Although the award for cheapest router of the day sadly can't go to the Belkin Play Max N600 HD – the TP-Link TL-WR1043ND has most other routers licked in that regard – it nevertheless offers the greatest range of features and the best performance for its price tag.
Its nearest competitor, the Asus RT-N56U, costs over £30 more and doesn't seem to offer many more features to justify the expense, even if it does look somewhat more interesting.
For example, Belkin's router supports cable connections, unlike the Asus. The N600 is easier to set up too. Simply pop the CD into your PC and you're presented with a giant 'Setup' button that takes up practically the entire screen. It couldn't be clearer what you need to do.
Once setup is completed, simply enter the SSID and password provided on the card included with the N600, and your wireless router is ready and protected. It's remarkably easy.
The only thing the N600 lacks is a range of status indicator lights for different criteria – instead, you either have a green light (for good) or red (for bad).
To increase the appeal of its router, Belkin has included a range of apps that give you instant access to features like backing up or downloading torrent files. They're easy to use – just install them and open them when you need to.
When it comes to performance, the Belkin doesn't disappoint – at least from a short range. At the 10-metre test range with a couple of reasonably thick walls separating each PC, however, the N600 turned in one of the slowest performances.
This aside, the N600 is an excellent router given its price – it's easy to set up and its built-in features are easy to access, so it's a fantastic option for beginners wishing to upgrade their wireless internet connection.
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