Google WiFi review
WiFi just evolved and made everything that came before it look outdated
- Simple setup
- Excellent long-range performance
- Simple & effective features
- Negates advanced router features
The first mesh WiFi we've tested makes everything that's come before it look out of date. A simple and reliable way to genuinely spread WiFi throughout your home.
Price$ 499.00 (AUD)
We’ve been testing WiFi products for more than ten years and it’s always been a total nightmare. These days at least updating firmware is automatic and products tend to actually work out of the box. But there’s always been the requirement of setting up a network that starts with a wired connection to a router and involves multiple tests to account for the fluctuating environmental conditions and unknowable factors that mean running the same test multiple times leads to wildly-different results. But now Google has sent us its mesh WiFi system. And everything has changed.
Our last WiFi group test revolved around examining the benefits of MU-MIMO technology - something that was supposed to revolutionize speeds (but didn't). We also reviewed WiFi extenders which re-broadcast the existing network seamlessly using the same name. Once everything was all up and running it generally worked well, but the technology still, well, shat the bed on occasion and lost sync or stopped working for short periods with no warning.
Google WiFi's setup involves taking the three hubs out of the sophisticated, Apple-like box. Each has a USB power connection and two Ethernet ports (one on the primary node doubles as a WAN port). They all sport the same, stylish industrial design and have a blue, Cylon-like light at the front (you can adjust the brightness if it’s annoying).
We plugged the first into our router and set it up as normal and, sure enough, it worked as a WiFi access point straight away. However, what we should have done is downloaded the Google WiFi app and set it up using that. This is really easy and involves simply showing a QR code to your mobile device (the QR reader is built into the app). You then get to set the name, password and location before being asked to add the next two nodes.
After setting everything up and waiting a few minutes while updates were automatically downloaded and installed, we had our network running throughout our house.
It’s not supposed to be that easy.
We plugged our primary node into our top-rated Linksys EA9500 router and turned the router’s own WiFi off.
We simplified our testing as decent WiFi, these days, is almost always governed by signal strength and range rather than hardware and new technologies. So we simply used an iPad Pro to run OOKLA’s Speed Test at three points in our house: next to the router, one floor up in the bedroom and one in the attic (two floors up) – all three locations had a WiFi node very near to them so we expected it to instantly beat the scores we saw when we tested the last batch of expensive, high-tech routers. We were not disappointed. Our standard broadband speed is based on Telstra Cable - 114Mb/s download and around 3Mb/s upload.
One floor up
Two floors up
These results are much better and more consistent than the MU-MIMO routers and extenders that we tested last year. Mesh wins. Game over.
AC1200 2x2 Wave 2 WiFi
Expandable mesh WiFi
Simultaneous dual-band WiFi (2.4GHz / 5GHz) supporting IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
Two Gigabit Ethernet ports per access point. WAN and LAN on primary WiFi point; both act as LAN ports on additional WiFi points
Next: Features and Conclusion
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo AX7 review: New looks, same old budget buy
- 2 JBL Free X review: Better battery life comes at a cost
- 3 Samsung Tab S4 review: Freestyle
- 4 Razer Phone 2 review: One for the fans
- 5 Sony WF-SP900 review: One step forward, two steps back
Latest News Articles
- D-Link's D-Fend router arrives on Australian shores
- MWC 2019: Netgear launch M2 mobile router through Telstra
- MWC 2019: HTC's 5G Hub to be "Australia's first 5G mobile device"
- Linksys partner with TrendMicro to offer additional protections for Tri-Band users
- CES 2019: Arlo expand into the smart home, confirm Arlo Ultra pricing
PCW Evaluation Team
This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.
Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications
I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)
It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!
The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.
I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.
- Everything we (already) know about the Samsung Galaxy S10, S10e, S10+ and Galaxy F
- Want to play Apex Legends?
- Huawei Mate 20 Pro review: Full, in-depth, Australian review
- Everything you need to know about Smart TVs
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?