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Huawei WiFi AX3 review: Cheap and fast

Huawei WiFi AX3

Looking to upgrade your home to the latest Wi-Fi 6 standard? Check out the Huawei WiFi AX3, which is one of the cheapest Wi-Fi 6 routers in the market. This dual-band AX3000 router (up to 2.4Gbps on the 5GHz channel) costs around S$88 (S$10 off now) compared with rivals like the TP-Link Archer AX50 (S$179).

Quick specs

  • Dual-band Wi-Fi 6 (AX3000)
  • Gigabit WAN, 3x Gigabit LAN
  • Mesh networking with compatible Huawei routers
  • 403g

Of course, a reason for Huawei's competitive pricing is that the Chinese firm makes its own chipsets. In addition, Huawei says its Wi-Fi 6 smartphones supposedly enjoy stronger Wi-Fi signals with the AX3 than non-Huawei models due to the “chipset synergy” between the router and their phones. I wasn't able to test this, but I did try the Huawei Share feature, which lets guests connect to the router by tapping it with an NFC-enabled smartphone. It works as advertised (doesn't require a Huawei phone) and means you don't need to repeat your home Wi-Fi password to every visitor.

With a single Gigabit WAN port and three Gigabit LAN ports, the AX3 meets most expectations for wired connectivity. But it could do with a USB port for file or printer sharing. The AX3's all-white plastic chassis also lacks any mounting holes, so it is designed to be placed on a shelf, not fixed to the wall.

Huawei WiFi AX3
Tap the NFC logo to connect your smartphone with the Wi-Fi network. Credit: Vincent Chang/Can Buy or Not
Huawei WiFi AX3
Credit: Vincent Chang/Can Buy or Not
Huawei WiFi AX3
The router has four Gigabit ports, but lacks a USB port. Credit: Vincent Chang/Can Buy or Not

The AX3 can be paired with compatible Huawei routers to form a mesh network via wireless or wired connections. This is useful for larger homes where a single router is unable to provide sufficient Wi-Fi coverage. I did not have a second Huawei router, but the setup process is apparently as simple as pressing the round H button at the top of the AX3. Huawei's AI Life app (Android and iOS) offers the usual router management options, from restricting specific devices to adjusting basic Wi-Fi settings. More advanced options are available only with a Web browser.

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I was surprised at the AX3's speed. With my test Wi-Fi 6 laptop and the router in the living room, the average download speed was an impressive 904Mbps. While most Wi-Fi 6 routers I have tested achieve around 800Mbps to 900Mbps, I was not expecting this level of performance from an inexpensive router. But one AX3 unit is not enough for my home — the speed dipped drastically in a distant bedroom to around 45Mbps. Still, the AX3 is cheap enough that you can buy a couple and create your own mesh network. It is available from your usual e-commerce platforms Shopee and Lazada.

Note: Review unit provided by Huawei.


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Verdict



CAN BUY

Cheap Wi-Fi 6 upgrade.

Available at Shopee
Buy it at Lazada
Available at Amazon

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