I've been using the AX88U since the beginning of the year, it's covered my entire home network quite well in this time period and as its set to be replaced for new models coming in the one big take away for me is how stable it has been. Build quality is solid top to bottom and taking the design of the AC88U and bringing it over with a new colorway really offers additional brand recognition for those looking to upgrade. Black and Gold certainly won't be for everyone, but the colors aren't piano but rather matte, so they don't catch your eye with help from the sun.
The performance was on par with the expectation of a solution that is working without efficient clients and the means to reach its full potential. That said, these routers are still and will always be limited by the wired ports, and ASUS has started to change this by allowing for LACP and Link Aggregation on their AX routers. With that said, I was able to reach a peak of 92MBps on 2.4GHz and 656MBps on 5GHz 80Mhz performance we have seen from 802.11ac solutions in the past, but adding in 160MHz, we bumped to 917MBps real-world data pixies floating in the air and a slight bit of potential this was held back by the wired connection.
The interface hasn't changed much in the last few years, but it has become a bit more stable as iterations have passed. With this, we still have all the great Traffic, and QoS features we have become accustomed to with ASUS solutions along with Trend Micro security and one of the only platforms to consistently support USB WAN with 3 and 4G dongles. Adding to this ASUS does have one of the more friendly USB application suites, allowing you to NAS your router adding USB drives with media and SMB server options along with AiCloud that now allows access to your drives anywhere in the world.
With the current MSRP sitting at $349.99 the ASUS RT-AX88U sits midrange of its own product lineup and the current market. People who are upgrading should note while 802.11ac solutions are dropping in price looking forward 802.11ax will be where it's at. This is evident with vendors such as Samsung already adding 802.11ax chipsets to their phones with Apple sure to follow later this year.
The Bottom Line
The RT-AX88U comes at a price buts it's a solid entry into 802.11ax with top notch features.