BT Home Hub 5 hands-on: Making BT Infinity even better

It was only a few months ago that we were telling you that BT had launched the Home Hub 4, with a sleek new design and a bump in specs. At the time we reported that there was another model - Home Hub 5 - waiting in the wings.

BT Home Hub 5 is now available to BT customers, being pitched as the perfect companion for your BT Infinity fibre optic connection, while Home Hub 4 can take care of those regular BT Broadband customers. That's how BT is pitching the two models: on the BT website, you have HH5 for Infinity and HH4 for Broadband, although both offer many of the same features.

In terms of design, the two Hubs are the same from the exterior, except for a blue bar across the front of the BT Home Hub 5. Around the back the connections appear to be the same too, however there's a modem built into Home Hub 5, so there's no longer a need for the BT Openreach modem that previous Home Hubs required.

That's good news for those taking BT Infinity now, or opting to upgrade, as there's one less messy box, fewer wires and you get a mains plug socket back.

BT sent us a BT Home Hub 5 through the post and switching to HH5 was simply a case of unplugging all the cables from HH4 and connecting them into the new model.

Bypassing the modem means you just connect the Home Hub 5 straight to your BT Infinity phone socket and that's it. It's then pretty much the same as it was before. We then changed the SSID and password to match that of our previous Home Hub to save having to change the details on all our connected devices.

BT Home Hub 5 comes with dual-band smart Wi-Fi, but now adds 802.11ac to the mix too, so if you have a recent device, like a 2013 MacBook Air for example, you'll be able to connect on this new wireless standard.

We've found the range to be impressive, as we get a connection throughout the 1930s semi that we tested it in, as well as some way down the street and garden. Of course, the performance of your Home Hub 5 will depend on lots of environmental conditions, the build of your house and so on. Performance for us has been very much the same as BT Home Hub 4, with good connection speeds and no problem with reliablility in the weeks we've been using it.

If you're a new customer coming to BT Infinity, then you'll get the Home Hub 5 as part of the package.

If you're an existing customer, you have two upgrade options. You can get Home Hub 5 free if you renew your contract, or upgrade your contract (you'll have to read BT's terms and conditions on this). Your Home Hub 5 will be free.

Or, if you don't want to upgrade your broadband package, or you're not eligible to renew your contract, you can get the Home Hub 5 at a discounted price of £45.