Netgear Nighthawk X8 Router Review

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I am a Netgear Ambassador and received the Nighthawk X8 to review in exchange for my honest opinions about the product. This is the second Netgear Nighthawk router I have received. The latest Nighthawk router has some significant advancements over the previous one, but who is the Nighthawk X8 router for?neatgearnighthawk8

Who is the Netgear Nighthawk X8 Router for?

Netgear states that the average household has more than twelve WiFi devices connected to their home network. Every family member has a cell phone, many also have a tablet, the TV, a computer / laptop or two and I would say that number is pretty accurate. The router then becomes a much more important part of the household than the previous days. Especially when the children are streaming to Twitch and YouTube, while the parents are watching Netflix. With Internet Of Things(IoT) wifi enabled households not too far off in our distant future also, the router needs to be capable of determining what traffic gets priority and what can be put on less important slower speeds. The Nighthawk X8 is targeting those markets.netgear1

Visually this is a very nice looking router. It has sleak lines and curves and I think looks a lot better than the previous Nighthawk router. The antenna can be spread out and angle in different directions to help with range of the signal. The range on this is pretty far. I have good solid signal all the way to the street and definitely in all the rooms.

Unboxing of the Netgear Nighthawk X8 Router

Check out this detailed video Unboxing from my associate Benedict Corpuz, to find out everything that is included in the box and how it all looks.

netgeargenieSetup of the Nighthawk X8 Router

One of my favorite parts of the Netgear routers, is how quick, fast, and easy they are to setup. Simply power up, add your modem, connect a computer, and then go to “http://www.routerlogin.net” to login. After logging in with the default credentials, you follow a straight forward wizard that helps you set up, configure, and change the required features. It is straight forward and simple. Within 15 minutes we were up and running and connected all of our various devices with ease. I really enjoy how easy Netgear routers are to configure. Some on the market are rather complicated and never seem to go quite the way you want it to be, but I find that setting up Netgear is a quick and painless setup every time. You can also download an app on your iPhone or Android device to help monitor your network remotely! This free app can help you see if something is high on bandwidth usage or you need to reboot your router remotely. There is also a PC application if you want to monitor from there as well. Neat stuff!

 

Nighthawk X8 Router Key Features

There are some nifty features involved in the Nighthawk X8 Router…

  • Tri-Band wireless
  • MU-MIMO ready
  • 4 ‘Active’ Antennas
  • 6 LAN ports (2 can be aggregated)
  • 1.4GHZ Dual Core processor
  • Dynamic QoS
  • Dual USB, one is USB 3.0

The Nighthawk X8 supports the newest AC5300 wifi standard. This means it has a top speed of 5.3Gbps. Unfortunately, nothing on the marketplace currently supports that…yet. Your tablets, laptop computers and cellular phones are not on that level of speed yet, but the next phase of home networking definitely will be. The Nighthawk X8 will of course still support WiFi standards of today though.

It also has six Gigabit LAN ports. Most routers usually have four. Two of these ports can be aggregated into one to make a super fast wired connection for super fast file transfers. If you currently have a NAS server, this may be an option for you and will increase the speed at which files can be transferred around.

datanetgearIt also supports multi-user multiple-input and multiple-output (MU-MIMO). What’s that you ask? Your phone, streaming TV and laptop take turns receiving or downloading from the router currently, with MU-MIMO they will be able to do it at the exact same time. You might think your router currently does this, but it does not. You probably don’t really notice the effects of this except sometimes there you may have slower downloads and buffering choppy video streams. This feature has not been released yet, but will be available via a firmware upgrade. There is already a beta version on the website, but it is not available for the average user yet.

Just like in the Nighthawk X6 the Nighthawk X8 has Dynamic QoS. This easy to set up feature prioritizes bandwidth by application and device. You can put your Netflix TV on High and your occasionally used tablet on low for example. The router has enough smarts built in that it will auto detect everything from you phone to your xbox and automatically prioritize them for you. You can adjust these if you like though.

Check out this handy chart to see the difference between the various Netgear routers available. You can see the Nighthawk X8 is all of those and then some.

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Nighthawk X8 Router Price Value

The Netgear R8500 Nighthawk X8 AC5300 retails for $399.99USD. That is a pretty expensive price for a router that has many comparable ones on the market. Regardless of Netgear’s marketing messages, the average USA/Canada home user is not currently IoT(internet of Things) Wifi household enabled, but they do have a multitude of connected devices. My home network currently has 11 devices at any given times with Playstations, kindles, tablets, laptops and phones.  In the not to distant future where the most households will have a couple dozen internet connected things at all times, routers like the Nighthawk x8 will be required.  Do you prepare for the future with your networking purchase now? That greatly depends on your budget and technology goals. The Nighthawk X8 is the router for you in future-proofng your internet connected home.

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I received a Nighthawk X8 router as part of the Netgear Ambassador program, but as always thoughts are my own.

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