This TP-Link Deco X5700 vs. Netgear Orbi AX4200 matchup is a fight between two well-performing mesh systems. Sure, they look distinctive enough, but there is a lot more to them than meets the eye.
First of all, I consider each of these the best mesh system to date from the respective vendor. Neither the best on the market as a whole, but compared to their cousins, they both sure have an edge, especially when you consider the cost.
The two are both available in a 2-pack, and you can scale up the coverage by adding more units. Design-wise, they are good looking in their own way — with identical-looking hardware units –, but both can topple fairly easily. You can’t mount either unless you get some mounting accessories.
Both use a vendor-assisted mobile app for setup and on-going management. Both also use tri-band hardware with a dynamic backhaul and share two bands of the same specs. They also work via a wired backhaul.
Finally, neither has a USB port — they can’t work as a mini NAS server. And that’s about it. Their similarities end there.
There are a lot of differences between these two.
As a mesh system, the Orbi comes in two types of hardware: A router, and a satellite. The Deco, however, uses the same hardware — you get two identical routers.
The Deco has slightly more processing power, and one of its 5GHz band has higher Wi-Fi specs. Most importantly, it comes with a 2.5Gbps auto-sensing port and supports the 160MHz channel bandwidth. It’s slated to be faster, at least at the router unit.
The Orbi has more network ports and supports Link Aggregation on the WAN side. You can combine its WAN port and LAN1 into a 2Gbps WAN connection when working with supported modem.
On the inside, the Netgear is a more satisfying system. For one, it comes with a full web interface and therefore has a lot more options in network settings and features. You also can use it via local management completely independent from Netgear. The Orbi app is just an option — you don’t have to use it.
The TP-Link, on the other hand, like all Deco hardware, requires the mobile app to work. You can’t set up or manage your network without a live internet connection. As a result, it’s more of a privacy risk.
The Deco does have a web interface, but it’s purposely neutered to include just a few basic functions, such as status viewing or firmware update.
Both the Deco and Orbi come with add-on subscription-based online protection features called HomeShield Pro and Netgear Armor, that cost around $70/year. That of the Netgear is much more comprehensive and also includes protection software for multiple devices.
I tested both in a wireless setup.
Thanks to the multi-gig port and the 160MHz channel width support, the Deco proved to be much faster at the router unit. At the satellite, though, the two were very similar, with the Orbi having a bit of an edge in certain cases.
TP-Link Deco X5700 AX5700 Tri-Band Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi 6 System
- Excellent Wi-Fi performance and coverage
- Tri-band with multi-gig port and 160MHz channel width support
- User-friendly, comparatively affordable
- Spartan Wi-Fi customization, network settings, and features
- Only one multi-gig port per hardware unit
- No USB or additional Gigabit network ports
- HomeSheild Pro requires a monthly subscription, limited web interface, impractical design
Netgear Orbi Whole Home Tri-Band Mesh Wi-Fi 6 System (RBK752)$379.99
- Fast, reliable Wi-Fi with large coverage
- Relatively affordable
- Useful, well designed mobile app
- Support WAN 2Gbps Link Aggregation
- Full web interface with all common settings and features
- No 160MHz channel support, limited Wi-Fi customization
- Not compatible with Wi-Fi 5 Orbi hardware
- Few LAN ports; No Multi-Gig, Dual-WAN, or LAN Link Aggregation, or USB port
- The fast 5GHz band only works as backhaul, even in a wired setup
Which is a better choice?
Either of these two will make an excellent choice for a large of 4500 ft2 (408 m2) or so, especially one that you can’t run network cables.
So, if you feel a bit cavalier about your privacy and can live with the forced cloud-based management, the TP-Link Deco X5700 is an excellent choice, especially considering its lower cost.
On the other hand, if you want to have more options in terms of settings and the control of your own home network, the Netgear Orbi AX4200 is totally worth the extra cost.
It’s your call.
Looking to compare other Wi-Fi solutions? Check them all out here.