Thursday, 27 October 2016

Mi Router 3C: Outstanding Range, Great Speed & Affordable

With the launch of Mi Router 3, it only makes sense for Xiaomi to launch an affordable alternative with downgraded specifications to cater for all sorts of needs. Enter the Mi Router 3C, the lesser sibling to the 2016 Flagship of Mi Routers. Is it still good with the compromises? Read on to find out!

Unboxing & First Impressions
Following what seems like a trend in change of packaging for Xiaomi, the Mi Router 3C comes in a newly designed white with colour-printed images and information on all surfaces (save the two flaps). It's a refreshing change with the departure from the usual brown cardboard for a cleaner looking white.

The back is covered with information on the functions of the Router, including the ability to monitor connections to the router, anti-theft, password recovery, one-click Wi-Fi boost, network diagnosis, parental controls et cetera. For a router that costs a mere RMB 99 (Approx. USD 15), you're getting plenty of features built right in. 

The router comes covered with a plastic sheath, and the box packs very little accessories which in fact consists of only a wall charger and a user manual/warranty card (which nobody reads, plus it's written in Chinese). The box itself is very long in order to accommodate the router with its four non-detachable antennae. 

The router packs only IEEE 802.11n compliance, which isn't exactly bleeding edge but should be enough for most users as plenty aren't equipped with network speeds exceeding 300 Mbps. The full-fledged Mi Router 3 supports IEEE 802.11ac with a theoretical maximum speed of 1200Mbps. Having tested the range of the router, users can easily get a workable signal strength at 200 meters away (only one wall in between), that's around the same as the Mi Router Mini.

On the back of the device is where the power input, single WAN input and dual LAN output goes, as well as the air vents for passive cooling. Users do lose out on the USB input, thus the media server function (which I love a lot, from the Mi Router Mini) will not be available to you if you choose not to buy the Mi Router 3 and save that RMB 50 (Approx USD 8).

The entirety of the bottom is air vents for the passive cooling (because you can never have enough vents for routers). The bottom panel removable to reveal the components within, though users aren't recommended to remove it to prevent any damage to the panel itself or the body of the router. 

The router is powered by a 5V/1A US/China two pin charger that isn't proprietary (kudos to that), thus users can use any compatible charger if the original one somehow doesn't work any more. It now comes in white to match the router, and the cord is long enough to route it any way you want (just in case, and because you can never have too much wire length). 

The router has its own mobile application available on Android and iOS, which allows for easier monitoring over the router. Among the many features of the router, users can set the data usage limit or control the maximum network speeds of individual devices. It can also send notifications whenever a new device is connected, when the network speed is too slow or a weekly report of your used data (feature can be turned off). 

Since I won't be testing this device (as I'm already using the more powerful Mi Router Mini), I won't be giving a conclusion on the device. The device packs plenty of technology into the small form factor, though somewhat outdated in terms of WiFi compliance and the lack of a USB port. With only a RMB 50 difference from the full-fledged Mi Router 3, it really comes down to your preference which one you'd go for. If you just want something for excellent coverage and great speeds, and want to save the $8 for a burger and fries, then go for the Mi Router 3C. If you want the best, skip the fast food and get the Mi Router 3, because it's just better for that little extra to pay.

Source: Mi