Published on November 21st, 2015 | by Greg0
Tenda AC1900 AC15 Router: Slick Value
This holiday season, you’re likely to find a lot of new ways to use the internet- from media streamers and connected televisions to tablets and smartphones, laptops and e-readers and home automation technology. Your new Xbox or PS4 console will rely on internet access for online gaming, and even some toys can get online these days. Which means that your home network will have to hold up to these new devices, as it is the all-important glue holding the other devices together.
A good router is critical, but you don’t need to spend a fortune. The Tenda AC1900 Dual Band AC15 Router is a reasonably priced, fairly accessible piece of networking gear, featuring a Broadcom dual-core processor, delivering simultaneous 1300Mbps 802.11ac on the 5GHz band and 600Mbps 802.11n at 2.4 GHz. Like most recent routers, it features beamforming, USB 3.0 connectivity for printers or sharing storage, and WPS capabilities. And, though it’s not the fastest router that we’ve seen, it’s actually pretty speedy- on the 5GHZ band especially, multiple streaming videos presented no issue and range was competitive. Only on the 2.4GHz band, with older devices, was the Tenda noticeably less perky than more expensive models.
There are some compromises- for starters, the antennas are fixed rather than removable or replaceable. The firmware isn’t as flexible as open-source options and the user interface isn’t quite as slick, but the web management console is certainly easy to navigate and offers simple access to important settings. Setup is straightforward, but you’ll quickly notice a couple of unusual things-the latest from Tenda is made to sit only vertically using the included stand, and can’t be positioned horizontally because of port placement. Speaking of which, there are only three gigabit ethernet ports rather than the traditional four- you probably won’t mind, but some some users (and especially business/SOHO users) it might be an issue.
Finally, the aesthetics are a bit divisive- the Tenda AC1900 is certainly distinctive, with a puffy-looking appearance and a shiny surface. Some will find it lovely, but it’s definitely not subtle. We liked one small unique feature- you can have the router dim the lights during specified hours, preventing those distracting LEDs from annoying blinking when you are trying to sleep. The Tenda might not be cutting edge (no MU-MIMO support, for instance), but is is inexpensive and pretty solid- available now, online and in stores, for around $89.99.