The Mercusys AX1800 Dual-Band Wi-Fi 6 Router is as basic as it gets. Also known as the MR70X, this budget router offers decent speeds and supports the latest Wi-Fi 6 standard. While it lacks some of the extras you'll find in routers nowadays, the MR70X makes up for that somewhat with its affordable price (S$85).
- Dual-band Wi-Fi 6 (AX1800)
- 1x Gigabit WAN port, 3x Gigabit LAN ports
- Supports WPA3 encryption
I had never heard of the Mercusys brand before testing the MR70X. Turns out it's a relatively new budget-oriented sub-brand of TP-Link. The MR70X actually ranks fairly high on the Mercusys totem. It offers speeds of up to 1.2Gbps for its 5GHz band and up to 574Mbps on its 2.4GHz band. This is much faster than the brand's other Wi-Fi 4 and Wi-Fi 5 routers that offer speeds ranging from 300Mbps to 867Mbps.
I wasn't entirely surprised at the cheap plastic feel of the budget MR70X. The router itself feels lightweight and there's a bit of flex if you press down forcefully on the body. The MR70X has the usual four Gigabit ports (1x WAN, 3x LAN), but there isn't a USB port for an external storage drive or printer sharing. The router doesn't have a companion mobile app. You'll have to set it up the old-school way — connect to the router's default Wi-Fi network with a browser using the password found at the base of the unit. You then have to create your own password as well as customise the network settings. It's basically how we used to set up routers years ago before the smartphone age. Some users may even prefer it this way.
The MR70X does support features such as QoS, parental controls and VPN server. They are just not as refined as the ones you'll find in more expensive models. For example, the parental controls only restricts websites by specific keywords you manually enter — there aren't any preset restrictions based on age groups. Another example: I had to update the firmware via a local file upload, not directly via the internet.
In my network test, the MR70X produced middling Wi-Fi speeds. The router managed around 428Mbps in download speeds on a laptop a few metres away. This dipped to a paltry 62Mbps in a bedroom. Older Wi-Fi 5 devices, especially, seem to suffer from poor connectivity in more distant parts of the apartment. Overall, the Wi-Fi speed is decent enough for video streaming and gaming. If you have a 500Mbps broadband plan, the MR70X seems like a good fit. The Mercusys AX1800 Dual-Band Wi-Fi 6 Router is available now from Lazada and Shopee at S$85.
Note: Review unit provided by TP-Link.
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