Summary and verdict
The DIR-842 has some great selling points. Most importantly it is pretty much as affordable as AC1200 routers get. But it still has plenty of features (parental control, scheduled shutdown to save power, drag and drop QoS, Guest network, live traffic monitor, etc). Setup was a breeze and the security encouragements is great. Each unit comes with a random default username and password and the setup forces you to change the administrative password.
Obviously to get to that price point D-Link had save cost somewhere. That said, I can really appreciate the choices D-Link made to cut down on cost. It does not have all the features one could imagine, but it has plenty. So it has no USB port, but does that really matter? The $100 dollars you just saved allow you to purchase a brand new printer with build-in Wi-Fi. So it weighs only 600 grams and is made from plastic, do you really care? All these choices seem to make sense.
But what about the actual Wi-Fi performance? Both range and speed of the 2.4 Ghz connections are great. Itt pretty much blows away the old TP-Link TL-WR1043ND I had. Testing also shows that dual band is functioning properly.
That leaves 5 Ghz. D-Link cut some cost here by “only” having two 5 Ghz radio’s and not supporting smart beam technology. It also lacks support for DFS, meaning that you are limited to choosing 4 out of the 12 channels. Is this a deal breaker? Well that depends. As long as this is the only router “in range” that does not support DSR then you are golden. The other router will just change to a higher channel.
The 5 Ghz performance itself is really dependent on how you will be using this router. The DIR-842 was great at close range and good at medium range. However when adding concrete floors to the mix it disappointed, for this scenario you should fall back to 2.4 Ghz. This can probably be explained by the lack of smart beam technology. Testing also showed that when stressed with multiple clients, the performance suffered greatly. Making the DIR-842 best suited for a single high bandwidth 5 Ghz client. If you need 100 Mbps+ on multiple devices then a more expensive router like the R7000 is more suitable.
For €55 the D-Link DIR-842 is a great purchase. You will have great 2.4 Ghz connectivity, plenty of features and pretty decent 5 Ghz 802.11ac connectivity. Just keep in mind that you will need the Dual Band technology because 5 Ghz on this model does not like to be stressed by multiple clients. If you really need an USB port, Wi-Fi 5 Ghz coverage in hard to reach places or good multi-client 5 Ghz performance then I recommend choosing a more expensive model. For everyone else this seems like a great buy.