How different is Airport Express from a regular router?

I'll be looking to upgrade my current very unstable, very slow router to something better. Considering I own a MacBook and an iPhone (a PC and Windows laptop too), I was looking at the Airport Express as a viable option. However I've heard it works quite a bit differently than your usual routers.

  • Is it something that's easily accessible via 192.168.1.1?
  • Can I set things like DNS and port forwarding?
  • Anything else?