Each time I get one of these strange little computers from Asus, my senses are constantly overwhelmed. One of the computers featured an animated, exploding head on its lid. One turned into a DJ-deck. One was covered in dogs .
This latest release, the ROG Flow Z13ACRNM, might be the most bizarre. It has no rhyme or theme. It is chaos from top to bottom. That’s fine, you know. It’s 2023. It’s fair enough.
ROG and ACRONYM have collaborated on the Flow Z13, an apparel brand that sells pieces such as this $1800…dress. I think. It’s a 13.4 inch gaming tablet with a kickstand, detachable keyboard and gaming Surface Pro.
Our Core i9 13900H/RTX4070/16GB RAM/1TB SATA/2560x 1600 test unit costs $2,499.99 and targets a very niche audience: on-the-go gamers who have deep pockets and a greater desire to project an unorthodox aesthetic. This is a ridiculous amount of money for most people. You can get a Surface Pro9 for $500 less if you want a convertible tablet. A Zephyrus that is comparable in price and features will also work. The Z13 is able to serve its niche just as well as a laptop.8Verge Score
Asus ROG-Flow Z13
- It’s a tablet with great frame rates.
- Funky, eye-catching design
- Convertible compact chassis
- High-resolution screen and stylus support
- I’m not sure what’s happening with the keyboard.
- Expect a short battery life.
- It’s not going to be cheap
These are the words that Asus uses to summarize its aesthetic in its press materials:
- “A new definition of mobile computing”
- “Beautifully refined, yet raw”
- “Truly unique machine”
- “A hands-free, dream machine”
- “A striking and functional work of art.”
It is avant-garde, that’s certain. Every time I look at it, I see something new. The bottom is covered with logos and typography. They’re not just stickers, they’re laser-etched in the metal. The leather cover is dark in color and has a unique shape. I don’t know much about any of these. I would love to know if you take ayahuasca regularly and are aware of their deeper spiritual meaning.
Rubber pads are dotted around the rear. Although they look funny, they will keep your device in place when you try to lay it on a table. The corners are equipped with “drop-resistant, crashworthy bumpers”. You can also attach a strap to the corners to allow you to carry the bag over your shoulder like an umbrella. Let’s just say that I am very grateful this wasn’t available while I was in college. I would have walked around campus with this thing hanging around my neck like a fanny bag. I would have been bullied by the cool kids, and they were right.
This 13-inch tablet has an RTX4070 and an H-Series core i9 inside. This is a very unusual design — these are the chips you would expect to find in larger gaming rigs. The keyboard can be detached, but the kickstand cannot. The kickstand can be used in both horizontal and vertical orientations. This feature is something Asus long believed people need. A 16:10 Windows tablet with vertical orientation is not something I use. But, more power to you.
Surface Pro gaming deal
The Z13 isn’t portable, as tablets go. It’s heavy at 2.91 pounds and thin at 0.61 inches, so it’s not an iPad and certainly not something I would want to take along for an hour-long presentation. If I had to choose between this item and a Titan GT77, this would be the one I would choose. This was perfect for cafe work and couching.
Another thing to mention is the display. This model has a 165Hz refresh speed and 2560x 1600 resolution. It’s quite vibrant. There were many color options available to suit different game types. I found them to be more enjoyable. Although the screen measures 13.4 inches, it is not large enough to play most games. I also had to look at some windows, but the QHD+ resolution provides sharp details.
Asus ROG Flow Z13 Acronym specs (as reviewed)
- ROG Nebula touch display, 13.4-inch, QHD+ 16:10 (2560 x 1600), 165Hz
- 13th Gen Intel Core i9-13900H processor 2.6GHz (24M cache, up to 5.4 GHz), 14 cores with 6P or 8E
- Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 laptop GPU, 8GB DDR6, ROG Boost 1620MHz at 65W (1620MHz Boost Clock + 50MHz OC, 50W+15W Dynamic Boost)
- 16GB*2 LPDDR5 board (maximum 32GB)
- 1TB SSD storage
- 13MP camera, 5MP IR camera
- Wi-Fi 6E
- 56Whr battery
- 130W PD adapter
You know the Z13. It’s a 13.4 inch tablet. Keeping that in mind, frame rates were acceptable.
It was able to run demanding titles at native QHD resolution. I was able to see an average speed of 232fps with CS:GO and 55fps with Red Dead Redemption II when both titles were at their maximum settings. These are better results than what we saw last year from Zephyrus G14, which was a fully-fledged gaming laptop and not one of these tablet devices. These laptops are not as good as premium gaming laptops. Asus had to reduce the power of the (it has 65W of power — it can run that low!) RTX 4070 in order to fit it into the chassis. It’s like cramming a whole college dorm into a car trunk. You did it. But at what cost?
But I digress. It was amazing how the device kept its temperature down throughout my time with it. As I played, I didn’t notice any temperature spikes above 70° Celsius. This form factor is also great because it doesn’t transfer heat to your keyboard or palm rests, so you don’t have to worry about the temperature.
People can connect their device to the XG Mobile for an additional fee. This external GPU should provide significantly higher frame rates. These are currently available for about $1,000.
The Z13 also supports Nvidia Advanced Optimus. It basically operates your MUX switch automatically. When you are gaming, it turns the integrated GPU off and then turns it on again (and the discrete GPU off) after you finish gaming. This saves you the trouble of having to go through your settings manually. Nice! Fun! It’s so much fun!Ports include an audio jack, a Thunderbolt 4 and a USB Type-A Type-C. A microSD card reader is also available.
You might have expected this device to have a long battery life. Four and a quarter hours of continuous work usage was my average. This included browsing around 20 Chrome tabs, streaming Spotify, and other such activities. I was able to get 48 minutes of Red Dead Redemption IIplay on one charge, which was better than I expected. According to Asus, the 130W adapter that comes with the device can charge it up to 50% in just 30 minutes.
Regular readers might expect me to rant about how great battery life should be the standard expectation for portable machines. But honestly, that’s not what I have in my system. This isn’t a machine that has high frame rates or excellent battery life. People are buying it because it looks so good.
One thing is enough for me to be unhappy about
This review was written by me as an open-minded, non-curmudgeon. I don’t think you will find anything that I dislike. The keyboard is the only thing that I can’t stand. It’s just too much.
The keys are what Asus calls “Acronym’s own custom alphabet”. Acronym has its own alphabet, which I am happy about. It’s not the one I need to use for work, however.
When it comes to words, I am a competent touch typist. It becomes a hunt for the right number, when I have to type it on the Z13. The real numbers are not on the Z13’s keys. But they are hidden in a heap of symbols, colors, and other zany doodads so my eyes can’t find them easily. Others are not clearly defined. The key that lowers brightness is labeled as “DARK” with a faint grid. Acronym, I get what you mean, but I want the regular brightness icon. The brightness icon can be redesigned. Simply give me the brightness icon.
It appears to have fallen from outer space.
While wacky designs can be a great thing, they can become too much of an inconvenience for the device’s everyday functions. Laptops that are quirky are the first laptops. Zephyrus G14 Acronym, which I adored upon its release, labeled its keyboard keys using a storybook-esque font, making them easy to read, not harder. The keycaps were decorated with other ornaments but these were clearly visible and distinct from the actual keys’ labels.
This device has a unique design that is eye-catching and you won’t see it anywhere else. Products that are completely themselves, be they movies, clothing, or consumer technology, I love. The fundamentals must not be overlooked. As companies continue to innovate, I hope they remember this.