Asus ROG Flow Z13 (GZ301ZC-PS73) Review

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7.8 Total Score

The Asus ROG Flow Z13 (GZ301ZC-PS73) is a design masterpiece and makes for a remarkable powerful tablet, but the12700H and RTX 3050 can’t give their best in such a confined space. As for the ROG XG mobile graphics dock and its RTX 3080 graphics, it’s a similar story.

  • Mostly fabulous build quality
  • Glorious display
  • Stellar feature set
  • Complete package of accessories
  • Expensive eGPU add-on
  • Middling battery life

Almost all gaming machines with the Asus ROG branding are premium devices, but the company goes overboard with newer features and devices once in a while. They offer the best bang for the buck and deliver the kind of performance only seen on Dell’s Alienware line of gaming laptops. However, with the launch of the Asus ROG Flow Z13, the company is not taking on the other heavy hitters in the gaming laptop category, instead, Asus is taking full assault right to the Apple iPad Air’s doorstep.

When we reviewed the Apple iPad Pro earlier this year, we loved it for its thin and elegant design alongside speedy M1-powered performance. That sounds like a solid piece of kit, but Asus has something better in the cards. Instead of being just a portable device, the ROG Flow Z13 (GZ301ZC-PS73) is easily one of the best choices for a portable gaming laptop just in build and design.

It boasts a sturdy chassis and an aluminum alloy construction that gives it a premium feel than most competitors. Plus, it’s very portable for daily commute – the entire laptop with the keyboard folded weighs in at just approximately 1.2kgs. It also gets a 170° kickstand which allows you to lay the laptop flat, handy for creative tasks like drawing and editing photos. Also, you get a sneaky view into a section of the hardware within the Asus ROG Flow Z13 at the back which is RGB-lit.

To make the deal even sweeter, the Asus ROG Flow Z13 includes almost all the accessories you’d ever need. Bundled into the package are an RGB detachable keyboard, a stylus, and a carry case for the laptop. All those at no extra cost. The keyboard comes with chicklet-style keys that are incredibly comfortable to type on and the trackpad is super-responsive. And with a rubberized texture, the product’s premium quality is confirmed.

Asus ROG Flow Z13 (GZ301ZC-PS73) Review screen

Under the hood, the laptop packs hardware that’s similar to most other gaming laptops in this price range. The Asus ROG Flow Z13 comes with the latest 12th-generation Intel Core CPUs and features the RTX 3050 series of graphics cards. Our review unit, the GZ301ZC-PS73 model features a 12th Gen Intel Core i7-12700H CPU, 16GB LPDDR5 RAM, 512GB SSD, and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 GPU.

The XG Mobile external graphics adapter that’s sold separately can replace the RTX 3050 here with a mobile RTX 3080 GPU for even better gaming performance, and the tablet is equally ready for the road. The design is superb, and the eGPU delivers the level of performance you’d only find in a high-end gaming laptop, but the cost of that pair combined will give most of us a pause.

 Again, the concept doesn’t inherently improve your gaming and productivity, either (this is a tablet at heart); there are lots of thin and light gaming laptops that combine power and portability for much less. One such device is Asus’ own ROG Zephyrus G14 that pack unbridled power into a sleek, thin, and portable profile and adds longer battery life. It remains our Editor’s Choice for ultraportable gaming laptops, and from a value and convenience perspective, we recommend it over the Asus ROG Flow Z13.

About the Asus ROG Flow Z13

  • Processor: Intel Core i7-12700H
  • Graphics: Nvidia RTX 3050 (discrete), Intel Iris Xe (integrated)
  • Memory: 16GB LPDDR5
  • Storage: 512GB PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSD
  • Display: WUXGA (1920 x 1200) 16:10 120HZ IPS touch screen with stylus support, 473 max nits (tested)
  • Ports: 1 x Thunderbolt 4 / USB-C, 1 x USB-A 2.0, 1 x 3.5mm headset jack, 1 x microSD
  • Battery: 56WHrs, 100W AC adapter
  • Dimensions: 11.89 x 8.03 x 0.47 inches
  • Weight: 2.60 pounds
  • Accessories: RGB backlit folio-style keyboard with trackpad

The Asus ROG Flow Z13 is available in a few different configurations as well. Along with the CPU above, this gaming tablet can be configured wither either a 12th-gen Intel Core i7-12900H or Core i5-12500H. The Core i9 version comes with an RTX 3050 Ti, up to 16GB of RAM, and 1TB of storage space. The core i5 version packs the same hardware, except there is no discrete graphics, just integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics.

Asus ROG Flow Z13 (GZ301ZC-PS73) Review back

Asus ROG Flow Z13 Review: Design

Asus has become a champion of unique gaming rigs over the last couple of years. In 2021, they released the innovative Asus ROG Flow X13, a 2-in-1 gaming tablet with an optional RTX 3080 external GPU. For 2022, Asus went a little higher with a tablet form factor and created, well, an actual gaming tablet and added a detachable folio keyboard.

Apart from the portable form factor, the peek-a-boo window on the back of the tablet is a lovely touch. Not only does it allow you to see a small portion of the circuits that power the ROG Flow Z13 – in all its gaming glory – but the RGB lighting casts a beautiful, rotating rainbow of colors against the tiny electronic components.

Other than the detachable folio keyboard, that’s the only spot on the Asus GZ301ZC-PS73 that has RGB lighting, which is sure to sit well with a lot of minimalists. As mentioned above, the laptop comes with a kickstand that can help keep the laptop facing upward. It has strong hinges and you don’t have to worry if the slightest nudge would fold the stand and cause the tablet to fall on its back. There’s a micro-SD slot hidden just below the kickstand as well.

Despite the small form factor, the Asus ROG Flow X13 manages to pack a full-size USB port, a 3.5mm headphone jack, a Type-C port for charging and data transfer as well as the ROG XG Mobile interface. The tablet also comes with stereo speakers on either side and supports Dolby Atmos. The speakers provide an immersive entertainment experience when watching movies and TV shows. The power button has an integrated fingerprint scanner and supports Windows Hello sign-in.

Overall, the unique design of the ROG Flow Z13 is simply lovable. This laptop/tablet PC is sleek, compact, portable, and packs powerful internals.

Asus ROG Flow Z13 (GZ301ZC-PS73) Review screens

Asus ROG Flow Z13 Review: Performance

The Asus ROG Flow Z13 is a nicely-designed laptop that can be used for both work and play. Our review unit comes with a 12th generation Intel Core i7-12700H processor paired with 16GB of lpddr5 RAM and 512GB of PCIe Gen 4 SSD. This chipset is capable of multitasking without any lags. Of course, it isn’t the highest variant in Intel’s ‘Alder Lake’ architecture, there is the Core i9-12900H at the very top, but you can expect solid performance too. The storage is expandable through another M.2 2230 SSD slot that’s located behind the kickstand.

The display on the Asus GZ301ZC-PS73 model is an FHD+ (1920 x 1200) with a 120Hz refresh rate, this resolution is much better for gaming as compared to the Quad HD+ display on the Core i9-powered model of the Asus ROG Flow Z13. Higher refresh rates are anytime better than higher resolution, and all models come with a Dolby Visio display with a 16:10 aspect ratio. The screens have good brightness levels even for outdoor conditions and the touch response is also responsive.

The Asus ROG Flow Z13, like all tablets, comes with cameras on the front and rear. The front-facing 720p camera is ideal for video calls, while the rear 8MP camera is mostly useful for scanning documents. With high-res cameras on smartphones, nobody is going to click pictures with a tablet PC.

As a gaming rig, the Asus ROG Flow Z13 comes with Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 graphics card with 4GB VRAM. This is the base card in the Nvidia 30 series and is capable of playing most triple-A games a2t Full HD resolution at high settings. You can play games like Apex Legends and Battlefield 2042 at stable frame rates of between 45 and 55 frames per second, and the 120Hz refresh rate makes the gaming experience better.

Asus gives you the option to extend the Asus ROG Flow Z13’s gaming guts using the XG Mobile external GPU unit. Sold as a separate accessory, it has a dedicated RTX graphics card that can significantly improve performance and quality. Should you invest in an external graphics card unit, this machine is compatible with other Asus ROG products with an XG mobile interface like the ROG Flow 13.

Thermal management is decent, thanks to top exhaust vents that dissipate heat well during gaming. The fans tend to spin faster and louder as you continue to play games at high settings and leave the system plugged into a power source. We would recommend that you keep the laptop plugged in to get the full capabilities during play. Even if the chassis does heap up at the back a little bit, there’s no cause for alarm as it cools down if you leave the system with the stand propped open. That’s pretty normal for gaming laptops and not a deal breaker.

Asus ROG Flow Z13 (GZ301ZC-PS73) Review front

Battery Life

The battery life on the Asus ROG Flow Z13 is similar to any portable gaming laptop. When playing games on battery, the laptop manages to provide just over an hour with graphics set at high. If you lower the resolution and increase the quality to very high, the battery life marginally improves.

This laptop is more of a productivity and gaming laptop packed into one. Thus, anyone who is traveling and wants to get some work done would get close to 5 hours of usage time. If you reduce the brightness, things get much better. You can also improve the battery life by turning off the MUX Switch through the Asus Armoury app.  

Asus ROG Flow Z13 (GZ301ZC-PS73) Review | Verdict

The Asus ROG Flow Z13 (GZ301ZC-PS73) is quite a unique product, a capable app-purpose computer in a compact 13-inch tablet form factor. In simple terms, think of it as a thicker, heavier, and more powerful Microsoft Surface Pro, and given the popularity of Asus’ ROG line, I can see it appealing to a wider segment of enthusiast gamers and creatives.

I’ve never been a major fan of tablet-like computers as I prefer the superior ergonomics and versatility of 2-in-1 convertibles or the simplicity of a clamshell design, but in this case, I can nonetheless say the Flow Z13 is a winner in at least two major areas: better cooling and a more comfortable daily-use experience.

In addition to the incredible design, it packs more powerful hardware than any other 13-inch tablet laptop on the market in such a compact format. It’s a more competent multi-purpose computer than a fully specced Dell XPS 15 or many mid-tier 14-inch laptops. However, when it comes to gaming, the RTX 3050 and the compact form factor hold it back from being the best.

If you opt for the ROG XG Mobile RTX 3080 combo, gaming performance improves but it becomes a tough sell overall when it comes to pure performance. The final cost for the combo goes up and performance suffers due to the extreme form factor and constrained engineering. Then there’s the question of how practical it would be to lug the tablet and the graphics dock around. Perhaps, the only feasible approach would be to leave the dock behind and rely on the secondary RTX 3050 GPU on the move.

Still, we have concerns over the long-term reliability of certain aspects of the ROG XG Mobile interface. While it’s hard to resist the performance boost of the XG Mobile eGPU, the combination is too expensive, as much as $1,000 more than comparable gaming laptops. If you put the overall cost aside, it’s a capable setup, but we still have a tough time recommending this tablet as a standalone gaming solution or justifying the additional money you’ll spend on the eGPU.

Should you buy the Asus ROG Flow Z13?

If you want a mix of work and play in a portable laptop, the Asus ROG Flow Z13 offers a perfect balance; the 12th generation, Intel Core i7 CPU gives you enough power for work, while the RTX 3050 can offer a Full HD gaming experience at high settings.

However, if gaming is all you need, the chipset used here is capable of handling most heavy tasks and the RTX 3050 is a good graphic card for Full HD gaming at high settings. However, to get a better gaming experience, you’ll need to spend more for the ROG XG Mobile external GPU. In addition to the latter being expensive, it’s also heavy and will be an added weight to your luggage.

Similarly, if you’re inclined to play games on a larger screen, then the Asus ROG Flow Z13 is not for you. Luckily, there are many more products within the ROG portfolio than can be had for around the same price. The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 is one such great device, it remains our Editor’s Choice for ultraportable gaming laptops.

Last update on 2024-07-15 at 23:57 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Asus ROG Flow Z13 (GZ301ZC-PS73) Review
Asus ROG Flow Z13 (GZ301ZC-PS73) Review
Digital Weekly