The tablet was once labelled as the laptop killer, but even high-end tablets like Apple’s M1-enabled iPad Pro can’t quite do everything that a laptop can. Sure, the portable form factor is great, but without a dedicated GPU or support from game developers, you won’t find AAA PC games on the iPad Pro.
That’s where Asus comes in, revealing the Asus ROG Flow Z13 gaming tablet at CES 2022 – and it’s one to pay attention to if you’re a serious gamer. Why? It sports tempting specs including Nvidia’s RTX 3050 Ti laptop GPU and a 12th-gen Intel H-series chip for impressive on-the-go power, and it runs Windows out of the box too.
That’s not all either; there’s up to 1TB of Gen4 SSD storage available, coupled with up to 32GB of DDR5 RAM, and to keep things cool under stress, there’s a vapour chamber on both the CPU and CPU with improved air intake on the back panel of the tablet display. Your everyday tablet, this is certainly not.
The 13in tablet offers an impressive 500nits brightness with support for Adaptive Sync technology, with either 4K@60Hz or 1080p@120Hz available to choose from. Whatever you opt for, the display sports an impressive 500nits brightness, and it’s both Pantone validated and verified for a top-notch display experience.
There’s even support for the new Asus stylus on the touchscreen tablet, bringing benefits for creators as well as gamers.
The powerful internals don’t have a knock-on effect on its form factor either, measuring in at 12mm thick, although it’s almost double the weight of the iPad Pro 12.9in at 1.1kg. It’s still portable, but not as optimised for one-handed use as other tablets on the market – but then again, other tablets can’t run AAA PC games like Halo Infinite, can they?
Of course, there are times where the laptop form factor is needed. Asus’s answer to that is something akin to Apple’s Magic Keyboard, essentially turning the Flow Z13 into a laptop-esque clamshell device with a full keyboard and trackpad.
It’s not just any old keyboard either, sporting curved keycaps with 1.7mm travel, RGB lighting ideal and adjustable angles for an improved typing experience.
Throw in front and rear-facing cameras for video calls, USB-C with Thunderbolt 4 support, a fingerprint scanner built into the power button, a USB-A port, audio jack and microSD card slot and you’ve got a capable gaming tablet – but with Asus’s XG Mobile port also present and accounted for, the experience can be taken to the next level.
The Asus XG Mobile eGPU was first introduced alongside the Asus ROG Flow X13 in 2020, boosting the capabilities of the lightweight laptop with desktop-level performance, and the refreshed XG Mobile eGPU for 2021 looks to do the same for the Z13.
The latest XG Mobile allows you to connect your Z13 tablet to an external monitor and other gaming peripherals for a more traditional desktop gaming experience, offering the best of both worlds – albeit at quite the extra cost, with Nvidia’s latest RTX desktop GPUs inside.
That’ll allow you to run the latest AAA games at the highest quality possible, and it’ll translate to much faster render times for creatives using the Z13 for digital artwork too.
Asus has committed to making the XG Mobile port backwards and forwards compatible for at least five years, meaning you’ll be able to upgrade to more powerful variants in future without having to replace the Flow Z13 itself.
There’s no word on official pricing or release date just yet, but we expect the Asus ROG Flow Z13 and the accompanying updated XG Mobile eGPU to be released within the next few months.