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Lifewire / Jordan Oloman
Quick and easy setup
Short Ethernet cables in the box
Poor socket placement
Sharp, obtrusive design
Netgear’s Powerline 1200 is easy to recommend to those who want a no-fuss solution to their home networking issues. The solid speeds and cheap price tag make it easy to glaze over some of the more annoying design issues.
A common misconception of Powerline kits like the Netgear Powerline 1200 is that they’re essentially Wi-Fi extender, but that’s an incorrect conception of it. Powerline kits “pick up” your established wired network from the router and transport it to another room, where Ethernet cables can then be attached to the device via the Powerline adapter. It solves the problem of games consoles, smart TVs and other devices which have poor Wi-Fi signal or efficiency.
The Netgear Powerline 1200 Kit serves as a chunky plug-in adapter that offers impressive speeds over wired Ethernet, at the cost of your power sockets. We put it to the test to see if it’s worth the price.
The Netgear Powerline 1200 kit doesn’t really care about your living room or bedroom aesthetic. It’s a monolithic, white glossy plastic box that juts out of the wall. If you’re looking for something inoffensive and reserved, the Netgear offering doesn’t deliver. The edges are sharp and the adapter is quite large in order to house all of the technology and the Ethernet sockets necessary to complete the network.
It’s not as heavy as other Powerline products at 1.14 pounds, but there’s a big section of plastic hanging below. This is awful for obstruction, as it means that if you’re dealing with rows of plug sockets, you can no longer use the socket below the adapter. It’s also a difficult shape, especially if you’ve got limited plug points. Worse, you lose the functionality of the socket you plug the adapter into. Other products in the market have fixed this issue by adding a socket to the front so you can plug in other electronic devices.
The Netgear Powerline 1200 kit doesn’t really care about your living room or bedroom aesthetic. It’s a monolithic, white glossy plastic box that juts out of the wall.
The Ethernet ports are also found on the bottom of the device, which is awkward for installation, bu again impedes the space used by other plugs, which can be frustrating. It’s not a huge deal if you’re dealing with a single socket, but when you have to make sure that the Powerline is plugged right into the socket, it can become difficult if those options aren’t available to you in the room you want to expand your network to.
There’s also only one Ethernet port on the Netgear kit, which means that you can only improve the wired connection of one device—a poor payoff for all of the manoeuvering you may have to do, especially when there’s certainly space for another port. Overall, the design is obtrusive and frustrating, which is a shame given how reliable adapter is.
The Netgear Powerline 1200 is a dream to start, since all it takes is plugging the devices in for them to work. Simply place one near your router, attach the Ethernet cable, then head to the room where you want to expand the network and do the same there, attaching the Ethernet to a console, smart TV or electronic device with an internet connection.
You don’t even have to pair them together like other products on the market. It’s the kind of device where you ask yourself, “Is that it?” once it’s up and running and the answer is a confident yes. It takes very little time for the LED lights to tell you if your placement is correct, and we didn’t struggle to get things working even in a variety of rooms around my house. Just make sure to keep within the quoted 500-meter range.
You don’t even have to pair them together like other products on the market. It’s the kind of device where you ask yourself, “Is that it?” once it’s up and running and the answer is a confident yes.
If you’d like to go further than that, there’s also a security button which lets you change the encryption of the Powerline network you’ve created, and a handy Factory Reset button if mistakes are made, located on the bottom of the device. As long as the design doesn’t obstruct you, setup is simple and surprisingly speedy.
The only unfortunate thing to note is that the Ethernet cables supplied in the box are tiny, and will not stretch very far. We’d go so far as to say that you should purchase longer Ethernet cables in advance. It seems short-sighted to offer the promise of an expanded network without the cables that are long enough to enable it. We ended up swapping them out with some we had laying around the house.
Using the device across our living room and bedroom, in two different setups across the course of a month, we found that the Netgear Powerline kit gave us a reliable upgrade to internet efficiency. Our initial connection speed (as per Speedtest) offered a 68.4Mbps download speed, with 3.60Mbps upload speed, and sub-10-millisecond ping. The Netgear kit with an Ethernet cable attached to our laptop afforded us an 88Mbps download speeds and 6Mbps upload speeds.
With an upper limit of 1.2Gbps in download, the sky really is the limit with this adapter, and it can even be applied in a small business setting where the network is already very strong.
This is perfect if you work from home and want to be able to pick up from any location in the house, say the dining room or living room instead of your office. Even more important, it offers up speed that can handle 4K streaming. Speeds like those we got above will ensure that your living room or bedroom is not plagued by poor signal efficiency or haunted by devices with ancient Wi-Fi chips.
You can create a secure and powerful network that boasts a dramatic upgrade in efficacy, all for a low price point, with a setup process that is actually plug and play. It also has some energy-saving features built in to bring your costs down when you’re not using the network. With an upper limit of 1.2Gbps in download, the sky really is the limit with this adapter, and it can even be applied in a small business setting where the network is already very strong.
You can create a secure and powerful network that boasts a dramatic upgrade in efficacy, all for a low price point, with a setup process that is actually plug and play.
Out of the adapters we tested, the Netgear Powerline 1200 was one of the cheaper ones on Amazon, ranging between $70-$85. You can see why when you study the design and the many aesthetic flaws that come with this product. Besides the fact it is bulky and doesn’t play nice with other plugs, it’s a reliable means to improve your home network through the wonders of Powerline. It’s still quite a hard sell at this price compared to other products that hover around the same and offer more ports and socket functionality, but it’s still a worthwhile purchase if you just want to plug and play.
Comparing the Netgear Powerline 1200 kit to the TP-Link Powerline AV2000, there are some noticeable pros and cons. The TP-Link kit performs better speed-wise, has serviceable cables, lets you use the socket and doesn’t obstruct other plugs. However, the setup process isn’t as simple and we found some easily-fixed, but frustrating issues with connectivity.
For a similar price, it’s hard not to recommend the TP-Link, especially when you’re going to receive Ethernet cables that you won’t have to replace due to router proximity. That’s not to say that the Netgear set isn’t reliable, and if it was on sale we would pick it up in a heartbeat. The main advantage the TP-Link has over the Netgear is the two Ethernet sockets on the outgoing device, which doubles the devices you can upgrade the internet speed with. This is crucial, and probably the deciding factor for many.
A Powerline kit with solid speeds and an easy setup undermined by poor design.
The Netgear Powerline 1200 is incredibly reliable, albeit poorly designed. It is obstructive in the design department, fairly ugly to look at and comes with just one connection and awfully short Ethernet cables. Yet it has a true plug and play setup process with no compromises, and offers a reliable upgrade to your home network speeds. If you can look past the strange design choices this is the perfect introductory kit for Powerline beginners that does everything you need it to.