The Asus ZenWiFi AX Mini is an entry-level dual-band mesh router system that works well at eliminating Wi-Fi blind spots. These routers use multiple nodes to extend the Wi-Fi network. I tested a two-pack system, though Asus also sells the AX Mini singly, and in a set of three.
- Dual-band Wi-Fi 6 (AX1800)
- Gigabit WAN, Gigabit LAN for router unit
- Supports WPA3-Personal encryption
- Coverage of up to 3,300 sq feet (306 sq metre)
I set up the AX Mini using the Asus Router app (for iOS and Android) — a Web browser works, too. It is dead simple. The app detects the router automatically — my only input is to enter the names and passwords for the Wi-Fi network and the router interface. A minor grouse — I had to place the satellite AX Mini node (XD4N) within 3m of the router unit (XD4) during the setup to pair them together. Once this is done, I could then move the satellite to a more useful location, such as my bedroom. Asus should have pre-paired them to remove this step.
Like most mesh routers, the AX Mini has limited Gigabit ports and not a single USB port. The main router unit has just two Gigabit ports while the satellite node has only one Gigabit port. As a result, it feels more suited for home users that rely on Wi-Fi instead of wired connections. There's also a WPS button (for connecting devices via Wi-Fi Protected Setup), and a reset button at the base of the unit.
Compared to higher-end Asus routers, the AX Mini is lacking in some features. Notably, there's no adaptive QoS (Quality of Service) that automatically adjusts the bandwidth based on selected use cases like gaming or media streaming. Instead, the router supports traditional QoS, which means users have to manually set the upload and download bandwidth. Unlike higher-end Wi-Fi 6 routers, the AX Mini's 5GHz channel width is limited to 80MHz, not 160MHz, which limits wireless performance. You do get standard Asus router features such as the Trend Micro-powered AiProtection security suite. However, it is a stripped down version — there's no two-way intrusion prevention to stop malicious attacks, for example.
Performance-wise, the AX Mini is average. It produced a download speed of 670Mbps on my test laptop (in the same living room as the router), which is similar to what you get with a Wi-Fi 5 router. However, in a distant bedroom, with the laptop connected to the satellite node, the speed was a decent 210Mbps. At S$329 for a two-pack, the Asus ZenWiFi AX Mini is more affordable than previous Asus ZenWiFi models. It faces competition from the likes of the TP-Link Deco X60 (S$369), which has similar speeds but slightly more features. You can buy the AX Mini from Asus' official stores on Shopee and Lazada.
Note: Review unit provided by Asus.
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