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Belkin Play Max Router review

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Our Score:

7

As if you couldn't already tell from the 'max' part of the name, Belkin's Play Max Router sits at the top of its current range. It purports to offer just about every conceivable function you could want from a router, in an attractive, affordable box. And if the simple naming scheme Belkin has adopted is anything to go by, the company might just be on to something.

There's little in the box to pose any confusion. The router comes with a power adaptor, an RJ11 (phone line) cable and a quick-start CD. There's no Ethernet cable supplied, so if you're not connecting over Wi-Fi you'll need one handy.

The Play Max router isn't much to look at, being as it is no more than a subdued grey plastic box on a stand. At the front there's a status LED and a 'WDS' button, around the back are four Gigabit Ethernet ports, an RJ11 port and two USB ports - the latters' presence hinting at functionality above mere routing of network traffic.

The emphasis certainly appears to be on ease of use when you take the Play Max router out of its box - helpful cue-card like guides are veritably littered about the place, informing you to connect the power and phone line cables to the appropriate wall outlets. While it is possible at this stage to simply direct a web browser towards the Play Max's configuration menu, to get the full use of its numerous features you'll want to refer to the bundled CD.

As well as guiding you through the process of initially connecting to the router, this also lets you install a number of programs on your system which will be of use later. These include the torrent client, Vuze, and a media player; on which more of both, later. Usefully, these programs are all grouped together in a simple management utility which sits on the taskbar giving quick access to both router and application settings.

These applications, combined with the knowledge that the Play Max router is outfitted with two USB ports, should be enough of a clue to tell that the device lets you attach external storage, which can then be accessed over your network. While those averse to web interfaces might find something to praise about this system, everyone else will be incredibly frustrated. And even then not all the time as half of the shortcuts on the taskbar menu just launch the appropriate page of the routers we interface. Worse still, a number of functions, including access to any attached USB storage, won’t work without the management utility running. Why? We've no idea, but it's a huge annoyance.

Scump

July 23, 2010, 1:49 pm

Thanks TR, I was contemplating getting this but it seems the apps are more of a selling point than truly added functionality.

DanielNB

July 23, 2010, 2:51 pm

Subjective experience I know but given that the Belkin wireless router I bought pointblank refuses to work with my iPhone and Belkin claimed it was Apple or Virgin Media's fault - I'd be wary of buying any Belkin product.

Keithe6e

July 23, 2010, 3:21 pm

@DanielNB: I'd be wary of buying any Belkin product.





I agree, I've had too many Belkin products just die on me now.





Here my experience with different Router/Modems ->


Out of all the routers I've had LinkSys have been the most reliable, probably because there developed by Cisco. Netgear is just as bad as Belkin, DLink are not too bad, I sometimes have to restart them (but not that often).

Paul 7

July 23, 2010, 3:57 pm

I bought a Belkin Wifi PC Card. Until I matched it's channel with my router, it didn't even see the router (no other card has needed that) and Belkin support kept telling me to contact 3com (the router mfr) Now it's working it is fine, but they were very unhelpful

Jay4d0

July 23, 2010, 6:06 pm

I also agree with the comments about belkin products, my fist a basic G router was fine but it sometimes would stop working and need to have the power cable yanked to make it work. So decided to upgrade to a belkin N router which would not allow any form of internet access on my ps3 or xbox unless they were placed outside the routers firewall, only problem with that is only one IP address can be put outside the firewall so could only use one console to use at a time - not good





needless to say I use a netgear router now and everything works 100%, would definitely recommend netgear

Moggy58

July 24, 2010, 1:08 pm

Have had a Belkin N1 Vision for a couple of years. Generally its worked well however lately its been playing up and constantly needs a reboot. Identified the problem as the powerbrick, it now seems much more stable having replaced said brick.


Using a Belkin wireless N usb stick on any pc the connection is rock solid though still much prefer an ethernet connection.


Will probably migrate to a Linksy's modem router rather than any other manufacturer.


As an aside ...


Why do modem routers only have four ethernet connections?

Jay4d0

July 26, 2010, 8:20 pm

also this router doesnt support IPv6 which severely limits it's future proofness.

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