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Netgear R7000 Nighthawk review

Andrew Unsworth
3 May 2014
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
181
inc VAT

Not cheap, but this exciting-looking router is the stuff of dreams

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Specifications

802.11n dual band, 4x 10/100/1000Mbit/s Ethernet ports

It’s not often we see a router that’s as exciting to look at as its specification, but the Netgear R7000 Nighthawk is one such device. As implied by its name, the R7000 Nighthawk takes its styling inspiration from the F-117 Nighthawk stealth plane, even down to the shape of the aerials at its rear. Normally we’d prefer our routers, especially expensive ones, to be discreet and not stand out in our living room. It may be something to do with our inner teenager fighting to get out, but we feel differently about the Nighthawk R7000. It’s the kind of design that could look easily look tacky, but it doesn’t, and the plastic feels high quality to the touch.

Netgear R7000 Nighthawk

Unlike the sub-sonic F-117 Nighthawk, the R7000 promises to be astoundingly quick, as it uses the 802.11ac standard. This means the R7000 can provide theoretical speeds up to 1,300Mbit/s, but you’ll need an 802.11ac-compatible Wi-Fi adaptor or mobile device to benefit from 802.11ac’s higher speeds. Even then, you won’t see speeds anywhere near 1,300Mbit/s.

Don’t worry if you don’t have an 802.11ac device, though, as the R700 is compatible with older standards, such as 802.11n. The R7000 is dual-band, and will work on the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands simultaneously. This means you’ll have no trouble connecting wirelessly to the R7000 whether you’re using an older smartphone or a brand-new tablet.

Netgear R7000 Nighthawk

The R7000 doesn’t neglect wired connections, either, and there are four Gigabit Ethernet ports to which you can connect your PC, smart TV or any other equipment that benefits from ultra-fast wired networking. There are also two USB ports to which you can connect USB drives and printers so that you can share them with people on your network. The front USB port is a USB3 port, and although we’re happy to have a USB3 port we’d have preferred the faster USB3 port to be located at the rear. That way we could have a USB drive permanently plugged in without spoiling the look of the R7000’s front panel.

SETUP

The R7000 is a breeze to set up, as you’d want and expect from such a high-priced router. The R7000’s web interface is well organised, well-structured and uncluttered. The web interface is comprised of two tabs, Basic and Advanced, and each category has a set of categories down the left-hand side that let you access the Setup Wizard and USB storage options among many others.

Perhaps more conveniently for many of us in the modern age, you can download the Netgear Genie app for your iOS or Android device and configure the R7000 on a smartphone or tablet from the comfort of your couch. We tested the iOS version of the Netgear Genie app, and found it easy and straightforward to use. You can change the SSID and password of your wireless network, view a map of your network and set up a guest network, among many other options. The Netgear Genie app is free, so it’s well worth downloading should you decide to buy an R7000.

Netgear Genie App

The Netgear Genie app means you can configure the router from your smartphone