Who makes the best 802.11ac Wi-Fi client USB adapter?

Trendnet TEW-805UB review: Low-priced adapter delivers lackluster performance and features

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At a Glance
  • TRENDnet TEW-805UB AC1200 Dual Band Wireless USB Adapter

Who makes the best 802.11ac Wi-Fi client USB adapter?

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The Trendnet TEW-805UB’s best features are its size and its price tag, both of which are small. It will protrude from your computer’s USB port by about 2.625 inches, and it’s street-priced at only $40 on Amazon. But it brings up the rear in most every other metric. It doesn’t have any special features, and in my roundup of six 802.11ac Wi-Fi client USB adapters, it finished fourth in one test location and dead last in the other three.

The adapter is short, and it comes with a USB 3.0 interface, but that interface isn’t hinged and Trendnet doesn’t provide a USB cradle. Those decisions leave very little placement flexibility. The TEW-805UB’s close-range performance was merely adequate. Whereas the top-performing Asus USB-AC56 delivered TCP throughput of 404 megabits per second when situated 9 feet from the router, the Trendnet managed just 256 mbps. Still, that’s good enough to beat the Buffalo WI-U2-866 (240 mbps) and the Linksys WUSB6300 (230 mbps).

802.11ac Wi-Fi adapters

As relatively slow as the Trendnet TEW-805UB is, it should still be fast enough to stream HD video just about anywhere in your home. (Click to enlarge.)

In the other three test locations, Trendnet’s adapter trailed the field by wide margins. It was the only one of the six models that couldn’t muster a triple-digit performance when the client was at its farthest point from the router—65 feet away—and it only barely achieved that when the client was in my home theater, 35 feet away. When the client was in the kitchen, the TEW-805UB was 33 mbps slower than the fifth-place finisher, the Linksys WUSB6300. While it proved to be 26 mbps faster in the bedroom than the WUSB6300, which finished last there, it was 148 mbps slower than the first-place finisher (the Asus USB-AC56).

If your 802.11ac Wi-Fi budget is limited to $40, Buffalo’s WI-U2-866D is the far better buy. If you can stretch it just $10 more, D-Link’s DWA-182 will deliver even higher performance. There’s very little reason to buy Trendnet’s TEW-805UB.

Note: This review is part of a roundup of six 802.11ac Wi-Fi client USB adapters. For more, read the introduction to the roundup.

This story, "Trendnet TEW-805UB review: Low-priced adapter delivers lackluster performance and features" was originally published by TechHive.

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At a Glance
  • Trendnet’s TEW-805UB is cheap, but you get the features and performance you pay for.


    • Inexpensive
    • Compact design


    • Relatively slow at all distances
    • No USB cradle
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