NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 AD7200 Smart Wi-Fi Router Review

NETGEAR's Nighthawk X10 AD7200 smart wireless router is the cream of the crop when it comes to home Wi-Fi networking performance and features.

@TylerBernath
Published Fri, Mar 3 2017 12:51 PM CST   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 6:58 PM CST
Rating: 97%Manufacturer: NETGEAR

Introduction & Pricing, Availability, and Specifications

NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 AD7200 Smart Wi-Fi Router Review 03 | TweakTown.com
VIEW GALLERY - 32 IMAGES

A few months ago, I had the TP-Link Talon AD7200 in the lab. When I tested that router, they had sent along a notebook that had the Qualcomm Sparrow 802.11 chipset, so I was able to test for myself what 802.11ad performance was like. I admit the performance from this standard is quite impressive, so when NETGEAR launched their latest top-tier offering, there was no doubt in my mind it would include 60GHz technology.

I took a little extra time with the Nighthawk X10, to go through and use all the features this router has. From the top, it shares a lot of "firsts" for the consumer router market starting with its 10Gbe SFP+ connectivity. There is a single port set aside to receive this higher throughput for storage devices like ReadyNAS, or for you to uplink to a secondary switch if you need more wired connections.

This solution is marketed for very large homes, as such it carries seven Gigabit Ethernet ports, two support link aggregation. You will find two USB 3.0 ports for storage, and that takes us to software which includes the ever popular Plex Media Server.

NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 AD7200 Smart Wi-Fi Router Review 02 | TweakTown.com

To power such an expansive package, NETGEAR has supplied the X10 with a quad-core processor from Annapurna Labs, the AL314. This processor operates at 1.7GHz and is paired with 1GB of DDR3 and 512MB flash. The 2.4GHz radio which is capable of 800 Mbps via 256QAM is powered by the QCA9984 radio backed by Skyworks power amps. The 5GHz band is setup with the same quad-stream radio with RFMD power amps, and the 60GHz radio is part of the QCA9500 package.

The MSRP of the NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 comes in at $499.99 with a one-year warranty.

Router Details

NETGEAR Nighthawk R9000 Wireless Router

NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 AD7200 Smart Wi-Fi Router Review 03 | TweakTown.com

Packaging is rather extravagant for the X10. We have a two-part design, similar to Orbi, the outside housing information a bit of marketing information.

NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 AD7200 Smart Wi-Fi Router Review 04 | TweakTown.com

The spine houses a full specification sheet for the router.

NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 AD7200 Smart Wi-Fi Router Review 06 | TweakTown.com

With this being a fixed antenna router, the scope of delivery includes the power adapter and reading materials.

NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 AD7200 Smart Wi-Fi Router Review 07 | TweakTown.com

Looking at the top of the router, we have a large mesh area to allow heat to escape the large heat sink on the left. Along the bottom edge, we have a full lineup of LEDs for power to Wi-Fi and even wired connections.

NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 AD7200 Smart Wi-Fi Router Review 08 | TweakTown.com

The side of the router houses both USB 3.0 ports.

NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 AD7200 Smart Wi-Fi Router Review 09 | TweakTown.com

On the backside, we have six Gigabit LAN ports with a single WAN to the right in yellow.

NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 AD7200 Smart Wi-Fi Router Review 10 | TweakTown.com

On the right edge, you will find the SFP+ port next to the power input.

Management GUI Details

Management GUI

NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 AD7200 Smart Wi-Fi Router Review 15 | TweakTown.com

The X10 uses the Genie setup method as do most NETGEAR solutions. This wizard guides you through setup first detecting your current setup.

NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 AD7200 Smart Wi-Fi Router Review 16 | TweakTown.com

We move on by inputting desired username and password.

NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 AD7200 Smart Wi-Fi Router Review 18 | TweakTown.com

Ready to go, NETGEAR has a few apps to help with your experience.

NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 AD7200 Smart Wi-Fi Router Review 19 | TweakTown.com

The landing menu for the X10 is no different from any other Nighthawk router. The genie platform gives us a dashboard look on the main page with quick glance access to wireless, attached devices, and ReadyShare control.

NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 AD7200 Smart Wi-Fi Router Review 20 | TweakTown.com

Moving through the menu system, we stop at wireless settings. Here you can configure wireless modes and channels for all three bands.

NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 AD7200 Smart Wi-Fi Router Review 21 | TweakTown.com

Parental control work by selecting a device and setting up a rule for it with access controls.

NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 AD7200 Smart Wi-Fi Router Review 22 | TweakTown.com

The ReadyShare menu is all about storage. With this solution, you have two USB 3.0 ports on the left side and here is where you manage them.

NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 AD7200 Smart Wi-Fi Router Review 23 | TweakTown.com

Cloud backup allows you to setup an Amazon Cloud account with the router.

NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 AD7200 Smart Wi-Fi Router Review 24 | TweakTown.com

NETGEAR downloader allows you to setup BT downloads along with FTP and HTTP via links. To my knowledge, it does not support magnet files.

NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 AD7200 Smart Wi-Fi Router Review 25 | TweakTown.com

Plex is perhaps the most popular streaming media server on the planet. Using a USB device, you can stream to all of your devices directly from the router.

NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 AD7200 Smart Wi-Fi Router Review 27 | TweakTown.com

Traffic meter watches the amount of data being pushed through the router and if you so choose can stop you from going over if you have data caps.

NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 AD7200 Smart Wi-Fi Router Review 28 | TweakTown.com

Another selling feature of the X10 is the link aggregation capabilities on LAN ports one and two.

Test System Setup & Benchmark Throughput Tests

Tyler's Router Test System Specifications

Wired Throughput

The Tenda AC9 was the last router I tested with the old Z170 platform. With our new test system, we re-ran it through testing to have it on our new charts.

NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 AD7200 Smart Wi-Fi Router Review 30 | TweakTown.com

Starting our new charts, the X10 had solid throughput at 942 Mbps.

NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 AD7200 Smart Wi-Fi Router Review 31 | TweakTown.com

WAN throughput came in at 941 Mbps.

Wireless Throughput

NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 AD7200 Smart Wi-Fi Router Review 32 | TweakTown.com

2.4GHz performance topped out at 264 Mbps on the 40MHz band and 146 Mbps on the 20MHz band.

NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 AD7200 Smart Wi-Fi Router Review 33 | TweakTown.com

5GHz throughput reached a new high with this new test system, reaching 558 Mbps on the 80MHz band followed by 313 Mbps and 186 Mbps.

Benchmarks - Wireless Range, Mobile Throughput and File Performance

Mobile Throughput

With mobile throughput, I run testing through an iPhone 7 Plus and Mi Note Pro to see performance with mobile devices. Throughput is tested with the router in is default state from the factory.

NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 AD7200 Smart Wi-Fi Router Review 34 | TweakTown.com

The iPhone 7 has the latest wireless chipset so it no surprise we are getting higher throughput with it. However, the MiNote Pro is basically a clone of the Galaxy S7, so it's no slouch either.

NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 AD7200 Smart Wi-Fi Router Review 35 | TweakTown.com

5GHz mobile throughput reached 488 Mbps with the iPhone 7 Plus, while the Note Pro touched 332 Mbps.

Wireless Range

Our next test for this new setup sees how range affects performance. With this, we start at 10 feet and move out to 30 feet, after we reach the end we move to a location again at 30 feet but with two walls between us and the router. Routers are tested in their default configuration for this part; the client device is the iPhone 7 Plus.

NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 AD7200 Smart Wi-Fi Router Review 36 | TweakTown.com

Starting off this test, the X10 gives us 99 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band. As we move away, performance drops only slightly out to 30 feet. Two walls net us 82 Mbps.

NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 AD7200 Smart Wi-Fi Router Review 37 | TweakTown.com

Moving over to 5GHz, we started at 544 Mbps. The X10 held onto this through 20 feet and dropped off to 505 Mbps at 30 feet. The two walls hit the 5GHz performance, dropping it to 341 Mbps.

File Performance

NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 AD7200 Smart Wi-Fi Router Review 39 | TweakTown.com

Storage testing on the X10 was done using its SFP+ 10Gbe connection to an Intel X520 NIC in our test system. I wanted to see if there was performance left past the 1Gbe barrier, and judging by the results, the X10 is quite capable.

As you can see with our SanDisk Extreme Pro USB flash drive, I reached 186 MB/s read with the 100M file and 185 MB/s with the 1G file.

NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 AD7200 Smart Wi-Fi Router Review 40 | TweakTown.com

Write performance was even better reaching 205 MB/s with the 1G file and 146 MB/s with the 100M file.

Benchmarks – Sessions & Final Thoughts

Sessions

NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 AD7200 Smart Wi-Fi Router Review 38 | TweakTown.com

Basically, with this test, I'm looking to see if the router will lock up if enough sessions are pushed through the hardware. We start at 32 sessions and 924 Mbps as we increase the number of sessions throughput decreases all the way down to 377 Mbps at 1024 connections.

At this point, you can see the Tenda router crashed and had to be reset, but the X10 kept going fine, albeit slower.

Final Thoughts

The Nighthawk X10 is one beast of a router. NETGEAR has pulled out everything they had and put it into one device that can download, stream, and store your data. They gathered up and support some of the richest features I have seen in a router including Plex and Amazon cloud backup. ReadyShare keeps to the tradition of solid performance in onboard USB 3.0 storage. Build quality is that of a tank, like the R7000, this router keeps the traditional dark fighter jet appearance with its full set of LEDs and mesh to allow heat to pass through.

On the performance side, we have a little bit of information to go through. 2.4GHz and 5GHz performance was solid; the highest I have seen on the 5GHz side. Wired throughput met all expectations hovering around 940 Mbps. I wasn't able to test the 60GHz band without the appropriate equipment, but I do assume similar performance to the Talon AD7200.

Plex worked well without issue, although some high-resolution files, when transcoded, can warm the X10 up. The Genie platform as a whole is one of my personal favorites as the layout and ease of navigation makes the experience that much better.

In closing, with its MSRP coming in at $499.99, this router isn't for everyone, that is obvious. It will be up to you to decide if WiGig / 802.11ad is for you or not.

TweakTown award
Performance99%
Quality100%
Features99%
Value90%
Overall97%

The Bottom Line: There's no denying the NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 its glory. It is easily the highest performing single base solution for today's wireless networks and it just so happens to have a tons of extra features that just top the whole package off.

PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.

USUnited States: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com

UKUnited Kingdom: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.co.uk

AUAustralia: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com.au

CACanada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.ca

DEDeutschland: Finde andere Technik- und Computerprodukte wie dieses auf Amazon.de

Growing up in a small farm town, tech wasn't around, unless it was in a tractor. At an early age, Tyler's parents brought home their first PC. Tyler was hooked and learned what it meant to format a HDD, spending many nights reinstalling Windows 95. Tyler's love and enthusiast nature always kept his PC nearby. Eager to get deeper into tech, he started reviewing.

Newsletter Subscription
We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

Related Tags

Newsletter Subscription
Buyer Guides
Latest News
View More News
Latest Reviews
View More Reviews
Latest Articles
View More Articles