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

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Conclusion: Linksys EA7500 vs. Nighthawk X4S

Now that the dust has settled we can examine what each router brings to the table. Overall we have to say we think the Netgear Nighthawk X4S R7800 is our choice here. With its support for both MU-MIMO and 160MHz channels it's more future-proof than any router we've seen recently, and it's comforting to know that it has features that will theoretically make it even better in the future. It's a lot of money to spend on a dual-band router for sure, but it's standard AC performance was excellent, and its software is serviceable despite our gripes with the interface design. We also think it looks pretty cool too, and we appreciate the fact that it's smaller than its big brother, the Nighthawk X6. It's expensive for sure, but you're getting a top-shelf router with class-leading performance and features, so you get what you pay for. 

As for the Linksys, it's like a Honda Accord in that it does a lot of things very well, and is an extremely well-rounded package. It has both great hardware and software, and like the Netgear router it will also improve in the future as MU-MIMO becomes more prevelant. It's also relatively affordable too. We think it looks a little bland, but that could be OK if you're not into the flashy design trend taking place in the router market currently. 
Both routers faltered during testing on the 2.4GHz band, and this is despite the fact that they were tested in the exact same environment with the same conditions as the previous routers. We're not sure what to make of this development, but 2.4GHz performance was so low in comparison to the 5GHz band that we never used it, nor do we have devices that use it. If your home has a lot of older phones or laptops though, you might want to consider a router other than these two, as 2.4GHz performance is clearly their achille's heel, at least in our testing. 

Both routers are earning a Recommended award from us though, because they both are excellent packages, but neither has the entire package required for an Editor's Choice award. The Netgear router has great performance and next-gen features, but is held back by a software suite in need of some updating. The Linksys EA7500 has great software, but just wasn't as fast in our testing as the Netgear router, though it did quite well compared to the competition overall, and is a great buy. 

Netgear X4S R7800 Smart WiFi Gaming Router

HotHardware Recommended
  • Very fast overall performance
  • Design is aggressive and looks cool
  • Two USB 3.0 ports
  • Easy access WiFi switch
  • Sluggish 2.4Ghz performance
  • Expansion ports awkardly located
  • Parental Controls require additional software

Linksys EA7500 Max-Stream AC1900 Router

HotHardware Recommended
  • Very competitive performance
  • MU-MIMO ready
  • Excellent Administration software 
  • Not super expensive
  • Not as fast as the Netgear in our tests
  • Only supports two MU-MIMO clients

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