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Google Wifi Singapore Guide – How Much & How Useful?

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Eugenia Liew

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Since it was introduced late last year, there’s been quite a bit of hoo-ha regarding Google Wifi in Singapore.

First things first, let it be known that I take my wifi quite seriously. My new home is in the godforsaken Punggol, and it’s so ulu that I sometimes get “Welcome to Malaysia” texts from StarHub.

My point is, other than cycling – which I hate – there’s nothing to do in Punggol. Concluding that I’ll be spending a lot of time at home, I decided that I needed to get a reliable yet affordable wifi subscription asap. I compared the various broadband options in Singapore, and being a girl who likes chio and trendy gadgets… I was drawn to Google Wifi.

Here are my findings.


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Contents

  1. Google Wifi price
  2. What is Google Wifi – mesh wifi vs wifi extenders
  3. Price comparison – Google Wifi vs popular wifi extenders
  4. Price comparison – Google Wifi vs other mesh wifi systems
  5. Conclusion – should you get Google Wifi?

 

Google Wifi price – how much is it?

First question: How much is it? Well, you can’t order the Google Wifi from the local Google store – the only authorised retailer in Singapore is StarHub.

But the telco doesn’t sell the device on its own, so although they’re compatible with any internet service provider (ISP), it’ll be hard to procure the device for use with your Singtel or M1 internet. Your best bet is to get it from Amazon (249.99 USD + free shipping to Singapore).

That, or beg your StarHub-customer friends to help you buy it.

The price of the Google Wifi devices are split into instalments and bundled into their broadband plans. Here’s how much they are:

Google Wifi StarHub prices and promotions

StarHub broadband plan Google Wifi monthly instalment Total price
1Gbps fibre broadband ($39.90 / month) $10 x 24 months (2 devices, promo) or $15 x 24 months (3 devices) $240 (2 devices, promo) or $360 (3 devices)
500Mbps fibre broadband ($29.90 / month) $20 x 24 months (3 devices) $480

So basically you pay an extra $10 to $20 monthly for 2 to 3 Google Wifi devices. That comes up to $120 to $160 per router.

Since it’s not for sale on the Google store, there is no released “retail price” of the Google Wifi. However, StarHub has indicated the usual price for 3 devices to be $549, which is $199 each.

If that’s indeed the price, then ok lah – seems like the StarHub bundle is quite worth it… If you’ve already decided you want to use Google Wifi.

But do you actually need it? After all, before its entrance into the market everyone just used the free router that came with the wifi subscription.

Before you can decide, you’ll need to understand the difference between Google Wifi and whatever-it-was we used to use.


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So what is Google Wifi?

Google WiFi is a wireless router device that uses mesh wifi technology.

For most people, “mesh wifi” is an alien word. Usually, when your wireless network isn’t power enough to reach your bedrooms, you buy a wifi extender. That’s it.

Wifi extenders (also called repeaters) are pretty affordable – you can easily go to Qoo10 and order a Xiaomi extender for $9.90 or something. What the extender will do is detect your original wifi network, and rebroadcast it to extend the area coverage.

Google Wifi devices don’t do that. For mesh network technology, each device broadcasts the same wireless network, and they’re fully functional on their own.

Also, the Google Wifi uses one single network, unlike an extender which creates a new network.

 

Mesh wifi vs wifi extenders

Since the Google Wifi (and all mesh wifi routers) are not reliant on any central router (i.e., there’s no “original network” to extend), if the one in your bedroom dies, you can still scoot over to the living room for connectivity.

That’s the main weakness of repeaters – that they can’t generate wifi on their own. So if the central router is spoilt, your whole network will be down. Other than the network resilience, there is also a loss in speed when it comes to extenders.

All mesh wifi systems also work with smartphone apps for easy central management, and they usually include some pretty nifty functions.

For instance, you can create guest networks, and switch the network on and off via the app. For tiger mums, you can also schedule regular pauses on your kids’ wifi access and block porn  inappropriate websites.

Price-wise, however, mesh wifi systems are significantly more expensive than network extenders. Let’s take a look at the price of Google Wifi versus its competitors.

 

Google Wifi vs popular wifi extenders

Brand Product Price
Xiaomi   Wifi extenders $9.90 to $19.90
TP-Link Wifi extenders $39 to $105
Aztech Wifi extenders $119 to $249
Google Wifi   Mesh wifi device $120 to $160

Google Wifi loses to every competitor here simply because you need to pay for the first router. Yup, $120 to $160 is the cost of just one device (equivalent to that one free central router). If you need more Google Wifi devices to extend the area covered, it’ll cost more.

So if you’re just looking at the price, then skip the Google Wifi – you can get similar coverage with a cheap wifi extender. For a gauge of how many Google Wifi units you need, here’s the recommendation for different home sizes.

Size of home Type of home Google Wifi devices needed
Up to 85 sq m 2- to 4-room HDB flats 1
85 to 240 sq m 4- and 5-room, 3Gen and Executive HDB flats 2
280 to 420 sq m Larger private apartments and landed homes 3

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Google Wifi vs other mesh wifi subscriptions

Mesh wifi system  ISP (telco) 1Gbps broadband subscription + mesh wifi device price (monthly)
ASUS Lyra Trio M1 $49 for 3 devices
Linksys Velop M1 $49 for 3 devices
Google Wifi StarHub $49.90 for 2 devices or $54.90 for 3 devices
TP-Link Deco M9 Plus AC2200 My Republic $54.99 for 2 devices
Samsung Connect Home Singtel $56.90 for 2 devices (promo until 30 Nov 2018, after which price will revert to $61.90)
Linksys Velop Tri-band M1 $59.90 for 3 devices

When compared to other mesh wifi brands, Google Wifi sits right smacked in the middle of the price ranking.

It’s the next cheapest option after M1’s ASUS Lyra Trio and Linksys Velop systems ($39 for 1Gbps broadband + $10 for the 3-device sets).

If you have a big home, the M1 bundles are your cheapest options – they offer the lowest price and the widest coverage.

If you just need 2 devices (4-room flat and up, 85 to 240 sq m area), then you can top up $0.90 / month for 2 units of Google Wifi.

Singtel’s Samsung Connect Home bundle is significantly more expensive, but that’s because the base 1Gbps broadband subscription price is higher to begin with. It’s $49.90/month.

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Conclusion: should you get Google Wifi?

TBH, there aren’t that many reasons to.

First of all, if 1 device is enough to cover your entire home, then I wouldn’t even consider the Google Wifi. “Look chio in the living room” is not a good enough reason. You can just use the free router from your telco and you won’t need to top up a single cent.

For those who need wider wifi coverage, the most cost-effective way to extend your wifi area is to just buy a cheap wifi extender. A Xiaomi wifi extender will only cost you $9.90 on Qoo10, but 2 Google Wifi devices will add up to at least $240.

If your home is super big and you die-die want to get mesh wifi, there are still cheaper options, like M1’s ASUS Lyra Trio and Linksys Velop ($49/month).

 

Do you think the Google Wifi is worth the splurge? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below. 

 

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Eugenia Liew

I’m a 90s millennial who’s starting to realise that #adulting is more expensive than it seems on Instagram. When I’m not writing for MoneySmart, I’m usually playing with drain-dwelling stray cats or shopping at Sephora.