When we talk about gaming tablets, we usually refer to iPads or Android slates that run mobile games. Apparently, Asus didn't get the memo. Because the Asus ROG Flow Z13 is a mid-range gaming PC squished into a tablet. It's like a souped-up gaming version of the Microsoft Surface Pro tablet. It even has a similar keyboard cover and a built-in kickstand. And while it's not without some flaws, the Flow does manage to bring proper PC gaming to Windows tablets.
- 13-inch (1,920 x 1,200 pixels, 120Hz) touchscreen
- Intel Core i7-12700H with 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD and GeForce RTX 3050
- 1.18kg (tablet), 340g (keyboard), 300g (adapter)
- 56 watt-hour battery
The Flow has a Full-HD 13-inch touchscreen surrounded by narrow bezels. It's relatively bright, with a fast 120Hz refresh rate that should satisfy most gamers. The built-in kickstand lets you prop the tablet upright, lie almost flat, and supports every angle in between (up to 170 degrees). Because of its design, my lap was never in direct contact with the hotter parts of the Flow. This is unlike gaming notebooks, which often had uncomfortably warm bottoms. Of course, the Flow isn't as stable as a notebook as you're balancing it on the kickstand and the keyboard accessory. The latter is worth a mention as not only do you get single-zone RGB backlighting, this gaming-centric keyboard also has decent key travel and even N-key rollover.
At almost 1.2kg, the Flow — without the keyboard — weighs about the same as an ultrabook. Don't expect to hold it like a typical tablet. It's also thicker than Windows tablets like the Surface Pro. The extra weight is understandable, given its mid-range Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 chip. The Flow is also more extroverted than Microsoft's work-oriented slate. There's a cool RGB-lit window that lets you glimpse the tablet's innards. You can also find a microSD card slot and a M.2 slot (the smaller 2230 form factor, screwdriver required) underneath the kickstand. The tablet is charged via its USB-C port using the bundled power adapter. A second USB-C port and Asus' proprietary port for its XG Mobile external graphics dock are hidden under a flap. Meanwhile, a USB-A port ensures you won't need to carry a dongle for your other devices.
The Flow performs impressively for a tablet. With the tablet in Performance Mode, it produced around 50 frames per second (fps) in modern games like Watch Dogs: Legions and Metro Exodus with the graphics settings at Medium. I still got an average of 30fps in Metro Exodus at Ultra setting at Full-HD resolution, though it dipped to below 20fps in certain sections. Also impressive: The fans are relatively quiet during gaming. The chassis do get really hot during gaming, with warm exhaust exiting from vents at the top of the tablet. But as mentioned earlier, this is fine as the tablet isn't touching my body. Instead, my biggest gripe would be the Flow's 13-inch size, which limits the width of the keyboard. I recommend using a game controller whenever possible.
Given its gaming hardware, the Asus ROG Flow Z13 is unsurprisingly mediocre in the battery life department. It clocked 4hr 45min in my video-loop battery test. But I doubt its intended audience would be overly concerned — most gaming notebooks aren't much better. More importantly, it's capable enough to play PC games at modest settings. And while its 13-inch size is not quite ideal for gaming, you can hook it up to an external display, like the Asus ROG Strix XG16 portable monitor, connect a controller, and still have a blast in Elden Ring. It's not something you'd expect from a Windows tablet. Get it now from the Asus Online Store, Lazada or Shopee at S$2,998.
Note: Review unit provided by Asus.
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