Google has recently released their latest take on a Wi-Fi router and according to tests, it is a pretty impressive device—or rather, a set of them.
What distinguishes Google Wifi from an ordinary router is the fact that Google Wifi works on a principle called the “mesh router system,” meaning that there are multiple devices set up around the area that the network needs to cover.
Look / Appearance
Google Wifi hardware comes as a single unit or a set of two or three units. Each unit has a design based on a hockey-puck, meaning that each unit is circular, with a diameter of 106mm and a height of 69mm, and colored white.
Each unit has two Ethernet ports and a single USB Type-C port used for a power supply system located under it. Each unit also has a thin LED strip surrounding it, located in the middle and splitting into the top and bottom halves.
What sets Google Wifi apart from other routers on the market is not the internet speed that it can put out, but rather the amount of ground it can cover with its signal. If distributed properly, a three-unit setup can cover up to 4,500 square feet (around 418 square meters) with a consistently strong signal. To be more specific, a Google Wifi unit can broadcast at a maximum speed of around 470Mbit per second. That is much more than any non-enthusiast user will ever need.
Another notable quality of Google Wifi that distinguishes it from competitors is the fact that the device will actively search for the clearest channel on which to broadcast (2.4 GHz or 5 GHz), while also searching for the best positioned unit for broadcasting. The transition from one unit to another is seamless and will not drop the connection or even stall it.
Feel / Materials Used
Each Google Wifi unit is identical and has a casing that consists of a durable plastic with a blue, LED band wrapping around the middle of the device. It feels relatively sturdy and unlikely to receive damage from falling off of lesser heights like a cupboard or a work desk.
The fact that the device has no movable or removable sections—like antennas—makes it less prone to breaking, as such parts can sometimes be quite flimsy in design.
Functionality and ease-of-use is where Google Wifi really shines. As with all other Google products, Google Wifi is designed to be as simple and user-friendly as possible without hampering its functionality. This is particularly good news for the average user who will often shy away from the thought of having to set up a home network on their own.
The setup process is probably the easiest to complete on the market and usually takes less than half an hour, even for people who have never done this before.
After taking the unit(s) from the package, you simply plug the Ethernet cable into your modem and place the other end of it into one of the units. It does not matter which unit is used as a “master-router,” and each unit can fulfill that role.
The next step is to download the Google Wifi app from Google Play or iTunes. The app is used as a software component of the setup as well as a management tool after the setup is complete.
After the download is complete, just scan the QR code on the unit used as “master-router,” enter the name of the network, set the password, and the setup is complete. In case there are more units to be added to the network (there is a maximum of six units), just scan their codes after the network is set up, give them a name for reference (e.g. living room, kitchen, study…) and the units will start broadcasting a Wi-Fi signal immediately.
The app also comes with some neat features like determining the best position for each unit, signal measuring depending on the distance, and even a priority list in case a certain device needs a stronger signal than others during a certain period of time (perfect for gaming or streaming high-quality videos).
- AC1200 2×2 Wave 2 Wi-Fi
- Dual-band Wi-Fi which supports IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz and 5GHz)
- 2 Ethernet ports
- WAN and LAN ports
- Infineon SLB 9615
- 512MB RAM
- 4GB eMMC flash
- Quad-core ARM CPU, 710 MHz
- 15W power adapter
- Around 9W used
Price and Rating
Pricing is one of Google Wifi’s stronger suits compared to its competitors. While the device does not come cheap in itself, if we take a look at the alternatives, the price difference becomes more than evident.
As it stands, a single unit Google Wifi device costs $129 the U.S. and £129 in the U.K. For people looking to buy more than a single unit, a two-unit pack will set them back $229 in the U.S. and £229 in the U.K., while the three-unit pack costs $268 in the U.S. and has not yet been released in other parts of the world.
Similar devices like the Eero have a cost of $499 for a three-unit pack, while the Netgear Orbi or Linksys Velop cost $400 for a two-unit pack. If we compare the devices like this, it becomes clear that Google Wifi is a much more affordable and therefore more attractive offer, albeit for a regular user.
Despite being a little bit weaker compared to its competitors when it comes to the speed of the broadcasted Wi-Fi, the Google Wifi makes up for it in the sheer coverage that it can provide.
Couple that with an extremely easy and straightforward setup procedure and low price, and we have an excellent product for people living in larger houses or having a big office space but do not need extreme internet speeds or just can’t be bothered with complex network setups.