ROG FLOW Z13 Review–A unique 2-in-1 gaming machine packed with features

ROG FLOW Z13 ReviewA unique 2-in-1 gaming machine packed with features
A 2-in-1 slot machine? As interesting as it sounds, it’s a very difficult idea to implement. Thermal management and chassis size would present multiple challenges to engineers and product designers. However, ASUS ROG has taken on all the challenges with the new ROG Flow Z13.

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When I first saw the Z 13 at the media reveal event, I fell in love with the design and overall form factor of the device. My love for RGB lights and the Cyberpunk aesthetic is a whole different story.
Later, ASUS India sent the Flow Z13 for review purposes and we had a blast using the device, here’s our report. Before we start the review, we would like to point out that it is not justified to compare the ROG Flow Z 13 with other gaming laptops. This is a 2-in-1 device with multiple uses, even for non-gamers. Compare this with the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 and suddenly everything is right.

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ROG Flow Z13
ROG Flow Z13

Design

The ROG Flow Z 13 primarily resembles the gaming version of Microsoft Surface Pro or iPad Pro. Being a ROG device, it doesn’t shy away from showing off its gaming roots, and we love that. The device is a typical tablet plus removable keyboard combination; however, this comes with full-fledged gaming laptop hardware inside.

ROG Flow Z13 from the back with a window with the interior in RGB lighting
ROG Flow Z13 from the back with a window with the interior in RGB lighting

Aside from the suede-covered detachable keyboard, the Z 13 has a slightly thicker stance than the comparable Microsoft Surface Pro 8 or the iPad Pro, but there’s a lot going on here. The device has a metal chassis and feels really premium to hold. On the back there is a small window that shows a glimpse of the internal motherboard and it is of course a ROG device, which is why this window has RGB lighting.

ROG FLow Z13 Window inward
ROG FLow Z13 Window inward

The keyboard

The removable keyboard that comes in the box is quite nice, continuing with the gamer aesthetic and also features single-zone RGB lighting. The keyboard is covered with a Suede / Alcantara like material and feels very nice to use.

ROG Flow Z13 - RGB keyboard on a 2-in-1
ROG Flow Z13 – RGB keyboard on a 2-in-1

The keys are also fast and clicky with decent travel, you can use it for occasional gaming but if you’re a gamer you’d already have your mechanical Cherry MX keyboard and a fast mouse to hand.

ROG Flow Z13 - Chiclet keyboard with 17mm travel and single-zone RGB lighting
ROG Flow Z13 – Chiclet keyboard with 1.7mm travel and single-zone RGB lighting

The standard sized touchpad is fine to use and registers clicks and touches very well. We didn’t use this keyboard for gaming, but while traveling we did use the keyboard to make some quick copies, and typing on this keyboard was easy, the keys have a decent depth and are very responsive.

ROG Flow Z13 comes with ports on both sides
ROG Flow Z13 comes with ports on both sides

Ports

The ROG Flow Z 13 comes with a lot of ports, although this is one of the thinnest and lightest gaming devices I’ve used to date. You get the proprietary ROG XG Mobile Interface to connect the ROG 3080 external GPU, you also get a Thunderbolt 4 port with DisplayPort and PD support, a USB 2.0 Type-A port, a microSD card reader and another USB Type C port that supports DisplayPort, Power Delivery and G-Sync.
ROG Flow Z13 - UHD display with 500 nits of brightness and Dolby Vision HDR
ROG Flow Z13 – UHD display, with 500 nits of brightness and Dolby Vision HDR

Display

ROG Flow Z 13 is available with two display configurations: a 13.4-inch 1920×1200 IPS panel with a 120Hz refresh rate and a 13.4-inch 3840×2400 IPS panel with a 60Hz refresh rate. Both panels have 500 nits of brightness, Pantone validation, Dolby Vision HDR and adaptive sync. The review unit came with the UHD panel along with a stylus in the box as both screens offer touch and stylus support. The UHD panel on the test device was brilliant and watching content on this 13.4-inch screen was a great experience. It’s 2-in-1 gaming though, so we loaded up Valorant, Cyberpunk and a few other games and the screen was bright with great viewing angles. The 500 nits brightness is bright enough for well-lit indoor scenarios, but sitting in direct sunlight reduces the screen’s visibility a bit. The touch and stylus response is spot on and while I’m not an artist this device could really serve in the hands of an artist with Windows 11’s app support and powerful internals.

ROG Flow Z13 - Also connects to game controllers
ROG Flow Z13 – Also connects to game controllers

Performance

This is where the ROG Flow Z 13 shows its gaming roots, the device is unique in that it not only comes with the latest 12e Gen flagship processors from Intel with 16GB 5200MHz DDR5 RAM, but can also fit an Nvidia 3050/3050Ti GPU. In terms of storage, you can choose between 512/1TB M.2 PCIe Gen 4 SSD and it also has an extra slot for expansion.

The performance is airy, I mean it can handle most games at a decent frame rate, mind you, the GPU only runs at 40W, for creators and people who want to edit videos on the go, this machine is perfect, video playback and export times on Adobe Premier are as fast as expected with 3050 powered devices. Even with multi-layer photo editing in Photoshop, the Flow Z 13 has no trouble. In addition, the presence of the MUX switch ensures that you can easily bypass the iGPU for some extra frame rates.

But if you need more performance, the Flow Z 13 has a trick up its sleeve, an expensive one. Enter ROG XG Mobile, yes! This external GPU, which comes with Nvidia’s RTX 3080 and a host of I/O ports, takes over from the 3050Ti in the Flow Z 13 and boosts GPU processing power. While we didn’t get to test the ROG Flow Z 13 + ROG XG Mobile Interface together, we did experience it at an ASUS event.

ROG Flow Z13 - The Cyberpunk Aesthetic
ROG Flow Z13 – The Cyberpunk Aesthetic

Thermals and battery life

ASUS has packed a lot of high-end technology into that slim (somewhat chunky in terms of a tablet) case. This means the company had to put in a lot of work for thermal management, and they have, with vapor chamber cooling, multiple vents, larger fans and liquid metal cooling.

However, in our use, the Flow Z 13 often got hot under load, such as gaming or while exporting video files. In normal use cases, where we use browser and Microsoft Word with occasional Photoshop edits, the device remained cool and calm.

With a moderate 56 Whr battery in it, battery life is about average. For mobility, it offers that we would have liked a little more juice from the battery. With normal use, the battery can last the Flow Z 13 for between 4-5 hours, once you start energy-intensive apps like good gaming, the battery will last up to an hour or two. However, the 100W USB-C charger charges the device quite quickly and if you’re buying this for mobility, this USB-C charger is all you need for your phone and other devices along with Flow Z 13.

ROG Flow Z13 - 100W USB-C PD Charger
ROG Flow Z13 – 100W USB-C PD Charger

Things we didn’t like

The 2-in-1 design and powerful internals and the option to get the ROG XG Mobile is a nice proposition for those who need to be mobile and still want a powerful machine, but we did find a few quirks. The 2-in-1 design with stand and removable keyboard makes it a challenge to stay on your lap and work, in case people like to do that. Battery life is the next thing we had to get used to, finally, under heavy load, the back panel often gets hot and a bit uncomfortable to hold.

Things we liked

We loved the whole concept of the ROG Flow Z 13, a 2-in-1 device with hefty specs and of course the RGB treatment. The presence of a MicroSD card slot is another minor addition that expands the use of this device for photographers, videographers and other creative professionals. The full kit – Flow Z 13, Stylus, 100W charger, funky ROG carrying case comes in the box. And lastly, extending your thirty for more power, the compatibility with ROG XG Mobile.

ROG Flow Z13 - Republic Of Gamers Branding On Top With Air Vents
ROG Flow Z13 – Republic Of Gamers Branding On Top With Air Vents

verdict

Well, the ROG Flow Z13 is a truly unique device with really no competition in the market right now, comparing the Flow Z13 to cheaper or comparably priced gaming laptops is unfair due to the extreme mobility the Flow Z13 packs, the only thing that we can compare it with the Microsoft Surface Pro 8. With the prices starting from 136,990 euros (review unit – 181,990 euros), the Flow Z13 is an expensive device, while for the same price we can have a ROG Strix Scar. is an incorrect comparison. Let’s take a look at the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 which is priced at ₹1.63.999 and that’s without the stylus and keyboard cover and suddenly the ROG Flow Z13’s pricing makes so much more sense.

Mobility, power and expansion are the key words here, the ROG Flow Z13 is a fantastic device for anyone who wants a powerful machine that is light enough to travel with, be it a gamer or a creative professional. Kudos to ASUS for thinking out-of-the-box, the ROG Flow Z13 gets a big thumbs up from us.

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