Linksys WRT32X review: An esports-grade router in a class of its own
Price$ 449.00 (AUD)
When it comes to setup, the Linksys 32X gaming router is about as easy to set up as any Linksys router - or, really, any router for that matter. You plug it into your gateway and/or PC, connect to it via either Wi-Fi or ethernet cable and configure away.
It’s hard to really praise the 32X as a paragon of simplicity and accessibility in this regard given that its sits pretty close to the what feels like average these days (which is generally pretty). Still, the easy-going setup experience does deserves at least a (small) nod.
In contrast, the software powering the machine deserves far more credit. The Linksys WRT32X has been built from the ground up with gaming traffic in mind. To that end, the interface controlling everything is super-user friendly. In fact, on some fronts it holds as more user-friendly than the general consumer-grade fare. You can easily pull up the different devices connected to your network and then visually re-order them according to their importance. There’s nothing more intuitive than a good drag-and-drop system, and it’s deployed well here.
Looking forward, the 32X does come designed to automatically pushes software updates to your router overnight - allowing it to get better over time. Again, this isn’t unheard of in consumer-grade routers, but a nice inclusion nevertheless.
Like any router, whether or not the Linksys’ 32X will delivers a good and lag-free gaming experience on an individual basis is absolutely going to depend on a ton of other outside factors and circumstances: from the game you’re playing, the structure of your network, the time of day it is and, of course, the status of your own internet connection.
However, that being said, the pitch for the WRT32X isn’t a guaranteed lag-free experience. It’s a lag-reduced one and, in most cases, optimization is a far more realistic and achievable goal than outright elimination. It shouldn’t surprise then that, in practice, Linksys’ new router proves itself worthy of the task.
Linksys promise improvements in gaming latency of approximately 77% and, while your mileage may vary, our experiences with the router saw improvements that fall with within this ballpark. Realistically, the difference here might not always be huge but it’s definitely noticeable in a way that other gaming routers aren’t.
If you’re willing to properly configure the 32X, you can expect to see some kind of improvement - mostly in speed but also potentially in reliability depending on what you’re upgrading from. The WRT32X touts beamforming and supports speeds of up to 3.2 Gbps.
This is a little bit less than the 4.6Gps offered by comparable gaming routers like the Nighthawk X10. However, on the whole, it’s still a pretty hefty bar being hit.
Update: We've heard some reports of Wi-Fi dropouts following a recent software update for this product. Our experience with the product never saw us encounter any issues with drop-outs but we've reached out to Linksys regardless and will report back.
The Bottom Line
Linksys’ WRT32X gaming router absolutely lives up to its potential, making a compelling case not just for itself but for a whole new class of gaming routers. Dedicated products that understands and caters to the specific needs of their audience and offer them not just good looks but solid features that genuinely improve the experience.
If you can’t tell or feel the difference between a ping of 50 and 15, the premium price on the Linksys’s WRT32X is going to be a hard pill to swallow. However, if you’re invested enough in your online gaming experience to be shopping for a gaming router in the first place, you’d be crazy to overlook this eSports-grade offering.
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