Exterior and Interior Design
A best-in-class device is always a kind of a spokesman for its developer. As such, it must be easily recognizable and eye-catching. Every developer takes especial care about the exterior design of his top-end products. The TEW-633GR proves our point. Trendnet not only abandoned its traditional case design but also discarded its traditional color scheme in this device. The router is a small and neat black box with three impressive antennas. The TEW-633GR seems larger in photos than it really is. It is also among the lightest in its class. The exterior of the TEW-633GT is very nice-looking overall despite being rather unsophisticated. I hope it is going to be that good in everything else. The single drawback I can find in this design is that it uses black and glossy surfaces. It is a most impractical combination because dust, scratches and your greasy fingerprints are going to be just too visible on such surfaces.
Besides putting the router down flat, you can use the included stand to position it upright so that the device took as minimum space as possible.
The router’s ventilation works best when it is placed upright, by the way. There are actually very few vent holes in the case: some sort of grids on the panel with the antennas and on the opposite panel. Thus, the heat transfer is facilitated when one grid is at the top and another is at the bottom, which is the case when you place the router on the stand. The router’s antennas cannot be detached, which is a drawback of this model.
Indicators and controls are yet another aspect of the router’s exterior. The indicators can all be found on the front panel. They are as many and perform the same functions as on any other regular home router. It is the implementation that surprised me somewhat. Looking at the front panel you can guess the LEDs (or the ends of the light pipes) are placed behind the translucent plastic with labels. This would be the traditional implementation. The small grooves above the front panel seem to be just part of the case texture. However, when I powered the router up, the plastic behind the icons remained dark but the grooves began to shine. These turned out to be the ends of light pipes which nearly merge into the case material when inactive. The light pipes are designed like long strips on the edge of the case. They are perfectly visible from any angle if the router is placed horizontally. If it is positioned vertically, the indicators won’t be visible at all from one side. They are just the comfortable brightness for the eyes and yet can be seen from a big distance even in a brightly lit room. Here are the indicators the TEW-633GR has (from left to right):
- WAN port
- Four LAN ports
- Copy settings using WPS
Also close to the router’s front there is a WPS mode button (above the front panel) and a WLAN interface switch (on the left panel). The latter button is a simple but very handy solution. You don’t have to look for a Wi-Fi disable option in the router’s options – the device will do everything by itself and will save all the connections settings even.
The router’s connectors are located on the back panel. They are not many (from left to right):
- Four LAN ports
- WAN port
- Power connector