There’s no denying that apps are hot property. The craze started with mobile phones and it’s since been picked up by televisions and… routers? Belkin’s new line of wireless N routers supports a range of apps (some of which are third-party applications) that allow you to conduct multimedia operations even if your computers are turned off. For instance, the ‘Torrent Genie’ app will facilitate file downloads even when your computer is powered off, ‘Print Genie’ facilitates wireless printing from any computer on your network and ‘Music Labeller’ automatically identifies and labels songs in your music library. Save for something like Torrent Genie, though, most of the functions of the other apps can realistically be actioned quite easily by your computer. It makes you wonder whether this is just a blatant cash-in on the app buzzword.
Perceived gimmicks aside, though, it’s a pretty decent router in its own right. Setting it up is a breeze, and there are very straightforward instructions included that outline the (very few) steps in a clear manner. Thanks to its dual-band wireless N technology, the data transfer from your router to your computer is as good as it gets (and even supports HD movie streaming, which, along with gaming, is hindered or not even possible on the lesser wireless G protocol). Of course, this is not a modem/router and so you’ll need to already have a separate broadband modem.
PROS: Extremely easy to set up. A fast and reliable router.
CONS: “Apps” seem somewhat gimmicky when it comes to routers and only a handful of them are particularly useful. Router only (ie: you’ll still need a modem of some description for your internet connectivity).
VERDICT: If you already run a wired ADSL2+ modem and you’re looking to go wireless, the Belkin Play Max is definitely worth consideration. If you’re looking to set up a broadband connection from scratch, however, you might be able to find a combo router/modem at a more efficient price.