Nighthawk X10 Casts A Tall Shadow

SmartHouse - - CONTENTS - Writ­ten by Fer­gus Hal­l­i­day

Net­gear’s new Nighthawk X10 made the tech me­dia rounds when it first sur­faced back in Oc­to­ber of 2016 – and for good rea­son. It’s a solid prod­uct by one of the big­gest play­ers in the net­work­ing cat­e­gory, not to men­tion one that con­fi­dently builds on the sub-brand’s legacy for gains in both aes­thet­ics and per­for­mance.

Like most sub-branded prod­ucts (par­tic­u­larly ones that em­pha­size gam­ing), the Net­gear Nighthawk X10 is more of a re­fine­ment than a rev­o­lu­tion. How­ever, don’t let that over­shadow the facts and throw you off the scent of a great prod­uct. If you’re in the mar­ket for a heavy-duty router for your home or of­fice, this is the one to get.

When it comes to specs in par­tic­u­lar, the Nighthawk X10 de­liv­ers. It com­bines a pow­er­ful 1.7GHz Quad Core pro­ces­sor with QuadStream Wave 2 Wi-Fi ar­chi­tec­ture plus next gen­er­a­tion high speed 802.11ad Wi-Fi. In the­ory, it’s able and ready to de­liver blaz­ing-fast wire­less speeds up to a fu­ri­ous 7.2Gbps.

For the most part, the re­al­ity of our time with the router lived up to the well-wired po­ten­tial of the pack­age. Though we ex­pe­ri­enced a mi­nor issue con­fig­ur­ing the router (our re­view unit lacked doc­u­men­ta­tion for the de­vice’s de­fault pass­word), we quickly over­came it and got down to business. Keep­ing things sim­ple: the net­work con­nec­tion of­fered by the Nighthawk X10 pro­vided larger and more con­sis­tent cov­er­age than the Linksys router it re­placed.

Like the AC1900 Max-Stream, the Nighthawk X10 comes ca­pa­ble of MU-MIMO con­nec­tiv­ity. In tech terms, this means it’s able to trans­mit mul­ti­ple data streams at the same time rather than jug­gle them.

In sim­pler ones, it means it’s bet­ter suited to meet the de­mands of mod­ern home net­works. This func­tion­al­ity is fur­ther aug­mented by the four ex­ter­nal an­ten­nas which help to am­plify cov­er­age. De­sign­wise, the afore­men­tioned an­ten­nas have been re­signed to look and feel more sturdy and now in­cor­po­rate a blue LED-back­light that con­trib­utes nicely to the Nighthawk-aes­thetic.

Speak­ing more gen­er­ally about its de­sign, the Nighthawk X10 fur­ther re­fines the sharp an­gles and stealth-bomber sil­hou­ette of the com­pany’s pre­vi­ous ef­forts. The big­gest changes here come with the relocation of the router’s an­ten­nas rom the sides of the de­vice to the rear. In ad­di­tion, there’s now a cagey me­tal­lic grate run­ning cov­er­ing the roof of the Nighthawk and help­ing to dis­perse heat.

Net­gear’s endgame here is to pro­vide a router ca­pa­ble of cater­ing to the needs of high-end en­ter­tain­ment – whether it be gam­ing or ul­tra-smooth 4K stream­ing. To­wards that goal, they’ve ap­plied ev­ery ex­tra step on both an aes­thetic and tech­ni­cal level. It re­ally does feel like they’ve crafted a de­vice that sits on the fore­front of con­sumer de­mands and one that shows router de­sign can be ev­ery bit as flashy as what you see out of smart­phones or lap­top man­u­fac­tur­ers.

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