Review: Netgear’s Nighthawk X10 may just be the $500 router you need

Five-hundred bucks is a lot for most common-folk to just hand over. Especially for a router. But if you’re a gamer, a VR-enthusiast, stream everything you can, or getting a jumpstart on the looming IoT invasion, perhaps you’ll want to get your hands on NETGEAR’s Nighthawk X10 AD7200 smart router.

Touted as the world’s fastest router, it’s packed with everything but the kitchen sink… unless one day your kitchen sink becomes smart.

Specs to note:

  • 1.7GHz quad-core processor
  • 802.11ac quad-stream Wave2 WiFi
  • 60 GHz 802.11ad WiFi
  • 7200 Mbps Wireless Data Throughput
  • 2.4 GHz / 5 GHz / 60 GHz Frequencies
  • Four active antennas with high powered amplifiers
  • Built-in Plex Media Server
  • Six Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports with dual ports
  • Two USB 3.0 ports
  • 10Gbps fiber port 
  • Multi-user MIMO

Hardware

Let’s get one thing out of the way – this router is a beast. The four antennas look positively space-age, and feel rather plastic-y. That said, the body itself feels hardy.

Unfortunately, 802.11ad is a short-range line-of-sight technology – meaning any AD7200 router on the market can’t simply be hidden out of sight. So unless your decor is so ultra-modern it looks as though Spock is your roommate, this model-monstrosity may look out of place. But in the end, it’s well worth it.

Around back, the Nighthawk X10 has every port you could possibly want – six gigabit LAN ports, a 10Gbps fiber port to boost backups and streaming, and two USB 3.0 ports. And inside, NETGEAR didn’t leave anything out either.

The Nighthawk X10 supports multi-user MIMO technology – a key feature all soon-to-be overtaxed routers need – complete with channels operating up to 160 MHz, 4×4 spatial streams, and extended 5 GHz frequency support.

Other features include 512MB of NAND flash memory, 1GB of DDR3 RAM, built-in Beamforming+, and a plethora of other  tech features you’ve come to expect.

Performance

Basic setup is insanely easy. With NETGEAR’s Up app for Android and iOS, I was up and running in under 10 minutes – which included rearranging of some other equipment for said line-of-sight allowance.

And unlike typical routers that just spray WiFi, the Beamforming+ allows the Nighthawk X10 to directly, well, beam signals directly to devices. This results in a stronger, more reliable connection that’s locked in even if the device is moved (or in my case, falls of the precarious shelf I had it on…).

The signal strength also translates to mobile devices.

Is it for you?

This is not for the average customer – price range and specs can tell you that.

But for people looking to upgrade their home office, are hard-core gamers, or just – like me – go ga-ga for the latest and greatest (with a good chunk of change laying around… so not like me at all…) this is a great router that will go with you well into the future.

And it’s worth every penny.

NETGEAR – With its long-standing history of turning ideas into innovative networking products, NETGEAR is advancing the way we live. With them, we're exploring our connected world.

Shh. Here's some distraction

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