ASUS RT-AC85P wireless router review: What does it have to offer?
ASUS RT-AC85P is an AC2400 wireless router with a classic, robust design, similar to that of many popular routers from the same company. This router's positioning on the market, as well as its hardware and feature set, are slightly different from that of other ASUS routers that we recently tested. Therefore, we were curious to see how it performs, and who is the right audience for this wireless router. If you want to know more about the ASUS RT-AC85P, read this review:
ASUS RT-AC85P AC2400: Who is it good for?
ASUS RT-AC85P is a good choice for the following types of users:
Where To Buy
- Families with mid-sized apartments or one-floor houses without many rooms
- Users who want firmware that offers complete control
- People who want to remote-control their router from their mobile devices
- Users who want proper multi-lingual firmware for their router
Pros and cons
ASUS RT-AC85P has the following strengths:
- Excellent WiFi speed for devices that have a direct line of sight to the router
- Firmware that is easy to use, and offers complete control
- Advanced smartphone app for administering the router and the network
- Great multilingual support and easily accessible Help documentation
- Tried-and-tested design that's similar to that of other popular routers from ASUS
There are also negatives to consider:
- The USB port is slower than expected
- The WiFi coverage is not reliable in rooms separated by two walls from the router
- The features of the firmware are like those on lower-end ASUS routers
ASUS RT-AC85P is an interesting wireless router. Its hardware, features, and performance position it somewhere between mid-range and low-end wireless routers from ASUS. The features built into the firmware are similar to those of lower-end ASUS routers. The performance is excellent and similar to that of mid-range ASUS wireless routers when network clients have a direct line of sight to the router or are separated by one wall from it. However, the further away you go from the router, the performance declines to the level of low-end wireless routers. ASUS RT-AC85P is a great choice for people with mid-sized apartments or one-floor houses that do not have many rooms. For larger apartments and homes, you should look at more expensive models like ASUS Blue Cave or ASUS RT-AC86U.
Unboxing the ASUS RT-AC85P wireless router
The packaging used for ASUS RT-AC85P is similar to that of other wireless routers from the same brand. On the top cover, we see a picture of the devices and a list of its most prominent features.
On the back and the sides, you see lots of technical information about this product, including its entire list of specifications. When you open the box, you find the router itself, the power adapter, a CAT5E network cable, the user manual, and the warranty.
The unboxing experience for the ASUS RT-AC85P wireless router is quick and painless. Inside the box, you find everything you need to get started right away.
Hardware specifications and design
Unlike most wireless routers from ASUS, RT-AC85P comes with a dual-core MediaTek MT7621 processor, running at 880 MHz, 256 MB of RAM, and 128 MB of storage space for the firmware. The company usually has more expensive Broadcom processors on its mid-range wireless routers, and we were surprised by this choice of processor. ASUS RT-AC85P has three non-detachable antennas and one internal antenna. It offers support for the 802.11ac Wave 2 (Wi-Fi 5) standard and 4x4 MU-MIMO wireless transfers, which means that it should be a fast wireless router. It is a dual-band wireless router with a theoretical maximum bandwidth of 2400 Mbps, split as follows: 600 Mbps for the 2.4 GHz band and 1733 Mbps for the 5 GHz band.
The router has a stand for placing it on flat horizontal surfaces. Unfortunately, it cannot be mounted on walls. On the back of the router, you have all the buttons and ports: the WPS button, the Reset button, the Power button, the Power jack, one USB 3.1 port that can also work using the USB 2.0 standard (it is the default setting for it), the WAN port, and four Ethernet ports that work at 1 Gbps.
All the LEDs are on the front side of the router: one for Power, four LEDs for the Ethernet ports, one port for the internet connection, and two for the WiFi (one for each band). As you can see, the design is classic for ASUS. There is nothing flashy about the ASUS RT-AC85P - it looks and feels as you would expect, and it is similar in design to many popular models from the same company.
ASUS RT-AC85P is an average sized router, with 8.6 x 3.4 x 6.2 inches or 220 x 87 x 158 mm in width, depth, and height. The weight is standard too, at 18.8 ounces or 533 grams.
If you would like to learn more about the official specifications of this wireless router, go to this page: ASUS RT-AC85P Specifications .
Setting up and using the ASUS RT-AC85P wireless router
Setting up the router is easy: plug it to the powerline, connect it to the internet, and to a computer, using the Ethernet cable found in the packaging. Then, access its configuration wizard in a web browser. First, you are asked to set the username and password for administering the router. Next, you enter the details of your internet connection and configure the name(s) and password(s) for the wireless network. When done, you are shown a summary of your settings.
The user interface is the same as on other ASUS wireless routers. One aspect that we noticed is that the firmware reports four cores for the processor, instead of two, as you see in its specifications. It was a first for us to test a router that has a processor with two physical cores and four logical cores. You do not encounter this often on the market for wireless routers.
The user interface is well organized and easy to use. All the settings are split into logical sections and finding your way is easy. You can configure everything that matters in detail, and advanced users are going to appreciate this.
The user documentation is well done and easily accessible. One neat trick is to move the mouse cursor over a setting that you do not understand, and a question mark is shown. Click on it, and you see information explaining that setting.
Another positive is the multilingual support: the firmware for ASUS RT-AC85P is available in twenty-five languages, and switching between them is easy. Most router manufacturers do not offer their firmware in so many languages.
When you want to control the network from your smartphone or tablet, including when you are not at home, you can use the ASUS router app. It offers many advanced customization options, including the ability to check on your children's devices, and set up rules for parental controls. The remote network diagnostics can be useful too when your family has problems with their WiFi, and you are not home to help.
We connected about twenty devices to the network managed by ASUS RT-AC85P, including two desktop PCs, laptops, tablets, several smartphones, one wireless printer, two smart plugs, one smart bulb, and an Xbox One console. Then, we started sharing data and making transfers between devices. We noticed that when network clients had a direct line of sight to the router or were separated by just one wall, we had excellent download speeds both on the 2.4 GHz band and the 5 GHz band. However, when two walls separated the network clients from the wireless router, the variability increased significantly when compared to other routers, and the average speeds we measured were not that great. To help you better understand, let's take a look at a network transfer on the 2.4 GHz band, in the same room with the router: as you can see the average speed is quite good, and there is some degree of variability.
After moving to a room separated from the router by two walls, and repeating the same test, the average speed lowered significantly, and the transfer had moments when the speed was 0.
On the 5 GHz band, we noticed a similar tendency, but the overall performance was higher, and the variability less dramatic. This problem should be fixed in a future firmware update.
Another aspect we observed is that the WiFi coverage offered by ASUS RT-AC85P is not very large. The router performs well in medium-sized apartments or one-floor houses without many walls and rooms. However, if you want good WiFi for two-floor houses or large apartments, other wireless routers offer better coverage.
If you want to know more about the real-world performance offered by this wireless router, go to the next page of this review.