Amazon Eero is a mesh Wi-Fi system designed to boost the broadband around your home
Eero is one of a number of new mesh network systems designed to boost your Wi-Fi signal in every room to provide rock-solid coverage across your home. The company, which was bought by Amazon back in March, has long offered its products in the United States but is now available in the UK for the first time.
Like its rival Google Nest Wi-Fi and BT Whole Home Wi-Fi, Eero requires you to place small boxes in different rooms around the house to boost your signal. That means the onus doesn’t only rest on the router that your Internet Service Provider (ISP) set-up in the corner of one room when they installed your broadband connection.
This should eradicate any Wi-Fi blackholes, transforming your abode into thriving broadband hotspots where you’ll be able to stream Ultra HD movies, play online multiplayer games and make FaceTime calls without your connection constantly breaking up halfway through each sentence and then dropping out before you’ve finished talking.
Eero is designed to be nice enough that you won’t mind putting it out on display
Amazon Eero review: An amazing app
Setting up your new Eero system is handled using a smartphone or tablet app. The friendly software takes you through the simple steps and provides easy-to-follow illustrations. For example, the app even goes as far as to ask how many floors you have at home to help guide you when placing the network extenders for maximum coverage.
Eero says a bundle of three extenders will comfortably blanket a 5,000 square feet home with Wi-Fi, with smaller homes needing fewer units than that. Of course, if you’re living in a cramped studio apartment, you might find that you don’t need any extra nodes all that – although you might still want to buy a single Eero to benefit from some of the smart features that you won’t get with your bog-standard router from your ISP.
From setting-up the entire mesh network around your home, to managing the devices currently using your broadband connection, simplicity is found throughout the Eero experience.
Once we’d got the Eero nodes up-and-running in a few key locations around the house, our internet was markedly improved. Rooms that only managed to stutter their way through a track on Apple Music playlist could suddenly manage whole albums. Eero does a fantastic job of quietly passing your devices between to the node with the strongest connection as you move from room to room to ensure you always have reliable internet. Walking around on a video call, you won’t even be aware of the process happening behind-the-scenes – except that your Wi-Fi signal will stay at full bars.
Unfortunately, we did have a slight issue with a blinking red light on one of the Eeros after the app tried to update all of the boxes on the network. Losing the connection to one box meant the Eero upstairs would suddenly drop-out too, which was pretty frustrating.
Thankfully, a quick reset and re-adding that particular box seemed to get the gremlins out of the system and restored the internet coverage throughout the house.
As you around the house, Eero will intelligently switch your devices to the Eero node with the strongest connection
As well as keeping your devices on a rock solid Wi-Fi connection throughout your home, Eero is also designed to better handle a large number of internet-enabled devices. If you’ve kitted out your home with smart doorbells, Amazon Echo smart speakers, LIFX Wi-Fi lightbulbs, connected speakers, and more, the Eero nodes should help to keep everything firmly connected to the internet. That’s because each Eero can support up to 128 devices. If those devices are heavily using the Internet (for activities like streaming video) Eero says you’ll see the best results using up to 30 devices with each Eero.
If you’ve got two or three Eero nodes scattered around the house, that’s eminently achievable. And saves drowning the router handed to you by your ISP with every single internet-enabled gadget under your roof.
Juggling all of these gadgets within the Eero app is a joy. As mentioned before, the app is incredibly easy to use – thanks to a recent redesign with simplicity as its core. The Eero apps lets you assign any of your gadgets to an individual profile – for a particular family member, for example. Then, Eero lets you schedule any downtime when they won’t be able to connect to the internet, so you can make sure dinner is always phone-free, or stop your children being able to login to Instagram in the wee small hours without you knowing.
Renaming devices, adding them to profiles, and adding new Eeros to your network is all handled from the same main homefeed, which hints at just how compact everything is presented in the Eero app.
Unlike the rival Google Nest Wifi, Eero includes multiple ethernet ports on each node
Helpfully, Eero automatically puts devices into categories – so any connected doorbells, lightbulbs will be separate from your iPad and Pixel 4.
It’s a really neat trick and saves you so much time trawling through the app to find the gadget you’re looking for. It’s also something that Nest Wi-Fi, which presents everything as a long list of (occasionally scrambled) device names, doesn’t come close to matching. You can also track which devices are connected to each Eero node. That’s something that can be done with Google’s rival Nest Wi-Fi, although it takes a few taps and isn’t presented front-and-centre like the Eero app. This is handy if you’re trying to find the best placement for your nodes – you can quickly check to see if your devices are pretty evenly distributed across the mesh network.
The app also has a tab for Activity, which lets you track your network speeds over time. That’s particularly useful if you’ve been having trouble with your service and you need to send a screenshot to your Internet Service Provider to prove how patchy your speeds have been over the last few months. In our time with Eero we didn’t run into any hiccups with the app, which was reassuring given that making any changes to your network relies on the software.
The app is a masterclass in simplicity, automatically grouping devices by type or individuals
You can schedule downtime for anyone connected to your home Wi-Fi network
Amazon Eero review: Alexa, speed up my home Wi-Fi
Since Eero is owned by Amazon, the system has some clever Alexa functionality built-in. If you’ve got any Amazon Echo smart speakers around the house you can ask any of these about your current broadband speeds, as well as request certain devices (or individuals) internet be paused. But the most useful is the ability to use Alexa to help you locate any misplaced tech – with the chatty AI able to tell you which Eero the missing gadget is closest to. That really narrows things down – helping us find a Kindle in a few minutes during an (unplanned) test of the system.
But while Eero can get you up-and-running with a fancy new mesh network to colour-in any blank spots around your home, some might find the lack of depth to the app a little frustrating.
Compared to the rival system from Google, Eero can’t match the same level of depth as Nest Wi-Fi. For example, there’s no way to check the internet speed being delivered to a particular device, or check the total amount of data downloaded and uploaded by a single gadget on your network. Of course, Eero would probably shrug that off and reply, “well, why the hell would you want to do that anyway?”. And we’ve got to admit, it’s a pretty solid argument. However, surely this useless geeky level of data is one of the reasons you cough-up £200+ for a mesh router system for the house?
Aside from all the clever Alexa voice features and app controls, Eero provides very solid Wi-Fi around the house
It’s worth noting that in the United States, Eero offers an optional subscription tier that brings a number of more sophisticated features to the system. There’s no such subscription in the UK, with Amazon informing us that it has no plans to bring the paid-for component to Blightly. In some ways, that’s a massive relief – if you’re paying for an advanced mesh router system, do you really want some features to be locked behind a monthly subscription cost? That said, some of the features available in the United States to subscribers sound absolutely brilliant.
With the all-singing, all-dancing Eero Secure+ subscription running, you’ll get a VPN built into your network, so you can tune-in to your US Netflix subscription on any device – no matter where you’re now living. There is also a password manager, an ad blocker to speed-up browsing, and anti-virus that stops malware and spyware ever reaching your laptop or desktop computer, and finally, content blockers to automatically stop violent and pornographic images being accessible from some family members’ devices.
Amazon Eero Review
Amazon Eero review: Verdict
- Pros: Impressively simple set-up, useful Alexa features, ethernet ports on every node, solid Wi-Fi throughout the home
- Cons: Can’t quite match Google Nest Wi-Fi in terms of features, UK-based Eero owners don’t get as many features those in the United States
Eero is a nifty little mesh system. The app doesn’t offer the same level of depth that you get from Google’s rival Nest Wi-Fi solution, nor does it boast the future-proofed Wi-Fi 6 technology that you can get from the (much pricier) Orbi WiFi 6 mesh system.
However, the stunningly simple app means it might be the perfect pick for anyone who wants to (very lightly) dip their toe in the world of mesh systems. And as the US-only subscription component tells us, there is huge scope for Amazon to bring a truckload of extra features to Eero in the coming months.
Coughing-up for a mesh router in order to get a little more insight into the reliability of your internet speeds, fix any Wi-Fi blackholes around your home, and pause troublesome kids’ devices by barking at Alexa isn’t the most thrilling Christmas gift… but it’s also really, really useful. After a few weeks with Eero, you’ll realise just how useless that blinking black box sent to your home when you signed-up to an 18-month broadband contract really is.
Eero might not offer the geek stats as Google Nest Wi-Fi, nor do the network extenders double-up as smart speakers, but there are ethernet ports galore, the internet signal is solid, and the app is a masterclass in simplistic design. If that sounds like what you need, fire-up your (patchy) Wi-Fi and order one now.