If you have looked into get a new router then you have probably seen a few options, and you are probably confused as to what you can get. Well, if you are looking for a high-performance solution than Netgear’s Nighthawk X8 AC5300 might be the one for you, it is a Tri-Band Wi-Fi router, featuring pretty much everything that you might want out of a consumer router, with the latest MU-MIMO technology. But features don’t come cheap and the Netgear Nighthawk X8 is definitely not cheap.
The X8 also takes up a bit of space, at 12.4 x 10.4 x 2.4 inches, it’s much larger than your average router but thankfully, the design and features inside do make up for some of that.
Probably the biggest feature on this router is actually part of its name, AC5300. Having this segment in its name means that the Nighthawk X8 is capable of using a 4×4 configuration, meaning that it has a total of four internal antennae and four active external antennae.
Each of these external antennae as a cool blue light on top to signal this active status.
This active state basically means that the amplifiers for the antennae have been built right into the antennae, instead of in the main build. This helps to boost the signal without signal loss.
On top of this, Each of the 5GHz radios inside of the router is capable of broadcasting at 2.1Gbps, whilst the 2.4Hz radio can broadcast at 600Mbps. That’s pretty huge compared to past generation devices.
And this leads to its name, which is actually a sum of all the speeds available, together. Simply add up the speed from both 5GHz channels to get to 2,166Mbps, then add 1000Mbps from the 2.4GHz channel and you will get a number around 5,300Mbps, or 5.3Gbps.
And because the Nighthawk X8 has quad stream technology, it is capable of providing up to four data streams per WiFi band for the best possible speed available.
What’s more, the X8 also comes with support for MU-MIMO technology or Multi-User Multiple-Input, Multiple-Output.
This technology allows all of the channels to provide great speeds to every device connected to it, from all channels. To top this off, the X8 also brings some new features to LAN and alongside the six LAN ports and a WAN port, the X8 features an extra LAN port that can be used for Link Aggregation for use with a switch of NAS that supports it.
This will allow you to transmit from the router at speeds beyond Gigabit in some conditions.
All of these ports can be found at the back of the router, where you will also find a power on/off switch and a reset pin hole.
Around the front there’s also three buttons for easy access to controlling the LED lighting, using WPS and turning WiFi on or off. All of these buttons make using the router extremely easy, especially the LED one as you don’t need to fiddle around with the network settings every time you want to change a small thing like lighting.
That said, Netgear has made getting to the settings rather easy, launching a mobile app alongside it that allows you to control a lot of the router’s settings right from your smartphone.
You’ll also find a couple of USB ports for sharing underneath a panel on the side of the router, one is USB 2.0 and the other is USB 3.0.
And we still aren’t finished with all of the features that this router has, it also features support for beamforming, DLNA, Dynamic QoS and ReadyCLOUD USB access.
In particular, ReadyCLOUD is interesting for the average user, allowing you to basically turn any portable hard drive into a NAS, without needing anything more than a cable.
The X8 also features support for Smart Connect technology, which allows you to name both of the bands under one SSID and assign devices to the band that it thinks will offer the most bandwidth for it automatically.
All in all, the Netgear Nighthawk X8 is an awesome router, it looks cool with the added extras of a ton of LED, a great design and easy to access buttons that make it easy to quickly change features like LED lighting, WiFi on/off, and WPS.
It is rather large and quite heavy, however, a router isn’t something that you are going to be carrying around anyway so the features that you get from make up for that.
That said, it is quite an expensive router at around £370, so you have to be sure it’s something that you want before you pick it up. You can find out more about it on Netgear’s website here.
[alert type=blue ]Disclosure: Netgear sent us a sample of the Nighthawk X8 for review purposes.[/alert]