Netgear Nighthawk X8 R8500 AC5300 WiFi Router Review: Amplified AC

Netgear Nighthawk X8 R8500 Conclusion

Evaluating the Netgear Nighthawk X8 R8500 from a home-user perspective is a bit tricky, because it is probably overkill for the majority of users. The presence of its dual LAN ports for Link Aggregation hints that this router is probably best suited to a small business or enthusiast environment, and its $350 street price backs up that notion too. It certainly moves the ball forward in terms of Wi-Fi bandwidth, thanks to its eight antennae design, and upcoming support for MU-MIMO. And in those terms, it helps define the next-generation of wireless routers we’ll all be using in a year or two from now.

As it stands though, it’s a taller order to recommend the Nighthawk X8 outright to a mainstream user, simply due to its price, unless of course you have the budget and want nothing but the best. It costs hundred more than the Linksys EA9200 for example, and though it certainly offers better performance, the delta probably wont be large enough under most circumstances to make it a worthwhile investment for some home users.

NightHawk X8 Front

On the other hand, If you are looking to deploy the Nighthawk X8 R8500 in a multi-user environment where you can also take advantage of link aggregation via a switch or NAS drive, then the R8500 begins to make a lot more sense. It’s one of the fastest routers we’ve ever tested, and for a premium router product, it delivered what we expected in terms of performance. It also performed really well on the 5GHz channel in both range and throughput. Finally, it's extremely well-built with abundant ports and a complete feature set as well. There aren't many shortcomings with the Nighthawk X8 R8500, aside from its dated looking admin interface, so we’ll happily grant it our “Recommended” status, as it performed very well and delivered on its promise of “next gen” wireless AC performance in our battery of tests. Many home users would probably be served well by a less expensive router, like one of the models we looked at here, since the large majority of them simply won’t be able to take advantage of all the R8500 has to offer. With that said, the Netgear Nighthawk X8 R8500 is a killer home or small office networking device, if you can justify its premium price point.

  • Strong Performance
  • Good Looks
  • Highly Configurable
  • Bleeding-Edge Features
  • Relatively Expensive
  • Overkill For Some Home Users
  • MU-MIMO Firmware Not Quite Ready

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