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Linksys EA9300 Max-Stream AC4000 Tri-Band Router Review

The Linksys EA9300 Max-Stream AC4000 Tri-Band Router [1] was launched in August 2017 and is currently retailing for S$399.

The EA9300 is not the highest end router from Linksys, that title still belongs to EA9500 [2].

Instead, the EA9300 is the successor to the EA9200 [3] which was launched more than two years ago.

Despite not being the highest end router, the EA9300 is the most powerful one because of its 1.8GHz quad-core processor, 512MB of RAM and 256MB of ROM.

While the EA9500 retails for S$539, the EA9300 cost S$140 lesser at S$399. The lower price brings about, the more powerful processor, more RAM, and ROM. You may be wondering why. The reason being instead of a 4×4 MU-MIMO (4 simultaneous streams) design found in the EA9500, the EA9300 only has a 3×3 MU-MIMO (3 simultaneous streams).

Because of that, the speeds also decrease. From 1,000Mbps to 750Mbps on the 2.4GHz and from 2,166Mbps to 1,625Mbps on both 5.0GHz.

Specifications (Credits: SmallNetBuilder [4] and WikiDevi [5])

Unboxing
The box is huge but not as huge as EA9500’s box.

Linksys EA9300 - Box Front [6]
Linksys EA9300 – Box Front
Linksys EA9300 - Box Back [7]
Linksys EA9300 – Box Back
Linksys EA9300 - Box [8]
Linksys EA9300 – Box
Linksys EA9300 - Box Contents [9]
Linksys EA9300 – Box Contents

Design

Linksys EA9300 - Top [10]
Linksys EA9300 – Top
Linksys EA9300 - Bottom [11]
Linksys EA9300 – Bottom
Linksys EA9300 - Back [12]
Linksys EA9300 – Back

The EA9300 only has four LAN ports instead of eight found in the EA9500.

Instead of one USB 2.0 and one USB 3.0 port in the EA9500, the EA9300 has two USB3.0 ports.

Linksys EA9300 [13]
Linksys EA9300

UI
Similar to the EA9500, the EA9300 is a Smart Wi-Fi Router [14]. That means you can access and control your home network from anywhere with a web browser or a mobile device via an iOS [15] or Android [16] App.

I would not be covering the router UI here since it is the same across all the latest Linksys router that I reviewed [17].

in case you are wondering, the EA9300 supports VLAN tagging and OpenVPN [18] server.

Speed Test
The wireless speed for EA9300 is pretty decent

Location EA9300 (5GHz) AIR-706P EA9500 (5GHz) RT-AC88U (5GHz)
Living Room (Download) 447.59Mbps 495.76Mbps 444.58Mbps 465.90Mbps
Living Room (Upload) 339.83Mbps 423.92Mbps 282.32Mbps 377.75Mbps
Linksys EA9300 - Speed Test [19]
Linksys EA9300 – Speed Test

Coverage
The EA9300 coverage for 2.4GHz is pretty bad when compared to EA9500. It seems that Linksys routers have worse 2.4GHz coverage than Asus routers.

Linksys EA9300 - 2.4GHz - Heatmap [20]
Linksys EA9300 – 2.4GHz – Heatmap

Linksys EA9500 - 2.4GHz - Heatmap [21]
Linksys EA9500 – 2.4GHz – Heatmap

Asus RT-AC88U - 2.4GHz - Heatmap [22]
Asus RT-AC88U – 2.4GHz – Heatmap

I would say the 5.0GHz coverage between the EA9300 and EA9500 is a close one. I am leaning towards EA9300 having slightly better coverage because it has less bluish areas around the main bedroom, bedroom 2, and kitchen area.

In reverse, Linksys routers have better 5.0GHz coverage than Asus routers.

Linksys EA9300 - 5.0GHz - Heatmap [23]
Linksys EA9300 – 5.0GHz – Heatmap

Linksys EA9500 - 5.0GHz - Heatmap [24]
Linksys EA9500 – 5.0GHz – Heatmap

Asus RT-AC88U - 5.0GHz - Heatmap [25]
Asus RT-AC88U – 5.0GHz – Heatmap

In case you are wondering, I am using a paid version of NetSpot [26] to generate the above heatmaps.

Conclusion
Despite it not being the highest end router in the market, it is probably the most powerful one because of its quad-core processor and 512MB RAM.

If you find the EA9500 too expensive at S$539, the EA9300 might be suitable for you at S$399 (S$140 cheaper). It is a good upgrade over the EA9200 which may be defunct soon.

S$399 is probably the maximum price I will pay for a router and EA9300 fits right into the criteria.

I wish that the EA9300 has an 8-port switch instead of just 4.

Linksys EA9300 - Plugged In [27]
Linksys EA9300 – Plugged In