We received an email from Linksys recently, stating they'll prefer the EA6500 to be referred to as the 'Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Router AC 1750 HD Video Pro" where possible. We respect that, but the name is too long and esoteric for our review, so we'll just call it EA6500 for short. In a nutshell, the EA6500 is the networking firm's first and only router based on the 802.11ac draft standard. In other words, this true dual-band router now sits at the apex of Linksys E-series of routers; consider it a class higher than the 802.11n-based EA4500 released almost half a year ago. As with the current slate of AC contenders from ASUS and D-Link, one can expect the usual spiel of features to accompany the EA6500, including a cloud platform, remote access capabilities (either through the web browser or mobile apps), and simultaneous theoretical speeds of up to 450Mbps and 1,300 Mbps on the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands respectively.
Linksys, or Cisco as its parent company is known by, is banking massively on the so-called 'smart' capabilities and easy usability of its latest range of E-series routers. Compared to its competitors, Linksys undoubtedly has a larger portfolio of apps available for the mobile interface, ranging from titles such as "Gemini IP Camera Viewer" for grabbing real-time feeds from compatible IP cameras, to "Netproofer", an app which enables users to restrict access to specific websites on their home network via their smartphones. Trouble is, most of them are paid apps, and they are only available via Google Play or iTunes. And to complicate matters further, some of them, like "Block The Bad Stuff" for example, are exclusive to iTunes only. With that in mind, let's move on to the review proper, and see if the EA6500 is able to give the competition something to think about.