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ASUS ROG Flow Z13 & XG Mobile RTX 3080 Review

Rating: 7.0.

ASUS’ ROG Flow Z13 is a unique form factor that blurs the lines between an ultraportable laptop and a gaming-capable tablet. But don’t let that ‘tablet’ nametag put you off as this device sports some serious horsepower. With a 14-core Intel Core i9-12900H processor under the hood, alongside 16GB of high-speed LPDDR5 memory, and a RTX 3050 Ti Laptop GPU, horsepower is clearly evident.

Oh, and if you want some proper gaming muscle, connector capability for the ASUS ROG XG Mobile RTX 3080 Laptop eGPU solution is present. There are some pretty cool design features and performance options on show in this £1900 device.

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00:00 Start
01:05 ROG Flow Z13 details
03:00 The eGPU – 16GB RTX 3080
03:54 Laptop touchscreen
04:15 Cameras and Fingerprint sensor
04:27 Connectivity
05:04 The charger and pricing
05:52 Testing
07:16 Test findings
08:34 Noise output sound tests
09:07 SSD performance
09:24 Battery Life
09:41 Performance results
11:50 Gaming performance results
13:00 Luke’s Thoughts on the laptop
15:30 Closing Conclusions

If we start off with the design of ASUS' ROG Flow Z13, the overall form factor is more resemblant of a high-end tablet than a gaming laptop – it certainly blurs the lines between the two. You get a roughly 1.1kg, 12mm-thin chassis that houses the hardware and features a 170-degree integrated kickstand. Cooling holes on the top and back allow for venting of the Vapor Chamber cooling system that is deployed alongside Liquid Metal TIM.

The tablet feels good in one’s hand, but can function as a competent laptop-type device with that kickstand and the magnetic detachable backlit keyboard and trackpad solution. That detachable peripheral device also doubles up as a useful screen cover. Plus, it features the actually good keys alongside a reasonable-but-small trackpad.

The overall construction is high-quality, the unit feels solid, and it didn’t suffer attack by grubby fingerprints either. Though the soft textured keyboard does pick up dust very easily.

Primary to the under-the-hood hardware is the new Intel Core i9-12900H Alder Lake processor. This chip features 6 performance cores and 8 efficient cores for 20 threads total. It can Turbo as high as 5.0GHz with the 35-115W rated power range.

Memory comes in the form of 16GB of LPDDR5 clocked at 5200MHz. That’s good speed, but I would rather see 32GB for this calibre of device. Our unit ships with a 1TB PCIe Gen 4×4 NVMe SSD.

And for graphics we get an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti Laptop with the Mux switch alongside the Alder Lake iGPU. That Nvidia dGPU runs somewhere in the 35-40W range under normal performance modes.

If an RTX 3050 Ti dGPU is a bit modest for some of your use cases, ASUS has you covered. Like we saw from the ROG Flow X13 that we reviewed back in early 2021, ASUS deploys its proprietary ROG XG Mobile connector interface. This is essentially a PCIe x8 link alongside a USB-C connector. ASUS uses this as an alternative to Thunderbolt and its sometimes-limiting x4 lane bandwidth.

We have the 16GB RTX 3080 Laptop version of the ROG XG Mobile GC31 eGPU for testing. This unit sports a 280W power supply that also feeds power to the laptop when connected.

Another benefit is the addition of connection ports such as Gigabit Ethernet, 5Gbps USB Type-A, HDMI 2.0b, DP 1.4, and an SD card reader.

If we go back to focussing on the ROG Flow Z13 itself, the 13.4-inch IPS-level display is a 16:10 form factor with touch capability and Adaptive Sync supported. We got the 1920×1200, 120Hz, 100% sRGB option which I think is a smart solution for this type of device.

You get a rear 8MP camera that is good for tablet duties and a 720p webcam that does not support Windows Hello. But the power button doubles up as a fingerprint reader.

Connectivity is a single Thunderbolt 4 port that can do 100W charging, a micro-SD card reader, a 3.5mm combo audio jack, a 10Gbps USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port that supports power delivery and DisplayPort and doubles up for the ROG XG Mobile Interface.

Oh, and the single Type-A port is ancient USB 2.0 spec which is an absolutely ridiculous decision by ASUS that I am genuinely furious about! You also get WiFi 6E 2×2 and Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity.

Charging of the 56Whr battery is done by an included 100W USB-C adapter. This is excellent to see the USB-C charging ecosystem being used well.

Pricing for the ASUS ROG Flow Z13 in its Core i9-12900H and RTX 3050 Ti form is around £1900 from OverclockersUK. With the RTX 3080 eGPU, that bumps up to £3K.

This is around £700 more expensive that the ROG Flow X13 AMD version that is perhaps the most logical competitor (as the Surface Pro uses significantly lesser hardware). That’s a hefty price difference!

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