Back at CES 2020, Alienware showed off the Concept UFO, a handheld gaming PC that was reminiscent of the Nintendo Switch. Fast forward two years to CES 2022 and we still don’t have anything like this, at least not from a major manufacturer. The Asus ROG Flow X13 might be the solution we’ve been waiting for.
In essence, the Asus ROG Flow is just a gaming Surface Pro with an RTX 3050 Ti and a removable keyboard. That’s not the most powerful GPU on the market by any means, but it’s more than powerful enough to play most games at 1080p, even if you may have to turn down some graphics settings here and there.
It’s not exactly the same kind of thing, however; you’d still need to plug in a controller to get a similar experience, but it’s the closest thing we’re going to get for PC gaming to the Nintendo Switch until the Steam Deck actually comes to market.
Everything is going to depend on battery life
We haven’t got the Asus ROG Flow X13 in for testing yet, but if previous gaming laptops have been any indication, battery life tanks as soon as you boot a PC game. It has improved a lot over recent years, but even with a gaming laptop like the Razer Blade 15 that gets 6 hours of battery life in our standard battery tests, that number will go down to two hours or so if you’re trying to play a AAA game on it.
Unfortunately in promoting this little gaming tablet, Asus hasn’t spent a lot of time talking about the battery life, beyond saying that it will last quite a while for video playback – something much less demanding than doing some gaming.
But if the Asus ROG Flow X13 can last more than two hours while playing games, it will definitely be my go-to portable gaming device for a while.
You don’t need a lot of power
One of the reasons an ultra-portable PC gaming device like this is so appealing is because of the nature of what makes up the bulk of the best PC games – indie games. Some of the best games out there can basically run on a toaster, and a tablet like this with an RTX 3050 Ti will easily powering through them.
The idea that comes up in my mind is pulling the ROG Flow X13 out of my bag while waiting in the doctor’s office and playing some Darkest Dungeon II while waiting to be seen.
And because it’s being sold with the keyboard attachment included in the box, it’d be perfect for getting through a few turns in Civilization V while commuting on the subway.
That’s why handheld gaming PCs from smaller manufacturers like the OneXPlayer have become such a thing recently. These are definitely not powerhouses by any stretch of the imagination, but they don’t need to be.
Now I just want to see the Asus ROG Flow X13 on store shelves soon, so we can actually have more portable PC gaming products that actually exist … rather than concepts that are constantly teased but never actually come out.