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Customer Review

128 of 134 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Express Yourself, 13 Sept. 2012
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This review is from: Apple AirPort Express (Accessory)
The previous generation of this device was a unit that plugged directly into a mains socket. Personally, I prefer this redesign. The former generation was awkward to use if you had mains sockets close to the floor, and it tipped over irritatingly when used with an extension lead. It also helps that I won't be using the new Express as a portable device (some people baulk at carrying around yet another power lead).

The AirPort Express is now exactly the same shape and size as an Apple TV. A second (non-Gigabit) Ethernet port and simultaneous dual band have been added, and the maximum number of simultaneous users has been upped from 10 to 50. These changes make the new AirPort Express a much more capable wireless router in its own right.

But what continues to make the Express unique is its ability to AirPlay music from iTunes - or any audio from a Mac running OS X 10.8 "Mountain Lion" or later - via analogue. The Apple TV can also stream audio but only via a digital optical output, meaning you'd have to fork out for a DAC if your speakers only have an analogue input. In addition, the Apple TV resamples audio from the CD standard of 44.1 kHz to 48 kHz. Many people won't find the difference noticeable, but others will, especially if they're streaming high-quality lossless audio.

I've connected my Express to a Powerline adapter, set it to bridge mode, and I'm using it to create a new dual band network on the second floor, where my original wireless router's signal is patchy. This way, I've got a much better wireless network on the second floor, a free Ethernet port on the Express for connecting a wired device, a flawless AirPlay connection to my hi-fi, and a USB port for connecting a printer if I should wish. It's worth the price for the AirPlay alone.

(WORD OF WARNING: The wireless side of the Express has three modes: "Create a wireless network", "Join a wireless network" and "Extend a wireless network". The last of these will only work with a wireless signal emitted by another Apple product (i.e. an AirPort Express, an AirPort Extreme or a Time Capsule). This limiting of functionality to the same brand is poor play by Apple, and isn't made very clear in the company's marketing of the Express.)
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 27 Sep 2013, 15:32:28 BST
M. Wilson says:
Thank you for the word of warning. You're right that this limiting of functionality to Apple-only products is an ethically dubious move. +1 for mentioning it so it might not catch folk out!

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Jan 2014, 23:14:16 GMT
Dogson says:
I have many Apple products but this is an evolving cynical business model.
I wish for accessories like this to work with the beautiful and free Linux Mint.
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