MU-MIMO Router Head-to-Head: Linksys EA7500 vs. Netgear Nighthawk X4S

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Nighthawk X4S Smart WiFi Gaming Router

The Netgear R7800 Nighthawk X4s is the company's "baby brother" to the big Nighthawk R8000, and even though it's smaller and less expensive, it supports MU-MIMO and 160MHz channels right out of the box. The rub is that your client/adapter also needs to support these technologies in order to take advantage of them, and right now there aren't very many on the market, though that will certainly change over the next year. But if you're looking for a router that offers technologies that will eventually be widespread (hopefully) the Nighthawk X4S is as future-proof as they come. Here's the fancy-looking box and the specs:

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Nighthawk X4S Smart WiFi Gaming Router
Specifications & Features
WiFi Band Simultaneous Dual-Band WiFi - 2.4GHz + 5GHz
Beamforming Implicit & Explicit Beamforming for 2.4 & 5GHz bands
Number of Ethernet Ports Five (5) 10/100/1000 Mbps Gigabit Ethernet ports: 1 WAN & 4 LAN
Number of USB/eSATA Ports Two (2) USB 3.0 ports, one (1) eSATA
Key Features
The Linksys MAX-STREAM AC1900 features MU-MIMO, the latest advance toward uninterrupted, simultaneous Wi-Fi connections.

Devices such as HD streaming media players, 4K TVs, tablets, and game consoles use a lot of bandwidth. But with MU-MIMO (Multi-User, Multiple-Input, Multiple-Output) technology, the MAX-STREAM AC1900 sends advanced Wi-Fi to multiple devices at the same time and same speed. Your whole family can play, stream, and work at once, without experiencing lag or buffering - at up to 2x the speed of a non-MU-MIMO router.*
Fastest gaming performance. Unmatched processing power. Superior WiFi technology. Nighthawk® X4S AC2600 Smart WiFi Router with 160MHz, MU-MIMO and Quad Stream technology delivers WiFi to multiple devices simultaneously for faster speeds. Whether gaming or streaming, you're getting 160MHz bandwidth that ensures low-ping and best stream quality. Enjoy ultimate WiFi speeds up to 2.53Gbps, a powerful 1.7GHz dual core processor, and Dynamic QoS, delivering smoother streaming and gaming by prioritizing applications and devices.

Get ultimate WiFi speeds—up to 2.53Gbps (800+1733 Mbps)
Quad-Stream technology delivers WiFi to multiple devices simultaneously for faster speeds
Next generation Wave2 WiFi—160MHz, MU-MIMO, Quad-stream
Four high-performance external antennas deliver maximum range
Dynamic QoS prioritizes network traffic by application and device
Powerful 1.7GHz dual-core processor boosts performance for gaming and streaming
Twin USB 3.0 and eSATA ports offer high-speed, USB storage-ready access
NEW & IMPROVED FEATURES: With the latest firmware release your Nighthawk X4S now includes NETGEAR genie remote access, ReadyCLOUD, Open VPN access on mobile devices, and Kwilt integration. Learn more below.
Get ultimate WiFi speeds—up to 2.53Gbps (800+1733 Mbps)
Quad-Stream technology delivers WiFi to multiple devices simultaneously for faster speeds
Next generation Wave2 WiFi—160MHz, MU-MIMO, Quad-stream
Four high-performance external antennas deliver maximum range
Dynamic QoS prioritizes network traffic by application and device
Powerful 1.7GHz dual-core processor boosts performance for gaming and streaming
Twin USB 3.0 and eSATA ports offer high-speed, USB storage-ready access
NEW & IMPROVED FEATURES: With the latest firmware release your Nighthawk X4S now includes NETGEAR genie remote access, ReadyCLOUD, Open VPN access on mobile devices, and Kwilt integration. Learn more below.
Get ultimate WiFi speeds—up to 2.53Gbps (800+1733 Mbps)
Quad-Stream technology delivers WiFi to multiple devices simultaneously for faster speeds
Next generation Wave2 WiFi—160MHz, MU-MIMO, Quad-stream
Four high-performance external antennas deliver maximum range
Dynamic QoS prioritizes network traffic by application and device
Powerful 1.7GHz dual-core processor boosts performance for gaming and streaming
Twin USB 3.0 and eSATA ports offer high-speed, USB storage-ready access
NEW & IMPROVED FEATURES: With the latest firmware release your Nighthawk X4S now includes NETGEAR genie remote access, ReadyCLOUD, Open VPN access on mobile devices, and Kwilt integration. Learn more below.
Get ultimate WiFi speeds—up to 2.53Gbps (800+1733 Mbps)
Quad-Stream technology delivers WiFi to multiple devices simultaneously for faster speeds
Next generation Wave2 WiFi—160MHz, MU-MIMO, Quad-stream
Four high-performance external antennas deliver maximum range
Dynamic QoS prioritizes network traffic by application and device
Powerful 1.7GHz dual-core processor boosts performance for gaming and streaming
Twin USB 3.0 and eSATA ports offer high-speed, USB storage-ready access
NEW & IMPROVED FEATURES: With the latest firmware release your Nighthawk X4S now includes NETGEAR genie remote access, ReadyCLOUD, Open VPN access on mobile devices, and Kwilt integration. Learn more below.
Get ultimate WiFi speeds—up to 2.53Gbps (800+1733 Mbps)
Quad-Stream technology delivers WiFi to multiple devices simultaneously for faster speeds
Next generation Wave2 WiFi—160MHz, MU-MIMO, Quad-stream
Four high-performance external antennas deliver maximum range
Dynamic QoS prioritizes network traffic by application and device
Powerful 1.7GHz dual-core processor boosts performance for gaming and streaming
Twin USB 3.0 and eSATA ports offer high-speed, USB storage-ready access
NEW & IMPROVED FEATURES: With the latest firmware release your Nighthawk X4S now includes NETGEAR genie remote access, ReadyCLOUD, Open VPN access on mobile devices, and Kwilt integration. Learn more below.
Get ultimate WiFi speeds—up to 2.53Gbps (800+1733 Mbps)
Quad-Stream technology delivers WiFi to multiple devices simultaneously for faster speeds
Next generation Wave2 WiFi—160MHz, MU-MIMO, Quad-stream
Four high-performance external antennas deliver maximum range
Dynamic QoS prioritizes network traffic by application and device
Powerful 1.7GHz dual-core processor boosts performance for gaming and streaming
Twin USB 3.0 and eSATA ports offer high-speed, USB storage-ready access
NEW & IMPROVED FEATURES: With the latest firmware release your Nighthawk X4S now includes NETGEAR genie remote access, ReadyCLOUD, Open VPN access on mobile devices, and Kwilt integration. Learn more below.
Get ultimate WiFi speeds—up to 2.53Gbps (800+1733 Mbps)
Quad-Stream technology delivers WiFi to multiple devices simultaneously for faster speeds
Next generation Wave2 WiFi—160MHz, MU-MIMO, Quad-stream
Four high-performance external antennas deliver maximum range
Dynamic QoS prioritizes network traffic by application and device
Powerful 1.7GHz dual-core processor boosts performance for gaming and streaming
Twin USB 3.0 and eSATA ports offer high-speed, USB storage-ready access
NEW & IMPROVED FEATURES: With the latest firmware release your Nighthawk X4S now includes NETGEAR genie remote access, ReadyCLOUD, Open VPN access on mobile devices, and Kwilt integration. Learn more below.
Get ultimate WiFi speeds—up to 2.53Gbps (800+1733 Mbps)
Quad-Stream technology delivers WiFi to multiple devices simultaneously for faster speeds
Next generation Wave2 WiFi—160MHz, MU-MIMO, Quad-stream
Four high-performance external antennas deliver maximum range
Dynamic QoS prioritizes network traffic by application and device
Powerful 1.7GHz dual-core processor boosts performance for gaming and streaming
Twin USB 3.0 and eSATA ports offer high-speed, USB storage-ready access
NEW & IMPROVED FEATURES: With the latest firmware release your Nighthawk X4S now includes NETGEAR genie remote access, ReadyCLOUD, Open VPN access on mobile devices, and Kwilt integration. Learn more below.

Get ultimate WiFi speeds—up to 2.53Gbps (800+1733 Mbps)

Get ultimate WiFi speeds—up to 2.53Gbps (800+1733 Mbps)

Get ultimate WiFi speeds—up to 2.53Gbps (800+1733 Mbps)

Get ultimate WiFi speeds—up to 2.53Gbps (800+1733 Mbps)

Get ultimate WiFi speeds—up to 2.53Gbps (800+1733 Mbps)

Get ultimate WiFi speeds—up to 2.53Gbps (800+1733 Mbps)

Get ultimate WiFi speeds—up to 2.53Gbps (800+1733 Mbps)
Get ultimate WiFi speeds—up to 2.53Gbps (800+1733 Mbps) Quad-Stream technology delivers WiFi to multiple devices simultaneously for faster speeds Next generation Wave2 WiFi—160MHz, MU-MIMO, Quad-stream Four high-performance external antennas deliver maximum range Dynamic QoS prioritizes network traffic by application and device Powerful 1.7GHz dual-core processor boosts performance for gaming and streaming Twin USB 3.0 and eSATA ports offer high-speed, USB storage-ready access
NEW & IMPROVED FEATURES: With the latest firmware release your Nighthawk X4S now includes NETGEAR genie remote access, ReadyCLOUD, Open VPN access on mobile devices, and Kwilt integration. Learn more below.

Security

WiFi Protected Access (WPA/WPA2—PSK). Double firewall protection (SPI and NAT), VPN support—secure remote access
Processor Dual core 1.7GHz processor
Memory 128MB
Physical Specifications Dimensions: 11.22 x 7.26 x 1.97in (285 x 185 x 50mm)
Weight: 1.85lb (840g)
Package Content R7800 Router
4x antenna
Ethernet cable
Quick install guide
Power adapter

This is a dual-band router that offers up to 800Mb/s on its 2.4GHz band, and up to 1,733Mb/s on its 5GHz band (the company adds these together then rounds up to reach the 2600 number in its model name). It offers a 4x4 antenna setup, and the 80MHz channels also bond when in 160MHz mode, so the number of clients supported is cut in half to two clients for four antennas. Netgear describes it as 4x4 at 80Mhz, or 2x2 at 160MHz. 

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The front of the router has white LEDs to indicate activity, as well as a WiFi on/off and WPS buttons on the far-right. 

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The rear of the router is where all the action happens, naturally, and it offers a power switch, five Gigabit ports for LAN and WAN, a reset button and an LED on/off switch. 

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The left-side of the router sports dual USB 3.0 ports, which is one more than we typically see, though their placement ensures awkwardness when you connect a hard drive or printer. The router is well-ventilated though, as you can see. 

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The right-side holds one eSATA port, which is kind of cool, but most folks don't have eSATA drives around. 

The R7800 sells on Amazon currently for $269 and includes a one-year warranty. Its bundle includes the router, an Ethernet cable, the removable antennas, power cable, and a quick start guide. 

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