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TP-Link Archer AX50 review: Fast but lacking in features

Our Rating :
£84.50 from
Price when reviewed : £130

Decent download speeds can’t hide the fact that rivals offer more


  • USB 3.0 ports
  • Blisteringly fast speeds
  • Network security works well


  • Performance isn't consistent everywhere
  • Competition offers more for a similar cost

The Archer AX50 cuts an unpretentious figure, with a long, low case that stands just 39mm tall – leaving aside the four sticky-up aerials at the back, of course. It’s also one of the cheapest Wi-Fi 6 routers around, undercut only by sub-£100 offerings from D-Link and Honor.

TP-Link Archer AX50 review: Features

It’s pleasing, therefore, to spot a USB 3 connector at the back, alongside a quartet of Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports. The software is better than you might expect for the price too: the web portal is clearly laid out and feels snappy, as well as including upmarket features such as a VPN server for inbound connections, twin guest networks and flexible QoS settings.

Install the Tether smartphone app and you can additionally take advantage of TP-Link’s Homecare service. Powered by Trend Micro, this adds profile-based parental controls, with plenty of filtering and time- limiting options, plus a network security module that blocks malicious content both inside your LAN and out on the internet. Originally offered on a three-year basis, it’s now free for the lifetime of the product, and you can’t say fairer than that.

TP-Link Archer AX50 review: Performance

The AX50’s wireless specifications meanwhile are promising, if not exceptional. Its 5GHz radio is rated at 2,402Mbits/sec with the use of 160MHz channels, and 4×4 MU-MIMO helps compatible clients maximise their transfer speeds.

Regrettably, in our performance tests, the AX50’s spindly antennae struggled to project a strong wireless signal more than a room away. Over both Wi-Fi 5 and 6 we saw good download speeds as long as there was no more than a single wall between the laptop and router, but as soon as we moved further afield, performance dropped off by around 50%.

TP-Link Archer AX50 review: Verdict

That still translates to a perfectly usable connection throughout the house. Even 4K video streaming over Wi-Fi 5 should be fine in most locations, and overall the AX50 proved faster than our recommended Honor Router 3.

However, if you’re looking for a value option, D-Link’s DIR-X1860 provides similar speeds for a mere £89. And if you’re willing to pay just a little more, you’re within easy reach of the Asus RT-AX82U, or Linksys’ overperforming MR7350. Despite all its trimmings and plus points, that makes it hard to see a niche for the Archer AX50.

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