Vilo review: What do you expect from a $20 mesh router?

Ry Crist/CNETVilo review: What do you expect from a  mesh router?

There’s a classic moment in the beloved sitcom Arrested Development where Michael Bluth finds a paper bag in the freezer with the words, “Dead dove, Do not eat” written on it. Frowning, Michael takes the bag, no doubt left by his dove-clumsy magician brother, and takes a peek inside.

“Well, I don’t know what I expected,” Michael remarks.

For some reason, that scene was on my mind as I unboxed the Vilo mesh router. At just $20 per device, Vilo could net you a three-piece mesh setup capable of relaying a steadier Wi-Fi signal throughout your home for an absurdly low cost of $60, plus shipping. But at that price, what kind of performance could I honestly expect from it?

6.8

Vilo mesh router

Like

Unbeatable value

Simple setup, with extenders that pair automatically as soon as you plug them inVilo review: What do you expect from a  mesh router?

Capable of delivering better speeds at range than a cheap, single-point router

Don’t Like

Average speeds were slower than any other mesh router I’ve ever tested

Occasional drops and other networking hiccups

No device prioritization, gaming modes or other advanced features

A dual-band, AC1200 router, Vilo doesn’t support

Wi-Fi 6

, and it doesn’t promise top speeds any faster than 867 megabits per second in the most ideal of circumstances. In fact, Vilo’s average speeds finished in last place behind every other mesh router I’ve tested. That means that you can go ahead and rule it out as a worthy pick for anyone with a gigabit internet connection, and you really shouldn’t expect it to make the most of your connection if your home’s top speeds are anything much higher than 100Mbps. I also noticed some drops and other mesh networking hiccups as I moved about my home running speed tests, so don’t expect it to be a FaceTime champion if you prefer to walk-and-talk, either.Vilo review: What do you expect from a  mesh router?

All of that keeps Vilo off of my list of

the best mesh routers

(and if you’re looking for a mesh router bargain pick, I think

the AC1200 version of Netgear Orbi

, currently available in a three-pack for about $130, is a lot closer to the sweet spot). That said, Vilo was extremely easy to set up and use, and it did successfully spread a usable signal to all corners of my home, including a dead zone that most single-point routers fail to penetrate at all. In other words, it’s no dead dove in a bag, and it’s better than you might expect at this price — just don’t expect more than what you’re paying for.

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