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Netgear Orbi RBK50 vs. RBK50V: Which Wi-Fi router should you buy?

Netgear Orbi RBK50 vs Orbi RBK50V tech specs

Abilities are one thing, but the specs are where the real decisions usually are. Here's a look at what's under the hood.

Orbi RBK50Orbi RBK50V
Coverage5,000 sq ft4,500 sq ft
PerformanceAC3000
(1733 + 867 + 400Mbps)
AC2200
(867 + 867 + 400Mbps)
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
802.11ac
ProcessorQualcomm IPQ4019Quad-Core
MU-MIMOYesYes
Memory4GB Flash
512MB RAM
4GB Flash
512MB RAM
PortsUSB 2.0USB 2.0
EthernetRouter: 1 WAN, 3 LAN

Satellite: 4 LAN
Router: 1 WAN, 3 LAN

Satellite/Speaker: 2 LAN
BeamformingYesYes

Performance

Before we get too deep into comparing the features, I want to note that your Orbi RBK50V package comes with the RBK50 router. This means the only thing you're sacrificing is the satellite that comes with the RBK50 package, and instead, you're getting the speaker satellite known as the Voice. Compared to the original satellite, the Voice will give you 500 less square feet of Wi-Fi coverage as well as an AC2200 standard instead of the AC3000. As you can see above, the AC200 offers 1,046 fewer Mbps at 867Mbps for the first band, but the other two still remain exactly the same. This means you'll get slightly less backhaul performance, but the other bands will deliver the same performance.

Other than the notable difference in specs between the two types of satellites you could get with the RBK50 router, there are a few physical differences you'll see as well. For example, the standard satellite comes with four LAN ports for you to use, while the Orbi Voice only has two LAN for you. However, since they both carry the same router, you'll still have the compatibility of a USB port, regardless of which one you decide is right for you. Not just that, but they both offer the same amount of memory as well.

Features

What this decision comes down to are the satellite feature differences between the two packages. Since you'll be getting the same router regardless, you want to compare what they're capable of doing to see if it fits your tastes. The Orbi RBK50 Voice package comes with one RBK50 router and one Voice. The Voice is a speaker system that also has mics inside to be able to take voice commands that are compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. This means you could tell the Orbi Voice to turn off the lights in your kitchen, for instance, and it will.

Really, the only difference between these two packages is the square footage they're able to cover. While you can get the Orbi Voice is $110 (opens in new tab) more than the standard package, you'll actually be saving money in the long run, since the Voice itself is actually offered as an expansion for $300 (opens in new tab). That means for $200 less (when you consider the package is only $100 more), you could get the Voice package and only miss out on 500 square feet of coverage. However, you gain all of the abilities of the Voice, mentioned above, plus the ability to play your favorite music with a steady connection speed. So if you're willing to sacrifice that coverage, you get more features.

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.