The Cisco Linksys E4200 is positioned as a wireless router for today's "multi-use, multimedia" home networks. Innovative in both design and technology, it sets the standard for the next wave of Wi-Fi router technology, experts say, and it's highly reviewed by many.The Linksys E4200 has a sleek, compact, matte black design that wins praise from expert reviewers, even those who don't typically comment on aesthetics. Reviewers recommend this router for use with Mac computers as well as Windows PCs.
Almost fail-safe setup. Hundreds of users at Amazon.com and Newegg.com give the Linksys E4200 an overall rating of 4 out of 5 stars; in particular they praise its easy setup process. Cisco's Connect software provides an "almost fail-safe setup" that allows both novice and experienced users to fully benefit from this router. However, some reviewers and users are unhappy with the support Cisco provides. While online help in the form of FAQs and forums is always available, phone support comes at an extra cost.
Impressive speed. The Linksys E4200 allows for a theoretical throughput speed of 450 Mbps, the fastest in the industry, but only on the 5 GHz band. However, Samara Lynn of PCMag.com says this impressive speed is achievable only in a controlled setting using specifically compatible adapters. Yet the E4200 still has an impressive throughput speed under normal circumstances, according to CNET's Dong Ngo, who finds it faster in both bands than the Netgear WNDR3700 (Est. $85) and the Apple AirPort Extreme (Est. $200). Lynn disagrees; in her tests, the E4200 was slower than the Linksys E2000 and E3000 (discontinued) models. Some users posting on Amazon.com, along with PC World Australia's reviewer, also say the E4200's throughput is slower than expected.
The latest version of the E4200, v2, looks exactly like the first version as all the changes are on the inside. These changes include a new chip that delivers a theoretical speed of 450 Mbps on both the radio streams.
Sleek design but limited guest network. The E4200 is a simultaneous dual-band router, which reviewers recommend for those with high-end home theater equipment, the latest gaming consoles or many different devices that use the Internet or share media. As with most premium routers, the Linksys E4200 has 4 GbE ports and one USB 2.0 port. Its NAS functionality is called "basic and disappointing" by some reviewers, and Dong Ngo of CNET says the E4200 should be used for only casual, small file sharing.
Reviewers comment favorably on the sleek, compact design of the Linksys E4200, as well as its ease of setup and use. Pros like its "gorgeous design" and "jewelry box" look, and they say this is one router you won't have to hide away. The Cisco Connect software allows the lights at the back of the casing to be shut off -- a bonus for those who have the router in a bedroom -- and an "almost fail-safe setup" configures basic router tasks with very little user input. More experienced techies can customize the settings through the advanced features interface.
Users do identify some drawbacks, however: The E4200 comes with only one USB 2.0 port, and its guest network is only available in the 2.4 GHz band and is limited to 10 guests, usually enough for home use. Parental controls are limited to the blocking of eight URLs, but parents can control the times that children can access the Internet.
Review Credibility: Excellent The Cisco Linksys E4200 is named one of the top five routers of 2011 that will still be relevant in 2012, and its design and ease of use are described as suitable for both novice and experienced users. Dong Ngo says the unit's performance rates it as the fastest true dual-band router he has tested.
Review: Linksys E4200 Maximum Performance Dual-Band Wireless-N Router, Dong Ngo, Jan. 19, 2011
Review Credibility: Good More than 600 users give the Cisco Linksys E4200 an overall rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars. While some owners praise its speed, others say the router's not as fast as they expected. Many highlight the E4200's stability and reliability.
Review: Cisco-Linksys E4200 Dual-Band Wireless-N Router, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of January 2013
Review Credibility: Very Good Samara Lynn calls the Cisco Linksys E4200 the "router of the future," a cross-platform unit suitable for tomorrow's multimedia home and business needs. With its innovative design and sleek styling, the E4200 delivers excellent throughput speed, Lynn says, though it's not as fast as advertised. She gives the unit 4 out of 5 stars.
Review: Cisco Linksys E4200 Maximum Performance Wireless-N Router, Samara Lynn, Jan. 19, 2011
Review Credibility: Very Good Jon Jacobi awards the Cisco Linksys E4200 4 out of 5 mice for its great features and performance, as well as its sleek styling. The unit is similar to the Linksys E3000 (discontinued), with the addition of 450 Mbps wireless. Jacobi calls the E4200 the company's new top wireless router. This review also appears in PC World.
Review: Cisco Linksys E4200, Jon L. Jacobi, March 10, 2011
5. Small Net Builder.com
Review Credibility: Very Good The Cisco Linksys E4200 receives high praise from Tim Higgins, who calls it "a winner" and says it may draw users away from Netgear's WNDR3700, even though it lacks a few of that unit's features. In addition to the E4200's performance, he likes its Danish-modern styling.
Review: Cisco Linksys E4200 Maximum Performance Wireless-N Router Reviewed, Tim Higgins, Jan. 25, 2011
Review Credibility: Good The Cisco Linksys E4200 nabs the top spot in TopTenReviews.com's 2013 list of premium wireless routers. Its ability to simultaneously stream media to several devices makes it attractive to homes and businesses that use multimedia. The unit earns full marks for features, capabilities and security, but it falls short on support and help.
Review: Linksys E4200, Editors of TopTenReviews.com, As of January 2013
7. Laptop Magazine
Review Credibility: Good John Brandon calls the Cisco Linksys E4200 the "most powerful and versatile router yet." He gives it 4 out of 5 stars for its excellent performance and range, but he explains that you need a high-end laptop Wi-Fi card for best results.
Review: Linksys E4200 Maximum Performance Dual-Band N Router Review, John Brandon, May 16, 2011
8. PC World (Australia)
Review Credibility: Good Here the Cisco Linksys E4200 earns 3.5 out of 5 stars, and it is praised for its dual-band functions and USB storage port. In his tests, however, Elias Plastiras records slower than expected speeds and calls the transfer rate from hard drives "sluggish."
Review: Linksys E4200 Dual-Band Wireless Router, Elias Plastiras, May 11, 2011
Review Credibility: Good Although he likes this router's stylish design, it's the Cisco Linksys E4200's performance that leads Michael Brown to rate it above the E3000 (discontinued). He has problems hooking up cables with connectors on the end, but he likes the improvements to Cisco's Connect software.
Review: Linksys E4200 Review, Michael Brown, Aug. 8, 2011
Review Credibility: Good Brown explains that the Linksys E4200v2 looks exactly like the first version, as all the changes are on the inside. These changes include a new chip that delivers a theoretical speed of 450 Mbps on both radio streams.
Review: Cisco Linksys E4200v2 Review, Michael Brown, May 28, 2012