Asus unveiled its ROG Flow Z13 2-in-1 gaming laptop at CES 2022. A successor to 2021's ROG Flow X13, the Z13 is a fresh spin on the concept of a hybrid gaming laptop/tablet with an external GPU enclosure for extra gaming muscle.
It's a neat idea, and in our Asus ROG Flow X13 review we praised that device for its lightweight design and crisp display, even if its gaming performance was a little underwhelming when not plugged into the (optional) eGPU enclosure.
As for the ROG Flow Z13, the updated model is due to ship in 2022 with Windows 11. A revamped design and beefier internal components could help the Flow Z13 outshine its predecessor and earn a spot in our list of the best 2-in-1 laptops you can buy. Here's everything we know so far about the Asus ROG Flow Z13.
Asus ROG Flow Z13 price and release date
Asus has yet to confirm pricing or an exact release date for the Asus ROG Flow Z13, noting only that it's due out in the first half of 2022.
The Flow Z13 probably won't be cheap, either. Last year's ROG Flow X13 had a starting price of $1,499, but that price quickly climbed up to around $3,000 if you paid for the (optional) external GPU enclosure with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 30-series card in it.
While we don't know how pricey the Z13 will be, it will likely cost at least as much as its predecessor — so expect to pay between $1,500 to $3k.
Asus ROG Flow Z13 design
Like the X13, the Asus ROG Flow Z13 offers a striking design that lets it function as either a laptop or a tablet. You can detach the screen from the keyboard, and since it has a kickstand on the back that can open up to 170 degrees, you can try pairing a gamepad to it and setting the screen up on a table for some Nintendo Switch-esque gaming on the go.
On the back of the Z13 you'll find a little window that gives you a peek at the laptop's mainboard, which is a nice touch that Asus also claims aids performance. The decision decision leaves more space for placing larger components on either side of the Z13's mainboard.
Asus ROG Flow Z13 display
The ROG Flow Z13's 13.4-inch 16:10 IPS touchscreen can be configured as either a FHD (1920 x 1200 pixels) 120Hz display or a 4K (3,840 x 2,400 pixels) 60Hz display.
We liked the crisp, vibrant quality of the FHD 120Hz display in the model of last year's ROG Flow X13 we reviewed, and we're excited to see what a difference a 4K display makes when gaming on the Flow Z13.
Asus ROG Flow Z13 performance
In terms of performance, the ROG Flow Z13 looks to be pretty similar to last year's model. Like the X13, the Z13 will be available with 16GB of RAM and up to a 1TB SSD for storage. You can buy models with up to an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti laptop GPU onboard, though you can get some more graphical muscle by plugging it into the (optional) XG Mobile external GPU enclosure with up to an RTX 3080 inside.
However, unlike last year's model, the ROG Flow Z13 will be configurable with the latest Intel 12th Gen CPUs, up to a Core i9-12900H. That's a decent upgrade over the AMD Ryzen 9 5000-series CPU powering the Asus ROG Flow X13 we reviewed last year, and we're excited to get a new Flow Z13 in for testing so we can see how much of a difference this CPU upgrade makes while gaming.
Asus ROG Flow Z13 ports
The Asus ROG Flow Z13 looks to offer a pretty decent port array for a thin-and-light gaming laptop/tablet. It sports a USB-A port, 2 USB-C ports (one with support for Thunderbolt 4), a headphone/mic jack, a microSD card reader and a proprietary port for plugging in the external ROG XG Mobile GPU enclosure.
That's more ports than were available on last year's X13, which is nice to see. It also appears as though Asus has moved the power button on the edge of the laptop further away from the ports than it was on the X13, which would be great since it was too easy to accidentally hit the power button while plugging accessories into the X13's ports.
Asus ROG Flow Z13 battery life
Asus hasn't made any official claims yet about how long the Flow Z13's 56WHr battery will last when gaming on battery, but we don't have high hopes.
In our review of last year's Flow X13 we criticized its 62WHr battery for lasting less than two hours (1:19, according to our lab testing) when playing demanding 3D video games. That's not terrible, but it's not ideal either, and it curtailed the Flow's viability as a mobile gaming device.
While we're hopeful the new Flow Z13 will be more battery-efficient than its predecessor, we won't be able to say for sure until we get one in for testing.
Asus ROG Flow Z13 outlook
When Asus unveiled its ROG Flow X13 gaming laptop/tablet hybrid at CES 2021, we called it the best 2-in-1 laptop of the show. This year the company announced a successor at CES 2022, the ROG Flow Z13, and once again we honored it as the best 2-in-1 in our CES 2022 Awards. The reason is simple: the Flow Z13 delivers the promise of gaming laptop power in a thin, light and versatile design.
Of course, the X13 was far from a perfect device. The ports were inconvenient to access, and the X13's poor battery efficiency and lackluster gaming performance without the support of an external GPU hampered its appeal as a portable gaming machine. We're eager to check out one of the new ROG Flow Z13 devices to see whether the revamped design and upgraded internals address these weaknesses; stay tuned for our full review!