A while ago, we posted a video where we unboxed and how to setup the new Huawei WiFi AX3 (quad-core) router. In that video, we also briefly ran you through the interface and that’s it.
A few weeks have passed, and here is our full review of the Huawei WiFi AX3 router. And the version that we have is the Huawei WiFi AX3 Pro variant. How did we know this? It has a quad-core and the non-Pro variant only has a dual-core processor. No idea why Huawei wants to name it differently.
By the way, if you’re buying the Huawei WiFi AX3 from China, the firmware is completely different and the setup process is different as well.
For Malaysians, TIME internet users won’t have to configure the VLAN. It just works. As for IPTV, there is an option in the interface.
Okay, so we have to keep one thing in mind – the price. RM299 is the price for the Huawei WiFi AX3 (Quad-Core). A quick introduction here – this is a dual-band router, which means it has a single 2.4GHz and a single 5GHz network. There’s also a guest network too, which we’ll get into later.
So let’s begin with the speed tests since many of you are asking about it. So how we did the tests is similar to our original WiFi 6 speed test from last year.
The gist of it is this – we connected a PC to the router via Gigabit Ethernet and then we connected to our phone via WiFi 6. This time, we have both the Galaxy S10+ and the Poco F2 Pro. Quick disclaimer – the speeds vary because these two phones use different WiFi modems and also UFS 2.1 vs UFS 3.0.
By using the 2.4GHz, we can see that the speeds are okay, nothing spectacular but the speeds are about right. Remember – this is WiFi 6 connected via 2.4GHz and these speeds are considered to be fantastic when compared to the 802.11n at 2.4GHz.
Then we move to the 5GHz network – and the speed that the speeds are actually very good! I can hit beyond 100MB/s which means about 800Mb/s – and that’s fantastic!
But that also goes to show that Huawei is focused on the 5GHz network. What I mean is this – the signal strength between 2.4GHz and 5GHz. Even when we’re sitting beside the router, the 5GHz signal strength from this router is always stronger than the 2.4GHz signal.
To back up this finding, remember the network aggregation feature on the menu? Where it combines both 2.4GHz and 5GHz? Yea that one – it’ll try to provide you 5GHz as much as possible.
In terms of coverage, the Huawei WiFi AX3 is pretty much the same as any other routers.
The 2.4GHz network covers out entire office space and more – but the 5GHz network nosedives when we go downstairs – which means a layer or two of concrete. We’ve set the WiFi power mode to MAXIMUM, by the way.
And remember the little rocket logo in the Huawei AI Life app? Well, that’s actually to “improve your WiFi quality” by changing your WiFi channel. This is a common practice since 2.4GHz frequency is used by virtually everything – including Bluetooth, wireless mouse dongles, etc.
So, this Huawei WiFi AX3 dictates if you can or cannot change the WiFi channel. You can’t do it manually, even via the web interface. I guess that’s one method to force you to notice the AI that is built into this router.
Speaking of the web interface, the options here are pretty standard for a router. It supports most of the features that I’m going to use – like DDNS, VPN, and UPnP.
If you want IPTV, you’ll need to go into the web interface to enable it – which is unavailable on the app itself. Just something to keep in mind since some people actually asked us how to set up the IPTV.
One feature that I really like is how you can manage all the devices connected to the router. You can set a limit to upload and download speed of each individual device
or completely block their internet access.
But what are the problems that I have with this router? I have just one – the NFC tag. Its inclusion is a good idea – but Huawei’s implementation still needs some tweaking. I think they made this feature to work with the aggregated SSID only. But if you’re like us and don’t want to use the aggregated network, then it’ll automatically connect you to the 2.4GHz network when you tap on that NFC. And there’s no way to change that – which is a bummer.
For us, we have to use the guest network feature. And that NFC is a perfect idea if it can be configured to be tapped and connected to the guest network – because we don’t want to tell people the guest WiFi password over and over again,
Since we cannot change which SSID is tied to that NFC tag, it defeats the purpose of “ease of connectivity”. Huawei, please let us assign which SSID to assign to the NFC tag in the next firmware update.
Another weird thing is the lack of the ability to download the firmware. There’s no page to download firmware for the Huawei WiFi AX3 or the Huawei WiFi AX3 Pro on Huawei’s own website.
And so far, there are no custom firmware like OpenWRT or DD-WRT for the Huawei WiFi AX3 and Huawei WiFi AX3 Pro yet – so tinkerers might want to stay away for now.
Should you buy the Huawei WiFi AX3 Pro (Quad-Core)?
Okay so let’s take out what we put in our minds at the beginning of this video – the price. For the price of RM299, I think it’s perfect for home users who just want to use WiFi. There are a few things to take note of – like 3x Gigabit LAN port is a dealbreaker for some. The 2.4GHz network speed is pretty average while the 5GHz network speed is actually good.
It has a typical WiFi coverage from a router and overall there is still room for improvement in terms of how the features work.
So yes – I if there are enough Gigabit LAN ports for your use case, then this is a great router.
Where to buy?
Get the local version over at Huawei Malaysia’s website. Imported versions have a completely different firmware.