The Asus ZenWiFi AX is a dual router mesh WiFi setup that offers blistering speeds, if you can afford the hefty price tag that it carries. It’s certainly one of the best wireless routers on the market at the moment, especially if you’re looking for a mesh router that can cover a larger area than a single router could manage.
It might not look as flashy (or gaudy, depending on your tastes) as one of the fancy gaming routers that you can get, but the Asus ZenWiFi AXis a rather handsome piece of kit that will suit just about any environment, which is ideal for a mesh router that might need to be set up anywhere from the kitchen to the billiards room (do people still have those?)
It also has a suite of parental controls that can be accessed via the dedicated app, which makes the Asus ZenWiFi AX ideal for families who want to keep their kids safe online.
Asus ZenWiFi AX review: Design, build and features
- Tri-band with WiFi 6
- Total speed of 6,600Mbps
The Asus ZenWiFi AX comprises two identical routers which form a mesh WiFi system, covering a up to 5,500 Sq. ft with WiFi signal, which should be enough to cover all but the largest homes. If you live in a smaller house or apartment, you can also buy a single router too. We're disappointed that there isn't a three router option for even larger homes, but this isn't going to be a concern for most of us.
While it might not cast the absolute widest net, the Asus ZenWiFi AX does offer some of the fastest speeds that we’ve seen in a mesh router. Both routers are tri-band with 2.4GHz and two 5GHz bands, supporting WiFi 6 with a total wireless speed of 6,600Mbps.
The routers themselves are fairly minimalist plastic towers with a simple indicator light on the front, and all the ports on the back along with a power switch. The Asus ZenWiFi AX is available in either black or white, to suit your set-up. They’re hardly a work of art, but they look sophisticated and modern and will blend comfortably into the background in any living room or home office.
On the back you’ll find a single 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet Port for super high speed internet connections, and then three standard Gigabit ports to connect other devices if you prefer a wired connection. There is also a USB 3.1 port for connecting other devices
Asus ZenWiFi AX review: Performance
- Easy to use, once it’s set up
- Parental controls are great
We had no issues with setting up the Asus ZenWiFi AX, though the process is slightly more involved than we’d like.
You need both routers close to each other (within three meters) and both need to be plugged in and powered up. From there you connect one of them into your modem/ethernet wall port using an Ethernet cable - this will be your primary router. Then, using the Asus Router app on your smartphone, you can connect to the routers via Bluetooth to setup your network. From here it’s simply a matter of following the instructions the app gives you.
Once you have everything set up, you can use the Asus Router app to manage your network, with plenty of handy tools to help you get the most out of your swanky new router. There are a host of parental controls that let you create groups of devices and assign them to a specific person, so you can have the same consistent content restrictions for your children no matter what device they’re using.
There are filters for specific types of content, including social media, as well as options for turning off internet access at certain times, or just turning it off altogether. We found this was super easy to use and changes to permissions were implemented instantly.
You can also use the app to see your current network usage, check on the status of your routers, and enable something called QoS mode. This stands for quality of service and it allows you to prioritize certain tasks, like gaming, media streaming, or file transfers, on the network.
When it comes to speed, we found the Asus ZenWiFi AX lived up to its promises. We got a consistent 144-150Mbps download speed out with our 150Mbps internet connection - and that’s about all you can ask from a router, that it gives you all the speed you have access to. When downloading a game from Steam using the WiFi, we got a consistent 20Mbps download speed.
Asus ZenWiFi AX review: Price and warranty
- $249.99 for one router
- $449.99 for two routers
As a premium WiFi 6 router with mesh capabilities, the Asus ZenWiFi AX (XT8) is expensive. You’ll pay $249.99 for the single router option, or $449.99 for the two router option. That is a big old chunk of change, especially when you consider the cost of other popular nest routers like the Google Nest WiFi, but you get what you pay for here.
The Asus ZenWiFi AX (XT8) offers faster speeds than the Google Nest WiFi, and indeed faster speeds than most other routers period. It’s also got a dedicated app that’s incredibly user friendly, so even less tech savvy people can set up their networks and parental controls.
Should you buy the Asus ZenWiFi AX?
The Asus ZenWiFi AX is expensive for a mesh router, but it makes a convincing argument for that price point when you see what it can do. It offers fast speeds with WiFi 6, with the tri-band set-up means that more of your devices can enjoy those speeds. The parental controls are also super easy to use and robust, so you can keep your kids safe online.
If you’re living in an apartment or normal sized home, then honestly we’d say just go for the single router option - it’ll provide more than adequate coverage. The twin router mesh system is only for larger households, and anyone looking to expand signal outside.
We’d also say that the Asus ZenWiFi AX is probably overkill unless you have fast home internet that can take advantage of the speeds it operates at. Otherwise, stick to a cheaper option, because cheap this ain’t.