- Great design
- Strong app support
- Touchscreen display on router
- Massive extenders
- App crashes on Android
Amplifi’s HD Mesh WiFi Router is the latest in a series of ‘mesh’ wireless home network solutions, designed to serve up fast WiFi connectivity to every part of your household. Here’s our full review of this smart and tidy setup, one of the best mesh solutions around right now.
If you’re living in a reasonably sized house, chances are your WiFi router is struggling to throw out a respectable signal to every corner. Which can of course be immensely frustrating, as you find yourself wandering from room to room looking for a signal on your phone.
Which is where mesh home networks come in. These mesh solutions acknowledge that everyone has a different size and shape of house, and a little helping hand may be needed to boost the WiFi signal in certain rooms. That’s why the main router is supported by secondary network points, which can be placed anywhere around the household where the signal is weak. These communicate directly with the router and output their own wireless signal, for nearby devices to connect to.
Google WiFi is one of the more popular mesh networks right now, although we’re seeing lots of competition in this space. BT has its own Whole Home WiFi package, for instance, while the Netgear Orbi is particularly smart. All of these come with their own smartphone app too, for quick and simple setup and administration.
The Amplifi HD Mesh WiFi Router is another rival that’s just arrived in the UK from the States. As with the rest of the competition, you have a single hub router which speaks to other network points, for a strong signal wherever you roam in your household. There’s also full Android and iOS app support, while the router itself can provide some useful info on demand. And best of all, Amplifi’s solution is the neatest and slickest in terms of design that we’ve tested, which will really please anyone who likes to keep a tidy household.
Here’s our in-depth Amplifi HD Mesh WiFi review, and check out our round-up of the best mesh home network solutions for more inspiration.
Amplifi HD Mesh WiFi Router Review: Design
For a start, this is one of the more originally shaped routers. The main Amplifi HD box is a cube that looks more like a funky alarm clock than a WiFi device, complete with a clean and attractive plain white finish. An LED strip runs along the base of the router and glows when in use (although this is completely customisable, via the app).
On the front of the router you’ll find a square display that by default shows the current time (hence the alarm clock comparison). This is actually a touchscreen panel, so a quick tap of the screen cycles through various information panels. You can check out the accumulative download and upload figures, for instance, or check out how many devices are currently connected.
Like the LED strip, this display is completely customisable. You can set it to turn off during set hours, or disable it entirely if you like.
The compact and subtle design work means that the router fits in neatly with any kind of furniture and setup. Likewise, the mesh WiFi extenders are well designed, to be as tidy as possible.
Most of these secondary WiFi points sport a similar design to the main router; they’re usually some form of box, which plugs via a cable into the mains. They therefore have to be sat on some surface or simple pushed away in the corner of the room, which is usually a messy solution. However, the Amplifi HD extenders actually plug directly into the mains, shunning cables entirely. The result is very smart and unobtrusive.
Well, fairly unobtrusive in any case. We think it’s fair that these extenders could happily be described as ‘rather massive’, with the antenna packed inside a long strip that pokes out in any direction you wish to point it. All the better for pumping out a strong signal, of course.
Sleek design that defies convention, means the Amplifi HD blends perfectly into your home with as little clutter or trailing cables as possible.
Those extenders really could be used to club someone to death.
Amplifi HD Mesh WiFi Router Review: Setup
Setting up the Amplifi HD Mesh WiFi Router and its extenders is an almost identical process to any other mesh solutions out there. Just plug the router into your internet point and download the Amplifi app onto your smartphone (Android or iPhone) and you’ll be guided through the process.
I did see the Android app crash a couple of times during setup, unfortunately, and so swapped to iOS instead (as I happened to have both to hand). This seemed to work better, and after entering all of our network provider details, the router was churning out our WiFi network. You can of course name this yourself and set the password to whatever, so if you’re replacing an old router, the transition should be seamless for your connected devices.
With that done, you can decide on the best positions for your extenders. When plugged in, these connect automatically to the router in around two or three minutes, with feedback via the signal LEDs on the extenders themselves as well as the network hub of the app.
App control with support for Android and iOS keeps things as simple as possible.
Our Android app crashed a couple of times, which may have been a compatibility issue with our device or simply borked software.
Amplifi HD Mesh WiFi Router Review: Performance and app
After two weeks of testing, I have absolutely no complaints with the Amplifi HD Mesh WiFi Router or its extenders.
With two extenders in place, I can get a perfect signal from every area of my two-storey, three-bedroom house, including out in the garden. I haven’t had to reset the routers a single time due to a dropped connection or similar issue, while 4K video streaming and online gaming prove no problem whatsoever.
Through Amplifi’s app you can see your network health at a glance, as well as all connected clients and the current bandwidth being used. If you want to knock a connected device from the WiFi, that’s easy enough, while you can even pause the internet connectivity for everything at a single tap.
Additional family members can be made admins, to give them full control, or you can set up a profile for them and their devices and limit their WiFi allowance. Good news for parents of YouTube-obsessed kids. A guest network option is also available, so visitors can enjoy limited network connectivity.
If something was to go wrong, the app can even help you to diagnose what’s gone wrong and offer advice on how to get things up and running again.
The app offers a solid array of features to rival the likes of Google WiFi, as well as full diagnosis tools. And so far, we haven’t seen any technical issues to speak of.
Not much, really.
Amplifi HD Mesh WiFi Router Review: Verdict
The Amplifi HD Mesh WiFi solution is one of the best Google WiFi alternatives that we’ve tested in 2017. The tidy design, reliable performance and feature-packed app make for a smart and stress-free home network experience, well suited to any kind of user – even demanding streamers and gamers.