Wi-Fi 6 devices: The top compatible phones, laptops and gadgets thus far

The Wi-Fi Alliance wants you to look for the Wi-Fi 6 logo.

Stephen Shankland/CNET

Wi-Fi 6 is the newest and fastest version of Wi-Fi, and we’re expecting it to roll out across a growing number of devices throughout 2020. It’s still early days for the speedy new standard, but there are some interesting options if you’re looking to buy in.

Wi-Fi 6 is capable of top speeds that are about 30% faster than the fastest Wi-Fi 5 speeds, and it’s much better suited to handling busy networks with lots of devices, as well as dense, crowded environments with lots of users. It won’t do anything to speed up a slow ISP connection, so don’t expect miracles — but it will help you get the fastest, most efficient connection possible at home.

You’ll need a Wi-Fi 6 router and new Wi-Fi 6 devices in order to enjoy those benefits at home — here are the top options currently available, which we’ll update regularly.

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Available for $399, the iPhone SE is the most affordable phone that supports faster Wi-Fi 6 connections.


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Phones

It’s not surprising that, after routers, smartphones were among the first devices to start incorporating support for Wi-Fi 6. Samsung was the first with the Galaxy S10, but Apple, LG, Huawei and others were soon to follow suit. 

As of now, the list of phones that can connect at faster Wi-Fi 6 speeds includes:

And what about the phones that don’t support Wi-Fi 6? The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip comes to mind, but Google’s Pixel lineup is probably the most notable example. None of them offer support for 802.11ax yet, including the Pixel 4.


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We’re also starting to see the very first phones that support Wi-Fi 6E, a new designation for Wi-Fi 6 devices that are equipped to tap into the newly opened 6GHz band, which offers a massive amount of spectrum with no interference from older-gen connections. The first phones to support the designation are two upcoming gaming phones: the Lenovo Legion and the Asus ROG Phone 3. Each one uses Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865 Plus processor, which boasts support for Wi-Fi 6E and 5G.

I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a handful of other phones jump in with Wi-Fi 6E by the end of this year, but the bulk of new Wi-Fi 6E devices are likely to arrive in 2021. Stay tuned.

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The Asus Chromebook Flip c436 comes equipped with full support for Wi-Fi 6.


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Laptops

There’s a growing number of new laptops that are shipping with Wi-Fi 6 as the default option. Some of our favorites include:

And nope, none of Apple’s laptops support Wi-Fi 6 yet — not even the brand-new, 13-inch MacBook Pro.

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If your devices support Wi-Fi 6, then you’ll need a Wi-Fi 6 router in order to take advantage of the faster top speeds. Our current favorite is this Asus ZenWifi AX mesh system.


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Other devices

The latest Wi-Fi 6 devices are the new eighth-gen iPad and fourth-gen iPad Air, but we haven’t seen Wi-Fi 6 support in many other types of devices — no TVs, no streamers, no smart home gadgets. That’s likely to change in the coming months, though. We’ll be sure to update this post as Wi-Fi 6 adoption spreads.

There’s one big, obvious exception: routers. You’ll need one that supports Wi-Fi 6 running your home network if you want to take full advantage of the Wi-Fi 6 radio in your fancy new phone or laptop — and fortunately, you’ve already got a lot of options.


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My favorite among them is the Asus ZenWifi AX, a two-piece Wi-Fi 6 mesh router that costs $450. It isn’t cheap, but it aced my tests and offers just about everything you could reasonably want from a router. Even more of an upgrade: the $600 Netgear Orbi AX6000 mesh system, which hit the fastest top speeds we’ve ever seen from a mesh router.

If you don’t need a multi-point mesh router (or if you just don’t want to pay that much), you’ll find Wi-Fi 6 support in standalone models that cost a little less. I like the TP-Link Archer AX6000 — it hit the fastest top speeds our test lab has ever seen, and you can get for less than $300. Meanwhile, the TP-Link Archer AX1500 costs just $80 or less, though the top speeds are more limited.

In addition, you might be able to update an older laptop with a new Wi-Fi 6 radio. For instance, Rivet Networks sells the Killer AX1650 Wi-Fi 6 adapter for laptops with an M.2 connector and a standard Key A or E socket. We picked one up last year to upgrade the laptop in our test lab and it works great. The cost? Just $35.

As for Wi-Fi 6E, we don’t expect to start seeing routers that include access to the newly unlocked 6GHz band until the end of 2020. The only one that’s been announced thus far is the Asus GT-AXE11000, a premium gaming router due in stores this December.

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