The iPad Pro took a giant leap forward in 2021. Adopting Apple’s Silicon chip – the same chip that powers Apple’s Mac desktops like Mac Mini, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air, the iPad Pro has turned itself into a full-blown laptop alternative rather than a regular tablet.
We cannot speak of a close contest with the iPad Pro on the market despite the endless effort of Windows and Android tablets to keep up. The tablet market is now bustling with choices, including Microsoft Surface and tablet/laptop hybrids. Still, the iPad Pro has enjoyed its special role since day one, setting itself at the top of the benchmarks.
Earlier this year, Asus released the ROG Flow Z13. Visually, it looks like a Surface Pro with a magnetic keyboard, a kickstand, and small bezels. The Flow Z13 is not in line with the iPad Pro as it targets a different range of customers. However, it’s probably the only tablet that can take on the iPad Pro on the market.
In this article, we will compare the 12.9-inch iPad Pro with the Asus ROG Flow Z13, as both features the same screen sizes.
|ASUS ROG FLOW Z13||12.9-inch iPad Pro|
|Intel Core i9-12900H (14-core)||Apple M1 chip|
|Intel Iris Xe, Nvidia RTX 3050 Ti, Nvidia RTX 3080 (ROG XG Mobile)||Apple M1 chip with 8-core GPU|
|16GB DDR5 RAM||8GB/16GB RAM|
|13.4-inch, UHD+, IPS LCD||12.9-inch (diagonal) mini-LED-backlit Multi‑Touch display with IPS technology|
|1x USB Type-C, 1 x USB 3.1, SD card, 3.5mm audio jack||Thunderbolt / USB 4 port|
|Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2||Wi-Fi 6 & Bluetooth 5.0|
Both devices are beasts on the inside. This is noticeably true as the Flow Z13 comes with an XG Mobile Dock (RTX 3080) for a greatly-improved performance. Meanwhile, the iPad Pro 12.9 inch is powered by a blazing-fast M1 chip and has a beautiful Liquid Retina display.
The 12.9-inch iPad Pro starts at $1.099 for the base model with 128GB of internal storage, 8GB of RAM, and Wi-Fi connectivity. The maxed-out model with 5G support, 16GB RAM, and 2TB storage will run you $2,400 in the US.
The ROG Flow Z13 starts at $1,499 and can go up to $3,299. There are multiple CPU configurations you can choose from, including Intel Core i5, i7, and i9 CPUs, coupled with either Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 or RTX 3050 Ti 40-watt GPUs.
The model used in this comparison features the 12th-gen Core i9-12900H with six performance cores and eight efficiency cores. The total cost is $1,899. The optional XG Mobile eGPU with RTX 3080 graphics card adds $1,499 to the total price.
The iPad Pro does not include the Magic Keyboard, which costs $349 separately, while the ROG Flow Z13 comes with a folio keyboard.
Design & Display
The Flow Z13 features a 13.4-inch display that’s smaller than most gaming laptops out there. The table is half an inch thick and weighs 2.6 pounds, making it heavier than the iPad Pro. However, it does not look or feel clunky. This is because it’s made from high-density aluminum, which offers a costly look and feel.
The iPad Pro, on the other hand, sports the same design as its predecessor. Indeed, it looks exactly like the 2020 model, with all the upgrades hiding under the hood. The 12.9-inch model offers a more pleasing hands-on experience compared to the Z13. However, both devices can rest comfortably on my lap.
Speaking of the display, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro has one of the best displays on the market, featuring the so-called Liquid Retina XDR display. In other ways, it’s a 120Hz Mini LED panel that’s gorgeous regardless of what you do on the screen.
The 13.4-inch display on the Z13 features a 1920×1080 resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate. There is a 4K display option but it’s limited to a 60Hz refresh rate, which is not a necessary upgrade.
In short, both devices offer stunning screens, with the iPad Pro having its upper hand thanks to Apple’s Mini-LED technology. The 120Hz support makes browsing, scrolling webpages, and playing video games super smooth.
The Z13 model with 12th Gen Core i9 12900H processor and Nvidia’s RTX 3050 Ti offer enough power to handle 1080p games. Most games like Death’s Door and Inscryption we tested hit above 60fps with the highest presets. However, the Z13 started to show its limit when testing AAA games like Cyberpunk 2077 and Elden Ring.
With Turbo performance mode turned on, each game ran between 25-35, occasionally dropping to below 20 during intense combat scenes. That’s acceptable given that this is a portable tablet running the RTX 3050Ti laptop GPU. In comparison, at $1,899, you can get a more powerful 15.6-inch laptop like Asus Zephyrus G15 with a QHD screen and a much more powerful RTX 3070 GPU.
The iPad Pro runs on iPadOS specifically designed for tablets, while Windows 11 is a full-fledged OS. Both devices can perform some basic tasks, but for some heavy tasks like video & photo rendering, the iPad Pro shows its upper hand.
The main problem with the iPad Pro is iPadOS. Some editing apps like Adobe Creative Suite or GarageBand are scaled down on iPadOS, while Windows 11 supports full versions. We expect to see more desktop apps make their way into iPadOS 16 when it releases this fall.
If you have the cash for the XG Mobile eGPU, it delivers a huge boost in power. Heavy games like Cyberpunk 2077, Far Cry 6, and God of War run smoothly on the Flow Z13 hooked up to the RTX 3080 laptop GPU.
To sum up, the Flow Z13 offers an acceptable performance if you go for the RTX 3050Ti model. It can handle video & photo editing and high-res video rendering. However, the RTX 3050 Ti GPU running at 40 watts cannot keep up with the laptops with higher-end RTX GPU.
The iPad Pro, however, delivers excellent performance regardless of what you are doing. The M1 chip makes a difference when it comes to photo editing and rendering. The Apple table was faster in processing heavy tasks like 4K video exporting or 8K video rendering.
So, Which One is For You?
The ROG Flow Z13 is a great model for playing games and doing some artistic works. Its five-hour battery life may pull you down, while the iPad Pro offers an impressive power juice. However, the Z13 can do many things better than the iPad Pro.
If you are looking for a fully-functional PC desktop with portability and power, the ROG Flow Z13 is a better option. But, if you are now tied to the Apple ecosystem, you already have a Mac, and you want a support device with long battery life and stunning display, the iPad Pro is for you.