aNewDomain — This is one router you’ll never have to hide behind a curtain or a piece of furniture. Amped Wireless’ TAP-R2 is one of the smallest and best-looking routers around. Measuring just 5.7 x 5.4 x 1.4 inches, it’s little touch screen displays time and date, so you’ve even got a reason to leave it out. You can mount it on its snap-on stand or on the wall. For a router, you’ll have to agree that this stylized dual texture black unit looks pretty great.
But how is the Amped TAP-R2 performance wise? I took a long look. Here’s my hands-on review.
The Look and Feel Tradeoff
This router has two 2.4GHz and one 5GHz amps for a total output of 800 milliwatts. The side of the unit has a modem port, a USB port, two LAN ports and a reset button.
Unfortunately the USB is 2.0 rather than the newer 3.0. One of the biggest drawbacks of this router is that it has only two LAN ports and does not have any home automation features. This makes it useful only to very basic setups.
The touch display is bright, but not terribly responsive. Each screen holds 4 good-sized icons, and you move from screen to screen by tapping an arrow. Since the screen is slightly recessed, you cannot easily tap near the edges. The included stylus is stored in the top of the router but is so tiny and flimsy that it is almost unusable.
Setup is easy with a Setup Wizard that walks you through the process. You will want to add a more secure username and password. You can also set up the router through the TAP-R Dashboard that is found at setup.ampedwireless.com. This gives you a good range of configuration options. The router supports WPA, WPA2 and WPA@ mixed-mode encryption. It can serve as an FTP server, but can’t be a Samba or DLNA server. In the box you will find the router with stylus, an AC adapter, an Ethernet cable, a stand and a software CD that also contains the digital manual. Tablet and phone apps are available for remotely monitoring the router.
The TAP-R2 is capable of dual-band operations and allows you to create up to eight guest networks. In my unofficial testing, throughput was constant with no glitches, but it was somewhat slow. The range was also limited.
If you want to use the $129 TAP-R2 in a small to average home, it should be fine, provided that you don’t need more than two LAN ports. In a larger home that has a plethora of digital devices you will want to look elsewhere. The one-year warranty is adequate, but not as good as some others.
With the proliferation of connected devices, I am happy to see such a good-looking router, but the lack of LAN ports, flimsy stylus and lackluster performance make the TAP-R2 difficult to recommend.
For aNewDomain, I’m Sandy Berger
Image Courtesy: Sandy Berger