A high-end router that supports both cable and ADSL 2+ internet connections.
Whether a router’s appearance matters or not is questionable, but if they were judged on looks alone, the Linksys X3000 would win hands-down. It uses a sleek two-tone colour design and its designers have copied the curved edges of the Macbook Air, with the whole device being similarly thin.
This isn’t a beauty contest though and we care more about the technology and performance it offers. Thankfully the X3000 has plenty of both. It can be used as either a cable or ADSL router, as it has both a built-in modem and a WAN port at the back. There are also four gigabit Ethernet ports and a USB port at the rear. It only supports 2.4GHz wireless but can still run a second wireless network for guest access.
Both the bundled Cisco Connect software and built-in administration tools are well designed, with a clean layout, good labelling and easy ways to adjust the network options. The help pages are particularly comprehensive, going into detail about what each setting does. When you log in, a pop-up reminds you that adjusting settings can disable the network, and warnings appear when you choose anything that may adversely affect its performance, such as when applying WEP security forces you to use 802.11g speeds.
The X3000’s good short-range performance matched its style, where it achieved an average transfer speed of 71Mbps. At long-range though, it wasn’t quite as impressive, averaging 25Mbps, which puts the X3000’s performance in the middle of the routers we tested.
There’s nothing to dislike about the X3000, except for its price. It looks fantastic, but has nothing that other routers don’t offer. We’d trade a flashy appearance for slightly faster long-range performance or a few more configuration options. While Netgear’s N600 router is also expensive, it has a few extras which cannot be found anywhere else, but this router has none.
We’d rather save our cash and buy a cheaper premium router, or spend a little more and get a lot more for our money.