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Belkin innovates router design

8th April 2010.

Not content with having the best-looking router on the market with their N1 Vision, Belkin has announced a pretty radical new approach to wireless n routers, well, about as radical as you can get with routers anyway. The announcement is four new routers: Surf, Share, Play, and Play Max. Surely this revolutionary, common-sense approach to naming will never catch-on.

But the newness doesn't stop there! These routers come with apps - like an iphone. What sort of apps? Well, there's the "Self-Healing app which automatically detects and resolves network problems and runs routine maintenance scans to give you the clearest wireless channel." Okay, sounds useful. What else? The Print Genie app lets you wireless print from any computer in the home, the Memory Safe app automatically backs up your photos and files to any external hard drive you plug in to the routers. The Play and Play Max routers bring you the Music Mover app which can play your music library on smart devices (e.g. Xbox or PS3) and the Daily DJ app (please no!) which serves up "personalised playlists to match your mood." There seem to be plenty of others too, including a BitTorrent app for the Play Max.

So, apps aside what are we looking at? The Surf (£49.99) and the Share (£69.99) are both single-band full-n routers, the difference being the Share has a USB2.0 port for printer/hard-disk sharing. The Play (£79.99) and Play Max (£99.99) are simultaneous dual-band routers, with the Max sporting two USB2.0 ports instead of one and also providing a UPnP server. All models are available as either a cable router or ADSL modem router and should be hitting stores in April 2010 for the USA, and May for everyone else. Prices shown are for cable router - add an extra £20 for the ADSL version.

Looks-wise, the iRouters Surf, Share, Play and Play Max all look the same, a bit odd. Try to imagine a big wheel of cheese, painted matt-black, slightly square in shape with one corner cut-off, standing on its side, on a plate... Oh, I give up, there's a picture below. It's not as pretty as the Vision in my opinion, but it's not a bad look.

Belkin Play Router with apps - it really should be called the iRouter

Overall then a very different approach from Belkin, and one which should pay off for them - I think the Play and basic Surf will do very well. So, D-Link, Netgear, et al, over to you!

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