Netgear Nighthawk X4 R7500 Review - Performance, Value and Verdict Review

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Netgear Nighthawk X4 R7500 – Performance

So having created a router which lauds its performance from the rooftops, does Netgear’s R7500 deliver? Much like the Asus RT-AC87 the answer is: kind of.

R7500 AC

At our test distances of 2m and 10m in line of sight and 15m behind two standing walls, the R7500 tipped the AC87 to become the fastest router we’ve ever tested, at 86.1MBps. That said, like the AC87, this isn’t a ground-breaking speed increase from previous AC1900 routers. It also tailed off with range and was actually slightly slower than the best AC1900 rivals at 15m.

Yes, the R7500 was still very fast, but there was no little benefit to AC2350 over AC1900.

R7500 5GHz

Furthermore the benefit disappears altogether with 802.11n 5GHz. The peak throughput champion at this band remains the D-Link DIR-880L, and while both AC2350 routers close the gap at 10m and 15m, the Linksys WRT AC1900’s fantastic range is still head and shoulders above the pack.

R7500 2.4GHz

Netgear does get back on track at 802.11n 2.4GHz, again recording the fastest peak performance we’ve seen at 2m with 24.1MBps putting it ahead of the 880L, but this lead shrinks with range and it’s overtaken at 15m by both the 880L and AC87.

R7500 USB

Where Netgear is king, however, is USB. The R7500 comes with an unspecified ‘1.4GHz dual-core CPU’ and whatever it is, it does the business driving USB speeds of 33.3MBps. This sees it top the WRT AC1900, which has long stood out on its own. Interestingly the R7500 is the first router we’ve seen with no USB 2.0 port, but we expect many more to follow in its footsteps.

Netgear R7500 5

Should I buy the Netgear Nighthawk X4 R7500?

If you want the absolute fastest router, particularly at close and medium ranges, then we would say yes. But that comes with a heavy caveat: its £229.99 RRP. This is £10 more than the similarly performing Asus RT-AC87, which has a slicker setup process.

More to the point, though, the problem we saw with AC2350 on the AC87 continues here: it offers peak performance improvements, but the overall gains aren’t really significant advances over AC1900. Furthermore, with AC1900 router prices falling, there’s no good reason to opt for the R7500 when the D-Link DIR-880L can now be purchased for under £100.

Verdict

Netgear has produced the fastest router we’ve ever seen, but not by much. Consequently, despite a fancy design and next-generation wireless standard, we don’t think the big increase in price is worth it compared to current AC1900 bargains such as the D-Link DIR-880L.

Next, read more Peripheral Reviews

Trusted Score


Score in detail

  • Performance 9
  • Value 5
  • Features 9
  • Build Quality 8
  • Usability 7
  • Design 8

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