Apple’s transition to custom ARM silicon began this month with the launch of the new MacBook Air. The new iteration sports Apple’s proprietary M1 chipset, but the exterior remains the same. New leaks suggest that its successor will be way more powerful and not too far.
According to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo’s research note, the Cupertino giant is planning to launch redesigned MacBook models with its in-house silicon in the second half of 2021. First obtained by MacRumours, the note says Apple will populate its laptop lineup with new models powered by the ARM-based M1 chipset, but those models will look different.
Due to the ARM architecture, Apple is also able to make flexible apps. Hence, apps designed for iOS can seamlessly run on macOS. The current Apple M1 chip is seen on the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro 13-inch.
The design changes that Kuo mentioned might include changes in display sizes and other minor design changes. Kuo has previously suggested that redesigning is in plans for the 13- and 16-inch MacBook Pro models.
It’s also worth noting that Kuo’s second half of 2021 means it’ll be announced practically one year after M1’s debut. It’s a fair assumption that Apple has followed the yearly cycle for its A-series processors and would follow a similar timeline for MacBooks as well.
According to LeaksApplePro, the M1’s successor could be called the M1X and would debut on the next 16-inch MacBook Pro iteration. Originally introduced in 2019, it is yet to get a successor and is due for a refresh.
Apple has proven it can make bleeding-edge chips that can deliver maximum performance along with thermal management. A-series processors currently power the iPhone and iPad, and they’ve delivered exceptional numbers. Building on its existing expertise, Apple intends to shift its MacBook lineup to in-house silicon completely.
ASUS debuts new lineup of Zenbook OLED laptops
Comes with 12th-generation Intel processors!
ASUS officially unveiled its new lineup of Zenbook OLED laptops, sporting a 12th-generation Intel processor. The star-studded lineup is spearheaded by the Zenbook 14X OLED (Space Edition), a commemorative model for the 25th anniversary of ASUS’ first laptop in space.
Other premium notebooks in the lineup consists of the Zenbook 14X OLED, Zenbook 14 OLED, and the Zenbook 14 Flip OLED.
A special, unique space-themed laptop
In commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the ASUS P6300 laptop’s journey in space, the company brought out the Zenbook 14X OLED Space Edition (UX5401ZAS).
Its designs are highly inspired by space travel, embellished by a special Zero-G Titanium finish. It also comes with a futuristic ZenVision smart display — a 3.5-inch OLED companion mounted externally on the lid.
It’s also highly durable, complying with the US Space Systems Command Standard SMC-S-016A testing protocols, withstanding extreme vibration and temperature. To put it in perspective, it’s four times stronger than the standard Military Grade.
As a headliner, it delivers a stellar performance and is backed with powerful internals. The laptop can be powered by up to 12th Generation Intel Core i7 H-series processors, a 16GB LPDDR5 RAM, a PCIe 4.0 x4 SSD, and WiFi 6E. It sports an expansive 16:10 2.8K OLED 90HZ touchscreen display, which is also PANTONE-validated.
The Zenbook 14X OLED Space Edition starts at PhP 84,995.
Compact yet powerful
There’s also a brand-new Zenbook 14 OLED, promising a powerful laptop in a lightweight form factor. The laptop underwent a makeover, introducing a fresh, modern look with the ASUS monogram.
It comes in two variants housing either a 12th Generation Intel Core i7 P-series processor (UX3402) or an AMD Ryzen 5000 series processor (UM3402).
Nevertheless, both laptops promise batteries that can run for up to 19 hours. Additionally, it’s equipped with a 16:10 2.8K OLED NanoEdge display and a Harman Kardon-certified Dolby Atmos audio. All are housed in a compact chassis which also includes a full set of I/O ports, while also passing the US military-grade MIL-STD-810H durability tests.
The new Zenbook 14 OLED comes in elegant color options: Aqua Celadon and Ponder Blue for the Intel-variant (UX3402) and Jade Black for the AMD unit (UM3402).
The Intel-variant of the Zenbook 14 OLED (UX3402) starts at PhP 72,995, while the AMD variant (UM3402) starts at PhP 59,995.
A versatile device for a flexible lifestyle
Flexibility is still on fire with the Zenbook 14 Flip OLED (UP5401). The machine sports ASUS’ exclusive 360-degree ErgoLift Hinge. To top it off, the dynamic device weighs only 1.4kg, even if it comes in a soothing finish made from diamond-cut aluminum alloy.
It’s powered by the latest 12th Gen Intel Core i5 H-series processor to ensure consistent performance in different form factors. Whether in laptop, stand, tent, tablet mode, or anything in between.
Moreover, it’s equipped with a 16:10 14-inch 2.8K OLED touchscreen display. With incredibly slim 2.9mm bezels, it provides an 88 percent screen-to-body ratio. Truly perfect for a versatile, entertainment experience.
The Zenbook 14 Flip OLED retails at PhP 87,995.
Brilliance in a compact package
Last in the star-studded lineup is the non-Space Edition Zenbook 14X OLED (UX5401). It’s a stylish, compact laptop that’s also powered by up to 12th Generation Intel Core i7 H-series processors. The Zenbook 14X OLED promises a speed of up to 2.7x faster than the previous generation.
It basically carries the same components and power that the Space Edition has, with the exception of its exterior design and parts. For instance, it has a 15.9 mm thin chassis with a full complement of I/O ports.
There’s a USB Type-A port, two (2) USB-C Thunderbolt 4 ports, a standard HDMI port, a microSD card slot, and an audio jack. It’s also equipped with a 16:10 2.8K OLED HDR NanoEdge display.
The Zenbook 14X OLED starts at PhP 74,995.
Pricing and Availability
The new lineup of Zenbook laptops comes with pre-installed Microsoft Office apps (with a lifetime license). Also, they come with a free three-month subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud. Furthermore, the laptops come with two years Global Warranty and ASUS Platinum Protection Warranty on the first year upon purchase.
Here’s a table containing the pricing and availability of all the laptops under the new lineup.
|Zenbook 14X OLED (Space Edition)||UX5401ZAS-KN072WS||Zero-G Titanium||14″ 2.8K 90hz 16:10 550nits touch OLED / i5-12500H / 16GB LPDDR5 / 512GB PCIE4 SSD / Intel Iris Xe graphics / W11 H&S ’21||PHP 84,995||Available Now|
|UX5401ZAS-KN016WS||14″ 2.8K 90hz 16:10 550nits touch OLED / i7-12700H / 16GB LPDDR5 / 1TB PCIE4 SSD / Intel Iris Xe graphics / W11 H&S ’21||PHP 99,995||Available Now|
|Zenbook 14X OLED||UX5401ZA-KN130WS||Pine Grey||14″ 2.8K 90hz 16:10 550nits touch OLED / i5-12500H / 16GB LPDDR5 / 512GB PCIE4 SSD / Intel Iris Xe graphics / W11 H&S ’21||PHP 74,995||Available Now|
|UX5401ZA-KN092WS||14″ 2.8K 90hz 16:10 550nits touch OLED / i7-12700H / 16GB LPDDR5 / 1TB PCIE4 SSD / Intel Iris Xe graphics / W11 H&S ’21||PHP 89,995||Available Now|
|Zenbook 14 OLED||UX3402ZA-KM062WS||Ponder Blue||14″ 2.8K 90Hz 16:10 600nits OLED / i5-1240P / 16GB LPDDR5 / 512GB PCIE4 SSD / Intel Iris Xe graphics / W11 H&S ’21||PHP 72,995||Mid-June|
|UX3402ZA-KM136WS||Aqua Celadon||14″ 2.8K 90Hz 16:10 600nits OLED / i5-1240P / 16GB LPDDR5 / 512GB PCIE4 SSD / Intel Iris Xe graphics / W11 H&S ’21||PHP 72,995||Available Now|
|UX3402ZA-KM064WS||Ponder Blue||14″ 2.8K 90Hz 16:10 600nits OLED / i7-1260P / 16GB LPDDR5 / 512GB PCIE4 SSD / Intel Iris Xe graphics / W11 H&S ’21||PHP 79,995||Available Now|
|UM3402YA-KN104WS||Jade Black||14″ 2.8K 90Hz 16:10 550nits touch OLED / R5-5625U /8GB LPDDR4X / 512GB PCIE3 SSD / AMD Radeon™ graphics / W11 H&S ’21||PHP 59,995||Available Now|
|Zenbook 14 Flip OLED||UP5401ZA-KN037WS||Pine Grey||14″ 2.8K 90Hz 16:10 550nits touch OLED / i5-12500H / 16GB LPDDR5 / 512GB PCIE4 SSD / Intel Iris Xᵉ Graphics / W11 H&S ’21||PHP 87,995||Early July|
The laptops will be available on any ASUS Concept Stores and authorized resellers. For a complete list of authorized stores, click here. Interested buyers of the ASUS Zenbook 14X OLED Space Edition can visit this link to purchase the special edition laptop.
ROG Flow Z13 review: A tablet powerhouse like no other
There’s more than just powerful gaming
Throughout my four years of working in GadgetMatch, I haven’t actually tried using any gaming laptop (or even a tablet) of some sort. Let alone a device like the ROG Flow Z13. That’s mainly because I’m not as invested as our in-house gamers like Rodneil, Luigi, or Gab.
But what if you wanna hear thoughts from a casual gamer? And how does it perform from the perspective of a creative professional?
Without further ado, let’s proceed with this much-awaited review of the world’s first Windows 11-powered gaming tablet.
Up front, it might look like the same glass slab as other tablets. This particular model has a 13.4-inch Full HD+ glossy display with a 16:10 aspect ratio. That’s an unusual ratio for most games that only support either 16:9 or 21:9 gaming.
But it becomes a real game-changer when you flip its back side.
Unlike regular tablets with an ultra-sleek and minimal design, the ROG Flow Z13 stands out from the crowd.
Other than the usual Intel and GeForce stickers, what stands out the most is its see-through glass window that shows the tablet’s internals.
When turned on, the window will illuminate with ROG’s signature RGB lights…
…that can be controlled via ROG’s Aura Sync software.
With some ROG-branded texts, etchings, and rubber plugs..
…this is a sophisticated-looking, retro-futuristic tablet truly meant for gamers in mind and heart.
And as some bonus, here it is side-by-side with last year’s ROG Flow X13. Surprisingly, the X13 is thinner despite the Z13 looking more of the “portable” device.
For specifics, the X13 is 15.8mm thick and 1.34kg in weight. Meanwhile the Z13, although thinner at 12mm and lighter at 1.1kg, attaching its detachable keyboard actually makes it thicker and heavier at 17.6mm and 1.53kg.
If you care about ports, the ROG Flow Z13 has plenty to provide.
Other than its proprietary XG Mobile port (which also has a USB-C Thunderbolt 4 port in it), there’s also another one at top, making it a total of two USB-C ports on the left side.
One (or both) port/s support DisplayPort and G-Sync for external 4K displays and monitors…
…as well as Power Delivery (PD) for faster charging speeds.
Looking at the right side shows the power button that also doubles as a fingerprint scanner.
Moreover, there are the volume buttons, a single USB-A port for other peripherals, and a 3.5mm audio jack for hi-fidelity audio experience when gaming or working. There’s even a microSD card slot hidden behind the tablet’s leg stand when opened.
Both sides mean it also has stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos support as well as a 3-microphone array for voice calls.
For connections with less latency, it has a Wi-Fi 6E modem for faster online gaming and streaming. It also supports Bluetooth 5.2 for better connectivity when connecting to earbuds, headphones, controllers, and more.
Lastly, there’s a 720P webcam at the top of the display for usual video calls via Zoom, Duo, or Meet. Unfortunately, it doesn’t support the Windows Hello Face Unlocking as it doesn’t have IR sensors built-in for a more secure authentication.
It’s also equipped with an 8-megapixel camera at the back with an okay quality.
Bundles and extras
Whenever you purchase the ROG Flow Z13, you’ll have this handy sleeve pouch to protect the tablet from unwanted scratches and bumps inside your bag.
There’s also this clip-on keyboard a la Microsoft Surface that connects through ROG Flow Z13’s smart connectors at its bottom. This is better instead of going through the hassle of connecting via Bluetooth.
Attaching the detachable keyboard folio with a felt-like texture also protects the Z13’s precious glossy display from scratches and smudges.
Moreover, there’s also the ROG Impact gaming mouse that you can carry around. It’s well-suited for shooter games that require faster clicks instead of relying to the Z13’s touchpad. The bundled mouse depends on where you’ll buy your ROG Flow Z13 though.
Lastly, there’s also the ASUS Pen for those who want to use it for note-taking, scribbling, sketching, or even illustrating.
Two downsides with this specific pen? First is the use of a rare AAAA battery instead of relying on magnetic charging. Second, you can only attach it magnetically at the bottom part of the tablet (where the smart pins for the keyboard are also connected). This basically means you can’t place the pen once the keyboard is attached in its place.
For additional purchases, the ROG XG Mobile eGPU is a great extension to an already amazing gaming tablet. It provides more gaming power just in case you needed that maximum oomph when you play hardcore games.
And while we’re already under this specific section, gaming would be more fun with the Xbox Wireless Controller in mind — especially when the game supports it (mostly games from Xbox PC Pass).
I’m not a professional nor a hardcore gamer, but this doesn’t mean I don’t play enough games to entertain myself when bored.
While I don’t have the maxed-out Core i9 model (that’s not in the Philippines but available elsewhere), it still has one of best specs for a tablet (or any gaming device for that matter): a 12th-gen Intel Core i7-12700H, a total of 16GB LPDDR5 RAM, and 512GB of SSD. To make it suitable for more graphics-intensive games, it runs NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 3050 with 4GB of GDRR6 memory.
We don’t provide boring and lengthy game benchmarks, but I can attest that the Z13 can run most games in max settings — regardless if you change gaming profiles in the Armoury Crate app.
Whether that’s the ever-popular Grand Theft Auto V...
Forza Horizon 5 through Xbox PC Pass…
realistic truck and bus driving with Euro Truck Simulator 2…
5v5 FPS game such as Valorant…
and even the ultra-demanding open-world action RPG Genshin Impact, the Z13 is no slouch at all.
With the games mentioned earlier, I was able to bump up graphics settings in either high, max, or ultra utmost with most (or all) of the boxes ticked. Even with hours of gaming, it never slowed down.
Unfortunately, running Cyberpunk 2077 even in medium settings through Z13’s RTX 3050 doesn’t do much help. The only way to play it in its highest settings possible is to bring out the ROG XG Mobile.
With its more powerful GeForce RTX 3080 graphics card, it should run a lot better without worrying about gaming lag and stutter.
Plugging in the XG Mobile eGPU is also another way you can attach any 4K TV or monitor through HDMI and DisplayPort (aside from USB-C
Playing Forza Horizon 5 on my ultra-wide monitor made my gameplay more immersive. Sadly, I wasn’t able to do the same driving experience with ETS2 as it has issues continuing the game when the eGPU is connected.
As of this writing, I’m using the ROG Flow Z13 as my primary device when typing this review article.
While the keyboard isn’t close to how I type on my MacBook (or any other mechanical keyboard), the key travel is enough to make typing satisfying.
If I’ll explain the exact feeling, it’s in the middle of being clicky and mushy — not that it’s a bad thing. The precision trackpad feels nice as well. Gone are the days when Windows devices have clunky plastic trackpads for navigation.
When it comes to the creative apps I use such as Adobe’s Creative Suite, the gaming tablet doesn’t falter either.
Opening Adobe Photoshop was fast and snappy. Being able to scroll through several layers without any hiccups is a breeze.
Adobe Lightroom should perform the same. While the best Z13 model has an 85% DCI-P3 wide color gamut coverage, the 100% sRGB color accuracy is enough for color grading and post-processing that other gaming laptops can’t even achieve.
Meanwhile, running Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects vary depending on how heavy or light your workload is.
Let’s say you’re editing a 4K video or a 15-second 4K MoGraph (Motion Graphic), it will obviously render slower than your projects with the usual Full HD resolution. But for the most part, it renders faster than ever.
However, you might want to invest on an external SSD or replace its NVMe M.2 SSD with a larger 1TB capacity for storing these large project files and footage without sacrificing read and write speeds.
And while I haven’t opened Autodesk Maya for years, I still tried running this 3D-modeling software and was still able to render the heavy 3D project file of a 2016 MacBook Pro I did way back in college.
Other than gaming or using it for professional work, the ROG Flow Z13 can also serve as your entertainment device — just like any other tablet being offered in the market today.
Watching flicks on Netflix or vibrant K-Pop music videos and live performances on YouTube all looked great on this device regardless if this Z13 doesn’t have the top-of-the-class panel.
That being said, its display still supports HDR, Dolby Vision, and is Pantone-Validated as well — making it enough for most users to enjoy its crisp and ViViD visuals (just like LOONA’s Heejin and her debut song 😘).
While it doesn’t have the max 4K resolution of the other model, I prefer this one as it should preserve the tablet’s overall power consumption.
Also, having the Full HD+ panel means you can switch between 60Hz and 120Hz depending on your preference for that ultra-smooth navigation and stutter-free gameplay. The 4K variant is only stuck at 60Hz.
Having a faster refresh rate also means the pen input delay (or latency) should be more realistic. Using the bundled ASUS Pen felt enough for note-taking or some lousy sketching.
Although this isn’t the most ideal tablet for any digital artist, it can still hold up as a decent graphic tablet. For better use of its graphic tablet functionality, you can turn its stand all the way to its tilting limit.
With Windows 11 in mind, there are apps you can use such as Adobe Lightroom, Paint Tools SAI or Autodesk’s Sketchbook Pro just in case you want to experiment with your hidden artistic talent.
Ultra-portability has its compromises
Despite being equipped with the latest and greatest tech, the ROG Flow Z13 admittedly can’t quite stand on its own. And by that, with drawbacks while using the tablet alone.
1. Underwhelming battery
Remember when I said a while ago that having a less denser display means being able to save battery life? Well, that’s not the case in this tablet.
Not that it’s surprising since ROG tried to cram up all components inside this chassis with a screen in it. Still, I expected at least a modest 3-5 hours of battery life when doing light tasks.
Whether I switch between Performance or Power Saving Mode, it doesn’t do much in saving the tablet’s 56WHr battery.
When playing games, you have to seat near a wall socket. Regardless of how low or high the settings are, you can only play with the tablet for under an hour before it dies. That’s not a lot of juice for gamers.
For less-demanding tasks, my specific test showed exactly 2 hours and 27 minutes on Balanced Mode while 2 hours and 46 minutes when Battery Saver Mode is on. Exactly as I type this part of the article, the Z13 went under 5% that I had to immediately plug-in its charger. That’s more than two hours of typing this review.
That said, ROG is true to its words. With its bundled 100W USB-C to AC Adapter, it can fast charge the Z13 from 0% to 50% in just 30 minutes. Filling it up to 100% just takes an hour to finish.
2. Useless as a standalone tablet
A tablet is made meant for a handed use, but that’s not the case with the ROG Flow Z13.
I’m not saying that the ROG Flow Z13 is useless. During my test with the tablet, playing touchscreen games without the keyboard/touchpad and mouse is what made it “useless”.
Case in point: I have the option to play Asphalt 9 using tablet mode. But with the ROG Flow Z13 not having the necessary sensors (such as an accelerometer and gyroscope), it can’t play using tilting and just relies on either the automatic acceleration feature called “TouchDrive” or via the bundled keyboard. This makes my gameplay less exciting and thrilling.
There are also times when selecting options in-game needs some stretch. Touchscreen games feel weird due to the large screen size and hefty body, making it uncomfortable to hold when playing.
Not a big dealbreaker but it’s also quite disappointing how I can’t run FPS games without the keyboard and mouse. But I guess it’s more on the software side since PC games aren’t meant to be played with touch inputs unlike iOS and Android FPS games.
Still, even running Android games such as Call of Duty: Mobile (CoDM) through the Gameloop emulator doesn’t make it possible to run FPS, RPG, or MOBA games via touchscreen. A keyboard and mouse are still needed.
3. Ugh… Display issues
Not that it always happens, but one big issue whenever I hook up my 4K TV through XG Mobile via HDMI is that, it randomly displays glitches and flickers when movies are being played.
There are also numerous times when the tablet went into the horrifying BSoD (Blue Screen of Death) just right after hooking up the HDMI cable and properly switching to XG Mobile.
I’m quite unsure if the crucial component updates have fixed this critical issue. While I haven’t checked since I’m afraid I might ruin this review device, I hope ROG comes up with a patch real soon.
4. Undesirable overheating
The problem with heavily-powered portable devices like this is the lack of a better cooling implementation and heat dissipation — even with the existence of an advanced vapor-cooling chamber and “efficient” CPU and GPU units.
Any air-conditioned room (or purely just a snowy-cool climate) might suppress the heating issues temporarily, but its power-heavy yet crammed chassis is one reason why the ROG Flow Z13 doesn’t cool properly.
It’s either you have to flip its back stand, or you just have to deal with its unacceptable overheating. I also think overheating has something to do with the display issues I mentioned a while ago.
Did I also mention how loud the fans and hot the heatsinks are when playing games or rendering and exporting output files?
Is the ROG Flow Z13 your GadgetMatch?
In the Philippines, this higher-end ROG Flow Z13 is priced at PhP 99,995. The less-powerful Core i5 and Iris Xe-powered variant retails for a measly PhP 84,995. The ROG XG Mobile (which is sold separately) costs as much as PhP 69,995 for the RTX 3080 model while the Radeon-powered RX 6850M is almost 10,000 less than the Z13 itself at a whopping PhP 89,999. This just means one thing:
This gaming device isn’t for everyone.
With the presence of more affordable gaming laptops, buying the ROG Flow Z13 doesn’t apply from a practical, “worth-it” standpoint. Instead, this is for those with the extra purchasing power who want the versatility and portability of a tablet that can also run demanding games and creative apps in the long run.
And as a creative professional, this tablet isn’t meant for creatives neither. There are a lot of options out there that can do both work and play without sacrificing your savings.
Much like foldable smartphones, the ROG Flow Z13 focuses more on a specific type of market that want the bleeding edge tech regardless of how pricey it is. But if you want the best of both worlds in gaming and creative work, this might just do all the trick.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II release date, official artwork revealed
There’s also a hint for a giveaway contest
The wait is finally over for gamers as new details for the new Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II have finally surfaced.
First, the release date of the much-anticipated sequel of the 2019 reboot, Modern Warfare II is on October 28, 2022.
As if that’s not enough to get people excited, Activision also had a massive cargo ship sailing at Port of Long Beach in California for the game’s official artwork reveal, teasing enthusiasts even more.
The ship contained an image of the Operative Ghost, as well as more characters on cargo containers. The entire reveal may be watched here.
New characters, giveaway
Aside from the release date and official artwork, new characters are also expected to join Task Force 141, which includes key members like Captain John Price, Sergeant “Soap” MacTavish, Sergeant Kyle “Gaz” Garrick, Simon “Ghost” Riley, and Colonel Alejandro.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II was announced earlier this year, with details for the storyline set to follow, that’s why fans are urged to stay tuned.
Developers have also hinted at a potential giveaway contest, mentioning that soon players will have “a chance to own a piece of this dock-spanning art and be a part of our history”.
ROG Flow Z13 review: A tablet powerhouse like no other
There's more than just powerful gaming
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