The Linksys E1200 (starting at $38, Amazon) is a tried-and-true model. It's been around for years, but Linksys keeps selling it and consumers keep buying it because it consistently works well. Make no mistake: This isn't a fast router compared with newer models. It's an N300 router, after all, with a theoretical top speed of 300 megabits per second, and runs on a single band. Having said that, Linksys E1200 reviews indicate that it's still fast enough for any Internet task, and its reliability and simplicity continue to appeal to users.
An expert from PC Mag reviewed the router when it was relatively new and declared it an Editors' Choice, giving it a 4.5 out of 5 rating. The reviewer praised the router for its speed and range. In testing, PC Mag measured the speed at about 60 Mbps, double the 30 Mbps that most single-band routers deliver under real-world conditions. While reviewer did give the Linksys E1200 high marks for ease of setup, the lack of extras such as a USB port or gigabit Ethernet connections make using this router a no-frills affair. A reviewer from CNET wasn't quite as enamored with the E1200. This expert measured the router's speed at about 37.5 Mbps -- not fast by current standards and about average for a single-band router. The CNET expert verified that the E1200 delivers a very reliable connection but found that its range is relatively short compared with other routers.
A Linksys E1200 review from Top Ten Reviews is also very positive, calling the router an excellent choice for budget shoppers due in large part to top-notch security. This includes a built-in firewall and the ability to set up a guest network connection instead of giving out your password. The review also notes that this basic model is easy to use.
The Linksys E1200 supports 802.11b/g/n wireless connections. It's a single-band router that uses only the 2.4 GHz band. It has four 10/100 Ethernet ports on the back and a WPS button for easily connecting other devices to the wireless network. In addition to the built-in firewall, this router uses the recommended WPA/WPA2 security protocols.
The Linksys E1200 may be long in the tooth, but it still performs well, all things considered. It won't be as fast as an N600 router, but it is quick enough to handle typical Internet traffic, including streaming HD video. This router is a bit pricey considering the older technology, but if you want a simple device that will provide solid connections day in and day out, the Linksys E1200 remains a good choice.