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Review: Netgear Nighthawk X10 Casts A Tall Shadow

Netgear’s new Nighthawk X10 made the tech media rounds when it first surfaced back in October of 2016 – and for good reason. It’s a solid product by one of the biggest players in the networking category, not to mention one that confidently builds on the sub-brand’s legacy for gains in both aesthetics and performance.

Like most sub-branded products (particularly ones that emphasize gaming), the Netgear Nighthawk X10 is more of a refinement than a revolution. However, don’t let that overshadow the facts and throw you off the scent of a great product. If you’re in the market for a heavy-duty router for your home or office, this is the one to get.

When it comes to specs in particular, the Nighthawk X10 delivers. It combines a powerful 1.7GHz Quad Core processor with Quad-Stream Wave 2 WiFi architecture plus next generation high speed 802.11ad Wi-Fi. In theory, it’s able and ready to deliver blazing-fast wireless speeds up to a furious 7.2Gbps.

For the most part, the reality of our time with the router lived up to the well-wired potential of the package. Though we experienced a minor issue configuring the router (our review unit lacked documentation for the device’s default password), we quickly overcame it and got down to business. Keeping things simple: the network connection offered by the Nighthawk X10 provided larger and more consistent coverage than the Linksys router it replaced.

Like the AC1900 Max-Stream, the Nighthawk X10 comes capable of MU-MIMO connectivity. In tech terms, this means it’s able to transmit multiple data streams at the same time rather than juggle them. In simpler ones, it means it’s better suited to meet the demands of modern home networks. This functionality is further augmented by the four external antennas which help to amplify coverage. Designwise, the aforementioned antennas have been resigned to look and feel more sturdy and now incorporate a blue LED-backlight that contributes nicely to the Nighthawk-aesthetic.

Speaking more generally about its design, the Nighthawk X10 further refines the sharp angles and stealth-bomber silhouette of the company’s previous efforts. The biggest changes here come with the relocation of the router’s antennas  from the sides of the device to the rear. In addition, there’s now a cagey metallic grate running covering the roof of the Nighthawk and helping to disperse heat.

Netgear’s endgame here is to provide a router capable of catering to the needs of high-end entertainment – whether it be gaming or ultra-smooth 4K streaming. Towards that goal, they’ve applied every extra step on both an aesthetic and technical level. It really does feel like they’ve crafted a device that sits on the forefront of consumer demands and one that shows router design can be every bit as flashy as what you see out of smartphones or laptop manufacturers.

Conclusion

Even if now it feels just a little overshadowed by the CES debut of its S8000 cousin, the Nighthawk X10 is a solid router that hits all the right marks. It’s definitely a little pricier than the rest but if a future-proof gaming router is what you’re looking for, Netgear have got your covered.

RANKING: 4.5/5

The Netgear  Nighthawk X10 AD7200 Smart WiFi Router is available now from all leading retailers at an RRP of AUD$799.

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