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Mobile internet and Wi-Fi serve as the backbone of practically every gadget we use today. Good speeds and range are critical for both productivity and entertainment. The Motorola MH7020 is an affordable Wi-Fi networking solution that combines mesh router capabilities with smart software for customers who don’t want to deal with firewalls or ad blockers.
In the Android Authority Motorola MH7020 router review, we see if this mesh-ready router’s software prowess can compete against models offering better speeds or greater range.
What you need to know about the Motorola MH7020 router
- Motorola MH7020: Rs. 6,999
- Motorola MH7020 (two pack): Rs. 12,999/$159
The Motorola MH7020 is a mesh-ready Wi-Fi router that is being sold by the company individually, but also in a two-pack and three-pack configuration for larger homes. The tri-band router supports the Wi-Fi ac standard and has a dedicated backhaul channel for faster routing between multiple satellite routers. Additionally, the entire setup and management can be done via the intuitive Moto Manage app.
Read more: The best mesh routers
The Motorola MH7020 router is available via Amazon in both the US and India. Only the two-pack and three-pack configurations are being sold in the US. The router is designed for mid-sized apartments, and with maximum rated speeds of 2,200Mbps, it should be able to handle multiple 4K streams simultaneously with ease. Finally, some of the software services like advanced parental controls are locked behind a paywall in the US, but that is not the case in India.
The primary concern when picking out a router is good coverage and network speeds, and the MH7020 delivers. I tested out the router placed alongside my personal Ubiquiti Amplifi setup to test out the range and network speeds across a 2,300 square foot apartment. The apartment has multiple concrete walls and the router performed swimmingly when testing out coverage both in the same room and at the periphery of the apartment.
Owing to the sheer size of the router, the MH7020’s built-in radios are large enough to broadcast a strong wireless signal across multiple rooms. In fact, in my tests, the single router outperformed my Ubiquiti mesh router along with two satellite antennas as far as download speeds are concerned.
Comparing the router to the prosumer Ubiquiti Amplifi router, the two devices scored similarly in on-device internet speed tests. The tests were carried out with a symmetric 300Mbps broadband internet line. Ubiquiti’s latest firmware update has slowed down WAN throughput drastically which is reflected in the tests here. However, the MH7020 still managed to reach download speeds of 244Mbps and upload speeds of 168Mbps which is similar to what the much pricier Ubiquiti delivers on most days. Not bad.
That speed dropped drastically at the outskirts of my apartment, where the download speeds reduced to a still usable 36.49Mbps. Upload speeds were, however, an abysmal 3Mbps.
To test out read and write speeds over local LAN, I simulated a mixed workload of files ranging from a couple of kilobytes all the way to a few hundred megabytes for a total of three gigabytes of test data. This was transferred over the LAN to an Ethernet-connected NAS with a fast SSD to remove any bottlenecks. At 139Mbps, the write speeds are good enough to saturate most consumer hard disks if you plan to store a lot of data over the local network, and read speeds are perfectly fine for high bit-rate 4K content. Those speeds, of course, drop down over a distance but the read speeds are still sufficient for streaming 4K content.
The Motorola MH7020 delivers excellent speeds and enough range to cover a mid-size apartment.
I was also impressed by the range offered by the Motorola MH7020 which comfortably covered most of my apartment. That said, getting a second unit as a satellite would do wonders for coverage as the router includes a dedicated backhaul channel for strong connectivity between the router and satellites.
The other interesting aspect of the router is the software. Motorola has partnered with Minim to offer cloud-connected goodies like privacy and security protection. From onboarding to the feature set itself, Minim has done an excellent job at making high-end software features accessible, and more importantly, just like we saw with the Xiaomi Mi Router 4A Gigabit Edition, easy for users to understand.
The feature set includes filtering not just for ads, but also malware. While Minim doesn’t expose the filter lists it is using, the company claims that it is using multiple sources including open-source ad filtering lists that are regularly updated over the air. Users can also block off all websites hosting adult content with a single swipe — a nifty feature for users with younger children at home. Disabling the filters is easy enough as well. Interestingly enough, a global filter search list lets you specifically check what list is blocking a specific piece of content. You can also switch off internet access across your network should you want some downtime.
For more granular control, it is possible to create profiles that can have one or more devices. These profiles have their own individual set of controls for adware or adult-oriented websites. Moreover, you can maintain device-specific whitelists or blacklists to better control what content you can or cannot view. You can even set schedules or time limits for internet access.
The Motorola MH7020's focus is on features.
All the functions work exactly as advertised and, for once, I do expect the average user to capitalize on these features. They’re not new features per se — we’ve seen them before on other devices. However, setting them up can be quite a chore that tends to dissuade not-so-tech-savvy users, and that’s a hurdle that the MH7020 crosses with aplomb. A lot of that has to do with how well the expanded features are laid out. From the easy-to-understand shortcuts for privacy, security, and malware to the onboarding process for profiles, even an average user should have no trouble getting started. The ability to set everything up from the app is an added bonus.
There are a few other aspects of the MH7020 worth touching upon, including a built-in speed test as well as user profiles. Building on the security aspect, the app includes two-factor authentication support as well. The Motorola MH7020’s focus is on features, but its ease of use makes it stand out amongst the dozens of routers I’ve tried out so far.
What’s not so good about the Motorola MH7020?
I’ll be straightforward here: the Motorola MH7020 is not a good-looking router. For a device that can’t be entirely hidden away, it wouldn’t have hurt if the company had put a little more effort into the design. The build quality is barebones and borderline cheap. The Motorola logo at the front glows in fairly bright green and I haven’t figured out a way to dim or switch off the light entirely. Simply put, the router will be an eyesore no matter where you place it.
The focus on affordability shows in the design, and calling the Motorola MH7020 an eyesore wouldn't be wrong.
The router also disappoints in terms of port selection. If you prefer to keep basics like computers or video game consoles wired up, you’ll have to invest in a network switch, since the router has just one single ethernet port at the back in addition to the WAN port for connecting your internet line.
Motorola MH7020 review: Should I buy it?
As a user of prosumer networking products, I had limited expectations from the Motorola MH7020. That said, I came away rather impressed with what the company is offering. The Motorola MH7020 router is well priced and doesn’t skimp out on the hardware. Speeds are excellent even at a distance and network coverage is pretty solid for a mid-sized apartment. Users looking to cover a larger area can, of course, buy a second or even third satellite to expand coverage.
The Motorola MH7020 balances range and speed with easy to use software that makes high-end features accessible to everyone.
However, it is the Minim-powered software that truly impresses. The feature set is robust, with meaningful additions done in a consumer-friendly way. In case you need more range than speed, the TP-Link Deco E4 ships with two additional satellites in the box, but most users with mid-sized apartments should be perfectly well served by the MH7020.
The router goes up against full-fledged mesh solutions like the TP-Link Deco E4 (Rs. 8599) that includes two satellites in the box at the cost of lower speeds. Meanwhile, options like the TP-Link Archer AX73 ($199/Rs. 10,999) offer drastically higher speeds and Wi-Fi 6 compatibility as well as a wider selection of ports for a little more money.