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You are here: Wireless Wireless Reviews Belkin Play Max Wireless Router Reviewed - Wireless Performance-Competitive, Closing Thoughts

Belkin Play Max Wireless Router Reviewed - Wireless Performance-Competitive, Closing Thoughts

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Wireless Performance - Competitive

For a competitive comparison, I generated a Wireless Comparison Table for three simultaneous dual band N routers: Cisco / Linksys WRT400N, NETGEAR WNDR3700 and D-Link DIR-815 [B1]. Figure 18 shows that the Play Max wins only one of the four 2.4 GHz band tests, although it ties many times in individual locations tests.

Wireless performance comparison - 2.4 GHz band

Figure 18: Wireless performance comparison - 2.4 GHz band

Figure 19 shows that the Play Max doesn't win any of the four benchmarks, although it again ties other routers in many locations.

Wireless performance comparison - 5 GHz band

Figure 19: Wireless performance comparison - 5 GHz band

As I said, these results are a mixed bag. If Belkin can get its link rate adjust algorithms straightened out, I'm sure the rankings could improve.

Closing Thoughts

Both Cisco and Belkin have recently revamped their consumer N router lineups in hopes of rekindling interest in a product segment that has become both confusing for novices and boring for old hands.

Belkin's main thrusts with its new N router lineup were to simplify selection and setup for consumers and offer unique features that buyers won't be able to resist. In the end, I think they did a reasonable job on the first goal, but missed the second by a lot.

Although Belkin did a good job with ease of setup, Cisco's new Cisco Connect software offered on its Valet and E series routers clearly has the edge. The USB key on the Valets works easily on netbooks and other notebooks that no longer have optical drives. And although you have to run it from a CD on the E series line, it still works the same, while skipping the Valet's price premium.

While it's nice to have cables already plugged in and a card that provides wireless security info that just has to be entered into a client, there still is plenty of opportunity for a newbie to screw up with Belkin's process. With Cisco's approach, the chances of failure are greatly reduced.

I prefer a router with network activity link / activity lights, while others may prefer Belkin's more minimalist design that has only a few LEDs.  I liked that you can choose different security settings for your guest wireless network. But was disappointed that the “café mode” didn’t work nearly as seamlessly as the guest network on the Cisco Valet M10 did.

The real disappointment is in Belkin's apps, which I don't think will win the hearts of consumers as much as Belkin hopes. Belkin did the right thing by covering both Windows and Mac OS platforms from the get-go. But the apps themselves are poorly documented and, at least in my experience, somewhat buggy, leaving a feeling more like you get from sifting through all the junk that comes loaded on new PCs than feeling good about spending the extra money to buy some nifty and useful features.

Though the Memory Safe backup did perform regular backups, they all seemed to be full backups, which when run hourly, could quickly exhaust your attached storage.  So I wouldn’t use it on a regular basis.  I might have used the Daily DJ. But iTunes' Genius feature already does an adequate job in this department and I didn't have to pay a thing for it.  And although the Play Max includes a DLNA server, it doesn't support iTunes serving, something I'd find more useful.

Since the Torrent Genie is one of key features that differentiate the $130 Play Max from its $100 Play sibling, I had expected more complete information on how to use it and how to tie it in with the supplied Vuze software. But it's more an exercise left to the buyer, which once again, doesn't impress.

Apps complaints aside, the Play Max at around $120 street, represents a good value for a simultaneous, dual-band router with Gigabit LAN and WAN ports. The comparable Cisco Gigabit dual-band router, the E3000, is street priced $30 higher at $150, as is the NETGEAR WNDR3700. But if you can live without built-in Torrent downloading (that I couldn't figure out how to get working) and Gigabit ports, then get the Play instead, which is currently going for as low as $80 street!




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Average user rating from: 9 user(s)

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Junk

Overall rating: 
 
2.0
Features:
 
4.0
Performance:
 
1.0
Reliability:
 
1.0
Reviewed by no
November 02, 2011
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For a consumer grade router with consumer grade firmware it has a lot of features, but like others have said it keeps losing connection to the internet. I have to unplug it, wait, plug it in. I cannot do a soft reset and make it work, I can only do a hard reset to get it to work again. Also the "virtual servers" port forwarding glitched somehow and just duplicated the last port settings through the whole list and wouldnt let me change them. Do not buy it, this is junk. I am going to reflash the firmware to DD-WRT as soon as i get a chance.

 

What a disapointment!

Overall rating: 
 
1.3
Features:
 
2.0
Performance:
 
1.0
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1.0
Reviewed by Mark Nicholas
October 01, 2011
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I so badly needed to extend my wireless range so I eventually bought the Play Max (at a rude price) to replace my old Belkin 54g.

My 54g gets a better range than the Play Max and the internet speed is about 10x faster on the old 54g. So it's back to the store........I guess Belkin have lost the plot - the old router is nearly 10 years old and still works fine but just doesn't have the range I need

 

Excellent once all Vista drivers updated

Overall rating: 
 
5.0
Features:
 
5.0
Performance:
 
5.0
Reliability:
 
5.0
Reviewed by Rossco
October 20, 2010
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I was going to be one of the Belkin hate squad as I was having issues for 5 days trying to get it to work on Vista I realised my iPhone was connecting to it without issue so the problem pointed back to my pc. With a little patience and updating my WLAN drivers the Belkin Play Max is running like a dream. Congratulations Belkin.

 

Have to agree -- very disappointing

Overall rating: 
 
2.0
Features:
 
4.0
Performance:
 
1.0
Reliability:
 
1.0
Reviewed by Simon
September 08, 2010
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I was so looking forward to a faster wireless experience but it really isn't much faster than a 3 year old Netgear (I timed it) and as someone says, it keeps losing connection to the internet which is just crazy

 

PlayMax router is crap...

Overall rating: 
 
1.0
Features:
 
1.0
Performance:
 
1.0
Reliability:
 
1.0
Reviewed by John
August 18, 2010
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Fast when it works, the problem is it NEVER works. While surfing, every third page or so you get a server not found error or a connection reset error. If you are lucky, you only have to refresh or hit try again and MAYBE you will get the page. If not, at the very least you have to reset your connection or worse reboot your modem and router. once you reset the router it works fine for about three minutes, then you are back to the error messages. You would be better off using a dial up connection than this piece of garbage. I thought I was getting a good deal when I found the Play Max for $90, boy was I wrong. From reading others' comments here, it seems I am not alone. Avoid this router.

 
 
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