With so much time spent at home our internet has become more important than ever. We usually don’t give much thought to our internet routers. However, it’s our internet routers that are responsible for our Wi-Fi connection strength, internet speeds, and how many devices we can have connected.
When it comes to playing games online your Wi-Fi speed is paramount to your gaming experience. Games that require fast response times rely on fast and strong internet connections. As a regular online Battle Royale player, I can tell you that network speeds can mean the difference between winning or losing a battle. Today I will be reviewing the Gundam themed Wi-Fi 6 ASUS RT-AX82U and RT-AX86U gaming routers (also available bundled with the Gundam limited edition tumblers for a limited time: RT-AX82U with Tumbler and RT-AX86U with Tumbler).
Gundam themed ASUS AX5400 and AX5700 routers
If you ask me what my favourite childhood action figures were, it would be Gundams. As a child seeing these colourful and powerful robots always put me in a state of shock and awe. So when asked if I would review ASUS’s Gundam themed routers, I immediately jumped on the opportunity. Both ASUS routers are themed after the popular 1979 Mobile Suit Gundam series.
ASUS Wireless AX5400 (RT-AX82)
I was speechless when I opened up the box of the AX5400. The design and colour scheme is meant to replicate the iconic Gundam RX-78-2. ASUS even added printing along the top of the router highlighting the Gundam RX-78-2 model number and the Earth Federation branding.
The AX5400 is designed to sit horizontally. Behind the front grill of the router are RGB LEDs. While simple in its implementation, the LEDs create a jaw-dropping wow factor. To change the LEDs there’s a small button on the top of the router. Pressing this will allow you to cycle through colours and effects. Along the back of the router is where you will find four antennae and all of the connectivity options.
ASUS wireless AX5700 (RT-AX86)
The AX5700 is themed after the rivals of the Earth Federation, the Principality of Zeon. The red and black theme is a spot on match for the Zeon MS-06S Gundams. Like its brother, the AX5700 also has matching printing letting you know the Gundam model and allegiance.
When looking at the design, the AX5700 stands up vertically. Unlike the AX5400, the AX5700 doesn’t sport any flashy LEDs. I found myself liking its overall design. The vertical standing design means that its overall footprint is smaller. Because of this I was able to comfortably place the AX5700 on my desk. The more subdued colours also meant that the router blended in, making it look more like a high-tech piece of art.
The ASUS AX5400 and AX5700 share similar DNA
Before getting into my experiences using these routers, let’s review some of their key specs.
|ASUS AX5400 (RT-AX82)||ASUS AX5700 (RT-AX86)|
|Wireless Range||2000 sqft||2400 sqft|
|Bands||2.4 GHz, 5 GHz||2.4 GHz, 5 GHz|
|Antennas||4 adjustable antennas||3 adjustable antennas, 1 internal PCB antenna|
|Maximum Data Rate||5400 Mbps||5700 Mbps|
|Processor||1.5 GHz tri-core||1.8 GHz quad-core processor|
|Memory||256 MB Flash, 512 MB RAM||256 MB Flash, 1GB DDR3 RAM|
|Weight||740 grams||814 grams|
While there are slight differences in tech specs, the ASUS AX5400 and AX5700 share a lot in common. For starters they are both dual band routers that support Wi-Fi 6. Both routers also offer four local area network (LAN) ports, and can support up to 100 wireless devices. Speaking of wireless connection, both ASUS routers are mesh-enabled via ASUS AiMesh. While they boast very impressive Wi-Fi coverage, you can easily expand this coverage by adding a second router. In the case of the AX5400 and AX5700, both can be combined to work on the same mesh network.
In terms of specs, the ASUS AX5700 is the more powerful router. It has a 1.8 GHz quad core CPU with 1GB RAM, has a larger 2400 sq ft coverage, and a faster maximum data transfer speed at 5700 mbps. In terms of ports the ASUS AX5700 also has a leg up with its 2.5 gbps WAN/LAN port.
On the other hand, the AX5400 is no slouch. Compared to other Wi-Fi 6 enabled routers, the AX5400 is still one of the fastest available. I should point out that during real world testing I did not notice significant speed differences when using both ASUS routers.
ASUS AX5400 and AX5700 lightning fast wireless with impressive range
As a disclaimer, both routers were tested using my home’s fiber optic internet. On my current plan network speeds are rated at 175 mbps. This means that the maximum network speed of the ASUS routers will be limited by my internet service provider speeds. Despite this, I was still able to identify minor differences when testing the routers.
As a baseline, my ISP provided router had 170 mbps download and 176 mbps upload. When testing the ASUS routers, both were able to output faster network speeds. Despite the average 175 mbps limit of my ISP the AX5700 had speeds of 183 mbps download and 176 mbps upload. On the other hand the AX5400 was slightly lower at 181 mbps download and 171 upload. The speed bump of the AX5700 is likely due to its more powerful specs.
In terms of wireless range. Both routers provide ample wireless coverage. The AX5400 is rated at 2000 sqft while the AX5700 is rated at a slightly larger 2400 sqft. This range will depend on a few factors like walls, obstructions, and interference.
ASUS router user controls
ASUS has made it possible to control your router through your browser, mobile app, or through voice control. The first method is your traditional browser based control. I was pleasantly surprised to find that ASUS would change wallpapers and themes to match the Gundam represented by your router. At a glance, within the browser you have full control over your router. This ranges from simple tasks like changing your Wi-Fi password to more specific tasks like port forwarding.
Because these are gaming routers you also have the option to turn on gaming mode. This mode prioritizes the network speed of the devices that you specify. The result is that during gaming mode that device will always have the top speed regardless of what other devices are on the network.
If you don’t have a computer nearby you can also download the ASUS Router app. This app provides all the same controls as you would find on the web app. In terms of functionality, the mobile app is more polished and smooth. Like the web app, the mobile app will display the Gundam that matches your router.
ASUS has also enabled voice control. At the time of writing this review, only Amazon Alexa is officially supported. As a Google Nest user this was a bit of a letdown for me but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that ASUS will roll out Google Assistant support in future updates. Although you do not have all the same options as the web and mobile apps there are plenty of things you can still do. For example you can use voice commands to turn on/off a guest network, enable game mode, as well as restart the router.
Limited time Gundam tumblers
If you’re a Gundam collector then you’ll love the Gundam tumber. These tumblers ($54.99 value) come free with a purchase of either of the Gundam routers. Each tumbler holds up to 600ml of liquid and is BPA free. The body is made of double-walled steel which can keep your drinks warm for up to six hours, or cool up to 12 hours.
Final thoughts on the ASUS Gundam routers
As far back as I can remember I’ve always looked for creative ways to hide my unappealing boxy routers. On the other hand, the ASUS RT-AX82U and RT-AX86U are routers that you can proudly display. Both routers offer similar functionality and features. They provide more than enough range and signal strength to cover your apartment and most houses. If you’re aiming for the top end speeds and wireless coverage, the AX5700 pulls ahead slightly. And both are available bundled with the Gundam limited edition tumblers for a limited time: RT-AX82U with Tumbler and RT-AX86U with Tumbler.
Can’t decide which one to get? No problem. ASUS’s AiMesh means that you can have the best of both worlds and connect both routers on a single network. So what did you think of the ASUS AX5400 and AX5700? Would you put these out for display? If you’d like to check out ASUS’s other products you can have a look here.