It Was Only A Matter Of Time Until Someone Put A Touchscreen Into A Router

At Computex 2015 in Taipei, there are a lot of networking devices. Everybody is talking the Internet Of Things, and there's dozens (probably hundreds) of different Wi-Fi routers and modems and access points. There's also a lot of smartphones and tablets and little touchscreen gadgets. But why, why, do you have to have your smartphone and your Wi-Fi router? Why do they have to be so... separate? ¿Porque no los dos?

TP-Link's Touch P5 is a Wi-Fi router with a built-in touchscreen. The Touch P5 is a dual-band 802.11n router (simultaneous 2.4GHz and 5GHz, natch), with triple antennas and two USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports, but really it's the huge glossy 4.3-inch touchscreen that catches your attention when you spot it across a crowded exhibition hall.

To its credit, the P5's touch interface wasn't bad at all. There were definite shades of early iOS in its graphical design, with smoothly curved-cornered boxes and that kind of pastel-toned background and iconography that we saw way back when the iPhone 3G was a big thing. It was actually pretty easy to operate, swiping and tapping away with a simple menu system and a surprisingly usable onscreen keyboard for filling out things like network names and passwords during setup.

Frankly, I can think of maybe half a dozen scenarios where you'd absolutely need to use a touchscreen on your router. There's no doubting the fact that it'd make the setup process a little bit easier — you could tap through menus and have your inputs directly impacting the router, for example, rather than doing the same on your phone or laptop over Wi-Fi and waiting those crucial milliseconds for them to take effect.

But for the most part, the Touch P5's touchscreen is a gimmick. It's a cool and ridiculous gimmick, but a gimmick nonetheless. TP-Link is clearly not afraid to stick its neck out a little and try something new, even if that new thing might not be strictly necessary. [TP-Link]

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