With a street price ranging from $320 to more than $400, Asus' ROG Rapture GT-AC5300 is expensive for a reason. It's the only router on the market that combines powerful hardware specs, eight Gigabit LAN ports and a ton of features geared toward gaming.
If online games are what you care deeply about, this is an excellent router. But that said, for most other home users, theor the will deliver the same experience for less money.
Powerful hardware, common feature set
The GT-5300 looks exactly the same as the RT-AC5300 that came out some two years ago, with a large squarish design and eight antennas. It also shares the same Wi-Fi standard as its older sibling. Both are tri-band routers with two 5-gigahertz bands, each with a top speed of 2,167Mbps. A third 2.4GHz band tops out at 1,000Mbps. The router also supports, allowing it to support devices on multiple Wi-Fi tiers without slowing any of them down.
In fact, the GT-AC5300 shares a common feature set with most previous Asus high end routers, including:
- Dual-WAN: You can turn one of its LAN port into a second WAN port to host two broadband connections at the same time
- Link aggregation: You can combine two of its LAN ports into a single 2Gbps connection, a useful feature if you have a server that also supports this.
- Free life-time built-in protection: The router works with TrendMicro to protect the entire network (including IoT smart devices) against online threats.
- Advanced network monitoring and Quality of Service (QoS, also called Quality of Control) features: You can monitor the traffic in real time and set up QoS to prioritize internet services to individual client in the network.
- Advanced USB-based features: You can use the USB port to host storage devices or other peripheral devices, including a cellular dongle.
Unique gaming features
The GT-AC5300 is also very different from the RT-AC5300, with eight LAN ports instead of four. (The Asus RT-AC88U -- which is basically a dual-band version of the RT-AC5300 -- also has eight LAN ports.) More ports means you can connect more devices using network cables, something that works better for games than connecting via Wi-Fi. The GT-AC5300 also doubles the amount of system memory to 512MB and internal flash memory to 1GB.
What makes the GT-AC5300 really stand out is its support for online gaming. Most of the router's features have many preconfigured settings to support hundreds of popular games. For example, if you want Diablo 3 to have priority on your home network, you can just select it from a list, instead of having to program all the settings manually. Best of all, the router can work as a WTFast client, allowing it to automatically connect to the Gamers Private Network (GPN). With this in place, your entire home network is part of GPN and you won't need to run WTFast on your computer anymore. GPN automatically selects the best server for any game you're playing, allowing for the best possible connection with the lowest latency.
Daunting interface, limited mobile app
The support for games also brings about a drawback, however; specifically the interface. The GT-AC5300's interface is similar to that of the RT-AC5300 or the RT-AC88U. It's quite well-organized, and for the most part is easy to use, but the ROG (Republic of Gamers) theme, with bright red colors and tons of animated graphics, can, to the uninitiated, be confusing at best and daunting at worst.