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ASUS ROG Move Z13 evaluation: Practicality may be overrated

The Floor Professional’s design has been with us for nearly a decade, so it is type of a marvel that in all that point, nobody has actually ever tried to make a removable 2-in-1 gaming machine. Just about in all places you look, there is a hybrid model of each sort of gadget — from tablets to smartphones — except for gaming PCs. And whereas ASUS teased us with the ROG Mothership again in 2019, now the corporate has lastly returned to rework that idea into an precise retail machine: the ROG Move Z13.

Design and show

For these aware of Microsoft’s detachables, when you take one take a look at the Move Z13 (which begins at $1,800) you will instantly see why I discussed the Floor Professional line, as a result of ASUS has principally taken that blueprint and made all of it gamery. You get a brilliant 13.4-inch full HD display screen with a 120Hz refresh fee, a useful kickstand in again, and a magnetic strip for hooking up a detachable keyboard cowl. That cowl additionally feels just like a Floor, proper right down to the bounciness of the keyboard and its barely too-small touchpad. This implies any hardcore RTS or FPS players will certainly need to preserve an exterior keyboard round. ASUS even hid a microSD card slot and detachable M.2 cowl behind the kickstand, similar to the Floor Professional. You’ll additionally discover an 8-MP digicam round again, although its picture high quality leaves lots to be desired (the cam in entrance is ok although). Elsewhere, we’ve got one USB-C port with Thunderbolt 4, a USB A port and a few different ports hidden beneath a protecting seal. However extra on these later.

Professionals

  • Vivid 120Hz display screen
  • USB-C port with Thunderbolt 4
  • Distinctive design
  • Good efficiency for the dimensions
  • simply accessible M.2 SSD slot

Cons

  • Impractical
  • Dear
  • Prime-heavy
  • lackluster rear digicam picture high quality
Similar to a Surface Pro, the Asus ROG Flow Z13 features a built-in kickstand and a detachable keyboard.

Sam Rutherford/Engadget

That mentioned, whereas its total design is lots like a Floor, the Z13 offers off a really totally different vibe. ASUS’ over-the-top cyberpunk aesthetic mixed with a splash of purple and black accents may be a bit a lot for some. However I kinda adore it, particularly that window with RGB lighting in again. In actual fact, I am gonna exit on a limb and say we want extra see-through devices usually.

Specs and efficiency

On the within, we acquired some comparatively beefy elements, notably for a system this dimension. We’re speaking an Intel Core i9-12900H CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 1TB M.2 SSD, and an RTX 3050TI. In regular use searching the net or social media, the Z13 is somewhat quiet, although that adjustments while you launch a recreation. Fan noise is noticeable, however doesn’t develop into an actual distraction. And whereas the again of the Z13 does get heat, ASUS’ pill design and vapor chamber cooling system helps preserve throttling to a minimal.

One of the Asus ROG Flow Z13's most eye-catching features is a window with RGB lighting showing the system's motherboard.

Sam Rutherford/Engadget

Now usually, pairing an i9 chip with a 3050 Ti doesn’t make a variety of sense. In most video games, the Z13 goes to be bottlenecked by its GPU, which makes a high-end CPU appear to be overkill. In benchmarks, I noticed body charges of 37 fps in Forza Horizon 5 on extremely settings, 64 fps in Shadow of the Tomb Raider on highest and 40 fps in Metro Exodus on excessive. So first rate, however not precisely mind-blowing.

That is the place these hidden ports are available. When you take away the protecting seal, you possibly can connect ASUS’ non-compulsory (and costly) $1,400 XG Cell graphics dock, which has much more ports (HDMI 2.1, DisplayPort 1.4, Ethernet, 4 USB 3.2 Sort-A ports and an SD card reader), together with an RTX 3080 graphics card. And after I hooked every little thing up, gaming efficiency principally doubled, with body charges in Forza Horizon 5 leaping as much as 87 fps on the identical settings, with related outcomes for different titles (134 fps in Shadow of the Tomb Raider and 95 fps in Metro Exodus).

For people who want even better performance from the ROG Flow Z13, Asus made the XG Mobile external graphics dock.

Sam Rutherford/Engadget

So now, we’re a transportable gaming pill that has the type of efficiency you’d usually solely get from a giant 15 or 17-inch pocket book. And since the dock is removable, you’ve gotten the choice to go away it behind when you’re not gonna be gaming. It even has its personal energy cable, permitting it to ship juice to the Z13 when linked. So theoretically, when you throw each of those in your bag, you possibly can go away ASUS’ fundamental charging brick at dwelling. And while you’re not utilizing the dock, beneath that seal subsequent to ASUS’ proprietary XG port, there is a USB-C 3.2 connection that helps video out with G-sync.

Nevertheless, there are a selection of quirks in regards to the XG dock. First, you possibly can’t simply disconnect it at will. Earlier than you pull the plug, you might want to manually disable it from the icon within the Home windows system tray, which takes greater than a second. You can also’t decide what GPU goes inside, it’s both an RTX 3080 or nothing. Meaning if you wish to improve sooner or later, you’re gonna have to purchase an entire new dock, assuming ASUS even makes a second era. And due to that proprietary port, the XG Dock is just appropriate with this method and the ROG Flow X13, which is principally the laptop computer model of Z13.

Battery life

on the Asus ROG Flow Z13, there's a removable seal that hides an extra USB-C port and the system's proprietary XG port.

Sam Rutherford/Engadget

One of many greatest downsides of the Z13’s pill design is just not having a variety of room for a large battery. In our video rundown check, the system’s 56 Whr energy pack lasted simply 5 hours and 38 minutes. That’s 4 hours shorter than the Zephyrus G14 (9:45) and almost two and half hours lower than the Alienware X14. Meaning you’ll in all probability have to carry ASUS’ energy brick everytime you go away the home, particularly when you plan on precise gaming. And in the true world, even with probably the most informal workloads, I discovered the Z13 was usually gasping for power properly earlier than the tip of the day. On the plus facet, the Z13 makes use of USB-C Energy Supply, so no less than the charger can prime up different devices too.

Wrap up

The right side of the Asus ROG Flow Z13 features a single USB Type-A port and a 3.5mm audio jack.

Sam Rutherford/Engadget

In terms of summing up a product, I’m normally not this conflicted. Do not get me improper, I really like the thought, I really like the way in which it seems, and I really like with the ability to tack on a beefy GPU after I need additional efficiency. I additionally love with the ability to flip it open, pair a controller and simply get to gaming – no want to fret a couple of keyboard. There actually is not anything just like the Z13. The issue is that the entire equipment is not very sensible, and it is not an awesome worth both.

Whenever you’re utilizing it as a laptop computer – like you realize, in your lap – as a result of all of its guts are stuffed inside what is basically a pill chassis, it is actually top-heavy. Additionally, its battery life is not superb, lasting no less than two to 3 hours shorter than each different gaming laptop computer we have examined lately. And whereas it’s comparatively skinny, when you concentrate on all of the equipment you would possibly need to carry round with it, the Z13 doesn’t actually allow you to pack that a lot lighter when in comparison with a rival 14 or 15-inch laptop computer.

The Asus ROG Flow Z13 comes with a USB-C power adapter, though it can also charge using the optional XG Mobile graphics dock.

Sam Rutherford/Engadget

After which there’s its value. The Z13 begins at $1,800, or round $1,900 for one just like our evaluation unit with a 3050TI GPU, which is as excessive as you possibly can spec it. And if you’d like the XG cell graphics dock your all-in value climbs properly above $3,000.

A equally geared up conventional gaming laptop computer, like an Alienware X14 goes for about $200 much less. In the meantime, ASUS’ personal G14 Zephyrus may be had for as little as $1,450, and that is with a barely extra highly effective RTX 3060. So when you simply need to have the ability to recreation on the go, it can save you a bunch of cash just by getting one thing much less unique. And when you want some additional efficiency every now and then, you are in all probability higher off getting a daily exterior GPU enclosure that you may improve your self down the road as a substitute of ASUS’ proprietary dock.

The Asus ROG Flow Z13's unique design means you can use it as a tablet, even while gaming.

Sam Rutherford/Engadget

Now all this does not imply you should not get one. However you must know what you are moving into first. The Move Z13 is a wildly attention-grabbing system, and for individuals searching for a transportable and adaptable machine with large time efficiency, I am glad that ASUS lastly made a gaming pill/removable 2-in-1 into an actual machine in any case these years. And whereas its excessive value will make the Z13 an extremely arduous promote for most individuals, I nonetheless assume it’s impractically cool.

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