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Netgear Orbi RBK50 vs. Google Wifi: Which should you buy?

Orbi RBK50 vs. Google Wifi tech specs

These two routers have some pretty notable differences, so let's take a look at what's inside before we go into why one might be better for you than the other.

Orbi RBK50Google Wifi
Coverage5,000 sq ft4,500 sq ft
PerformanceAC3000
(1733 + 867 + 400Mbps)
AC1200
Frequency2.4 GHz, 5 GHz2.4 GHz, 5 GHz
Wireless standardsRadio 1: 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz, 256QAM support

Radio 2: 802.11a/n/ac 5GHz, 256QAM support

Radio 3: 802.11a/n/ac 5GHz, 256QAM support
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
ProcessorQualcomm IPQ4019Quad-core
710 MHz (each core)
Memory4GB Flash
512MB RAM
4GB eMMC flash
512MB RAM
PortsUSB 2.0No USB
EthernetRouter: 1 WAN, 3 LAN

Satellite: 4 LAN
2 Ethernet per unit
One is WAN, one is LAN
BeamformingYesYes

Performance

After looking at the spec charts you can see that both routers support beamforming. This is important when it comes to getting a stronger signal directly to your device, as opposed to a wild radius where you lose signal the further away you get from the router or satellite. Both are also adaptable to 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz connections, so you don't have to worry about your older devices not connecting to either of these routers. However, while they both support 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, the Orbi router has three radios while the Google Wifi only has the one. Since they both have quad-core processors there isn't too much of a difference there, but the radios are important when it comes to boosting the signal on the device.

Now, let's take a closer look at the Google Wifi. The price option is significantly cheaper, looking at about $256 for a 3-pack and $100 for a single pack. Each unit covers 1,500 square feet, so if you're working from a smaller apartment than the Google Wifi is the perfect choice for you. This way you still have the great connection, which is very similar between the devices anyway, but you don't have to put out so much money to cover square footage you don't need to anyway.

Then there's the Orbi RBK50. This 2-pack, found for $330 on Amazon, covers up to 5,000 square feet in your home. That's not all. Unlike the Google Wifi, the Orbi has a USB port for you to use with supported external hard drives or ReadyShare Printing. With ReadyShare you can print directly from your phone, laptop, or computer as long as they're all connected through the same Wi-Fi. Other than that, there are expansions for your Orbi devices (that you can read about below) and there are no expansions for the Google Wifi.

Features

Both of these routers are extremely family-friendly as both support parental controls. With the Orbi RBK50, you have parental controls through Disney Smart, which allows you to control your family's access to the internet by device, app, or website. Then, with the Google Wifi, you have parental controls through the same app that controls the rest of the router's features — it'll even allow you to pause Wi-Fi on specific devices! If you are having any issues with your Google Wifi there is even a 24/7 phone support from Google and a 1-year warranty should problems ever arise.

Now let's take a look at the Orbi's expansions. If you're looking to make your home a little smarter, or already have smart devices, than the Orbi router is well worth your investment. There is an Orbi expansion, called the Orbi Voice, which is a speaker satellite that you can find on Amazon for $300. Or, you can skip the standard package and go right for the router and Orbi Voice for $429 (which is $200 cheaper than purchasing it as an add-on for more than double the price since it's only $100 more than the standard package).

Google Assistant is supported on both of these devices, but the Orbi Voice is the only one that is also compatible with Amazon's Alexa. These give you the ability to take voice controls for other smart devices in your home (like lights). In this regard, the Voice is still much more amazing as it improves its own signal for streaming music by maintaining its own connection and also acting as another satellite for your home. This means while you're jamming out to your favorite tunes in your living room you can tell the Voice to turn off the kitchen lights and still have an extended connection to the phone you're using.

Google Wifi for your average home

This router is perfect if you want a better Wi-Fi connection and you're not too concerned about having your home filled with smart products. It's an amazing device for almost $100 less than the competition here, so it's a go-to for people with less space.

Netgear Orbi RBK50 for upgrading not just your internet, but your home

With all of the amazing features of Orbi, from their amazing connections to the USB port abilities, this router is really going for being an all-in-one. Since it's compatible with your Smart products, if you've got the Orbi Voice, it sets you up for perfectly for seamless integration.

Essa Kidwell is an expert in all things VR and mobile devices who can always be found with an Oculus Go, a Pixel 2, and an iPhone 7+. They've been taking things apart just to put them back together for quite some time. If you've got a troubleshooting issue with any of your tech, they're the one you want to go to! Find them on Twitter @OriginalSluggo or Instagram @CosmeticChronus.