Honor Router 3 Hands-On Review: Stylish, affordable and with a good feature set
Honor unveiled the Router 3 over the summer, and the company was kind enough to provide with us a unit to try out. We received the Honor Router 3 at no expense to us, but that will not affect our thoughts about it. The Honor Router 3 is the company's first Wi-Fi 6 Plus router, which Honor has proudly etched onto one of the four antennas. The Wi-Fi 6 Plus branding is the only gripe we have with the design of the Honor Router 3, as it diminishes its minimalist look. Thankfully, the branding is a lighter in colour than Honor's promotional material would suggest.
The matte white case looks great, in our opinion. There is only one LED on the front of the device, keeping things looking clean. Additionally, the router has a wedge design too that makes it look sleeker than many other contemporary routers.
Being a Wi-Fi 6-capable device, the Honor Router can achieve transfer speeds of up to 3,000 Mbps. That is, of course, a theoretical maximum, and there is no way it can boost internet speeds to those heady heights. Accordingly, our unit maintained the same 70-80 Mbps average that our TP-Link Deco mesh network manages. However, one could take advantage of higher transfer speeds when transferring data between two Wi-Fi enabled devices, but we rarely if ever do this.
The Honor Router 3 has no internal modem though, restricting it to being a basic dual-band router. Hence, the Router 3 only has four Gigabit Ethernet ports, of which one will serve as a connection between the router and your modem. So, the Honor Router 3 does not offer a completely clean setup, but it does only retail for £72.
Thankfully, setting up the router is a more straightforward process than it is on many routers. Currently, Honor offers two set-up options: the Huawei AI Life app or a web interface. It took us under five minutes to set up our unit, along with another few minutes spent waiting for it to update to the latest software version. Overall, the AI Life app works well, but only if you plan to use the Honor Router 3 as a router.
Unfortunately, we encountered some real issues when using the Honor Router 3 as an extender on our TP-Link Deco network. Initially, the Honor Router 3 slotted in nicely without any disturbances. Things shortly took a turn for the worse though, as our laptop lost connectivity. Disconnecting the Honor Router 3 fixed the issue, but this kept happening within thirty minutes of switching the router on again.
Similarly, the Honor Router 3 seemed to affect two of the Deco extenders, despite not being anywhere near them. For whatever reason, these would drop connection and required a reset to work again, but only with the Honor Router 3 switched on. This may well be a one-off, but it underlines that the Honor Router 3 may not be the best option as an extender to an existing network.
Verdict - Great value, but it cannot replace your modem
Nonetheless, the Honor Router 3 offers a lot for its £72 list price. Honor is selling the router for £49.99 until the end of December too, which would make it even more tempting if we were looking to expand the range of a standard modem.
Picking up two for £90 would be a good deal too, as the second could be used to create a mesh network. In short, the Honor Router 3 delivers good value for money, especially if you are looking to improve your home network from a single modem.