Google's OnHub is a bit of a mystery. Google shipped us this box—well, this cylinder—but it won't really talk about what's in it or why it exists. Today, it's a Wi-Fi router from Google; tomorrow it might be something totally different. But it's also a funny glowing cylinder with way too much processing power for its own good, a boatload of antennas, and an ever-present cloud connection to a Google update server so that it can evolve at will. OnHub is a tiny bundle of potential and no one really knows what it will turn into.
Still, you're paying $200 for a Wi-Fi router right now. That's not an unheard-of sum of money for the director of your home network, but the price certainly puts the OnHub in the high-end of the market. For that money, it has mostly the hardware you would expect: dual-band 2.4 and 5GHz 802.11ac Wi-Fi that goes up to 1900Mbps. The big downside is that you're stuck with only one LAN port instead of the usual four, and the typical router settings have been reduced from pages and pages of options to just a handful of tweaks. OnHub is much more than a router, though—or at least, it will be, someday. To us, this looks like Google's smart home Trojan horse.The Good
> It looks nice. Most routers look like scary alien spaceships, but this really could go on a book shelf.
>If you're a novice, the app makes this one of the most user-friendly routers out there. It's kind of crazy how much work was put into setup.
>Automatic updates for security fixes and new features—whatever those will be...
>More than enough horsepower to be ready for the future.The Bad
>Performance and functionality are not as good as a $200 router.
>Only one LAN port. You'll probably want a switch.
>No browser-based settings. You'll need to use the app.
>It tracks network usage but only Wi-Fi network usage? What good is that?The Ugly
We usually understand the need to keep future plans private, but not when you're asking $200 for a mystery box.
This is the software demo: