HomeGamingROG FLOW Z13 Review - A Unique 2-in-1 Gaming Machine Packed With...

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 gaming machine? As interesting as it may sound, it is a very difficult idea to implement. Thermal management and chassis size would pose multiple challenges for engineers and product designers. However, ASUS ROG has passed all the challenges with the new ROG Flow Z13.

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When I first saw the Z 13 at the media unveiling 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 and we had a blast using the device. Here is our report. Before starting the review, we want to make it clear that comparing the ROG Flow Z 13 to other gaming laptops is not justified. It is a 2-in-1 device with multiple uses, even for non-gamers. Compare that to the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 and suddenly it all makes sense.

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ROG Z13 stream
ROG Z13 stream

Design

The ROG Flow Z 13 mostly looks like the gaming version of Microsoft Surface Pro or iPad Pro. Being an ROG device, it’s not shy about showing off its gaming roots, and we love that. The device is a typical tablet and detachable keyboard combination; however, this comes with full-fledged gaming laptop hardware inside.

ROG Flow Z13 on the back with a window showing the RGB lighting internals
ROG Flow Z13 on the back with a window showing the RGB lighting internals

Leaving aside the detachable suede-covered keyboard, the Z 13 has a slightly thicker stance than the comparable Microsoft Surface Pro 8 or 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’s a small window that shows off the internal motherboard and, of course, it’s an ROG device, so that window has RGB lighting.

ROG Flow Z13 Window inward
ROG Flow Z13 Window inward

The keyboard

The detachable keyboard that comes in the box is quite nice, continuing the gamer aesthetic, it also has single-zone RGB lighting. The keyboard is covered with a Suede / Alcantara type material and is very pleasant 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 quick and clicky with decent travel, you can use it for casual gaming, but if you’re a gamer you’d already have your Cherry MX mechanical keyboard and a speedy mouse ready.

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-size touchpad can be used and registers clicks and touches very well. We didn’t use this keyboard for gaming, however, while traveling we used the keyboard to produce quick copies, and typing on this keyboard was easy, the keys have 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 plenty of ports, even though it’s one of the thinnest and lightest “Gaming” devices I’ve ever used. You get the proprietary ROG XG mobile interface for connecting the external ROG 3080 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 port Type C which supports DisplayPort, Power Delivery and G-Sync.
ROG Flow Z13 - UHD display panel with 500 nits brightness and Dolby Vision HDR
ROG Flow Z13 – UHD display panel, with 500 nits brightness and Dolby Vision HDR

Display

ROG Flow Z 13 is available with two display panel configurations: a 13.4-inch 1920 x 1200 IPS panel with a 120Hz refresh rate and a 13.4-inch 3840 x 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 comes with the UHD panel with a stylus in the box, as both screens offer touch and stylus support. The review unit’s UHD panel was brilliant, and consuming content on that 13.4-inch screen was a wonderful experience. However, it’s a 2-in-1 game, so we loaded up Valorant, Cyberpunk, and a few other games and the display was crisp with great viewing angles. The 500 nits brightness is bright enough for well-lit indoor scenarios, however, if you’re sitting in direct sunlight, screen visibility drops a bit. The touch and pen response is spot on and although I’m not an artist, this device could really serve an artist’s hands 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 because not only does it come with the latest 12e gen flagships from Intel with 16GB of 5200MHz DDR5 RAM, but it also features an Nvidia 3050/3050Ti GPU. In terms of storage, you can choose between a 512/1TB M.2 PCIe Gen 4 SSD and it also has an additional slot for expansion.

Performance is airy, I mean it can handle most games at a decent frame rate, remember the GPU only runs at 40W, for creators and people looking to edit videos on the go, this machine is spot on, video rendering and export times to Adobe Premier are as fast as you’d expect from 3050 powered devices. Even when using multi-layer photo editing in Photoshop, the Flow Z 13 doesn’t struggle . Additionally, the presence of the MUX switch means you can easily bypass the iGPU for additional 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 that comes with Nvidia’s RTX 3080 and a host of I/O ports takes over from the 3050Ti inside the Flow Z 13 and increases the processing power of the GPU. Although we weren’t able to test the ROG Flow Z 13 + ROG XG mobile interface together, we experienced it at an ASUS event.

ROG Flow Z13 - Cyberpunk aesthetics
ROG Flow Z13 – Cyberpunk aesthetics

Thermals and battery life

ASUS has packed a lot of high-performance tech into this slim body (slightly bulky in tablet terms). This means the company had to do a lot of work for thermal management, and they did, with vapor chamber cooling, multiple vents, larger fans, and liquid metal cooling.

However, in our usage, the Flow Z 13 tended to heat up under load, such as gaming or when exporting video files. In normal use cases, where we’re using a browser and Microsoft Word with occasional Photoshop tweaks, the device stayed cool and quiet.

With a moderate 56 Wh battery inside, the battery life is about average. For mobility, it offers that we would have liked a little more battery juice. During normal use, the battery can sustain the Flow Z 13 between 4 and 5 hours, by the time you start power-hungry apps like gaming, the battery only lasts an hour or two at most. However, the 100W USB-C charger charges the device quite quickly and if you are buying it for mobility, this USB-C charger is the only one you would need for your phone and other devices 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, powerful internals, and option to get the ROG XG Mobile are an attractive proposition for people who need to be mobile and yet want a powerful machine, however, we found a few quirks . The 2-in-1 design with a kickstand and detachable keyboard means it’s hard to stay on your lap and work, in case people want to. Battery life is the next thing we got a little used to, finally under heavy loads the rear panel tends to heat up and gets a bit uncomfortable to hold.

Things we liked

We liked the whole concept of the ROG Flow Z 13, a 2-in-1 device with beefy specs and of course the RGB processing. The presence of a MicroSD card slot is another small addition that expands the use case of this device, for photographers, videographers and other creative professionals. The complete kit – Flow Z 13, stylus, 100W charger, funky ROG carrying case comes inside the box. And finally to extend your 30s for more power, compatibility with ROG XG Mobile.

ROG Flow Z13 - Republic Of Gamers logo on top with air vents
ROG Flow Z13 – Republic Of Gamers logo on top with air vents

Verdict

Well the ROG Flow Z13 is a really unique device with really no competition in the market at the moment, comparing the Flow Z13 to cheaper or similarly priced gaming laptops is unfair due to the extreme mobility the Flow Z13 integrates, the only thing we can compare it to the Microsoft Surface Pro 8. With prices starting at ₹136,990 (review unit – ₹181,990), the Flow Z13 is an expensive device, while we can have a ROG Strix Scar at the same price, however, this is an incorrect comparison. Let’s look at the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 which is priced at ₹1,63,999 and that’s without the stylus, and the keyboard cover and suddenly the price of the ROG Flow Z13 makes so much more sense.

Mobility, power and expandability are the main keywords here, the ROG Flow Z13 is a superb device for anyone who wants a powerful machine that’s light enough to travel, be it a gamer or a creative professional. Kudos to ASUS for thinking outside the box, the ROG Flow Z13 gets a big thumbs up from us.

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