Pros AirTunes streaming of iTunes music libraries
Cons Small size and internal antennas reduce coverage
Summary Those who really appreciate the Airport Express use it as a supplementary access point to fill in voids in small home or business networks and to wirelessly stream music from their computers to their AV Receiver sound system or wirelessly print documents to networked printers. For these uses, it is worth it's weight in gold, and actually quite affordable. At $99, the new 802.11n Airport Express also is $30 less expensive than the original 802.11g model. While it may be a bit more expensive than cheap products, Apple's configuration software makes the device a breeze to configure and maintain, and to many, this alone is worth a few extra dollars in cost.
A built-in analog/digital optical audio port and a USB port make all this possible. Add an Airport Express and a set of self-powered speakers to any room and you can retrofit a marvelous, whole-house music system into any home or office.
The Airport Express excels at these tasks.
Others just configure this diminutive device to "join any network" and carry it in a travel bag to improve WiFi connections in hotel rooms and offices while on the road. It excels at this task as well.
It's hard to say, but the reviewer doesn't spell out enough details on how the review unit was configured and tested to really know if the Express was properly set up to attain the fastest connection speed. Like most routers, the Express' connection speed is cut in half if it is configured as a bridge to join another router. But set it up as a primary router (as its' own access point and hard-wired to the Ethernet backbone of your network), and laptop and iPhone WiFi connections are quite speedy, though I have never tested it against other products. As is always the case with Apple, the user experience is so good, who wants to bother with other products? Not me.
What's more, if you purchase an Airport Express at the same time you purchase a Mac with an AppleCare extended warranty, Apple's warranty also covers the Express (or any other peripherals purchased on the same invoice as the computer)!
Pros Compact, stylish, connects seamlessly with Apple wireless devices
Cons Difficult to connect to non-Apple wireless networks
Summary I originally tried to set this device up on a D-Link wireless network and had numerous problems with it... problems which both Apple and D-Link failed to find a solution to. I'd had a lot of connectivity issues with the D-Link network anyway so decided to replace the the existing devices with Apple products (the Aiport Extreme which, by the way, is the simplest router I've ever set up!)
Once the Airport Extreme was set up, the Express connected almost straight away and I've no connectivity problems since. By far the easiest and most effective wireless network I've had to date.
Audio streaming to the Express is a great feature and once which works every time.
Pros Compact, simple to use, unobtrusive
Cons No enclosed cord
Summary It works.
I have dealt with three different wireless routers over the years - a D-Link type router/hub combo that fried after a year of use, a Linksys dedicated wireless router which was returned because it was defective (and my brother who recommended it later had his die on him) and the Apple AirPort Express.
Very small, very compact and versatile. The one at home has worked nearly flawlessly, and when there is a big (after a power outage say) you just unplug the thing, wait a moment, and plug it back in. After a moment or two, the lone light switches from amber to green and you are ready to go again.
The one I installed at the office worked equally well with PC notebooks and Mac Laptops, so there are no cross-compatibility issues to worry about.
I should note for the tech folk that the home line is a standard cable connection - while the office line I dealt with was one-quarter of a T1 line, which is a different animal. It took a little modification to the protocols, but we got it working fine for internet purposes.
One it's set up - that's pretty much it.
Pros Easy to set up and reliable
Cons None, I'm very pleased with it.
Summary I've had great luck with this little device, I wanted to stream my iTunes library to my home theater sound system. After the initial setup of about 10 minutes I was listening to music that sounded terrific. I can play anything that is on iTunes through it. I have mine set up to piggyback onto my existing network, then connected via optical cable DD5.1 to my home theater. Overall I could not be more pleased.
Pros Small, portable, easy install, fairly cheap for great wireless.
Cons I wish it had another ethernet port for a small switch.
Summary When I bought this with my MacBook, i already had an idea of what to expect. That was a quick simple installation and quick connection. Well the connection was really quick and easy to set up on my macbook and even the older XP computer in my room. Now I get flawless wireless-N coverage throughout my entire house. I like how it is so small that if I wanted, I could just throw it in my bag with my laptop and bring it to my dads for the weekend, and it would all be quick and painless. Bottom line, I am really glad that I made this purchase.