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Apple AirPort Express

Est. $100
Reviewed by ConsumerSearch
Apple AirPort Express

Pros
  • Streams iTunes
  • Small and portable
  • 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz band selection
Cons
  • Limited parental controls

Bottom Line

Although the Apple AirPort Express is a simultaneous dual-band wireless router, it's primarily designed to stream iTunes to different computers and media devices in your house. Awarded a Bronze Medal by editors of TopTenReviews.com in their 2013 review of wireless routers, the redesigned (2012) AirPort Express is praised for its small form factor and ease of use for both Mac and PC users.

Ease of Use

Super simple. Not much is said of the ease of use of the Apple AirPort Express except that is super simple to set up as either a base station or a bridge. It seems to be taken for granted that Apple products are well-designed for easy setup and use.

Performance

Extremely reliable "powerhouse." The AirPort Express' reliability is unquestionable. Apple AirPort routers in general receive an overall score of 9.1 out of 10 and won PCMag.com's 2011 Readers' Choice Award. Only 2 percent of the more than 250 survey respondents said they had to repair their AirPort router. For covering a house without having multiple networks, this is a well-reviewed option.

Features

Can limit guests' access to the network. The redesigned (2012) Apple AirPort Express includes a second Ethernet port, simultaneous dual-band Wi-Fi and a guest network. They make it "a powerhouse."

While the previous AirPort Express (2008) supported 802.11n networking, you had to make a choice to set the Express to use either the 2.4 Ghz or 5 Ghz band available for 802.11n, not both at the same time (known as simultaneous dual-band). Having both bands available at once in the 2012 AirPort Express (a feature added in 2009 to the Extreme and Time Capsule models) allows your network to perform at the highest possible speeds, no matter how distant a device is from the base station as long as it remains in range of a signal. Now the Express can use the 2.4 GHz band (for all of your 802.11g and earlier devices, as well as iPhones and pre-2006 Macs), and the 5 GHz band (for your new Macs, all iPads and other 5 Ghz-compatible devices), without having to restart the router to switch between them.

The guest feature limits guests' use of your network to Internet access only; they can't use your printers or access the other machines on your network. A built-in firewall and lots of encryption choices round out the key security features.

Where To Buy
Apple AirPort Express Base Station (MC414LL/A)

 
Buy new: $99.00 $97.93   60 Used & new from $59.99

In Stock. Eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping

 

Our Sources

1. PCMag.com

Review Credibility: Very Good Apple AirPort routers in general win the Readers' Choice award. Apple gets an overall score of 9 out of 10 and a 9.2 score for reliability.

Review: Readers' Choice Awards 2011: Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Network Routers, Ben Gottesman, June 22, 2011

2. Macworld

Review Credibility: Very Good Glenn Fleishman says he is delighted with the newly redesigned Apple AirPort Express. He says that the revisions, including a second Ethernet port, simultaneous dual-band Wi-Fi and a guest network, make it "a powerhouse."

Review: New AirPort Express a Tiny Wi-Fi Base Station Powerhouse, Glenn Fleishman, June 25, 2012

3. TopTenReviews.com

Review Credibility: Good Coming in at No. 3 on this list of top routers, the Apple AirPort Express is praised for its ease of use, although editors find its firewall to be lacking. It also has an unusual feature -- it streams iTunes.

Review: Apple AirPort Express, Editors of TopTenReviews.com, As of January 2013

4. MacLife.com

Review Credibility: Good Susie Ochs reports on the updated Apple AirPort Express router, saying that the external changes include a new Ethernet port and a regular power cable.  She calls the Airport Express "a capable, full-featured router for a decent price."

Review: AirPortExpress Review, Susie Ochs, Aug. 13, 2012

5. TechRadar.com

Review Credibility: Good Ian Betterbridge says that with its new design, the Apple Airport Express makes it "a much tougher choice between the AirPort Express and the bigger, more expensive, AirPort Extreme." He says the biggest improvement is in the radio, which now has simultaneous dual-band frequencies.

Review: Apple AirPort Express Review, Ian Betterbridge, July 31, 2012

6. About.com

Review Credibility: Good About.com guide Sam Costello gives the Apple AirPort Express 4.5 out of 5 stars. He says it makes streaming music to different rooms a snap, especially when used with the remote. He calls the setup straightforward and reports very few problems with his router. (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)

Review: Apple AirPort Express Review, Sam Costello, As of January 2013

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