Overall and Final Verdict
It’s interesting to see EnGenius isn’t just focusing on one portion of the market. We have just recently taken a look at some of their business focused hardware when upgrading our office/testing with WiFi 6. Given the cost of that hardware, the expectations are extremely high. But with the ESR530’s, these are much cheaper and a lot more in line with what most people would be shopping for to upgrade their home wireless coverage. Even though they are cheaper I was still surprised by what you are getting, namely mesh capabilities. Which EnGenius made extremely easy to set up using their app. The last mesh router pack that I took a look at had a similar app but was limited in overall functionality because they didn’t also provide more traditional access. The ESR530 has that, their advanced mode takes you directly to a webpage with all of the normal options you would find on a home router. If you don’t want to use an app, once everything is set up you can drop that and just use the web interface. I also really dig the addition of a USB port on each of the ESR530’s which can be used as a file server or a printer server. This isn’t new functionality for a router, but by having multiple routers in your mesh network you can add multiple devices.
Being a budget-friendly mesh router, there were a few downsides of course. The biggest that I ran into was an overall slowdown in wireless performance when relying on wireless for the mesh. If you have the chance to run an ethernet between each ESR530 you will see better performance. This isn’t a huge surprise to those who are tech-savvy, but the ESR530’s target audience may not know that. Another complaint is the overall size of the ESR530, they are taller than I would have expected them to be. Twice as tall as a traditional access point which will make them look a little weird if you ceiling mount them. Speaking of that, power over ethernet support would have been nice to allow them to be mounted in a location like a ceiling which isn’t going to have a power plug nearby. My only other complaint was with the interface, while they have logging, I would love to see traffic graphs to help show overall usage, long term traffic being used by each node, and user to allow people to better track their network.
Now I already mentioned a few times that the ESR530’s are a more budget-focused option. Our two-pack of routers sells for just under $100 which is a nice discount when you consider an individual ESR530 is $59.99. The pair of ESR530’s will run you nearly what just one mesh router would when compared to something like the Amazon erro mech or the TP-Link Deco that I previously tested. So that price discount is significant. The lower price does mean lower performance if you aren’t hard wiring the routers together so there is a tradeoff there, but this is a great option for someone who isn’t getting the coverage they need in a larger home with an individual router.
Live Pricing: HERE