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CNET First Look
Apple's new AirPort Base Stations are so pretty and full of magicCNET editor Dong Ngo dabbles in the realm of magic tricks with the help of Apple's 802.11ac-enabled AirPort Extreme Base Station and Time Capsule
Hi, guys. Dong Ngo here. I have some great news. Finally Apple have just opened its huge can of magic on the 802.11ac, or ac for short, Wi-Fi standard. You know the one that gives you the speed of up to 1.3 gigabit per second. On my left here is the all-new AirPort Extreme Base Station and on my right is the all-new Time Capsule. You know what? Let me do a trick. There you go. I just sweep them around without moving them at all. Now I could do that because these two here are basically identical. The only difference is that the Time Capsule comes with internal storage and the AirPort Extreme doesn't. That means without the box this here you have no idea which one is which, really. But don't worry. Apple had this very clever way of making sure that you do. Well, the price. Now the AirPort Extreme here costs $199, one of the most expensive home router on the market and the Time Capsule, how does that, big, costing $299 or $399 depending on the storage be it 2 terabyte or 3 terabyte. Now if you pay that much, I'm sure you know which one is which really, unless of course if you have them both, like me. But in that case, you don't care. It's just money, you know. Now what do you get for the money? A lot. First of all, these two are true dual-band Wi-Fi routers, meaning they support all existing Wi-Fi client on the market regardless of their standard all platforms. The Time Capsule here can also be used for Time Machine backup wirelessly and also for data sharing. On the back, both of them come with 3 LAN ports and 1 WAN port, all of them are gigabit and there's also a USB 2.0 here to host another storage device or a printer. Now for the first time these 2 devices come in exactly the same in size. Now Apple called these to top-down approach to design. I only call it bottom up. Either way, it's just really beautiful. Take a look at the previous design like this one here. This is the old AirPort Extreme. As you can see it's kind of squarish, wide, and short. Now the new one here is thinner, actually very thin, up to 75 percent smaller footprint. And take a look, now the Time Capsule here actually is very, really very larger than the internal drive it has on the inside as you can see here. It's amazing really. Now the new design is also a lot taller or longer if you want to use it this way, up to 6.6 inch tall. Generally I believe that thinner, taller, and longer are very attractive. Just look at me. Despite the new design, these devices are still very easy to use. Apple made sure that this is the case by offering the AirPort utility as the only way to set up and manage these routers. You can use a computer or an iOS device to manage your network. Another reason why it's easy to use because there's not much for you to change or customize as these offer less feature and option than other similar products. Now about the performance in my testing they actually worked very well, but since when have you decided to buy an Apple product because of its performance? Exactly. For more on performance, check out the full review at CNET.com. In the end you can find yourself rushing to the store to buy one of these pretty fast even if that means you have to take out a second mortgage on your home. All right. No judging. I did that too. I've got these both, but I did pay with cash though and that's only because I'm Dong Ngo and this has been the First Look at the all new AirPort Base Stations from Apple. Your Wi-Fi and possibly your life will never be the same again.