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Linksys XAC1900 Smart Dual-Band Modem Router review: This modem-router looks premium, but doesn't deliver

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The Good The Linksys XAC1900 has comparatively good USB storage performance, individual traffic lights on each Ethernet port, and is wall-mountable.

The Bad The wireless performance and feature set is uninspiring for the price, and the web UI is laggy.

The Bottom Line While a future firmware update could address most of the problems, for now there are better options out there.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

6.7 Overall
  • Setup 7
  • Features 7
  • Performance 6
  • Support 7

Review Sections

Just like Belkin's AC1750DB, the Linksys XAC1900 is split into two components, the router and the power brick with integrated modem. While the choice to split out the modem made Belkin's power brick large, it has somehow made the Linksys gargantuan, requiring a separate figure-eight power cable to be plugged into it to avoid weight and clearance issues. The power brick is around one third the volume of the router, which borders on the absurd.

At a hefty AU$349 in Australia and £199 in the UK, the XAC1900 has a heck of a lot to prove, given the feature-laden competition from the likes of Asus and AVM.

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Dave Cheng/CNET

Design and ease of use

Dressed in mostly matte black, the XAC1900 is one of the more traditional-looking routers I've seen lately, even down to being wall-mountable. It only has the Linksys blinking logo on the front for status lights, which does limit severely what the box can tell you at a glance when something goes wrong. However, unlike every other AC1750/1900 modem-router I've seen recently, the XAC1900 also has individual traffic and link lights above each gigabit Ethernet port on the rear, a serious boon.

Linksys' web interface has two levels of login -- local and online using its My Smart Wi-Fi feature. The latter allows you to use the web interface remotely, as well as through the Linksys Smart Wi-Fi app. Frustratingly the router rejects mobile web access, forcing you to use the app to make any changes.

For the most part, I'd recommend you use the local login. During testing, I ran into an issue where the interface claimed there was an Internet connection problem and wouldn't let me access the settings. The online-based mobile app, meanwhile, worked perfectly fine.

While the desktop interface looks good, it's not at all seamless or responsive, with the Troubleshooting tab in particular being vexingly slow to load.

linksys-waiting.jpg
You'll see this waiting dialogue a lot. Screenshot by Craig Simms

On top of the four gigabit Ethernet ports, the hardware itself offers three detachable aerials, with one USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0 port.

Features

The Linksys UI is pleasant enough, and gives you at-a-glance access to some of its features on the home page.

There's support for both a 2.4GHz and 5GHz guest network, and interestingly the number of guests can be restricted anywhere from 5 to 50 devices, in increments of 5.

linksys-ui.jpg
Screenshot by Craig Simms

While there's no printer capability, Linksys does offer storage support over USB, allowing access via FTP and SMB, while also providing DLNA support. Dynamic DNS is supported via DynDNS.org and TZO.

Much like D-Link's new interface, QoS or "Media Prioritization" is handled by a drag-and-drop mechanism, but caters for devices, applications and games, with more granular details able to be entered by the user if needed. Parental controls are somewhat limited, offering Internet access scheduling and blacklist capability.

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Screenshot by Craig Simms

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