This is the new entry level router in D-Link’s impressive DIR-8xx series, of which the DIR-880L flagship is our current benchmark. Sitting at the opposite end of the scale, the 810L sports an ultra-low price point to bring 802.11ac to the masses but are the inevitable compromises too much?
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At just 156.5 x 113.2 x 53.6 mm and 184.7g the 810L is one of the smallest routers we’ve tested and a departure from the company’s usual midrange tubular design. Like the design departure in the 880L though D-Link has done well. The 810L’s gently curving fascia and subtle radial pattern are backed up with solid build quality such that this doesn’t feel like a cheap router.
There are a couple of weak spots. The only notification lights are power (which flashes when WPS is activated) and Internet connectivity, while the front gets noticeably warm but never dangerously so. Ultimately the 810L is neat, small and will blend into most rooms – likely all the target market will care about.
Given its key feature of AC wireless, the fact the 810L costs under £40 is quite frankly remarkable – but don’t get too excited. Unsurprisingly the 802.11ac configuration is the slowest available (433 theoretical megabits), slower than many premium (though more expensive) 802.11n routers. In combination with a 300Mbit 802.11n configuration the 810L called itself an AC750 device.
But this is misleading. Like the disappointing Asus RT-AC-52U, D-Link has equipped the 810L with both Fast Ethernet LAN and WAN ports. This limits both Internet and local network speeds to 100Mbps (12.5MBps) which equates to circa 11.5MBps in real world use. With many Internet connections over 100Mbps these days and even mainstream NAS boxes capable of 10x that, this will be a deal breaker for hardcore users but then again that’s not the target audience for this router.
If 100Mbit is good enough for you, then the rest of the specs should be too. The 810L supports D-Link’s ever improving ‘mydlink’ Cloud service for remote router access, WPS/WPA/WPA2 security and IPv6. The one niggle may be the absence of a USB port for networking a printer or external USB drive, but again it comes down to the target audience.
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What D-Link will be counting on in appealing to mainstream consumers is the pull of its brand and this extends to its user friendly setup.
D-Link may not automatically open a browser tab like Asus and Linksys when you first connect to it, but typing 192.168.0.1 (as detailed in the user manual) isn’t too much effort and from that point the setup wizard kicks in. The mydlink experience looks every bit as good as the DIR-880L, it works with D-Link’s mobile apps and for advanced users they can still access the venerable orange and black, text-based UI.
It’s a premium experience for a budget price.