As we re-test all the adaptors for each review and this time also in a new location, the speeds were obviously different to last time. However, the Zyxel 600Mbps adaptors were still the clear winners, out-doing the Devolo 500Mbps by just under 3MB/sec in our typical usage test. This is over 20 per cent faster but the average speed we recorded of 14.7 MB/sec is still less than 120Mbps - less than a fifth of the rated speed of 600Mbps.
Plugging the various adaptors into a dual wall socket next to each other, while not a realistic test, gives them the best possible chance to show off their maximum speed. The PLA5205 came out slightly ahead of the pass-through PLA5215, with speeds of 33.5MB/sec and 32.9MB/sec respectively - still well south of the 300Mbps barrier and a great shame we don't see these speeds in typical scenarios. Even so, the PLA5215 which was just a fraction behind the PLA5205, was noticeably quicker than the Devolo set and miles in front of Zyxel's 500Mbps PLA4211.
The question of whether to use powerline adaptors is something we've discussed in previous reviews and there are plenty of comments there too about what those of you out there think. The fact remains that there are plenty of scenarios where they are the best option in terms of practicality, reliability and speed. The speeds we see here are good enough not to limit the new super-fast broadband packages that regularly top 100Mbps, but are obviously lacking compared to the ideal throughput of a good dual-band WiFi signal or a direct Ethernet connection to a router or modem.
Transferring a 1GB file would take over a minute with the typical speed we saw with the PLA5215, but less than 10 seconds with a cabled Gigabit Ethernet connection. That's still a fairly sad fact, but for the vast majority of us with sub 100Mbps broadband packages and just a need to stream music and video, this is more than enough grunt with plenty of headroom thrown in too.
Devolo's adaptors might have come down in price but even though they now retail for £5-10 less than the new PLA5205's, the latter are still your best option. They outperformed the Devolo 500Mbps adaptors by a sizeable margin in typical conditions and the PLA5215 pass-through wasn't any slower than the non-pass through PLA5205 set either. They're not quite as bargain-tastic as Zyxel's 500Mbps offerings but if you need the very best speed powerline adaptors have to offer, the PLA5215 is the set for you.