We already know that a Powerline adapter can improve your online gaming experience, but is it worth upgrading to a newer, pricier version – what kind of a difference do they make?
We test out the TP-Link AV1200 to see how it compares to the AV500 which we reviewed two years ago (see link above).
Product: AV1200 3-Port Gigabit Passthrough Powerline Starter Kit (TL-PA8030P)
Release Date: Out now
Price: Around £90
Reviewer: Dom Sacco
The invention of the Powerline a few years ago was like music to the ears of gamers with unreliable wireless internet connections.
By plugging one Powerline adapter into a plug socket near the router (and connecting it to said router via an Ethernet cable), then plugging the other Powerline adapter into the wall near your console (and again, connecting the two via Ethernet), you can access the speed and reliability of a wired connection without needing to be sitting next to your router.
But while a £20 or £30 Powerline can do a job (like the TP-Link AV500 we reviewed a few years back), there are now many more premium priced products available.
The TP-Link AV1200 Powerline Starter Kit (TL-PA8030P) costs around £90, but is it worth the upgrade?
Well, the most noticeable difference compared to older models is the three Ethernet ports each adapter has at the top. This means you can connect the adapter to three separate machines at once (for example a PC, Xbox One and smart TV), so you don’t need to connect different Ethernet cables to the adapter each time you want to play on a different machine.
The most obvious other difference is the fact that this one can support data transfer rates of up to 1,200Mbps, ideal for home users with superfast broadband connections.
There’s also a power saving mode for you eco-friendly types out there, which automatically reduces power consumption by up to 85 per cent.
And once again it’s plug and play – there’s no advanced set up installations required here.
Aesthetically, this AV1200 model looks slightly different to the AV500 as it has a more curvaceous look instead of a more rigid, square shape. More importantly, the plug is now at the bottom of the unit, as opposed to the top. This means you won’t have any problems connecting it to plug sockets that are very low to the floor.
The one downside we had was that the Powerline unit we use to connect to our PC occasionally lost its internet connection. We know it wasn’t the router going down, as we were still getting a wireless internet connection on other devices such as smartphones and tablets. The problem seemed to be random, but thankfully, rare. However, it was enough to put us off using the device permanently.
Switching the Powerline off then back on again seemed to work, but this can be annoying, especially if you lose a connection halfway through playing an online game.
Still, compared to the previous AV500 model we used, this is by far more reliable. We had issues downloading the latest patches for the older model, but have had no trouble doing so with the AV1200 so far.
Overall, the TP-Link AV1200 TL-PA8030P Powerline Starter Kit is great if you have high speed internet and multiple systems that connect to the internet. It makes downloading games or TV shows a breeze, but the £70 to £90 price tag is a little high for what is a premium Powerline product.
A good Powerline if you have the extra money to spend, but the disconnects can be frustrating
Pros: Fast data transfer speeds, three ports mean no more switching Ethernet cables around for separate consoles or computers, lets you play online wherever there’s a plug socket
Cons: Random disconnects are rare but frustrating
Dom is an award-winning writer who graduated from Bournemouth University with a 2:1 degree in Multi-Media Journalism in 2007.
A keen League of Legends and World of Warcraft player, he has written for a range of publications including GamesTM, Nintendo Official Magazine, industry publication MCV as well as Riot Games and others. He works as full-time content director for the British Esports Association and runs ENUK in his spare time.