A strong contender in the budget category, the Cisco Linksys E1200 single-band wireless router is featured in several top router lists. It wins the gold medal in TopTenReviews.com's roundup of the best wireless routers of 2012, and is called one of the 10 best units of 2011 by PCMag.com, where it receives an Editors' Choice award.
Even so, the unit's speed performance gets mixed reviews. PCMag.com says its throughput and range are "excellent." But in tests performed at SmallNetBuilder.com, the E1200's speed is slightly less than that of the Cisco Valet (*Est. $45), though it performs better in weak signal locations. Dong Ngo of CNET calls the router "underpowered but super-easy to use," which highlights the E1200's role as a starter unit with no bells and whistles. Several hundred users posting at BestBuy.com and Amazon.com are generally pleased with the Linksys E1200's performance, giving it an average of 4.5 and 4 stars out of 5, respectively.
The E1200 comes with the Cisco Connect software to ease installation, and both experts and users say novices can be comfortable using this router. Other features include parental controls, adequate security and password-protected guest networking. Parents can decide when and how their kids browse the Internet, and can block access at specific times. Further security is established by a "hackproof" firewall, and a guest network that can prohibit guests from using any attached printer on the network and from accessing the host's files and personal data. One downside of the E1200, say several users on Amazon.com, is that they experienced problems that required them to contact Cisco technical support, for which they were charged a fee.
Professional reviews all place the Linksys E1200 highly in their ratings. TopTenReviews.com evaluates its features, ease of use, security and customer support, while reviewers at CNET, PCMag.com and SmallNetBuilder.com test the router's performance. Between BestBuy.com and Amazon.com, more than 400 users share their experiences with this unit.
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Review Credibility: Excellent Calling the Cisco Linksys E1200 "underpowered but super-easy to use," Dong Ngo gives it 3 out of 5 stars. He says this single-band router with no bells and whistles is a good starting model for novice users.
Review: Linksys E1200 Wireless-N Router, Dong Ngo, Aug. 29, 2011
Review Credibility: Very Good Listed among the 10 best routers of 2011 by PCMag.com, the Cisco Linksys E1200 earns an Editors' Choice award for its throughput and range, and it is called the best single-band router.
Review: Cisco Linksys E1200 Wireless-N Router, Samara Lynn, April 13, 2011
3. Small Net Builder.com
Review Credibility: Very Good In this shorter review, Tim Higgins favorably compares the Cisco Linksys E1200 to the more expensive E1500 model, saying the SpeedBoost feature of the E1500 isn't worth the extra cost. He adds that throughput stability is good but not perfect.
Review: New to the Charts: Cisco Linksys E1200 Wireless-N Router, Tim Higgins, April 26, 2011
Review Credibility: Good Winning the Gold Award in this 2013 roundup of wireless routers, the Cisco Linksys E1200 ranks highly, especially because of its hackproof firewall and affordable price. It earns full marks in all categories -- features, security, ease of use and support. However, this review doesn't include performance tests.
Review: Linksys E1200, Editors of TopTenReviews.com, As of January 2013
Review Credibility: Good The Cisco Linksys E1200 gets an overall score of about 4 out of 5 stars from more than 500 Amazon.com customers. While the unit's ease of setup and use earn praise, several owners complain about problems that required them to use Cisco's help line, for which they were charged a fee.
Review: Linksys E1200 Wireless-N Router, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of January 2013
Review Credibility: Good More than 70 users post comments on the Linksys E1200 at the Newegg.com website, and about 50 percent award the router the maximum rating of 5 stars. Some users liked its ease of installation as well as its reliability, while others complained that the router died after about a year.
Review: Customer Reviews of the Linksys E1200, Contributors to Newegg.com, As of January 2013