• Full Review
  • Specifications

Full Review

At the time writing Three only offers 5G home broadband in London, but its 4G home broadband service is widely available and seemingly not being neglected, as the brand has just started selling a new router, dubbed the Huawei B535 WebBox.

It’s a rival device to the Huawei HomeFi and Huawei AI Cube, which are both also available from Three. So is the WebBox the 4G home broadband router for you, or are you better off with one of these other options, or something else altogether?

Design

Huawei B535 Webbox Design

The design of the Huawei B535 WebBox is nothing to get excited about, but that’s ok. Its plain white build will disappear neatly into almost any home. Most people don’t want their routers to stand out, and this one certainly doesn’t, even compared to the Huawei AI Cube.

This slim white rectangle comes in at 219 x 138mm and has a grey stand, slightly contrasting the colour of the box itself. There are a number of small lights along the front, showing you at a glance the router’s status, but that’s about as close as it gets to any kind of design flair.

Setup

Like most 4G routers, the Huawei B535 WebBox is easy to get up and running. There’s no landline required and no engineer visits, you just insert the supplied SIM card, plug it in, and complete a basic setup. All the details you need to log-in to the WiFi network the router creates and the admin management panel are printed on a sticker on the device.

That makes it a lot more convenient than fibre broadband. There’s very little waiting and if you move house you can easily take your Huawei B535 with you.

Performance & Speeds

Once set up, there’s a lot to like here. The B535 WebBox can get up to 64 devices online at once, which is more than most people should need. It’s also notably double what the Huawei HomeFi can manage, though it only matches the Huawei AI Cube.

It’s fast too, supporting download speeds of up to 300Mbps (37.5MB/sec) and upload speeds of up to 100Mbps (12.5MB/sec). Those maximum download speeds match the Huawei AI Cube but the upload speeds here are double the 50Mbps offered by that device. That’s because the Huawei B535 WebBox supports Category 7 LTE, while the AI Cube only supports Cat 6.

Currently, on Three you can expect maximum download speeds of around 100Mbps (12.5MB/sec). That's significantly below the B535's theoretical maximum speeds, but it's future-proofed for when speeds increase in the coming months.

It’s also far faster for both uploads and downloads than the Cat 4 Huawei HomeFi. So in other words, if speed is all you care about then this is the best 4G home broadband option from Three.

But there’s more than just speed here, as it supports both 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi bands. This is another fairly standard thing in routers, but not always found in 4G ones with the HomeFi only supporting single band 2.4GHz WiFi.

Features and software

Huawei B535 Ethernet Ports

One feature worth noting is the four ethernet ports on the back, which let you provide a wired connection to up to four devices. That’s an unusually large number – most rival devices only offer one.

There’s also the option to connect an external antenna as it has support for two SMA antennas, to potentially improve the range and performance of the device – you can’t do that with the AI Cube, and there’s only one socket for one on the HomeFi.

As for software, this isn’t something you’ll likely be interacting with much, but the Huawei B535 WebBox does have a simple web interface, allowing you to configure settings and read messages – as there’s no display, you have to access this from an external device.

You also get parental controls built in, allowing you to control website access and set time limits, which is handy if you have young children.

Alternatives

 

Huawei B535

Huawei B535

Huawei AI Cube

Huawei AI Cube

Huawei HomeFi B311

HomeFi

Download Speeds Up to 300Mbps Up to 300Mbps Up to 150Mbps
Upload Speeds Up to 100Mbps Up to 50Mbps Up to 50Mbps
Maximum Connected devices 64 64 32
WiFi 

Dual Band 802.11ac

(2.4GHz and 5GHz)

Dual Band 802.11ac

(2.4GHz and 5GHz)

Single Band 802.11b/g/n 

(2.4 GHz)

Ethernet Ports 4 1 1
External Antenna  Yes (sold seperately) No Yes (sold separately)
Power Mains Power Mains Power Mains Power
Other Features   Alexa Smart Speaker  
  - Huawei AI Cube review Huawei HomeFi review

We’ve mentioned the two main alternatives elsewhere in this review – the Huawei AI Cube and the Huawei HomeFi. The former can reach the same download speeds as the Huawei B535 and supports as many users, as well as both 3.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi, but its maximum upload speeds are lower, and it doesn’t support the attaching of an antenna.

It also has just one ethernet port, rather than four. On the other hand, it does have Amazon Alexa and a speaker built in, if that appeals, as well as an arguably nicer design.

The Huawei HomeFi on the other hand doesn’t come close in really any sense. Its speeds are slower, it only supports 2.4GHz Wi-Fi, only has one ethernet port, and can only get half as many devices connected – though it does have an antenna socket.

Beyond these, the most obvious alternative is fibre broadband. This is potentially faster (depending on what’s available where you are), but setup is more time consuming and typically requires an engineer visit. You also typically need a landline, which can add to the cost.

Plans

The Huawei B535 is available on Three with unlimited data on 24 month, 12 month and 1 month rolling plans. 

Pricing is only slightly higher than the Huawei HomeFi, which is an inferior device in most ways, and slightly lower than the Huawei AI Cube, which adds speakers and Amazon Alexa to the mix, but isn’t quite as good purely as a router. So in other words the Huawei B535 is very competitively priced.

Conclusion

All things considered, the Huawei B535 is a superb 4G home broadband router. If that’s all you’re after and you’re buying on Three Home Broadband it’s the best router available.

If you want a smart home assistant built in, then the Huawei AI Cube is well worth a look, but it’s more expensive and not quite as good at the internet part, so – if you can afford it – you’d probably be better off buying this router and then getting an Amazon Echo or similar separately.

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Specifications

Specifications

  • Dimensions (mm): 219 x 138
  • Modem: 4G
  • Colours: White
  • Ethernet ports: 4 ethernet ports
  • Download speeds: Cat 7, up to 300Mbps
  • Upload speeds: Cat 7, up to 100Mbps
  • Wi-Fi specs: Dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz and 5GHz)
  • External Antenna: 2 x SMA Antennas
  • Power: Mains powered
  • Launch date: Out now

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