NET­GEAR NIGHTHAWK X8

HWM (Malaysia) - - TEST -

The Net­gear Nighthawk X8 is another mas­sive router. It mea­sures a whop­ping 31 x 26 cm and weighs about 1.7kg. Be­cause of its width, it looks like a Blu-ray player with an­ten­nas. Still, it’s less out­landish com­pared to the ASUS RT-AC5300, and the only un­usual thing about it is its un­du­lat­ing top panel that re­sem­bles waves in the sea.

To the left of this panel is a col­umn of LED sta­tus in­dic­tors, and the Nighthawk X8 router has in­di­ca­tors, for each of its Eth­er­net LAN ports. On the front-fac­ing panel, you get but­tons to turn the Wi-Fi and LED in­di­ca­tors on and off, and a sin­gle but­ton for WPS setup.

Mov­ing to the rear, we can see a sin­gle Gi­ga­bit Eth­er­net WAN port and six Gi­ga­bit Eth­er­net LAN ports. Con­sid­er­ing the amount of con­nected de­vices we have these days, hav­ing six ports is a re­fresh­ing change. Two of these six ports also sup­port port ag­gre­ga­tion, which means they can be com­bined to cre­ate a sin­gle su­per-fast con­nec­tion.

The Net­gear X8 only has half the num­ber of ex­ter­nal an­ten­nas com­pared to the ASUS RTAC5300. How­ever, Net­gear claims they are more ef­fi­cient be­cause these are ac­tive an­ten­nas, mean­ing the sig­nal am­pli­fiers have been moved from the moth­er­board onto the ex­ter­nal an­ten­nas them­selves. This sup­pos­edly im­proves sig­nal qual­ity and per­for­mance.

Un­der­neath it all, the Nighthawk X8 uses the same Broad­com 4x4 5G XStream plat­form as the ASUS RT-AC5300. This means a 1.4GHz du­al­core BCM47094 ARM Cor­tex A9 pro­ces­sor and three BCM4366 4x4 ra­dios. MU-MIMO is sup­ported, but com­pat­i­ble clients are re­quired if any per­for­mance gain is to be seen.

Like all other Net­gear routers, the Nighthawk X8 comes pre­con­fig­ured. A sticker on the router in­di­cates its SSID and also its pass­word, so you could use it straight out of the box. The Net­gear Ge­nie setup user in­ter­face is not the eas­i­est to use, de­spite the op­tion for Ba­sic or Ad­vanced set­tings. Fur­ther­more, cer­tain fea­tures like Parental Con­trols and ReadySHARE re­quire ad­di­tional reg­is­tra­tion or soft­ware, which makes it te­dious and frus­trat­ing to setup.

There’s also a Ge­nie app avail­able for iOS and An­droid de­vices, but it is lim­ited in use and miss­ing some fea­tures that are found on the router’s web browser in­ter­face.

The Net­gear router has in­de­pen­dent LED in­di­ca­tors for each of its LAN ports.

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