ASUS ROG Flow Z13 Review – Hot Property
When you think of mobile gaming devices, gaming laptops will almost always come to mind.
What if you wanted to do more creative work and wanted something high end that functioned as a tablet?
Would you want a fast GPU along with the ability to expand I/O? The ASUS ROG Flow Z13 is one such a device.
⊕ Performance aplenty
⊕ Port expansion options in the package
⊕ Touch screen
⊕ Light package
⊗ Runs hot
⊗ Not upgradeable
⊗ Power hungry
The model ASUS supplied to us is the ROG Flow Z13. This is a Core i9-12900H equipped unit, has 16GB DDR5 soldered on memory, NVIDIA Geforce RTX 3050 4GB and 1TB SSD equipped tablet. It fits into a neat package that resembles an Ipad, albeit with a little of that gamer flare.
The screen runs at 1920×1200 120hz, and you have the option to use it in lower refresh rates while on battery. You also get the ROG XG Mobile eGPU and thunderbolt hub which expands your ports. The model we received of the XG Mobile sported an AMD 6850M 12GB GPU. The XG Mobile connects to the ROG Flow Z13 via a PCI-E X8 link, which is half of the number of PCI-E lanes you would get in a desktop.
This is a potent combination when you are docked, and you have the bonus ability of mobility with the Flow Z13 undocked.
There’s a burning question to ask. What are the trade-offs for having such high specifications in such a small unit? How effective is cooling? What is battery life like when undocked from the XG Mobile?
The main issue is this: heat.
Both the XG mobile and the Flow Z13 run HOT. When playing demanding games the CPU reaches almost 90 degrees. The XG Mobile ran at 85 degrees and vented air from the front. When running demanding tasks, both were very hot.
Make no mistake, they performed.
Doom Eternal was achieving 60 frames per second 1440p on high, with ray tracing on. Since this was an AMD GPU and only had half of the PCI-E lanes, it’s not surprising.
Dying light 2 ran at 100 frames per second and above. Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order was comfortable on highest settings running at 1440p. For such a small unit, this is a powerhouse.
The Bits and Bobs
The keyboard impressed me and so did the trackpad. There was a port for a mouse to connect into the Flow Z13 on the right side, which is the right side for the port to be.
It’s also light thanks to the Ipad-style trackpad and keyboard which you can remove.
Since the ROG Flow Z13 can power via a supplied charging adapter, it can operate independently of the ROG XG Mobile. It will charge off the XG Mobile unit too. The thunderbolt port on left that the XG Mobile uses can also double up as an extra USB-C port.
When running off battery, to reduce power consumption, and in conjunction with Asus’ ROG software, the screen will reduce the refresh rate down to 60hz. This makes for a less smooth Windows experience.
There is no upgradeability that I can see and ASUS has upgraded it to a specification that would cater for most. I’d also argue that there should be a 32GB and 64GB model.
Plug n’ Play
For battery life, I achieved around 3 hours while on battery-saving and 50 minutes gaming. It’s no surprise that you need to have electricity ready when using the Flow Z13 as a dedicated device.
All in all, I am happy with the Z13. I think it’s a great tablet-come-gaming-pc. It offers great performance while giving you mobility. The heat emissions left me unhappy. I question how long the components will last with this much heat generated from both units in the Flow Z13.
The major issue I have with the full Flow Z13 package, though, is the price. If you want the Asus ROG Flow Z13 and the XG Mobile eGPU, you’re going to have to fork out around R65,000 for both. It’s not cheap and you will get better performance from a dedicated gaming laptop but sacrifice a touch screen and additional I/O that the XG Mobile will provide.
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