. For what its worth, I typed at 126 words per minute with a 97% accuracy rate, which is best around my finest result on any keyboard– tablet, laptop, or mechanical. Below the keyboard is a touchpad that does the job. Its on the small side, however responsive and smooth to the touch.Featherweight chassis, heavyweight punchLets not squander any more time. The genuine concern is whether Asus was blowing smoke or if the Flow Z13 can in fact play games without connecting to the eGPU. The brief answer: yes, it can. The tablets Nvidia RTX 3050 Ti GPU will run most contemporary games at the 1920 x 1200-pixel resolution on high graphics at well above 30 frames per second.We standard at Ultra settings, and even then the ROG Flow Z13 performed admirably, powering Far Cry 5 at 1080p at a smooth 52 frames per 2nd, well above the 30-fps “playability” standard. Coincidentally, I got the same outcomes on the Shadow of the Tomb Raider benchmark, implying you wont have any problems playing those popular titles utilizing the built-in graphics card. City Exodus, however, was a different story, averaging a lowly 30-fps and typically dropping well listed below that threshold during the test. I was likewise shocked by Total War: Warhammer II, which balanced 41 fps, a good result however less headroom than I d prefer.Photo: Phillip Tracy/GizmodoIf you need more graphical oomph for high frame rates or better graphics, the Flow Z13 links to Asus XG Mobile eGPU through a proprietary connection on the left side of the tablet. For those who missed our ROG Flow X13 review, the XG Mobile is basically a docking station that houses a mobile Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 GPU. It gets you all the ports you could possibly need: HDMI 2.1, DisplayPort 1.4, RJ-45 Ethernet, four USB 3.2 Type-A inputs, and an SD card reader.Photo: Phillip Tracy/GizmodoIm simply not sure its worth the hassle unless you have really high gaming needs. For one, the XG Mobile isnt all that mobile. Integrate its 2.6 pounds with the Flow Z13s weight, and unexpectedly the whole setup is significantly much heavier than portable gaming laptops, like Asus own 3.8-pound Zephyrus G14 or the Alienware x15 (5 pounds). With such a brawny GPU under the hood, the XG Mobile requires its own source of power, which comes by means of a chunky 280W power adapter– simply the sort of thing you were intending to avoid by buying this system.Photo: Phillip Tracy/GizmodoThe proprietary connector that plugs into the left side of the tablet advises me of a VGA port in all the wrong ways. Its chunky, inflexible, and a locking slider needs to be allowed for the eGPU to work. Once youve connected, the system will take a couple of minutes to change over to the eGPU. If you disconnect the XG Mobile prior to doing so securely by means of the Windows Taskbar, the Z13 will get angry and force you to reboot the next time or ask you to “accept the threat.” Anyhow, when its running, it sprints. The RTX 3080 in the XG Mobile supercharged this tablet, which ran Total War: Warhammer II at 99 fps, a 58-frame increase. Even the hardest of these games– Metro Exodus– played at a cool 78 fps with the settings on Ultra. Tomb Raider took complete benefit of the 120Hz screen, running at 125 fps while Far Cry 5 wasnt far behind at 117 fps.Photo: Phillip Tracy/GizmodoThe Flow Z13 also succeeded on our computing standards thanks to its Intel Core i9-12900H CPU, 16GB of RAM, and 512TB SSD. The tablet scored an 11,358 on the Geekbench 5 overall performance test, topping the Zephyrus G14 (9,830), Alienware x15 (9,339), and annihilating the Surface Pro 8 (5,873). It likewise succeeded rendering a 3D image in Blender, a job it needed just 3 minutes and 51 seconds to complete, putting it ahead of the Razer Blade 14 (5:58) and Surface Pro 8 (8:25) but a little behind the Zephyrus G14 (3:15). It performed likewise on the Handbrake test, requiring just 7 minutes and 11 seconds to convert a 4K video to 1080p, a job that took the Surface Pro 8 more than 12 minutes. This time, the laptop computers had an edge, with the Razer Blade 14 (3:48) and Zephyrus G14 (3:15) turning in quicker times. Image: Phillip Tracy/GizmodoWhen Asus first exposed the Flow Z13, my instant fear was the capacity for overheating. It didnt. Not even during long gameplay sessions. A max temperature reading of 120 degrees Fahrenheit may sound hot, but its not when compared to most portable gaming laptops. The Zephyrus G14 flirted with the 140s while the keyboard stayed over 100 degrees throughout my GPU screening– in contrast, the keyboard on the Z13 doesnt warm when the system is running.Fast and brilliant displayBright, colorful, and fast, the 13.4-inch, 1920 x 1200-pixel (FHD+) panel is a pleasure for seeing motion pictures, browsing the web, or playing games.The 120Hz screen kept up as F1 cars soared their way across the screen as I watched the Imola Grand Prix, and the panel did justice to the vehicles vibrant livery. When I saw the trailer for Severance, the screen caught the pure white snow surrounding the threatening workplace building and matched that hue on the lifeless interior walls. I was particularly enchanted by the 90s visual, with its muted colors and funky retro tech.Photo: Phillip Tracy/GizmodoAfter playing numerous rounds of Halo Infinite, there was no questioning that the 120Hz panel improved my kill-to-death ratio (it still wasnt great, FWIW) compared to using my 60Hz office screen. Keep in mind, however, that you require to be linked to the XG Mobile to reach frame rates thatll take advantage of the screens high refresh rate.Whatever was on screen– sports, a film, video games– looked crisp and comprehensive. And because the screen gets extremely brilliant, at 495 nits, I had no problems utilizing the tablet outside on a sunny Texas day. I simply choose playing on a larger screen, though the size restraints are understandable here.The double speakers on the Flow Z13 are great. They were loud adequate to fill my small workplace and didnt misshape when I moved the slider to 100%. Treble and midrange tones were crisp, if somewhat frail, and there was a foreseeable lack of bass. These are excellent enough for watching YouTube videos and casual listening, however players must definitely purchase a good headset, like the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless.The battery life of a video gaming rig The ROG Flow Z13 wants so severely to be a gaming laptop computer that it followed the lead of its bigger rivals by lasting just 6 hours and 26 minutes on our battery test, which includes video playback at 200 nits of brightness. Picture: Phillip Tracy/GizmodoThat puts it just behind the Razer Blade 14 (6:41) and a number of hours brief of the Zephyrus G14 (9:21). Other tablets, like the Surface Pro 8 (8:18), trade the extra graphics oomph for longer runtimes.Should you buy the ROG Flow Z13?Photo: Phillip Tracy/GizmodoNo, you probably should not, and its a shame due to the fact that the gamer geek in me wants to love this thing. It has an enjoyable design, an intense 13.4-inch display, strong efficiency, and a decent keyboard thats included in package. It even prevented overheating and remained reasonably quiet throughout my testing.As you can see, the execution is rather good. I just cant surpass the cost of the complete bundle: around $3,000 with the XG Mobile. I would rather conserve money and buy an excellent gaming laptop computer; Asus own ROG Zephyrus G14 is a more balanced choice and doesnt sacrifice excessive in the way of portability. OK, so it isnt as fast as the Flow Z13 with XG Mobile, however its simpler to take a trip with and considerably more effective by itself than the tablet is. Another deal-breaker for me is the poor ergonomics; I d much rather spend this kind of cash on the Flow X13, the laptop computer version of this hybrid device.And yet, I do believe the Flow Z13 is the right gadget for somebody. Ignore Asus marketing and a more suitable audience ends up being clear: individuals who want a Surface Pro 8 but need extra graphics power, like 3D designers, designers, or artists who travel for work. If you fall into that classification, another little bit of guidance: inspect your credit line before you spend on the Flow Z13. G/O Media may get a commission