A low-cost router from Huawei’s subsidiary that you may be more familiar with from devices like the Honor 9X Pro is the HONOR Router 3. In addition to being dirt inexpensive, it’s also portable, easy to set up, and manageable from your phone.
The Honor Router 3 has dual-band Wi-Fi 6 and beamforming technology, so several smartphones, tablets, and laptops should be able to take advantage of high speeds across the house.
There is support for IPv6 if you want to embrace the future of the Internet and UPnP if you already have a lot of networked devices in your home in addition to standard features like Guest Wi-Fi and parental controls.
While Huawei is once again making headlines for unfavorable reasons, it’s important to remember that consumer electronics like this router and the most recent Huawei phones will continue to function despite the conflict between Washington and Beijing.
Let’s put geopolitics aside and examine the Honor Router 3’s performance in the real world.
HONOR Router 3 Specifications
The HONOR Router 3 is part of a new generation of low-cost Wi-Fi 6 routers that are just now emerging with the aim of making technology accessible to everyone. Its straightforward and approachable marketing, as well as its straightforward yet effective feature set, both indicate that it is designed with the typical user in mind.
Surprisingly effectively, the box outlines all of the main advantages that Wi-Fi 6 and it offer. Only a wall wart (12V@1A) and a small Cat.5E Ethernet cable make up its accessories box. To match the Router 3 itself, both are white. Simple and uncomplicated.
It is important to note that the HONOR Router 3 cannot be logically mounted on a wall. Along with having no mounting holes at the bottom, it also has an antennal that can only bend back to the typical 90-degree angle in the images.
The HONOR Router 3 does come with a quick start manual, however it is largely unnecessary. Like any excellent router, this one features a helpful label on the back that directs you to either the Huawei AI Life app or the standard 192.168.3.1 control URL. The Google Play Store or Huawei’s app gallery can be accessed using a QR code that is present. From there, all it takes is a wizard to start up the essential features. It is simple to use and takes little time to set up.
Additionally, we particularly appreciate the absence of the Router 3’s customary WAN and LAN connections at the back. The router is capable of dynamically detecting and redistributing these as required. This made it unnecessary to even describe the distinction between the two to a less tech-savvy user. Simply take the ethernet cables, plug them in, and don’t worry about matching the wires to the ports. Since all four of the ports are fully gigabit capable, they can be used interchangeably in all situations. Our favorite.
The Honor Router 3’s controls include a large WPS button that is front and center and a restart switch with a pinhole on the rear. The fundamentals are covered. neither more nor less.
HONOR Router 3 General Information
|Band support||Dual-band 802.11ax 2.4GHz/5GHz Wi-Fi router|
|Radios||2×2 MIMO 2.4GHz radio, 2×2 MIMO 5GHz radio|
|Ports||4 x Gigabit Ethernet (one reserved for WAN)|
|Additional features||4 x external antennae, WPS|
|Dimensions (WDH)||242 x 152 x 41mm|
HONOR Router 3 Performance
So far, so good, but there is still one nagging query. Can a router priced under £80 give Wi-Fi 6’s full magic? I’ll get straight to the point: the response is a resounding “not really.”
With the router set up in the living room and an appropriate laptop—in this case, an HP Elite Dragonfly with an integrated Intel AX200 2×2 160MHz Wi-Fi 6 card—in hand, I conducted my normal battery of tests to find out. I measured download speeds from a NAS device connected to the network via Ethernet from four separate locations while connected to the router on the 5GHz band.
Without a hitch, The Honor breezed through these tests. It maintained an average download speed of 10.2MB/sec, or about 80Mbits/sec, even in the bathroom, where Wi-Fi signals might often have trouble getting through. This is more than three times the bandwidth Netflix suggests for 4K HDR movie streaming.
The producer of Honor smartphones also brags that its own “Dynamic Narrow Bandwidth technology” – whatever it is – can automatically enhance the transmission strength to give the strongest, fastest signal. There is no getting past the fact that the Router 3’s 802.11ax performance is significantly inferior than that of more expensive routers.
Since almost all of the most recent smartphones and laptops support Wi-Fi 6, those devices have probably not yet made their way into your home, I also tested speeds over 802.11ac. You may probably expect to continue using the older networking standard for the next year or two.
Here, the Honor performs considerably better. The data below demonstrates that it delivered a strong signal to even the most isolated parts of the home, never dropping below a reliable 11MB/sec download rate.
You’ll observe that the HONOR Router 3 appears to outperform its significantly more expensive rivals here. The results for the other routers were collected using a 2017 Surface Laptop outfitted with a Marvell Avastar AC 2×2 MIMO Wi-Fi card, so this comparison isn’t exactly like-for-like. In order to get the most out of the 160MHz Wi-Fi 5 technology in the Router 3, we’ve switched to a 2020 Huawei Matebook X Pro for our most recent 802.11ac tests. This device contains a newer Intel AC9560 160MHz adapter.
HONOR Router 3 Conclusion
Other firms offer products that are better constructed, a little bit quicker than WiFi 6, and have slicker implementations, but not for this cheap or even close to it.
The ASUS RT-AX82U, a dual-band AX5400 class router with futuristic appearance and mesh capabilities, is a prime example. Although this router is fantastic, it costs twice as much as the Honor Router 3.
Many online dealers promote routers with lower specifications that are more expensive than the HONOR Router 3 and don’t even support mesh networks or 802.11ax modes.
The HONOR Router 3 is a clear choice for home customers who want quicker and more dependable WiFi in their homes, even though there are a few excellent reasons why a company might be hesitant to utilize this device.
It offers many of the essential benefits of WiFi 6 for a dirt-cheap price, and it’s simple to set up.
With the frequency-sharing technology that WiFi 6 offers, a dual-band arrangement is a sufficient bandwidth for average usage because most homes don’t have a dozen people simultaneously streaming 4K TV.
HONOR Router 3