Many of Netgear’s Orbi Wi-Fi routers seem to look like strange oval towers, but its newest mesh router system has a newer, boxier, and much more interesting design. Check it out:


Image: Netgear

At just 4.1 inches on a side and 2.7 inches tall, I like how small these are. I think they look way cooler than the Orbi oval towers or the multi-antenna TP-Link I’ve got mounted on my wall. That said, the smaller size means the new Orbis aren’t as powerful as Netgear’s recently-introduced $699.99 Orbi Wi-Fi 6 mesh network, not least of which because they don’t have the new Wi-Fi 6 capabilities.

There’s not a lot in the spec sheet to tell us how powerful the new Orbis are. Netgear says they have max speeds of 400Mbps over the 2.4GHz band, and 866 Mbps over 5GHz. With one router and one satellite, Netgear says you can cover 3,000 square feet with Wi-Fi.

The main router has two Ethernet ports, but you’ll be using one to connect your modem, so if you need to plug a lot of devices directly into your router, this may not be the system for you. And if you you like the idea of controlling your network settings by chatting with Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant, these routers will let you do that.

But the new Orbis are much more affordable than Netgear’s flagship Wi-Fi 6 package: as little as $149 for a two-pack (RBK12) at Walmart (which seems to be the only place you can buy it right now) or a three-pack (RBK13) elsewhere for $229 (RBK13). There’s also a four-pack (RBK14) with three satellites on Netgear’s website listed only as “coming soon.”

You may want to wait at least a single day, though, to see what Google’s rumored new Nest Wifi has to offer — and we just reviewed Amazon’s latest Eero mesh Wi-Fi system that’s just slightly more expensive at $99 per access point, with a three-pack for $249.