One of our favourite routers of the last few years is the Linksys WRT1900AC (and its followup, the 1900ACS). It offers great stability, good performance, great features and some stand out, retro styling. That blue and black retro look isn’t for everyone though and so those looking for something a little more current now have their latest product to consider. Welcome to our Linksys EA7500 Review.
Linksys EA7500 Review – Packaging and Bundle
Linksys (who are part of the Belkin group) package their router in a box which gives a nice clear view of the product inside. There is a bunch of info on features but strangely, only a tiny note of what model is enclosed…at least on the front. Inside we find a mains plug, network cable, three antenna, quick start guide and a software disc.
Linksys EA7500 Review – The Router
The EA7500 uses a black plastic shell with the majority of the surface matt/textured and a glossy panel running down the centre. There is some fairly discrete branding on that glossy section and the Linksys part of that lights up white when the unit is powered on. Across most of the surfaces there are holes for airflow and the overall dimensions are 257 x 184 x 56 mm with a weight of 558g.
Flipping the EA7500 we find that there are four rubber feet on the base as well as two holes to wall mount the router if needed. Information stickers are found in the centre, letting us know details such as the router password and on the back of the device we find our ports and connectors.
Starting on the left of the image above and moving right we have antenna, power switch, power input, four GB LAN ports, antenna, WLAN port, reset, WPS, USB 2.0 (printer sharing), USB 3.0 (fast storage) and antenna.
The EA7500 uses three large antenna and powering everything we have a dual core 1.4Ghz CPU. Support for beamforming, MU-MIMO, dual band and wireless-ac are all supported as is WPA2 encryption with a SPI firwall also present. For modern homes the presence of MU-MIMO is key as it helps provide multiple devices with good performance in important tasks such as streaming video, gaming, etc all at the same time. On our 2.4GHz band we get 600Mbps speed with 1300Mbps available to the ac devices on 5GHz.
Linksys EA7500 Review – Setup and Software
Setup of a Linksys router is exceptionally easy. We plug in, turn on and connect via wire or Wifi. When connected the setup screen opens in our browser and walks us through creation of passwords, changing of network names etc. Our final step is to create an online account which lets us access and manage the router remotely.
Once set-up we can delve into the finer detail of the router configuration using the above panel. It gives a nice overview of the key aspects/features all in one place with a menu on the left.
Using the menu we have access to all the key features including security options, troubleshooting, storage and printer sharing, parental controls and more. Firmware updates are easy to apply (and the router checks for the latest version during setup too).
Linksys also have a mobile app which allows us to access the same functionality as the main control panel. We can for example manage guest access, prioritise media and view the devices connected and their status.
Linksys EA7500 Review – User Experience/Conclusion
Starting with the build quality and design of the EA7500 we have a router which is fairly stylish. Yes we love the retro WRT series but its definitely not the most discrete thing in the world…the EA7500 on the other hand will blend in nicely to most environments. Really the only stand out aspect is the antenna which are on the large side for a router of this class. The casing used by Linksys is decent, the port layout good and overall there were no issues of note.
Moving to the performance of the router, Linksys class this as a device for a medium sized home. Overall that seems fair and we noted no issues with signal strength. Performance with multiple video streams and someone gaming was flawless and file copy operations across the network performed at levels competitive with other devices in this class. If you need more, for example if you have devices up in the double figures connected all at once, or a large property over multiple floors of course there are routers higher up Linksys product stack which will be better suited.
The EA7500 was also completely stable during our testing, no loss of signal, no random reboots and it was compatible with every device we tried with it. From the latest phones and Chromecast to entry level laptops, ageing tablets and more.
That leaves us with the software, which on all of the latest Linksys routers is exceptional. Of all the routers we have tested in the past few years Linksys have the best interface. It is the most responsive, tends to have high levels of features, is stable, looks good and is intuitive. All aspects which we desire in an admin panel. When you add the simple setup process which takes just a few moments and the remote management/mobile app it is a very well rounded product.