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Apple Time Capsule 802.11ac review

It may look different, but under the hood it's eerily similar

Our Verdict

For

  • Still a great idea done well
  • Remote access to disks

Against

  • Minimal speed gains
  • Only three Ethernet ports

The Apple Time Capsule gets a new case design and support for the new 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard, but other than that it's almost identical to its predecessor.

Like the fourth-generation Time Capsule, it has a 2TB or 3TB hard disk inside, and makes it easy to back up multiple Macs at the same time over Wi-Fi or Ethernet. It doesn't improve on its predecessor's arguably stingy three Gigabit Ethernet ports.

Also similarly, it has simultaneous dual-band 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless - so that a slower, older device joining the network doesn't slow it down. There's still a USB port through which you can share a printer or hard disk, and support for guest internet access. It's set up with an easy OS X or iOS utility.

The new design and extra antennas are meant to eke out better performance, and if you're connecting 802.11ac devices wirelessly, it can shape the signal better to target them.

Verdict

In our real-world testing scenario, the increase was less noticeable than promised. Transfer speeds are fractionally better when using 802.11n than the last generation, but even with the 802.11ac MacBook Air, the write speed to disk only doubled to a little over 10MB/sec in our deliberately tough testing.

The 3TB model is now cheaper. But you can also get all this with a new AirPort Extreme, if you attach a hard disk to its USB port.

Tech Specs

Product TypeWireless Router
Broadband Transmission TechnologyEthernet
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11ac
ISM BandYes
UNII BandYes
Ethernet TechnologyGigabit Ethernet
USBYes
Number of Network (RJ-45) Ports3
Product FamilyAirPort Time Capsule
Number of Broadband (RJ-45) Ports1
Total Number of Antennas6
Wireless Transmission Speed1300 Mbps
Brand NameApple
Form FactorDesktop
ISM Maximum Frequency2.40 GHz
UNII Maximum Frequency5 GHz
PoE (RJ-45) PortNo
Height167.6 mm
Width97.8 mm
Depth97.8 mm
ManufacturerApple, Inc
Product NameAirPort Time Capsule
Product LineAirPort Time Capsule
Manufacturer Part NumberME177B/A
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.apple.com/uk
Marketing InformationAutomatic wireless backup
One-click setup. Then you're all set.

With AirPort Time Capsule, you get a superfast Wi-Fi base station and an easy-to-use backup device all in one. And backing up your data couldn't be simpler. Just set it up once and AirPort Time Capsule does the rest. It works with Time Machine in OS X to back up your Mac automatically and wirelessly, so you never have to worry about losing anything important again. Every photo. Every file. Every song. Even your apps and OS X settings are saved. AirPort Time Capsule stores it all - up to 2TB or 3TB of data.
Package Contents
  • AirPort Time Capsule
  • Printed Documentation
  • Power Lead
VPN SupportedYes
Weight (Approximate)1.48 kg