There are ups, but mainly downs for this product.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 2 June 2020
First off, I'd like to point out I havent just opened this product, plugged it in and got pissed off. I have been running it for 2 months and technically still am, as I have only just started the returns process. This is my humble opionion based on that 2 months of experience!
As a background, I'm with BT Infinity, using one of their fibre to the cabinet options. The "Smart Hub" fails to get signal to my office, and given im in a new build, that surprised me. Turns out I'm lucky enough to have one of the few new builds not entirely made of paper.
So I went online, purchased a BT Modem off ebay (unlocked), as well as a brand new Linksys WRT32X from ebuyer. It was only £105, but it also only lasted a week due to major faults which are actually well documented online (whoops).
So onto the Netgear XR500 Nighthawk. I bought this going off its price point and reviews, expecting a very premium product. When it arrived, I was pretty dissapointed as it felt miles cheaper than the Linksys I had just returned. When I fired it up, things didnt exactly get better.
First off, the UI is based on the highly rated DumaOS. I say highly rated, as in magazines and online press it gets rave reviews. However, dig a little deeper, and this OS is very poorly supported. And when you first fire it up, this shows. Its extremely slow, no matter how you connect. This wasnt exactly the best first impression.
Things do look up when you start playing with the features. I was of course able to prioritise traffic etc, and do port forwarding for various games/consoles. I was shocked to find my NAT Type is listed as "moderate" by my Xbox One X, whereas the linksys came out the box as "open". It wasnt a major issue, as I just did the usual google to find out what ports to forward and it was sorted. Just a bit dissapointing its not setup for this as standard, given its listed as a "Gaming Router".
Moving on, another feature I liked was the Network managemnet. What I didnt like, was the way it remembers every single device youve ever used and leaves it on the system. This means the lovely "Tree" (GUI showing whats connected, and how) becomes a massive blob of unreadable mess worryingly quickly! Thats if it even shows your devices! Many wouldnt list on there which was a massive pain when trying to configure Raspberry Pis, SSH access to computers, and additional Access Points.
Wait, additional Access points? Doesnt this router have like, amazing Wifi? Well from my experience, its no better than my BT Smart Hub. Literally the same download speeds and signal issues as before. Given that my main equipment is wired, not a massive buzzkill, but considering I was £230 out of pocket, a massive shame.
I tried to give this product a couple of months, taking advantage of Amazons current extended returns period. However, this brings me onto the WORST part about DumaOS
You usually get some slow downs, dodgy P2P connections or packet loss' as the first warning. Then when you try login, none of the "apps" will load. When I contacted Netgear, their solution was "try resetting to factory settings". This fixed it.... But what the hell? I have to RESET TO FACTORY SETTINGS at least once a fortnight, sometimes more!
So overall, yes, its got lots of antenna, a red interface and is called NIGHTHAWK. But its actually a pretty pants product. This is being replaced with a Ubiquiti Mesh system, which has meant also returning the AP I bought to try and create a harmonous network!
2 stars as, there are worse things in life than this router.
6 people found this helpful