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TP-Link Deco X90 (vs the Deco X5700): An Expensive Wi-Fi 6 Alternative

For a few months now, folks have been asking me to review the TP-Link Deco X90 AX6600 Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi System, and I was about to do exactly that.

Upon close inspection, though, I realized that the Deco X90 is basically the Deco X5700 I already reviewed, with just a minor difference that has no impact on the performance in the intended use case.

Consequently, I find the X90 with nothing to justify its additional cost of more than $100 compared to the X5700.

TP Link Deco X5700 Cross
The TP-Link Deco X5700 and Deco X90 include two identical hardware units. The hardware of the two systems looks virtually the same.

TP-Link Tri-band Wi-Fi 6 Mesh systems: The fight between the two Decos

The point is if you want to find out how the Deco X90 will pan out, check my take on the Deco X5700. The two likely deliver the same experience.

That said, this piece is more like a Deco X90 vs. Deco X5700 matchup. Unlike another comparison I’ve done, this one contains no real-world performance of the former — I didn’t test it.

That’s because, judging from the hardware, the numbers would likely turn out to be the same. You’ll know why when you’re through with this.

Deco X90 vs. Deco X5700: Similarities

Out of the box, you won’t be able to tell the hardware units Deco X90 and Deco X5700 apart. They look virtually the same.

Each system is a 2-pack that includes two tri-band routers. Each router has two auto-sensing network ports. One is Gigabit, and the other, a 2.5Gbps Multi-Gig port.

You can pick either of the units as the router, and the other will work as a satellite. In a satellite role, both of the ports are now LAN. Both systems support wired backhaul. In fact, they are among a few on the market of which a 2-pack can deliver Multi-Gig wired backhaul.

As a tri-band system, though, they are meant to work in a fully wireless setup. Truth be told, if you have gotten your home wired, the Deco X60 is a much better choice, especially in terms of cost.

And in this case, they will deliver the same performance as a mesh system. That’s because both share the same 5Ghz-2 band that caps at 1200Mbps.

You also get a 1-pack of each to use as a standalone router. In this case, the Deco X90 is potentially better thanks to the higher-specced 5GHz-1 band.

Both routers come with a limited local web interface and require users to sign up for a mobile app to set up and use them. This effectively turns them into hardware as a service which is not good for privacy.

You’ll see even more similarities between the two in their hardware specifications below.

Deco X90 vs. Deco X5700: Hardware specifications

Find the full hardware specifications of the Deco X90 and Deco X5700 here and here.

Full NameTP-Link Deco X90
AX6600 Whole Home
Mesh Wi-Fi System
TP-Link Deco X5700 
AX5700 Whole Home 
Mesh Wi-Fi System
ModelDeco X90Deco X5700
Mesh Availability2-Pack (Identical Routers)2-Pack (Identical Routers)
Dimensions8.3 × 5.1 × 4.8 in 
(210.5 × 130 × 123 mm)
8.3 × 5.1 × 4.8 in 
(210.5 × 130 × 123 mm)
Processor1.5GHz Quad-Core1.5GHz Quad-Core
Wi-Fi TechnologyTri-band AX6600Tri-band AX5700
5GHz-1 Wi-Fi Specs4×4 AX: Up to 4804 Mbps
Channel Width: 20/40/80/160MHz
3×3 AX: Up to 3843 Mbps
Channel Width: 20/40/80/160MHz
5GHz-2 Wi-Fi Specs2×2 AX: Up to 1201 Mbps
Channel Width: 20/40/80MHz
2×2 AX: Up to 1201 Mbps
Channel Width: 20/40/80MHz
2.4GHz Wi-Fi Specs2×2 AX:  up to 574 Mbps
Channel Width: 20/40MHz
2×2 AX:  up to 574 Mbps
Channel Width: 20/40MHz
Backward Compatibility802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi
Wireless SecurityWPA2, WPA3WPA2, WPA3
Mobile AppTP-Link DecoTP-Link Deco
Web User InterfaceYes (Limited)Yes (Limited)
Bridge ModeNoNo
AP ModeYesYes
USB PortNoneNone
Gigabit Port1× WAN/LAN1× WAN/LAN
Multi-Gig Port1x 2.5Gbps WAN/LAN1x 2.5Gbps WAN/LAN
Link AggregationNoneNone
Suggested Price$500 (2-pack)$390 (2-pack)
Hardware specifications: Deco X90 vs. Deco X5700

Deco X90 vs. Deco X5700: Differences

As you can see above, the only difference in hardware between the two is in the 5GHz-1 band. That of the Deco X90 is a 4×4 (4804Mbps), while the Deco X5700’s is a 3×3 (3843Mbps).

In a wireless setup, though, the two will deliver the same throughput speeds since one of their 5Ghz bands works as the backhaul. Either router would make a difference if both of its 5GHz bands were 4×4 or 3×3.

And that brings us to the second and final difference: The pricing. Clearly, the Deco X90’s $500 price tag is not justified — you likely get nothing extra for the money.

Deco X90 vs. Deco X5700: Performance

Again, I didn’t test the Deco X90. It just felt it wouldn’t be worth the effort.

However, as mentioned above, there’s no way the Deco X90 can outperform its seemingly lesser cousin in a fully wireless setup.

In both cases, clients will connect to the satellite unit at the speed of the slower 5GHz band (1201Mbps) at best. There’s no other way around this.

Deco X5700 Mesh Satellite Performance Chart

That said, as a mesh, the Deco X5700’s performance also represents the Deco X90. So do its general ratings. They are not the best mesh systems in the market but among the best TP-Link has to offer.

TP-Link Deco X5700 AX5700 Tri-Band Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi 6 System

8

Performance

8.0/10

Features

7.0/10

Design and Setup

8.5/10

Value

8.5/10

Pros

  • Excellent Wi-Fi performance and coverage
  • Tri-band with multi-gig port and 160MHz channel width support
  • User-friendly, comparatively affordable
  • Good-looking

Cons

  • Spartan Wi-Fi customization, network settings, and features
  • Only one Multi-Gig port per hardware unit
  • App and login account required
  • HomeShield Pro requires a monthly subscription, limited web interface, impractical design
  • No USB or additional Gigabit network ports
See also  Deco X5700 AX5700 Review: TP-Link's Best Wi-Fi 6 Mesh Effort to Date

Which should you buy

First of all, currently in the U.S., you can find these two exclusively at Best Buy and Costco, respectively. It might take a while before you find them at other retailers.

Keep that in mind in terms of availability and the fact there are many tri-band mesh options. But strictly between the two, I’d recommend the Deco X5700 right off the bat, simply because it’s less expensive.

The only time you’d want to get the Deco X90 over the other is when you want to use it as a single router. But in this case, there are many other better options.

And for those considering it as a mesh with Multi-Gig wired backhaul, that will likely work out but won’t make it worth the cost. That’s because, on the client-side, there’s no way to really take advantage of that high-speed backhaul link.

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15 thoughts on “TP-Link Deco X90 (vs the Deco X5700): An Expensive Wi-Fi 6 Alternative”

  1. Hi Dong,

    I am considering to buy Deco X90 or Asus Zenwifi XT8.

    -Double story house
    -I want use only want connect 5GHZ.
    -I want improve coverage and high speed Internet at 2nd floor and stability between 2 node.

    Which you recommend?

    Reply
  2. Hi, I’m planning below setup for a 3 storey house using mesh and wifi backhaul.
    1 setup. Tplink Deco m9 plus 3 packs
    A. Ground floor unit placed in closed stored room.
    B. First floor – unit place in middle open living area.
    C. Second floor – unit place in middle open living area.
    2 setup. Tplink Deco x90 2 packs
    A. Ground floor unit placed in closed stored room.
    B. First floor – unit place in middle open living area.

    1. May i know which setup is better?
    2. If deco x90 cannot cover for second floor, add a tplink re605x?

    Reply
    • It’s a tri-band Wi-Fi 5 mesh that I tested in my past life before I started this website. It was good when it first came out years ago. For now, there’s no point in getting it. You’re better off with a Wi-Fi 6 Deco instead (or another brand,) Zilla.

      Reply
  3. Hi Dong, thanks for your informative post on the AX5700 and X90. It really helped me with my plans for a home network upgrade.

    I do have a question though. If say I connect the satellite mesh (X90) to the main node (X90) with an ethernet backhaul. Are both 5ghz bands available to clients? I’d like that my 2×2 160mhz capable wifi 6 client is able to connect at full speed while still maintaining 80mhz channel compatibility for my older wifi 5 clients.

    I’m asking this because in one of your posts on the Deco X60, you mentioned that it lacks real-world AX 160mhz when AC and AX clients are connected. Is the Deco X90 plagued with the same design flaw?

    Reply
    • If you have a wired backhaul, I’d recommend getting dual-band hardware. The Deco has few Wi-Fi settings so it’s impossible to know if it’ll work the way you’d expect. For the price, though, consider the Asus XD4 instead.

      Reply
  4. I am really enjoying your reviews and learning quite a bit. I have a 2800 square-foot home and a relatively modest Internet provider speed. I am down to the Orbi 752 or this X 5700. At about $310 for the Orby and about $290 for the x5700 both on sale now, the prices are comparable. I wonder which of the two you would recommend? I will be using a wireless connection to the satelite. I’m not sure how much of a concern privacy should be, although I am a bit concerned. Parental controls are a benefit, but also not 100% necessary. Thanks much.

    Reply
  5. Hi Juan! Just purchased the Deco X5700 2 node setup. If I were to add a cheap third node (dual band) would it kill off the benefit of having the other two nodes tri band? Seems like according to Deco’s website it would work…. just don’t know if it would negatively impact what I have today. Thanks!

    Reply
  6. Hi Dong, Thanks for your website. I learn a lot. My issue is my kids do online schooling and have a 7000 sq ft area to cover. I used Google wifi and upgraded to Google nest. My ISP connection is stable and its located in the bedroom upstairs. The kids do online class downstairs. The nest sometimes lose connection (once or twice in a week) but only for a short time (5 min or less) still its a bit of a hassle. I was thinking of switching to Eero 6 or a TP link M9 plus
    I use 1 wired nest wifi and 3 nodes (wireless) to create a mesh.
    2 upstairs and 2 downstairs. Coverage is ok, the downtime is my only issue. Any suggestions? Thanks!

    Reply
  7. Thanks a lot Dong,

    It is amazing that you have taken into acount the question i asked to you a few weeks ago, and came now to me with such a proper, accurate and extensive answer.
    I am really grateful to you.
    It is amazing that you do all this work for all of us, sharing you aMazing knowlegde for free.

    Thanks, thanks an thanks for your support.

    After reading this information about Tp Link X90, I think my final decision will go to Netgear Orbi RBK 852…

    Thanks a lot. Sincerely…

    Reply

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