While the top end of the wireless router market is dominated by hefty devices, kooky asymmetric angles and a plethora of antennas, not everyone is a fan of the “alien fighter bomber” aesthetic.
The Amped Wireless ARTEMIS AC1300 Wi-Fi Router (RTA1300M) is a more traditional and humble proposition designed for mainstream homes with a growing number of connected devices. Priced at just $129.99, it can be considered a “budget” dual-band router – maximum speeds of just 400 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz and 866 Mbps at 5 Ghz are the minimum you’d wish for from a modern router. But, the ARTEMIS is one of Amped Wireless’ High Power models, promising excellent Wi-Fi coverage throughout the home, and includes a number of features typically found in models at higher price points. Notably, there’s MU-MIMO support, which is enabled out of the box.
There’s a little difference between AC1300 and AC1200 class routers – AC1300 routers offer speeds up to 400 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band, while AC1200 routers are classed up to 300 Mbps. The real world difference may well be slight. So, the ARTEMIS will fight it out on the shelves of your local retailer with models at a range of price points. They include the $130 Linksys WRT1200AC (see our review), $80 TP-LINK Archer C1200. $80 NETGEAR EX6200, and the newly announced ASUS RT-AC58U. While I stated that the ARTEMIS is a “budget” router when considering the category as a whole, it’s up against cheaper competitors in its class.
The ARTEMIS is one of a new family of routers announced by Amped Wireless this year, alongside the faster/pricier TITAN AC1900 and ATHENA AC2600 models. The new line is accompanied by a new ARTEMIS-EX AC1300 range extender (also priced at $129.99 and available separately) which I’ll be reviewing in due course. Let’s open it up and check out how it performs.
Features and Specifications
Powered by Qualcomm’s IPQ4018 system on chip (SoC), the ARTEMIS is equipped with a quad-core ARM CPU (running at 717 MHz, according to the Qualcomm spec sheet) and 128 MB RAM in support. Four Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports and a single Gigabit WAN port support wired networking connections and there’s also room for a USB 3.0 port, designed for peripheral sharing.
The router’s Wi-Fi performance is boosted by eight amplifiers (2 x 2.4 GHz/ 2 x 5 GHz/ 4 x low noise amplifiers) and Amped Wireless supply two detachable high gain 5dBi dual band antennas, which screw into the rear of the device. One perhaps hidden selling point, considering the size of modern routers, is the ARTEMIS’ compact form factor. Sized at 9.5 x 3 x 11.5 inches (L X W x H), the router is far more compact than the networking beasts we’ve had to lug around in recent reviews. That makes the device potentially easier to position in the home or, at least, ensures the router won’t destroy the aesthetics of a room.
What’s in the Box?
While we’re talking design, there’s a retro familiarity to the ARTEMIS that’s actually quite comforting. It’s a simple, thin black box with two (reasonably long) external antennas. No flashy colours, no fractured angles – two antennas. Not eight. The ARTEMIS is designed not to stand out, which will please the interior designers at home!
Handily, the router ships with a stand that allows it to be positioned vertically, if you wish, or you can simply lay it horizontally in the traditional style. The case itself isn’t particularly premium – it creaks and will twist (a little) with force, but it’s solid enough to withstand more than a few knocks. A brushed metal effect adds a little style, while punched holes wrap around the right side of the device for ventilation.
Up front, five blue status indicators arranged horizontally across the front face of the router are reasonably unobtrusive and can be disabled with a button on the rear. The rear of the router offers a standard port layout, with the dual-band antenna connections to each end, LED On/Off button, WPS, USB 3.0 port, LAN/WAN ports, power button and PSU input. It’s a classic layout that should be familiar to most. One minor issue is that the indicators are hard to see if your eye line isn’t level with them – a lip overhangs the indicators, blocking the view to them if you’re standing over the router.