Hands-On, Tablet, Windows

Asus ROG Flow Z13 Hands-On: A True Gaming Tablet From RM7,999

Asus has previously forayed into the “gaming tablet” space with the ROG Mothership, but that product is more of an all-in-one PC than a tablet due to its imposing size. Fast forward to now, we have the Asus ROG Flow Z13 – a true gaming tablet that’s both portable and powerful.

Of course, such a combination also comes with a steep price tag. Retailing from RM7,999, the Flow Z13 is not an affordable machine. However, believe it or not, the value proposition of the Z13 is actually quite good – you’re getting some excellent hardware for the money.

Let’s start with the pricing of the ROG Flow Z13. Three variants of the tablet are available in Malaysia. The RM7,999 base model features an Intel Core i7-12700H processor paired with 16GB of RAM, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 GPU, a 13.4-inch 1920 x 1200 IPS touch display with a 120Hz refresh rate, and a 512GB SSD.

A tier up is the Core i9-12900H configuration of the Flow Z13, which costs a cool RM8,799. Aside from the faster processor, you’re also getting a beefier RTX 3050 Ti GPU and a generous 1TB SSD. Given that you’re only paying RM800 for these upgrades, it’s quite worth it. This model, in my opinion, offers the best value for money.

Last but not least is the range-topping Flow Z13 for an eye-watering RM15,999. Aside from a sharper 4K screen (though the refresh rate is limited to 60Hz) and a 2TB SSD, this variant also bundles the ROG XG Mobile external GPU enclosure, which houses a powerful RTX 3080 GPU (150W TGP). This is the model you see in this hands-on.

I haven’t had the chance to put the Flow Z13 through its paces yet, but chances are, it should be able to deliver excellent gaming performance, especially with the combination of the Core i9-12900H processor and XG Mobile. After all, the external GPU enclosure is packed with a fast RTX 3080 graphics card.

Naturally, I’ll also put the RTX 3050 Ti GPU of the tablet itself to the test in the full review of the Z13 – stay tuned for that.

One of the best qualities of the Flow Z13 has to be its tablet form factor, similar to Microsoft’s Surface tablets. Weighing only 1.1kg with a 12mm thin chassis, this is a very portable gaming machine too. It also comes with a detachable keyboard case, so you don’t have to purchase this separately.

Speaking of which, I’m quite a fan of the keyboard case. It offers enough key travel to not feel shallow, the keys provide a good amount of tactility, and it even has a “cushiony” bottom out. All in all, this is a comfortable keyboard to do a lot of typing on.

The keyboard case’s trackpad is quite good too. It’s reasonably accurate, though I do wish it is a tad bigger for a more pleasant user experience.

Design wise, the Flow Z13 looks and feels great. It has solid build quality, there are minimal bezels surrounding the screen, lending to a modern-looking machine, and I love the glass window on the back (complete with RGB lighting!) that shows the tablet’s internals.

And then there’s the adjustable kickstand of the Flow Z13. The hinge feels solid as I adjust the angle to my liking – much like a Surface tablet, if I might add – and it even closes with a reassuring thud. I also appreciate the red tab on the kickstand to make it easier to pop it open.

Last but definitely not least is the stunning 4K Pantone Validated display of this range-topping Flow Z13. The 13.4-inch 3840 x 2400 IPS display with a 16:10 aspect ratio is bright, vibrant, and the extra vertical space really helps make this compact display feel bigger than it actually is.

Granted, it’s not ideal that this 4K panel only has a 60Hz refresh rate – especially for a gaming machine – but there’s no denying that this is a high quality screen. It even supports Dolby Vision HDR and 85% coverage of the DCI-P3 colour space.

All in all, the Asus ROG Flow Z13 is a premium gaming tablet with surprisingly good value proposition, though this mainly applies to the RM8,799 variant with a Core i9-12900H processor. If you want a gaming machine with this chip at a similar price point, only the MSI Pulse GL66 stands out at RM7,599.

Even then, the Pulse GL66 is a gaming laptop instead of a tablet, and it can’t match the Flow Z13’s build quality or compact form factor either. Granted, it does offer better gaming performance with its RTX 3060 GPU, though the RTX 3050 Ti under the hood of the Z13 isn’t markedly slower.

Nonetheless, the Flow Z13 is definitely an interesting gaming tablet, and I’m excited to see if it can also double as a productivity machine. It has all the features of a good work tablet: a comfortable keyboard, a bright and vibrant 16:10 display, as well as a compact form factor. Hopefully, it will be able to return good battery life too.

Needless to say, I’ll also test the gaming performance of the Flow Z13 in the full review, both with the ROG XG Mobile (RTX 3080) and the RTX 3050 Ti GPU in the tablet itself.

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