Installation and interface
The installation of the TP-Link Deco M5 is very simple, as with Velop and Orbi. The first step is downloading the Deco-app from the App Store or Google Play. After that you can start by connecting to the built-in Bluetooth adapter of the node that you want to use as router. The first steps are very simple and can be done by people that do not use computer equipment on a daily basis.
As with Velop, if you are a network-nerd you are left slightly disappointed. For example, there is no web interface; everything has to be done via the app. The possibilities in the app are rather rudimentary at the time of writing. A parental control option is present, but Port Forwarding and multi-language support are missing. As expected, these things will be added at short notice.
Netgear, Linksys and TP-Link all use Bluetooth during the installation. Note that the technique is not used any further while using the system. In our opinion it would be logical to also have the possibility of diagnosing the network via Bluetooth. Furthermore it is a shame that TP-Link forces you to create an account during the installation. In our opinion the manufacturer does not need to know you are creating a network based on their products in your home.
Managing the network via an app takes some getting used to. Nevertheless the target audience that is looking for an easy solution will find this more attractive than managing the network via a web interface.
TP-Link also equipped their Deco M5-system with a security solution. With TP-Link HomeCare the visited urls are checked and this prevents you from visiting phishingsites and other unsafe places. For the underlying cloud technique they are working with Trend Micro. The security is free for the first three years; after that you will probably have to pay for this addition. TP-Link was unable to tell us how much it would cost by then.
The app is very user friendly