Samsung SmartThings Wifi Mesh Router and Smart Home Hub Review

An intelligent router for better WiFi coverage

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4.4

Samsung SmartThings Wifi Mesh Router and Smart Home Hub

Samsung SmartThings Wifi Mesh Router and Smart Home Hub
Lifewire / Benjamin Zeman

What We Like

  • Adaptive intelligent WiFi network

  • Expandable coverage can eliminate dead zones

  • Very easy to set up

What We Don't Like

  • No built in speaker or microphone

  • Requires multiple apps to use as a smart hub

  • Only two ethernet ports and no USB ports

The Samsung SmartThings WiFi Router is one of the most affordable WiFi mesh routers available, allowing you to expand coverage in a space with multiple dead zones. It links multiple routers to provide better coverage and intelligently control your WiFi and is a great introduction to the world of mesh networking.

4.4

Samsung SmartThings Wifi Mesh Router and Smart Home Hub

Samsung SmartThings Wifi Mesh Router and Smart Home Hub
Lifewire / Benjamin Zeman

The Samsung SmartThings Wifi Router is a mesh networking system for home smart devices. With it you can control an assortment of home-automation devices and cover every inch of your home with strong and reliable WiFi. We looked at Samsung’s SmartThings Wifi Mesh Router to see how mesh networking can improve your WiFi experience, and how their product stands up to the competition.

Samsung SmartThings Wifi Mesh Router and Smart Home Hub
Lifewire / Benjamin Zeman 

Design: Simple and blends right in

The Samsung SmartThings Wifi Router is a small device, about the size and shape of a smoker alarm. At 4.72 x 1.16 x 4.72 inches it’s pretty easy to find a suitable place to tuck it away. Its simple, compact, all-white design is a boon, because you’re going to need more than one of these to fully utilize their capabilities.

It’s very minimalistic — basically a square with rounded corners and beveled edges. Samsung SmartThings and a thin grey line around the edge of the bevel are stamped in light gray ink on the top. The gray bottom has a non-slip rubber pad and four ventilation ports—the device never got overly hot, so they clearly work.

There's one tiny, two-color LED on the front that alternates between green and red. A solid green light means everything is connected and working as it should. A solid red light means there is no internet connectivity and a blinking red light means there is a more problematic error or the device is overheating.

The few ports that the Samsung SmartThings Wifi Router has are located in the back. The layout is extremely simple and Samsung opted for the bare minimum needed, probably to keep costs down and make it as easy as possible to set up and use.

Samsung SmartThings Wifi Mesh Router and Smart Home Hub
Lifewire / Benjamin Zeman

Setup Process: As easy as it gets

One of the best things about the Samsung SmartThings Wifi Router is how easy it is to set up. First we downloaded the SmartThings mobile app which is available for Android and iOS, then created an account in the app and set our location. Next we connected the provided ethernet cable to our modem and plugged the router in with the AC adapter.

The SmartThings app automatically recognized the router and asked us if we wanted to add it. The app walks you through the whole process of naming your new WiFi network and connecting other WiFi hubs to fill out the mesh network. With any additional SmartThings router you only need to plug in the power adapter. Setting up your WiFi coverage is as simple as that and we had no problems at all with the process.

One of the best things about the Samsung SmartThings Wifi Router is how easy it is to set up.

One tip we can offer is to set up all your hubs in the same room as your first Samsung SmartThings Wifi Router and then move them to their final location—they’ll still be recognized after you unplug and move them.

Next we wanted to connect some of our smart devices, like our Philips Hue light bulbs. To do that we had to download a different app called Plume. The Plume app is used to organize all the smart devices you want to connect to the smart hub part of the router. All of our products appeared automatically but you can also add them manually if they don’t show up in the app.

Software: A lot of app swapping

Even though the hardware works great and is very easy to set up, having to use two mobile apps isn’t ideal. Also, because the router/hub doesn’t have a built-in microphone and speaker, we had to connect one to use a voice assistant. It’s not terrible but it does take some getting used to. We wish that everything was consolidated into one app though.

Both apps are well designed and we didn’t run into any problems like we did with Amazon’s Alexa mobile app. The SmartThings app is used for initial setup of the router, configuring and controlling all the smart devices that you want to connect to the hub. The SmartThings app works pretty much the same as any other smart device app and it’s very intuitive to use.

You can set up groups of smart devices, monitor anything connected to the hub, control everything directly from your phone, create scenes and automate actions. You can also receive notifications from your devices through your phone’s notification system. You can even automate things by GPS on your phone, so when you reach a certain spot on your route home from work, you can do things like turn on your lights or air conditioner.

The Plume app and adaptive WiFi technology behind these mesh routers go a long way towards justifying the cost. The app is used to manage the mesh network created with multiple Samsung SmartThings Wifi Routers. Plume automatically recognizes all of your devices, analyzes the flow of traffic, and starts to optimize your network accordingly.

Additionally, Plume offers AI security, ad blocking, personalized guest access with custom passwords, and parental controls. You’re able to monitor a huge amount of information about your home network, and it’s all laid out in a way that is fairly easy to understand.

Samsung SmartThings Wifi Mesh Router and Smart Home Hub
Lifewire / Benjamin Zeman

Performance: Fast and reliable

Initial setup of the Samsung SmartThings Wifi Router was as easy as it gets. The Plume technology can take up to 24 hours to analyze and optimize your network and communication between hubs, but after that it continues to fine tune everything on a regular basis. We honestly didn’t notice an improvement in real life usage but it’s worth noting that we thought everything worked great right after the initial setup.

Each hub has 4GB of storage, 512MB of RAM, and support for 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, 2 x 2 MIMO, AC1300 (up to 866 Mbps on 5GHz, 400Mbps on 2.4GHz), ZigBee, Z-Wave, and Bluetooth 4.1. It runs on a speedy Qualcomm (Quad 710MHz) processor and covers up to 1,500 square feet. Three routers can cover up to 4,500 square feet and you can add up to 32 routers if you need to cover a larger area.

If your main purpose is to blanket your home with reliable WiFi, the Samsung SmartThings Wifi Router is the most economical option.

We experienced reliable speed and signal in every corner of our building with no dropouts or discernable lag. Unfortunately, the routers only have a 65-foot range and we needed more than we initially expected to cover the entire space. When it came to walls and ceilings, the Samsung SmartThings Wifi Routers did an excellent job passing through a variety of different building materials.

Overall, the Samsung SmartThings Wifi Router has great performance for such an affordable mesh networking option. There are other mesh routers on the market with reportedly better performance but any casual user will be more than happy with the capabilities on offer here. The only real complaints we have are needing to use two mobile apps and that, because of the 65-foot range, we required one more router than expected.

Price: An economical option

The Samsung SmartThings WiFi Router is only $120 for a single router or $280 for a pack of three. At such a low price, they are definitely our favorite budget option. The only other popular mesh routers that come close in price are three packs of Google’s WiFi Mesh Routers at $300 and Linksys Velop AC3600 WiFi Mesh Routers at $250, and both lack many of the features of Samsung’s router.

On the other end of the market, a two pack of the excellent Netgear Orbi RBK50 WiFi Mesh Routers retails for $370. Even when it’s on sale you’re still getting two for a price close to three of the Samsung routers. On the other hand, Netgear outperforms Samsung and also offers an all-in-one mesh router and smart hub with a built-in Harman Kardon speaker. A single Netgear Orbi Voice Wifi Mesh Router retails for $430 though.

If your main purpose is to blanket your home with reliable WiFi and eliminate dead zones, the Samsung SmartThings Wifi Router is the most economical option for its level of performance. There’s nothing about Samsung’s router that would be a dealbreaker for most users, and it’s a good value for the money.

Samsung SmartThings Wifi Mesh Router vs. Google Wifi Mesh Router

The Samsung SmartThings WiFi Router’s direct competition is probably Google’s Wifi Mesh Router. It’s similarly priced at $300 but often on sale for around $240. It has the same input/output ports, 4GB of storage, 512MB of RAM, and is powered by a 710 MHz ARM-based quad-core processor.

Google uses its own WiFi app and has a very easy, streamlined setup process. It lacks many of the options that Samsung’s router has though, like parental controls. It does allow the user to pause internet access at a specified time, but that’s pretty limited in comparison to other mesh routers’ controls.

Google entered the mesh networking market early and have yet to offer an upgraded version of their routers. They’re fast, reliable and focused on simplicity, but their lack of features and settings mean they’re falling behind competitors. We think that the Samsung SmartThings WiFi Mesh Routers are the better option until Google releases an upgrade.

Final Verdict

A great mesh router, worth every penny.

If you’re looking primarily for a mesh network, Samsung SmartThings WiFi Mesh Routers are a very economical option that’s easy to use, reliable, and even has decent mobile apps. The routers are small and easy to hide but still big on performance. You’ll have to jump between two different mobile apps but the Samsung SmartThings WiFi Mesh Routers are a great option that will satisfy most users.

Specs

  • Product Name Samsung SmartThings Wifi
  • Product Brand Samsung
  • MPN ET-WV525BWEGUS
  • Price $120.00
  • Weight 7.36 lbs.
  • Product Dimensions 4.72 x 1.16 x 4.72 in.
  • Warranty 1 Year
  • Processor Qualcomm (Quad 710MHz)
  • Speed AC1300 (866 Mbps @ 5GHz, 400Mbps @2.4GHz)
  • Memory 512MB (RAM) + 8GB (Flash)
  • Coverage 1500 square feet
  • Compatibility Android 5.0 or higher, iOS 10 or higher
  • Ports RJ45 input and output
  • Voice Assistants Supported Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa
  • Connectivity Bluetooth 4.1, Zigbee, Z-Wave, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac - Wave 2, 2x2 MU-MIM
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