The matchup between the Amazon eero Pro 6 vs. Linksys Velop MX4200 is an interesting one. That’s because it’s not really a fight, despite the fact these two share the same Wi-Fi specs. I’d pick the latter right away.
There are just too many things in the new eero that can be a deal-breaker, for me at least. Let’s take a closer look at these two.
One word: AX4200.
That’s right. The Wi-Fi grade is about the one thing these two really have in common. Both are tri-band mesh routers with two different 5GHz band (4×4 + 2×2) and one low-end 2.4GHz band (2×2).
You’ll find the specifics in the hardware specs below but the AX4200 designation means that neither supports the venerable 160MHz channel width.
As a result, at best, you’ll get the 1.2Gbps negotiated speed out of them with Wi-Fi 6 clients. In fact, chances are high-end Wi-Fi 5 clients might enjoy faster speeds. Both support wired backhaul, which I always recommend if you want the best performing mesh system out of them.
One final thing is both routers have a mobile app that requires a login account with the vendor. But they are of two different app approaches entirely.
There are a lot of differences between these two.
First off, the design. The Linksys comes in a cylindrical shape looking like a smart speaker. The eero Pro 6, on the other hand, is somewhat a square with rounded corners.
The Linksys is much larger, though with a slightly smaller footprint, and comes with four network ports and a USB port for its NAS features. The eero has just two network ports — the minimum to qualify itself as a router.
On the inside, Linksys has a full web interface and a somewhat optional mobile app. The eero has no web interface. Its mobile app is the only tool for setup and on-going management.
The Linksys comes with a standard set of network settings that includes the support for Dynamic DNS. The eero lacks a lot of common network options.
Both routers have spartan Wi-Fi customization for my taste. However, at least Linksys allows you to separate its bands into different networks and a few other things. The eero has zero Wi-Fi configuration.
Linksys has no support for home automation or online protection, but it comes with QoS and Parental Control built-in.
The eero’s protection and Parental Control features, which are part of eero Secure, require a monthly subscription. Its support for Zigbee requires a connection with an Amazon account, which might increase users’ privacy risks.
Note, though, that the Velop MX4200 also coerce users into linking their home network to a Linksys account, so it’s not exactly rosy in terms of privacy. But at least, you have the option not to do so. It’s a matter of degrees here.
These two performed quite differently in my testing.
As standalone routers, the Linksys clearly outdid the eero. However, in a mesh system, the eero Pro 6 satellite unit did slightly better. This was likely because of the way Linksys’s dynamic backhaul band technology works, which, at times, can be similar to having no dedicated backhaul at all.
In all, though, both of these tri-band systems delivered speeds fast enough for a sub-Gigabit network. They are not really for a multi-gig era.
In terms of Wi-Fi coverage, the Linksys edged out the eero in my experience. It’s hard to quantify this, but if your home is large, it’s a safer choice to go with the Velop MX4200.
By the way, the Velop MX4200 can work as a mini NAS server with quite excellent performance. In a mesh system, each of the hardware units can host an external drive. The eero Pro 6, on the other hand, can’t host an external storage device at all.
Amazon eero Pro 6 Tri-band Mesh Wi-Fi 6 Router$229.00
- Easy to set up and use, especially for iPhone users
- Good Wi-Fi speeds
- Compact design
- Comparatively affordable
- Wi-Fi range could be better
- Internet and login account required for setup and ongoing management
- Minimum ports, no Dual-WAN, Link Aggregation, or Multi-Gig
- Online Protection and Parental Control require a monthly subscription
- Home automation feature requires Amazon integration
- No web interface, spartan Wi-Fi and network settings
- The eero app for Android is a bit buggy
Linksys Velop Tri-Band AX4200 Whole Home Mesh Router WiFi 6 System (MX12600)
- Reliable Wi-Fi with excellent coverage
- Helpful mobile app, full web interface
- Fast NAS speeds when hosting external drives
- Comparatively affordable
- No support for 160MHz channel bandwidth
- Mobile app (and login account) required for initial mesh setup
- Spartan Wi-Fi settings, modest feature set
- No multi-gig network ports, Dual-WAN or Link Aggregation
- No setting backup/restore
Which is a better choice?
Again, I’d take the Linksys in a heartbeat (that is, if I had no other options.)
While both require a mobile app (and a login account), Linksys gives you the option of not using the app at all when you get a single router. And in a mesh, the app is required only in the setup process. You can’t even set up or make changes to your eero Pro 6 without going through eero’s server!
Furthermore, Linksys has a lot more network settings and features to offer right out of the box. And if you get a 3-pack, it’s also significantly more affordable.
On the other hand, the eero Pro 6 is a pure pain in terms of features and settings. It’s a bare minimum tri-band mesh router. And if you want any extra, you’ll have to pay a monthly fee or open up your network to Amazon.
So in all, the eero seems more like a scheme to harvest user information, and its Wi-Fi aspect, no matter how viable or convenient, is just the means to achieve that goal. Yet, you have to pay for it.
Looking to compare other Wi-Fi solutions? Check them all out here.