Netgear Nighthawk X10 Review


The Netgear Nighthawk X10 is a hypercar among hatchbacks and four-door sedans, a $1.8 million Ferrari that plans to share the roads with $20,000 KIAs. With the latest in 802.11ad WiFi antennas that can handle an insane 4.6Gb per secdon throughput, this is not a router for the faint-hearted, or even the average consumer at that.

But will all this fancy technology and a subtle-but-commanding exterior design be enough to justify its eye-wateringly high price? Keep reading on in my Netgear Nighthawk X10 Review to find out!

Overview

Summary: The Netgear Nighthawk X10 has every futuristic bell and whistle you could conceive of, but the Genie app is still stuck decades in the past.

Price: $474.49
Available: Now
Model: Nighthawk X10 R9000-100NAS

What We Liked

  • Sleek, compact design
  • Solid performance at all ranges
  • Extensive list of top-end hardware and features

What We Didn’t

  • The Netgear Genie app can’t compete with Linksys Smart WiFi
  • Up app is pointless beyond one feature
  • Cost will be prohibitive to most

Netgear Nighthawk X10 Specs

Design

The X10 is the sleekest and smallest of the Nighthawk family yet

It’s tough to find a router these days that really breaks away from the mold, or challenges what we should think of when we have the image of a high performance networking device in our heads. On the one hand, while the design of the Netgear Nighthawk X10 isn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination, there’s not all that much “good” about it, either.

Related: Netgear Nighthawk X4S Review

It looks about how you would expect a router to look, with four standard antennas sticking out from a black-on-black half-plastic/half-mesh shell that’s actually quite a bit more reserved than most of its other Nighthawk counterparts (the X6 especially so). I’d say of all the routers in the Nighthawk line this is undoubtedly the most mature looking of the bunch, and my new favorite to gawk at as well. At just a little over 6.5″ inches wide, short of 9″ long, and 4.1lbs the X10 is also one of the smallest and lightest high-performance routers we’ve ever seen, and comes with the standard four-bracket setup on the back of the unit in case you want to hang it from a wall to get it out of the way.

Software

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Hey Netgear? 2007 called, it wants its user interface back

Like its Nighthawk brothers, the X10 uses the Netgear “Genie” app to help users configure their router’s settings. While the desktop version of Genie is full-featured and simple enough to navigate, there’s still a bit of modernity lacking from the design that I would’ve liked to see given recent efforts by Linksys to bring their Smart Wi-Fi dashboard roaring into the 21st century.

Any semblance of good design quickly gets launched out the window as soon as you launch the mobile Genie app, however. On an iPhone 7 running iOS 10.1, the Netgear Genie app struggled to keep up with the higher resolution of my screen, and having been a longtime iPhone owner who’s seen all the design changes that app makers have gone through over the years, I’d guesstimate that Netgear hasn’t invested in a significant upgrade to its mobile app since all the way back in the days of iOS 7.

The new Netgear “Up” app for iOS was a confusing addition to the mix, which is software the company says is meant to help make it easier for customers to get their routers setup from their smartphones. If that’s the direction they want to go, though, why couldn’t that function simply be incorporated into the main Genie app with an update, rather than its own app that only achieves one task and then essentially sits useless on your phone from then on?

Features

If you’re in the market for the most feature-rich, technologically advanced router currently available to the wider consumer market, for that at least the Netgear Nighthawk X10 AD7200 is leading the charge in all the right directions.

This router has (deep breath) a 1.7GHz quad-core(!) processor, 60Hz 802.11ad Wi-Fi with max speeds of a whopping 4.6Gbps (3x faster than 3×3 802.11ac), six gigabit ethernet ports, one standard LAN port alongside one 10G LAN port, two USB 3.0 slots to host Amazon Cloud backups or a Plex media server, as well as 802.11ac MU-MIMO Quad Stream Wave2 WiFi antennas in case your devices can’t yet read 802.11ad (hint: they can’t).

Gadget Review Speed & Distance Tests

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2.4GHz at 5ft

 

With all those stellar stats on the board, it shouldn’t come as much of a suprise that the Netgear Nighthawk X10 performed at the top of its class, but then again what else would you expect from a networking device that will set you back nearly $500 out of pocket?

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2.4GHz 30ft

On the 2.4GHz network at a distance of 5ft, we achieved results that were reliable, but not necessarily super impressive either. The first 5ft test yielded a result of 77.45Mbps down/109.24Mbps up, while 30ft tests through a door were again reliable, but not necessariyl top-notch at 69.67Mbps down and 69.30Mbps up.

5GHz results were spotty (especially on the upload side of things), but still insanely, blisteringly quick nonetheless.

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5GHz 5ft

At a distance of 5ft, the Nighthawk X10 was able to top out at a record-breaking 513.45Mbps download after three runs, with a kicker of 388.04Mbps upload, which puts it at the top of a list with some of the best routers we’ve tested in 2016. Same goes for our 30ft test, which rounded testing off with a score of 354.44Mbps down, and 351.29Mbps upload.

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5GHz 30ft

When plugged directly into the source, the X10 pumped out a staggering 912.64Mbps download/946.15Mbps.

Wrap Up

The Netgear X10 is a confusing beast of a high-performance router. On the one side, it’s got ridiculous scores in every applicable metric thanks to the inclusion of all its bleeding-edge hardware, like the addition of the 802.11ad radios and high powered bi-directional MU-MIMO antennas. Then on the other, there’s the positively ancient Genie app, which looks like something straight out of 2007 and performs like it too (at least in the case of the iOS app, specifically).

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Wired

Even so, as long as you don’t plan on accessing your router settings from your smartphone on a daily occasion, this router is an absolute monster when it comes to producing some of the fastest speeds we’ve seen on any networking device to date. Its high cost definitely churns out great performance, however unless you absolutely need the 10-years-from-now tech onboard (most devices still don’t even know what to do with a MU-MIMO signal, let alone 802.11ad), you’re probably better off saving yourself a few hundred dollars and going with something cheaper instead.

Read Next: Best Wireless Router


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