Xiaomi Mi Router 3C

Xiaomi's increasing focus on the lifestyle segment sees the Chinese manufacturer making everything from smart lighting to robot vacuum cleaners and smart shoes. Like its phones, and it's lifestyle products offer excellent value for money, often undercutting its rivals by a significant amount.

That's the case with the Mi Router 3C as well. The router is available in India for ₹1,199 ($20), and there's a lot to like — the device has four antennae for whole-house coverage, speeds up to 300Mbps, and two 100Mbps Ethernet ports. Best of all, you can control the router with your phone using the Mi Wi-Fi app. The router itself doesn't look like a budget device, thanks to its minimalist design aesthetic.

The Mi Router 3C is a single-band Wi-Fi 802.11n router with a maximum throughput of 300Mbps. That's standard fare for routers in the ₹1,000 segment, but what sets Xiaomi's router apart is the four antennae. The antennae give the router significant range, and in this regard the device punches well above its weight.

Setting up the Mi Router 3C is very straightforward — plug in the router to a wall socket, hook up your internet connection into the WAN port, and continue the rest of the installation in the Mi Wi-Fi app. The app lets you pick an SSID and password for your router, and there's also the option to sign in with your Xiaomi account. Doing so gives you the ability to control your Mi Router 3C from outside the confines of your house.

Mi Wi-Fi's interface is an added bonus, as the app lets you see all the devices connected to the router and the bandwidth they're consuming in real time. You can also set up a guest network, set dedicated IPs for devices like NAS enclosures, adjust QoS settings to prioritize video streaming services, set up a VPN, and more. The Mi Wi-Fi OS that controls the router is based on the OpenWRT platform.

The Mi Router 3C is a budget router with excellent range.

The router offers several Wi-Fi channels (1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10/11/12/13), allowing you to select a channel that has minimal interference. If you're routinely witnessing issues with bandwidth, a good idea is to use an app like Wifi Analyzer to isolate Wi-Fi channels that aren't in use in your vicinity.

I switched out my regular router (an AC2400 class ASUS RT-AC87) for the Mi Router 3C for three days, and Xiaomi's offering fared better than I thought it would. I have a Gigabit line, and the router managed to deliver 60Mbps to 70Mbps consistently. The RT-AC87 (which costs ten times as much) averages 280Mbps at the same distances.

Overall, the Mi Router 3C is one of the best options available in this segment. There are a few downsides — you don't get an Ethernet cable in the box, there's no USB port for connecting a printer, and the router lacks a Gigabit Ethernet port — but considering what it costs, you're getting a lot for your money. Unless you're trying to push Gigabit speeds, you'll be well-served by Xiaomi's budget router.

See at Mi India

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