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Apple Airport Express Review

Editor's Note: This review has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it no longer ranks as a top 10 product. The original review is below, but check out our current top 10 about Wi-Fi Boosters here. The Apple Airport Express is a well-made wireless router and Wi-Fi booster.

Our Verdict

The Apple Airport Express makes some hard compromises in order to maintain a small profile.

For

  • This Wi-Fi booster is very small.

Against

  • Due to its small size, there's only one Ethernet LAN port.
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Apple Airport Express image: A single LED on the front indicates the device's status.

Apple Airport Express image: A single LED on the front indicates the device's status.
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Apple Airport Express image: Unfortunately, you only get one LAN port.

Apple Airport Express image: Unfortunately, you only get one LAN port.
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Apple Airport Express image: This booster is very small, easily fitting in your hand.

Apple Airport Express image: This booster is very small, easily fitting in your hand.
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Apple Airport Express image: It's easy to set up with other Apple products.

Apple Airport Express image: It's easy to set up with other Apple products.
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Apple Airport Express image: A laptop shouldn't have any trouble connecting to this booster, even if it's not an Apple laptop.

Apple Airport Express image: A laptop shouldn't have any trouble connecting to this booster, even if it's not an Apple laptop.

Editor's Note: This review has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it no longer ranks as a top 10 product. The original review is below, but check out our current top 10 about Wi-Fi Boosters here.

The Apple Airport Express is a well-made wireless router and Wi-Fi booster. You can use it like a traditional router or set it up to increase your home's Wi-Fi range in conjunction with another router. The Airport Express does many things well, but it falls short in a few key areas, like its number of Ethernet ports and signal range. Even though it's a decent choice, it's not the best Wi-Fi range extender on the market.

The most impressive thing about the Airport Express is that it can operate on both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi bands. This enables it to get solid throughput by both sending and receiving data simultaneously. One band captures your router's Wi-Fi signal, and the other rebroadcasts it. Wi-Fi boosters without both bands suffer from drastically reduced throughput, but the Airport Express doesn't have that issue.

We were disappointed by the range increase you get with the Airport Express. You'll only get about 150 feet of extra range in ideal conditions. While that's likely to be enough for a smaller house, if you need the Wi-Fi signal to go through floors or multiple walls, you'll probably run into issues. In the best conditions, you can make the most of the Airport Express' theoretical data rate of 300 Mbps. That's not astonishingly fast, but it's good enough for most people.

Two antennas are built into the Airport Express to help capture and rebroadcast your router's signal. We like that those antennas are built into the device, as it creates a sleek and low-profile Wi-Fi extender. The Airport Express' small size is a double-edged sword, though. Due to limited space, you only get one WAN port and one LAN port. In other words, you can't really use it as a bridge.

The Apple Airport Express is a solid wireless router and Wi-Fi booster, but it makes some difficult compromises in order to achieve a small form factor. Due to its limitations in key areas, it isn't one of the very best Wi-Fi boosters available, but it's still a good choice if you want something small.