ASUS WL-33NUL Pocket Router Review

IMG_6649The Asus Pocket Router was first announced at the beginning of year but has only just become available.

The box proudly announces that it is the “world’s smallest router”, which I don’t doubt that it is – it just also comes in a disproportionately large box, which seems a complete nonsense.

As you can see from the image left it really is small and portable with a usb cable that folds back into the case so, depending on how you intend to use it you might not need to carry anything else.

From the images that I had seen I was under the impression that the router was housed in brushed aluminium as per many Apple devices. Disappointingly this turned out not to be the case and was, in fact, cheap plastic sprayed silver complete with injection moulding lines. You’ll be fine as long as you don’t stand on it.

On removing the device from the box you’ll notice there is a sticker that you have to remove before you can use it telling you to “install utility first”. This could be confusing if, like me, you are using a Mac as the utility is Windows only. I have no idea what advantages the utility offers as I managed to use the device fine without it.

The device offers several different modes:

  • turns an existing ethernet connection into a wifi hotspot (useful in a hotel for example)
  • adds an ethernet connection to a laptop without on, such as the MacBook Air
  • creates a secure connection between your device and an insecure connection, such as in a coffee shop.

I suspect that the most common use will be to add wifi to existing an ethernet connection and in my tests this worked flawlessly. Plug in wait for the status light to stop flashing (as it gets an IP address assigned) and then connect using the password printed on the side of the device, although this can be changed from the inevitable web interface  Transfer rates were good too and there didn’t seem to be a drop with multiple devices connected.

So despite the cheap and nasty housing this really is an excellent little device that has already proved to be invaluable and will replace the similarly priced Apple USB to Ethernet adaptor that I currently use.

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