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New generation 802.11ac Wi-Fi continues to march towards becoming the norm. Much faster and more energy efficient than 802.11n, the new standard will likely start making regular appearances on devices in the next few months. You can get yourself a nice 802.11ac router and then start expanding your reach with adapters. We’ve looked at an internal PCI Express adapter before and now it’s time for its USB pal.

The USB-AC53 from ASUS is a neat and compact 802.11ac adapter/receiver that connects to devices, such as laptops, via USB. Of course, it’s also great for bringing 802.11ac Wi-Fi to your desktop. It has two bands, 2.4GHZ and 5GHz, with up to 300Mbps and 867Mbps respectively. That’s pretty fast and easily covers most people’s high speed internet connections.

This is a stylish device that arrives bundled with two main accessories – a cradle and NetClip. The cradle, or stand, allows you to place the USB-AC53 within a more flexible range around your computer so you can pinpoint better reception. The NetClip lets the USB-AC53 clip on to laptops, that’s perfect if you’re out and about and happen to be in a public place where they’ve already upgraded to 802.11ac. Not many places have done this as of this writing, but rest assured the trend is there!

Here’s a quick unboxing to give you a better idea of what the USB-AC53 looks like. It’s out now in select markets with an MSRP of US$70, so check with your local retailer.

A look at the box shows us the product design and of course the key features – which are obviously the 802.11ac Wi-Fi and dual-band 5GHz/2.4GHz transmission.

The back of the box once more explains where the USB-AC53 fits in the ASUS wireless product range, with its handy delivery of 802.11ac via USB made clear. If you’re looking for a mobile and super-compact way to bring the latest generation of Wi-Fi to your computing device of choice, the USB-AC53 is definitely worth checking out.

Open the box and it immediately becomes apparent the USB-AC53 is a space-saving adapter, measuring just 96mm x 26mm x 12.45mm. The accessory next to it is the NetClip, which allows it to attach to laptop screens, which we’ll look at in a minute.

Glossy black diamond finish, with the cap still on.

Much like a thumb drive, the cap comes off to reveal the USB connector. Very handy for placing in a bag or even your pocket without worrying about dust, lint, and other debris gumming up the works.

The included cradle is another great accessory that allows you to place the USB-AC53 securely and quite stylishly on any flat surface. Since it comes with a USB extension cable, it also helps to move the adapter around, giving you more flexibility in finding the best reception.

Just for the sake of illustration, here’s the USB-AC53 with its NetClip attached to the screen of my colleague’s laptop. This is really convenient and helps minimise the risk of misplacing the adapter.

The NetClip attaches to the USB-AC53 with one push, easy and simple.


So, when are you going 802.11ac? Let us know in the comments below!



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