Linksys E4200 Review
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The Linksys E4200 is an upper-tier router for everyone. It certainly earns its "Maximum Performance" branding, as it's great for media streaming, and online gaming.
- Sleek minimalist design
- Great speeds at decent range
- Easy to set up
- A little on the expensive side
- Over-whelming customization options
It’s not every day that we review a router, but for reasons that I’m about to get into, we felt compelled to let you know about this one. We often hear about PlayStation 3 (or any other modern console) owners complaining about wireless connectivity. The general consensus has been that tethering your console to your router with an ethernet cable works best, and while that will almost always be the case, I’m happy to say the lines between wired and wireless have been blurred with the E4200.
Let me start off with the design of this new Linksys-branded piece of tech. Let’s face it -- as PlayStation fans, we’re used to Sony releasing eye-candy hardware. You may or may not care for it, but the design of PlayStation platforms have always struck home with many fans, being some of the slickest looking industrially designed systems around. That’s one of the areas that the E4200 shines the most, as it is the probably the single most aesthetically pleasing router I have ever seen.
Ditching LED displays on the front that would usually indicate status of internet connection, which ports are being used, and other traditional displays, the E4200 simply lights up the Cisco logo that sits atop this minimalist-designed router. The logo is lit-up when everything is fine, and blinks during boot, or an update (more lights can be located on the back panel). One look at the E4200 and you’ll be surprised that this router can pack such a punch while being this pretty.
Branded “Maximum Performance” for a reason, I wasn’t lying when I said this little guy packs a punch. The Wireless-N router supports a maximum speed up to 300 - 450 Mb/s, making it a prime choice for PS3 owners who use Netflix streaming, or stream any other type of content form a media server. I should mention that I never experienced any hiccups, or interference during streaming, as the E4200 held a steady and consistent connection for my network throughout rigorous usage. This is the first router I came across that doesn’t botch HD video streaming in some way.
The range of the E4200 is also nothing to sneeze at, with 802.11n technology, and Dual Band 3x3 MIMO antenna (built internally) providing excellent range around your home/office, allowing your PS3/PSP to connect from practically anywhere in a respectable distance with decent to strong signal strength.
Included in the box is a CD that installs Cisco Connect, which is both the setup and management software for the router. The setup is easy, being as user-friendly as possible, and the management can be accessed for experts (customization and fine-tuning can get quite over-whelming) to personalize the router to their liking.
The E4200 also comes with a USB port that works sufficiently enough, but don’t expect to run anything too fancy on it, as the port does not offer enough power to spin a 2.5 inch HDD (the same one your PS3 uses). Admittedly, this is a slight flaw that most won’t have to worry about, especially if you’d just like to focus on online gaming.
All this performance comes with a price though, as you’ll have to fork over anywhere in the region of $150 - $180 for this beast. This is a case, however, where you get what you pay for. The bottom line is that if you prefer your gaming console connected to the internet via Wi-Fi, or want to upgrade to a better connection, you can’t go wrong with the Linksys E4200.