Zyxel Multy X and Multy Mini Pack – Review

From the world’s first 3-in-1 data/fax/voice modem back in 1992, through to some of the most stable and fastest powerline adapters, Zyxel certainly knows its stuff.

  • Company: Zyxel
  • Website: www.zyxel.com/
  • Price: £229
  • Available now

Zyxel has, for nearly thirty years, produced a range of excellent, and often ground-breaking communication hardware. It’s interesting, then, to get hold of one of its newer Mesh-based technologies, in a market that’s already flooded with Mesh gear, to see how it fares against the competition.

Aside from adopting the latest tech inside the products the company ships, Zyxel has always prided itself on the fact that its hardware also leans toward the aesthetic, and what we have here is no exception.

The Zyxel Multy X and Multy Mini Pack are the combined elements of the company’s two flagship Mesh-enabled products. The Zyxel Multy X half of the team is a tr-band AC3000 WiFi system. This means that the Multy X connects directly to your existing router and becomes the root AP (Access Point), extending the wireless coverage to those far to reach zones in your home or business.

The Multy Mini portion of the package is designed to expand the already large wireless zone provided by the Multy X, by nearly as much coverage again. The Mesh technologies used in combination, both the Multy X and it’s connected sibling, the Multy Mini, can potentially provide wireless access up to 4500 sq. ft, or roughly 418m²; which is pretty impressive, and equal to the advertised coverage of the BT Whole Home Wi-Fi Mesh two-disc setup.

Hardware

The larger of the two units, the Multy X, measures 236 x 178 x 51.5mm, as a solid white plastic unit. Weighing in at 980g, it’s a decent build quality, not some cheap-feel plastic block. The front of the Multy X features a patterned X-shape, which doubles up as both air vents and viewing for the various status LEDs; there’s also the Zyxel logo embedded to one side, with an aluminium-looking backing that makes it stand out. All in all, it looks good, although it’s router-esque size may put some folks off.

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The rear edge of the Multy X houses the physical ports: power, pin-hole reset, three gigabit Ethernet LAN ports, a single gigabit Wan port (RJ-45), and a single USB 2.0 port. Inside there are nine antennas and a Bluetooth 4.1 module, with the antennae offering 802.11 b/g/n 2.4GHz, and 802.11 a/n/ac 5GHz at a rate of up to 1733Mbps for 5GHz (dedicated backhaul), 866Mbps for 5GHz, and 400Mbps for 2.4GHz. Needless to say, the usual slew of WiFi features are supported: MU-MIMO, Beamforming, AP Steering and band steering, together with a bridge mode and the ability to further daisy-chain the network with more Zyxel Multy devices.

The smaller unit, the Multy Mini, is a sleek 142 x 122 x 33mm and weighing just 285g. Again, this is a white plastic unit, and like its larger partner it’s a solid, well designed and sturdy-feeling product. The front houses an X patterned plastic transparent screen, behind which the connectivity LEDs are displayed, and to the rear edge there’s a single gigabit Ethernet port, reset pin-hole, and a quick-charge 3.0 USB port. Within the Mini are six antennas for 802.11 b/g/n/a/n/av 2.4 and 5GHz standards.

On its own the Mini is capable of extending a wireless network up to 2000 sq. ft (186m²), and thanks to its smaller dimensions it can easily be plugged in and discretely hidden to one side while it does the job of getting WiFi to the previously missed corners of your property.

The specifications are most impressive, with a Qualcomm IPQ4019 quad-core processor, 512MB RAM and a 4GB eMMC driving the Multy X, and a Qualcomm QCA9563 CPU together with 128MB RAM and 128MB Flash memory inside the Mini.

Setup

Setup of the Multy X and Mini is incredibly easy, as the provided Quick Start Guide handily explains in a two-step process:

1 Install the Zyxel Multy App
2 Run the App

In realistic terms, you install the Multy app, then either tap to login to your myZyxelCloud account, or tap Start Installation to begin the setup process without logging into anything. The main Multy X unit is the one you’ll need to setup first, which is obvious. Make sure it’s connected to your router and tap Start on the app. From there you select the name of the primary unit from a list of options: Bedroom, Study, Living Room, Kitchen, Bathroom or Somewhere Else. After a very brief handshake the Multy X is ready to go; all you need to do next is tap the Add Multy button in the app to include the Mini in the setup. The whole process takes less than a minute.

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In addition to the setup, the app also provides utilities to see how many devices are connected to the Multy setup, and a speed to test for those connected devices as well as a speed test for your Multy devices. You can measure your WiFi signal strength, to further help you position the X and Mini to get the best coverage, and you’re able to enable or disable the admin and guest WiFi access options. The app digs deeper, with the ability to change the WiFi setup, such as the SSID, set schedules for connected devices (such as turning off the kids’ WiFi access after a certain time at night), pause and resume internet access for an individual or group of devices, and even turn the status LEDs on or off.

Testing

In testing, the Zyxel Multy X and Mini combo pack proved to be excellent; more so than a BT Whole Home Mesh setup. In a three-bed house, with substantial garden and two garages, we got a full signal throughout, without any signs of a drops in connectivity.

Gaming, even from a laptop in one of the garages (a good 60ft away from the Multy X), was as near perfect as you can expect, and there was no degradation with six phones, three tablets, four laptops, two TVs and three desktop PCs were connected to both Multy devices.

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We also tested the Multy duo in a three-storey property, placing the Multy X in one of the ground floor rooms and the Mini in one of the top corner rooms. Again, the Multy X and Mini performed magnificently, even with a considerable load attached and while gaming, downloading and watching streaming content from Netflix.

Conclusion

The Zyxel Multy X and Mini pack are easily one of the best Mesh WiFi extension units we’ve tested. They’re easy to setup, perform extremely well, are easy on the eyes, and have some great future-proof technologies inside. The app, while good, seemed a little on the slow side, even when running on a Huawei P20; but that could have been down to a number of issues with the device itself.

The only other gripe we have is the cost. At £229 via Amazon (https://www.amazon.co.uk/ZYXEL-MULTY-MINI-WIFI-BUNDLE/dp/B07R58B26T/re), this setup certainly isn’t cheap. However, this is a top-performing package, and although there are cheaper Mesh alternatives available, we think the Zyxel Multy X and Mini bundle will either beat them hands-down, or give them a good run for their money. Take in to account the Zyxel name, the level of quality you’re getting, stability and performance. Overall, it’s not a bad price to pay for this higher-end setup.

Zyxel Multy X and Multy Mini Pack
  • Overall
4.5

Summary

Excellent WiFi coverage, easy to setup and high performance.

– 802.11 n and 802.11ac supported
– Up to 4500 sq. ft. coverage
– Amazon Alexa connectivity enabled, responds to several voice commands.

David Hayward

David has spent most of his life tinkering with technology, from the ZX Spectrum, getting his hands on a Fujitsu VPP5000/100 supercomputer, and coding on an overheating Raspberry Pi. He's written for the likes of Micro Mart, Den of Geek, and countless retro sites and publications, covering reviews, creating code and bench testing the latest tech. He also has a huge collection of cables.

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