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TP-Link Touch P5 review

Alan Lu
20 Mar 2016
TP-Link Touch P5
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
130
inc VAT

A router with a touchscreen, but it’s more of a gimmick than a lifesaver

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Specifications

Modem: None, Wi-Fi standard: 802.11ac, Stated speed: 1300Mbit/s, USB ports: 1x USB3, 1x USB2, Wall mountable: Yes

Routers used to be mysterious, esoteric, inscrutable boxes of jargon and pain. Thanks to successive generations of refinement, though, they’re now much easier to configure and use than ever before. Even so, anything that makes routers more pleasurable to set up and maintain is highly desirable, so I had high hopes for the TP-Link Touch P5. This router, as its name suggests, comes equipped with a touchscreen for easy set up.

The 4.3in touchscreen has a resolution of 480x272 pixels and was reasonably responsive to our prods, strokes and swipes. Its interface looks very similar to iOS with the same grid of icons acting as a home screen, and an almost identical typography and menu style. It’s this familiar structure that makes the touchscreen interface easy to use.

Check out our top wireless routers

The onscreen setup wizard isn’t really any different from the browser-based setup wizards of rival routers. Nonetheless, it is very straightforward, so I had the P5 up and running within minutes of taking it out of the box. Almost all of the router’s settings, with the exception of IP6, NAT forwarding and USB options, can be adjusted using the touchscreen.

TP-Link Touch P5 display

I'm not sure why you’d want to, though, as due to the physical design of the P5, it’s generally easier to do so from your computer or mobile device. For better or worse, most routers tend to live in hard to reach nooks and crannies, such as on top of bookcases, in entertainment centres or on hallway stands. This, combined with the screen’s flat, horizontal orientation and the fact that the router is impossible to stand upright, make hovering over it and prodding the touchscreen rather fussy and uncomfortable.

It also makes the touchscreen’s one really useful and long-term feature, namely its constant display of your guest network SSID and password, less convenient for your guests than a simple post-it note with the same details scrawled on it.

There is, of course, more to the P5 than its somewhat gimmicky touchscreen. It stands out with its glossy black tessellated appearance, although the rest of the team was firmly divided between those who found it attractive and those who found it a bit garish.

TP-Link Touch P5 rear

It has the same tabbed web administration interface as other TP-Link routers, so it’s straightforward to set up, configure and administer the old-fashioned way. It has the same extra features as other TP-Link routers, such as basic parental controls, the ability to share a USB printer or disk with all the computers on your network and threadbare Dynamic DNS support.

802.11n performance on the 2.4GHz band was reasonably good, with speeds of 38Mbit/s at 10m and 27.2Mbit/s at 25m. It unsurprisingly sprang to life on the 5GHz band, speeding ahead with 167.8Mbit/s at 10m and 93.2Mbit/s at 25m.

Although the P5 isn’t the fastest 802.11ac router we’ve seen, it still did very well when paired with TP-Link’s own T4UH, a chunky 802.11ac USB adaptor. Speeds of 279.6Mbit/s at 10m and 256.3Mbit/s at 25m are nothing to sneeze at, especially with such a small drop in speed in the substantial move from 10m away to 25m.

Even if you have to run a mixed 802.11n/ac network on both bands, it’s worth investing in an 802.11ac adaptor for your older devices stuck on previous versions of the Wi-Fi standard. Using the same T4UH adaptor on the router’s 2.4GHz 802.11n network (there’s no way to create a 5GHz network that isn’t also 802.11ac), we saw quick speeds of 73.4Mbit/s at 10m and 36.8Mbit/s at 25m.

The TP-Link Touch P5 isn’t a bad router, just an overpriced one. With few compelling reasons to favour the touchscreen over more traditional ways of router configuration and management, there’s little reason to pay the £40 premium over TP-Link’s other routers, such as the Archer C9, which are as fast or even faster.

HARDWARE
ModemNone
Wi-Fi standard802.11ac
Bands2.4GHz, 5GHz
Stated speed1300Mbit/s
SecurityWPA2-PSK2
Upgradable antennaYes
WAN ports1
LAN ports4x 10/100/1000Mbit/s
USB ports1x USB3, 1x USB2
Wall mountableYes
Dimensions52x284x157
SOFTWARE
Guest networks2
Media serverDLNA
USB servicesPrint sharing, NAS
DDNS servicesDyndns, NO-IP
BUYING INFORMATION
Price including VAT£135
WarrantyTwo years
Supplierwww.currys.co.uk
Detailsuk.tp-link.com
Part codeTouch P5