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TP-Link M5350

Andrew Unsworth
21 Sep 2014
Expert Reviews Recommended Logo
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
40
inc VAT

No wireless access for a microSD card, but otherwise the M5350 is a good portable 3G router and a bargain

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Specifications

Modem: 3G, Wi-Fi standard: 802.11n, Stated speed: , USB ports: 0, Wall mountable: no

The TP-Link M5350 is a good-looking portable 3G router that lets up to 10 devices connect to the internet while you’re out and about. The M5350 also has a microSD slot, and you can insert microSD cards up to 32GB in size. You will, of course, you’ll have to insert a full-size 3G data SIM to get internet access.

Setting up the M5350 is a doddle, and no more difficult than setting up a mobile phone. You open it up and insert your SIM card and a microSD card. You then insert the battery and close the lid. Having the SIM and microSD cards located inside the battery compartment keeps the M5350’s exterior looking pretty and flap-free, but it does mean you have to open it up and remove the battery to take them out. That isn’t much of an issue with the SIM card, but it is with the microSD card, potentially.

We say potentially because you can’t access the contents of the microSD card wirelessly. This is a real shame, because it would’ve been great to share commonly needed documents, music and videos across a network. We’d happily pay more for the M5350 if it had wireless microSD card access and a built-in media server. As it is, you connect the M5350 to a PC with a microSD cable and access the card as though it’s a removable disk.

Switch on the M5350, and it should configure itself and connect to your mobile internet service provider (ISP) automatically. We had no trouble connecting to our Three account, and the M5350 booted up and connected pretty quickly.

You have to press the power button for five seconds to switch on the M5350, but this is a good thing, as it means it’s much less likely to be switched on accidentally in your bag and waste battery power and your data allowance.

The M5350’s monochrome OLED screen provides all the information you need to know at a glance, such as the strength of the mobile signal, the name of your mobile ISP and the amount of data used, among others. The M5350’s screen is small compared to some other portable routers, such as the Huawei E5756, but the clarity of the icons is such that we could see them even without our glasses. We’d still prefer a larger screen, though.

CONNECT AND CONFIGURE

TP-Link doesn’t state the M5350’s maximum connection speed, but we connected to the device with two separate laptops, and the connection speed of each was 72Mbit/s. That’s plenty for browsing the web and streaming music and web-based videos. Sadly, it’s impossible for us to accurately test the range of the TP-Link M5350 because it doesn’t have an Ethernet port. However, we were still connected at 25 metres. Web pages loaded pretty quickly at this distance, and we could even watch low-resolution YouTube videos, but we couldn’t stream a movie through the Sky Go app. This is pretty impressive performance.

You can change the M5350’s various settings via its well-designed web interface, which is clearly laid out and easy to comprehend. The M5350 is a portable 3G router, so there are much fewer options than you’d see on a proper router. However, you can change the wireless security type and password for the Wi-Fi connection, configure DHCP and configure the internet connection properties, should the M5350 not automatically connect. There’s also an SMS screen in which you can compose and read text messages.

The M5350 has a 2,000mAh battery which TP-Link says should last 7-10hrs in light use and 6-7 hours if you use a lot of bandwidth. That means you should get the best part of a week’s use out of it if you just use it to browse the web on your commute.

The TP-Link M5350 is a pretty device that works well, and at £40 it’s a bargain. At 92.5g the M5350 is lighter than the 150g Huawei E5756 we regularly use, and it’s also much prettier. It’s a shame that you can’t access the M5350’s microSD card wirelessly, but if you want an attractive and cheap portable 3G router, you should buy the TP-Link M5350.

HARDWARE
Modem3G
Wi-Fi standard802.11n
Channels2.4GHz
Stated speedNot disclosed
SecurityWPA-PSK, WPA2-PSK (AES, TKIP)
YesNo
WAN portsNo
LAN ports0
USB ports0
Wall mountableNo
Size94x19.8x56.7mm
SOFTWARE
Guest networksNone
Media serverNone
USB servicesNone
DDNS servicesNone
BUYING INFORMATION
Price including VAT£40
WarrantyThree-year RTB
Supplierwww.currys.co.uk
Detailswww.tp-link.com
Part codeM5350