Today we look at Netgear’s flagship dual-band router, the Nighthawk R7000. Legit Reviews has been evaluating Wireless-AC devices for a number of years and has put off upgrading from what we think is currently the best overall router, the Netgear R6300. While not the absolute fastest, nor the most customizable, the Netgear R6300 has been a rock-solid device that has never let us down with wireless drops or general reliability. While we absolutely love the R6300, the Nighthawk R7000 looks to make a huge step forward in performance and thus out interest in evaluating the device today.
Two of the biggest changes that Netgear has implemented with the Nighthawk R7000 is the move to AC1900 from AC1750, and the inclusion of external antennas to the main body of the router. For those who are unfamiliar with the wireless industry’s marketing, the “AC1900”, or “AC1750”, “N900”, “N750”, etc, describes the absolute maximum speeds that the wireless device can achieve. When talking about Dual-Band Wireless Routers like the Nighthawk we see that its speed is designated by AC1900 where “AC” is the ‘best’ band – in this case 802.11ac or Wireless-AC. The “1900” is the speed designation where the Nighthawk can achieve 600 + 1300 Mbps.
There are some other significant upgrades that the Nighthawk has over the older R6300 such as the use of an updated processor and more RAM (1GHz Dual-Core Broadcom BCM4709A CPU) and 256 MB RAM with 128 MB of Flash memory. This upgrade gives the Netgear Nighthawk one of the fastest CPUs found in any consumer wireless networking device. It is clearly a step up from the R6300’s single-core 800MHz CPU (or 600MHz CPU for V1).
One thing that we noticed was that the price point of the Nighthawk was very competitive. The MSRP of the R7000 is $199, but you can typically find Netgear’s flagship for sell for a little less which is than other manufacturer’s flagship routers. A quick check on Amazon showed that we can grab this router for around $195 shipped. To us this was a bit unusual for a flagship device – we have typically seen the top-of-the-line routers selling at their MSRP and only devices with less features selling at a bargain cost.
Besides having an impressive list of features, we are expecting Netgear to maintain or improve on is graphics user interface (GUI). On the next page, we take a look at setting up the router for use in a typical home network environment.