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Netgear Nighthawk R7000 AC1900 review

Gordon Kelly

By

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR

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Netgear Nighthawk R7000 AC1900
  • Netgear Nighthawk R7000 AC1900
  • Netgear Nighthawk R7000 AC1900
  • Netgear Nighthawk R7000 AC1900
  • Netgear Nighthawk R7000 AC1900
  • Netgear Nighthawk R7000 AC1900
  • Netgear Nighthawk R7000 AC1900
  • Netgear Nighthawk R7000 AC1900
  • Netgear Nighthawk R7000 AC1900
  • Netgear Nighthawk R7000 AC1900
  • Netgear Nighthawk R7000 AC1900
  • Netgear Nighthawk R7000 AC1900

Summary

Our Score:

9

User Score:

Pros

  • Fastest peak throughput yet
  • Class leading USB network performance
  • Slick design
  • Front mounted USB port

Cons

  • Loses out at range to AC1900 rivals
  • Asus & Linksys rivals offer easier setup
  • Premium pricing

Key Features

  • 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 2.4GHz & 5GHz WiFi
  • Beamforming
  • 4x Gigabit Ethernet
  • 1x USB 2.0, 1x USB 3.0
  • WPS, WPA/WPA2 security
  • VPN & FTP Server
  • Manufacturer: Netgear
  • Review Price: £189.99

What is the Netgear R7000 Nighthawk?

This is Netgear’s long awaited ‘AC1900 Wi-Fi' rival to current top dogs the Linksys EA6900 and Asus RT-AC68U. We say "long awaited" because this sassily named router actually launched at the same time as its rivals in the US, but we have waited five months for it to appear in the UK. So having had the biggest of build ups is the R7000 worth the wait?

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Netgear R7000 Nighthawk – Design

Having been named like no other Netgear router it is somewhat apt the R7000 Nighthawk looks like no other Netgear router either. Without sounding cruel, this is a good thing. Whereas Netgear’s routers are famously sensible and functional, the R7000 has some much needed swagger and bravado.

It’s sleek, angular lines and matt black finish make it look like something a Cylon might pilot and its three thick external antennas add an element of aggression that conveys Netgear means business. That is carried over to the build quality with a durable and surprisingly heavyweight (750g) construction that at 285 x 184 x 50mm also makes for the widest router we’ve seen.

READ MORE: Netgear Reviews

Netgear Nighthawk 3

Despite a mass of activity lights (power, Internet, 2.4GHz WiFi, 5GHz WiFi, WPS and 2x USB and 4x Ethernet ports) Netgear also keeps things classy with white activity lights.

There’s a practical element to this style as well with Netgear choosing to front mount a USB 3.0 port for the easy addition of USB storage. This will be a handy feature for many, though if you permanently keep two devices connected over USB the fact it leaves just one at the back will make keeping your cables tidy more difficult. Regardless, Netgear has nailed the design.

Netgear R7000 Nighthawk – Features

The R7000 isn’t short on features either. The obvious talking point is the ‘AC1900’ branding which – like the EA6900 and RT-AC68U – means it is fitted with the Broadcom BCM4708A chipset. The big news about this chipset is it brings ‘Turbo QAM’ – a proprietary technology that boosts 802.11n 2.4GHz speeds from a previous theoretical maximum of 450Mbps to 600Mbps. When combined with the 1300Mbps theoretical maximum of 802.11ac you get the 1900Mbps figure only this trio of routers can claim.

Netgear isn’t prepared to just match its rivals on theory though. More practically it raises the bar on their dual core 800MHz ARM Cortex A9 processors clocking its own pair at 1GHz, making it the first router to break this milestone. Meanwhile it packs the same 128MB of native flash memory and 256MB of RAM.

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Netgear Nighthawk 4

Crucially the R7000 also comes with Beamforming, which enables the router to recognise where connected devices are and boost signal in their direction rather than throwing it out equally in all directions. In addition there’s WPA/WPA2 security, the aforementioned WPS, VPN and guest network support, QoS and even a customised free URL for those wanting to setup a personal FTP server.

But the R7000 doesn’t tick every box. It’s four Gigabit Ethernet ports are joined by just one USB 2.0 and one USB 3.0 port, rather than a pair of USB 3.0 ports as on the EA6900. It cannot work as a bridge like the RT-AC68U and it doesn’t pack any remote Cloud access like Linksys’ latest routers and, to a lesser extent, Asus and D-Link.

In short the R7000 was built with a simple purpose: to be the fastest, rangiest wireless router available.

toboev

April 2, 2014, 5:16 pm

These things are always portrayed with their aerials striking some kind of a funky pose geared towards maximum visual impact. But what's the word on how they should be arranged for maximum functionality?

My understanding was that they should be simply straight up an parallel. But does it maybe depend on the orientation of the aerial of the other party, which could (for handheld devices) be any way up or sideways?

Gordon Kelly

April 2, 2014, 5:58 pm

I've heard that but aside from sticking them out horizontally (detrimental!) I've found very little difference (certainly within a margin of error) whether they are straight up or at a slight angle.

Kat

February 19, 2015, 5:33 pm

I've been reading reviews and on every review forum I find, it appears that this is a known issue that NetGear refuses to deal with and fix. I've been an IT System Administrator for over 20 years and I would not buy another Netgear product again after dealing with their support which doesn't admit there is a known problem.

I had the Netgear WNDR3400 and never had any trouble with it. I bought the Nighthawk R7000 and for $200 and my experience with other Netgear hardware I thought this unit would be great. The configuration lets you lock down your wireless and looked like an excellent product for the money.

I have had nothing but trouble with it. The Nighthawk r7000 is constantly going down. I upgrade firmware and it craps out and I have to redo the configuration. I get up in the morning and no wireless, I have to reboot it. Sometimes it goes down 2-3 times a day. The other day I got up and again no wireless, I rebooted and that didn't fix it. I go into the configuration and it says the wireless is turned off. First time I had this issue and you have to hold the wireless button on the front for about 10 seconds to turn it back on.
This is ridicules that this unit has so many issues. Of course it's now out of the 90
warranty and Netgear says as long as the correct lights are on it not a
hardware issue so pay us to troubleshoot or fix it yourself. When the device is a lemon, you can't fix that!

NOW THAT I’M WRITING THESE REVIEWS, I FIND THAT USERS HAVE THE SAME ISSUES I’M HAVING. THEY HAVE ALSO CONTACTED NETGEAR TO NO AVAIL.
BOTTOM LINE, BUY ANOTHER PRODUCT.

Tim Degrey

March 5, 2015, 6:56 pm

This happened to me out of box. I was irritated and frustrated, especially with a router that has such high praise worldwide.

Looks like the issue is with some bugs in the latest firmware. I decided to downgrade the firmware a few revisions, and now my connection is really solid. I get full 300mbps down from Time Warner on my wireless devices. Sometimes speedtests need a warmup to get there, but after that, it is really solid.

If you are having buyer's remorse, I recommend trying the firmware downgrade. It might be a specific one that works best with your modem.

Kat

March 6, 2015, 5:48 pm

Netgear contacted me and we did troubleshooting. They sent me a new router and I updated the firmware as soon as I got it out of the box, which they also recommend. I've had it so far a week with no trouble. They have also just released a newer firmware (Wednesday) which I'm about to upgrade to as well.
When they troubleshoot that is the 1st thing they want to know, is if your firmware is up to date. The entire reason for these updates is to patch problems so I wasn't going to downgrade anyway.

Gary Goslin

December 17, 2015, 2:41 am

Range you got all wrong. IMO, it's top notch. Maybe the best yet. Not a huge Netgear guy but so far, the 2nd one I've owned, WNDR3400 and now this one and they have worked fine. Nothing I can't fix on my own.

Anyone familiar with computer components know that sometimes things don't work like they should. Like power cords on Dell laptops, that's another story.

Daniel Morgan

April 19, 2016, 12:29 am

We have an unusual house with steel siding and a patio in the middle. So getting a signal from the router in the living room to the master bedroom meant penetrating two steel clad insulated walls. Neither of our two previous routers could do it. The Nighthawk R7000 even send the 5G signal to the bedroom. We can get a signal anywhere in our 2900 square-foot house and almost anywhere on our .4-acre lot

tipoo2

July 14, 2016, 6:37 pm

I angle them to look the most like their namesake the F-117, lol

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