The First True Gaming Pill

The First True Gaming Pill

Whereas gaming laptops are nothing new, there’s a theme among the many prime performers: they’re nonetheless all cumbersome and heavy. Asus is one in all few firms attempting to alter that, with experimental units like 2021’s ROG Stream X13 and now, the tablet-form ROG Stream Z13.

The concept is interesting – it’s a 2-in-1 not dissimilar in design to Microsoft’s Floor Professional line, however with a devoted GPU and different top-end specs that put it consistent with full-on gaming laptops.

There’s additionally compatibility with the corporate’s XG Cell eGPU to spice issues up, which has the potential to show the Stream Z13 right into a desktop gaming powerhouse – nevertheless it all comes at a really excessive premium in comparison with competing gaming laptops.

Has Asus completed sufficient to tempt customers from conventional gaming laptops?

Design & Construct

Moveable 2-in-1 design
Lighter than a standard gaming laptop computer
Rear-facing consumption vents hold it cool

The Asus ROG Stream Z13 is, merely put, a marvel of engineering. The two-in-1 pill barely measures any bigger than Microsoft’s Floor Professional 8, but manages to pack in sufficient tech to qualify as a fully-fledged gaming laptop computer with a 12th-gen Intel CPU and an Nvidia GPU at its coronary heart.

Take one take a look at the Stream Z13 and it’s clear that portability was an enormous focus for Asus. Regardless of the laptop-level tech on supply from the convertible, it measures in at 1.18kg and 11.9mm thick – making it a lot simpler to hold round than a standard gaming laptop computer, and it’s the best measurement to slide into small rucksacks too.

For reference, the Alienware M15 R5 measures in at 2.5kg and 23mm thick.

It’s value noting that whereas the Stream Z13 is light-weight and moveable in comparison with gaming laptops, it’s a lot bigger and heavier than normal tablets just like the 680g iPad Professional, making it laborious to make use of as an precise pill. You’ll possible be utilizing the Stream Z13 on a desk (and certain plugged in) nearly all of the time.

The entrance of the Stream Z13 seems to be pretty normal with small, however nonetheless noticeable bezels, that encompass the 13.4in panel nevertheless it greater than makes up for it on the rear. Flip the 2-in-1 over and also you’ll discover the signature Asus ROG branding, full with stylized vents and angular patterns that make it clear it’s a gaming gadget.

If that wasn’t apparent sufficient, then perhaps the small RGB-emblazoned window that provides you a glance into the internals of the pill may give it away. Although solely a small design characteristic, it’s one which players – together with this author – actually respect.

You’ll additionally discover a small 8Mp digicam on the rear of the pill, a bonus in comparison with normal gaming laptops, accompanied by a 720p digicam on the entrance. These aren’t industry-leading cameras by any means, however they’ll suffice for a fast snap and a video name.

Air flow is extremely vital on a gaming gadget the place temperatures can rise in a short time. It’s a specific ache level for gaming laptop computer customers with consumption followers often on the underside limiting the place the laptop computer can be utilized.

The two-in-1 design of the Stream Z13 means the consumption vents are on the rear quite than the underside, permitting you to apply it to a mattress with out overheating points whereas vents on the highest expel warmth with out you or your palms getting sizzling. That interprets to higher gaming efficiency, however extra on that later.

Keyboard, Trackpad & Ports

Nice keyboard expertise with nice journey and backlit keys
Responsive trackpad, however a bit small
Fewer ports than a standard gaming laptop computer

The light-weight keyboard gives a surprisingly high-end typing expertise with nice journey, a satisfying click on and even backlit keys. It’s not fairly mechanical keyboard ranges, however for a keyboard that skinny, it’s nice to see. That pattern continues with the trackpad that, whereas a bit on the small facet in comparison with some laptops, felt extraordinarily responsive in use.

The two-in-1 nature of the Stream Z13 means you possibly can detach the keyboard everytime you like, opting as an alternative for a real pill type issue. It’s nice for gaming with a controller, particularly should you’re brief on desk area, with the 160-degree kickstand offering nice angles.

There are downsides to the 2-in-1 type issue although. As an example, the kickstand design means it gained’t keep nonetheless when sat in your lap, and there’s a scarcity of ports in comparison with the laptop computer competitors too.

You’ll discover a single USB-C Thunderbolt Four port on the left facet, accompanied by Asus’ proprietary port for its XG Cell eGPU (extra on that in a bit), in addition to a USB-A port and a headphone jack on the proper. There’s additionally a microSD card slot beneath the kickstand if you wish to add any further storage.

The ability button, housed on the proper, doubles up as a fingerprint reader. It’s not a brand new idea, accessible on smartphones, tablets and laptops for a while, nevertheless it works in addition to you’d anticipate, studying your fingerprint for authentication as you flip it on. It really works the primary time more often than not, however you do should be aware about finger placement.

Display & Audio system

Phenomenal Mini-LED show
Among the many brightest shows round
Audio system are fantastic for YouTube movies, however headphones are advisable

On the coronary heart of the ROG Stream Z13 is the 13.4in Mini-LED show with full touchscreen assist – to be anticipated from a pill, in spite of everything. The 16:10 facet ratio could look a bit bit odd for a pill when rivals are often a lot squarer in form, however the wider facet ratio does lend itself properly to gaming and leisure.

Importantly, the Stream Z13 is out there in two flavours of Mini-LED show; [email protected] and [email protected], with the previous supplied for overview. When you could also be tempted to go for the 4K mannequin, I’d argue that at simply 13.4in, the Full HD decision is sharp sufficient for an fulfilling gaming expertise, and the buttery-smooth 120Hz refresh fee is essential for players.

I’d solely actually suggest the high-res mannequin to video editors and content material creators that work in 4K video.

Decision and refresh fee apart, the Stream Z13 show is beautiful with vibrant color, loads of element and a stage of brightness that places most rivals to disgrace at a formidable 483nits in assessments. The 99% sRGB and 76% AdobeRGB color gamut could put some colour-correcting creatives off, nevertheless it’s nice for gaming and of higher high quality than most gaming laptop computer rivals.

Relating to audio, the Stream Z13 sports activities two side-mounted audio system which might be greater than sufficient for watching YouTube movies and informal gameplay, however the lack of bass means most devoted players will go for a gaming headset. 

Asus XG Cell

Turns the 2-in-1 right into a desktop with a number of shows and extra connectivity
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 energy
Cannot improve the RTX 3080 in future

If you need extra gaming prowess than the RTX 3050 Ti from the Stream Z13, you possibly can decide to purchase a bundle together with Asus’ XG Cell. It’s Asus’ spin on the eGPU utilizing proprietary tech, providing an upgraded Nvidia RTX 3080 cellular GPU.

That’s not dangerous for a black field that measures in at 208 x 155 x 29.6mm and 1kg, taking over little or no area on a desk or in a rucksack.

The XG Cell connects to the Stream Z13 by way of a proprietary port on its left facet, locked into place by way of a small change on the again of the connector. Asus claims that there are over 67 wires throughout the cable that enable PCIe 3.zero knowledge switch speeds of round 63Gbps, nearly double the 32Gbps on supply from competing Thunderbolt Four eGPUs.

I’ll go into extra element about the way it performs a bit later.

It’s not simply an eGPU although; the XG Cell massively expands connectivity, that includes an HDMI 2.zero port, DisplayPort 1.4, 4 USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports, an RJ-45 Ethernet jack and an SD card reader for good measure.

The XG Cell basically turns the Stream Z13 right into a desktop PC setup, permitting for a hybrid expertise with full connectivity, desktop-level energy and a multi-display setup at house, and a conveyable 2-in-1 type issue whenever you’re on the go. It gained’t match everyone’s wants, nevertheless it’ll scratch the itch for some.

The one catch to the system? In contrast to a regular eGPU, the RTX 3080 throughout the XG Cell can’t be swapped out sooner or later. That’s fantastic for now, with the RTX 3080 being probably the most highly effective GPUs round, however video games will proceed to get extra demanding and in some unspecified time in the future, it simply gained’t be sufficient.

When that point comes, you’ll haven’t any alternative however to get a completely new XG Cell – if Asus is making them for the next-gen playing cards, anyway. For now, it stays probably the greatest methods to get a desktop-level gaming expertise from both the ROG Stream Z13 or final yr’s X13 – albeit at a premium.

Specs & Efficiency

Full gaming laptop computer spec with discrete GPU
Nice sport efficiency when plugged in
XG Cell can energy a desktop-level expertise

The Asus ROG Stream Z13 is available in two core configurations: a variant with a robust Intel Core i9-12900H and an AMD-flavoured variant accessible sporting the Ryzen 9-5900HS, however this solely comes with the Full HD show.

Whatever the mannequin you go for, you’ll get the Nvidia RTX 3050 Ti with 4GB of GDDR6 reminiscence, 1TB of SSD storage, 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM and full Home windows 11 to play with. For reference, I’ve reviewed the Intel mannequin right here.

Relating to efficiency, it largely is determined by the way you’re utilizing the Stream Z13; linked to energy, linked to the XG Cell eGPU or on battery, with no shock that the latter gives the least quantity of grunt when gaming.

Most players will possible use the Stream Z13 linked to energy, so let’s begin there. Utilising the 12th-gen Intel CPU and Nvidia’s RTX 3050 Ti, it ought to come as no shock that the convertible is able to powering an honest gaming expertise.

When you gained’t be capable to play the likes of Cyberpunk 2077 at RTX Extremely graphics settings – it hit simply 22fps throughout testing – you possibly can obtain a gradual 60fps in most video games at a medium preset. The Stream Z13 comfortably surpassed the 60fps mark in Wolfenstein: Youngblood at medium high quality, and it’s the same story in Far Cry: New Daybreak, however cranking it as much as extremely introduced it all the way down to 54fps.

That’s pretty normal for the spec on supply, however if you would like extra energy – be it for gaming or content material creation – then you definately’ll need to hook it as much as the XG Cell eGPU for a extra desktop-level expertise. Other than the additional connectivity on supply, the eGPU gives RTX 3080 energy that may actually give the pill a lift in efficiency.

When linked to the eGPU, we noticed vital jumps in benchmark outcomes throughout the board. Far Cry: New Daybreak at Extremely jumped from 54- to 102fps, and even Cyberpunk 2077 was playable at its RTX Extremely high quality settings with a mean of 57fps in assessments.

Contemplating the small dimensions of the convertible and eGPU in comparison with a regular desktop, it’s spectacular, though it’s value noting that the XG Cell followers are significantly louder than the just about inaudible followers on the pill itself when gaming, pumping out loads of sizzling air to maintain the GPU operating easily.

Whereas the pill type issue would counsel nice cellular efficiency, gaming laptops inform us in any other case – and it’s no completely different with the Stream Z13. In a bid to maintain battery consumption down when unplugged from the mains, the {hardware} doesn’t carry out at prime pace and there’s a slight dip in efficiency, even with the ROG Armoury preset set to efficiency mode.

Although not as dramatic as you may anticipate, I noticed dips throughout the board in testing, with Far Cry: New Daybreak at Extremely dropping from 54- to 41fps. The one sport to really endure was Cyberpunk 2077, which solely managed 12fps at RTX Extremely on battery.

Once more, that is commonplace amongst gaming laptops, nevertheless it’s value stating for those who had desires of taking part in AAA video games on lengthy automobile journeys.

Whereas GPU efficiency can differ relying on the setup you’ve bought, CPU-based duties like internet looking, video calling and operating a number of apps without delay carry out at the same stage no matter its setup.

Our Geekbench 5 benchmarks noticed a multi-core rating of 11, 685 linked to the XG Cell, 11,249 on battery energy and 8405 on battery, making it a really succesful machine for work in addition to play.

You possibly can see how the ROG Stream Z13 compares to the gaming laptop computer competitors in all three varieties beneath. For reference, the competitors is benchmarked on plugged-in efficiency.

Efficiency apart, the remainder of the specification is unsurprisingly high-end with connectivity choices together with the most recent Wi-Fi 6E AX211 and Bluetooth 5.2.  

Battery Life

Disappointing battery life when gaming
Battery is not significantly better when working/watching films

Battery life is one other space to think about; whereas the dream of taking part in AAA video games untethered from the wall is feasible, you’ll solely get round 60-90 minutes of playtime earlier than the 56Wh battery runs flat. It’s then that you just’ll want to achieve for the mid-sized 100W USB-C charger.

Fortunately, that’s not indicative of basic battery life; much less performance-intense duties like internet looking, watching films and video calling all fare barely higher on the battery. In our traditional video loop take a look at, the Stream Z13 stretched to 5 hours and 15 minutes.

Whereas that’ll be okay for some, it is on the low finish of the size and can possible postpone those who need to use the Stream Z13 for work functions – particularly these away from the workplace. 

Value & Availability

The Asus ROG Stream Z13 isn’t the most cost effective round, beginning at £1,899.99 within the UK and $1,799 within the US – and that’s with out the XG Cell. If you wish to bundle the dock with the pill, the associated fee goes as much as round £2,998/$3,229 – across the identical worth as a high-end gaming PC with comparable, if not higher, specs.

It’s primarily depending on whether or not you’ll make use of the hybrid nature of the pill as a result of should you favour efficiency over type issue, there are extra highly effective gaming laptops at a less expensive worth level like Asus’ personal ROG Strix G15 and others in our greatest gaming laptop computer chart.

When you’re , the Asus ROG Stream Z13 – in numerous configurations – can be found to pre-order at Amazon and Overclockers within the UK with supply scheduled for mid-April, and it’s the same state of affairs for these within the US shopping for from Newegg.  


When you like the concept of Microsoft’s Floor Professional Eight however are postpone by the built-in graphics on supply, the Asus ROG Stream Z13 could enchantment to you.

The spectacular internals – together with a top-end 12th-gen Core i9 processor and Nvidia’s RTX 3050 Ti – supply an honest gaming expertise in a type issue nearer to a regular pill than a standard gaming laptop computer, providing a extra light-weight, moveable design that’s straightforward to throw right into a rucksack.

The 13.4in Mini-LED show is far brighter than rivals, the design is intuitive and the shape issue means it is versatile in use too.

Nonetheless, whether or not the RTX 3050 Ti efficiency will likely be adequate in just a few years’ time is but to be seen, and in contrast to some gaming laptops, the elements can’t be upgraded.

You do have the choice to choose up the XG Cell dock which brings not solely RTX 380 energy however extra USB ports, show connectors and Ethernet connectivity for a extra desktop-esque expertise, nevertheless it’s a sizeable added price on what’s already a premium gaming gadget.

In all chance, the ROG Stream Z13 will likely be a distinct segment product very like final yr’s X13, nevertheless it’s refreshing for Asus to attempt one thing completely different to a standard laptop computer with benefits not solely to measurement and weight however parts like air flow, which the Stream Z13 nails.

Asus ROG Stream Z13: Specs

Dimensions: 302 x 204 x 12 mm with out keyboard, 17.6 mm thick with keyboard

Weight: 1.18 kg with out keyboard, 1.52 kg with keyboard

CPU: Intel Core i9-12900H or AMD Ryzen 9-5900HS

GPU: Intel Iris Xe (built-in), Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti (4GB DDR6)

Asus XG Cell (non-obligatory): Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 (16GB GDDR6)

Reminiscence: 16GB LPDDR5

Storage: 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 4.zero SSD

Show: 13.4in Mini-LED show, 1920 x 1200, 16:10 facet ratio, 120Hz

Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6E AX211, Bluetooth 5.2

Ports: Thunderbolt 4, ROG XG Cell port, USB 2.zero Kind-A, 3.5mm headphone jack, microSD card reader

Digital camera: 720p webcam, 8Mp rear digicam

Battery: 56Wh

Charger: 100W USB-C

OS: Home windows 11 House

About the author: SubSellKaro

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