Today’s question of the day comes to us by way of Jason M:
Any chance you guys might be able to do a review of the new wifi router from Vizio? They have been shipping for a few weeks now, but official reviews are extremely scarce. They seem to be inexpensive (cheap?) for what you are getting, but I have yet to see someone go through all the specs and report on it.
Jason’s right that the Vizio XWR100 is competitively priced for a dual band 802.11n wireless router ($80). And it does feature DLNA USB streaming functionality. But, generally speaking, this market has been commoditized — most devices provide mostly the same functionality. Sure, there’s various interfaces, security features, and even range could be a consideration. However, the vast majority of people I know are simply looking for a reliable wireless connection within their homes. So, unless you’re seeking out some very specific functionality (Powerline, Time Capsule, hackability, 3G, or that DLNA), I’d say take the safe route in going with a market leader (Netgear, Cisco/Linksys, D-Link) and grab a highly rated, yet discounted, model off Amazon.
Regarding reviews in general, we’re very selective in the products we request (or purchase) as in-depth coverage is very time consuming and most gear doesn’t motivate us enough (love or hate) to take that deep dive.
As far as my household, I overpaid for an Apple Airport Extreme Base Station a few years back specifically to turn any USB printer into a wireless printer or hang a USB drive from it for network storage. But, when HP’s MediaSmart Server failed to recover my imploded Macbook, I purchased the Time Capsule AEBS variant for a higher tier of insurance. At which point, I essentially reconfigured the original AEBS as a wireless bridge for the living room — our XBox 360 and TiVo Series3 are hardwired into that AEBS, which broadcasts to/from the Time Capsule at 802.11n. Given how I consume media and what we cover here, you’d correctly assume this config successfully streams all sorts of media (video, audio, Xbox Live, Slingbox) around and beyond the home.