We are all looking to solidify our gaming connections at home but most times we look more towards our ISP’s and less to our internal network. I don’t have a typical gaming setup for my Steam library needs. I play on a bootcamped MacBook Pro that doesn’t have an ethernet port (Wazzup with that Apple?). So to remedy this I play fairly close to my wireless router so I can be as close to the signal as possible. Being close is one thing but we live in a connected household. At any time between myself and my wife we’ll have at least four devices on our network and especially on our 5GHZ band.
So until I can snag a dedicated gaming rig, I’m relegated to laptop gaming via a wireless connection. Let me tell you, it’s not the ideal way to play any multiplayer PC games. So in the search for a router that might be able to both give me a strong signal and delegate bandwidth smartly based on need I reached out to the kind folks at NETGEAR. They were kind enough to send me a demo unit, the new and sexy R7500 gaming router.
Let me preface this review by saying that we at TheSpawnPointBlog give what we call “everyday use, down-to-earth” reviews. We do this for a couple of reasons. 1 – We currently don’t have the equipment to give super in-depth technical reviews and 2 – other sites do those WAY better than we do. What we want to convey via these reviews is what your possible experience will be when you get one of these home and set them up. Hopefully you’ll have similar or even better experiences but those will be based on all the things that will affect speeds and connectivity. (Bandwidth, distance from router etc..)
So let’s begin..
Our router is unpacked and set up, we have it in a prime central location in our home. Nothing is really further than 10 feet away from the router at any point. Every test I run, I first perform on our Apple Airport router and then the R7500. ( I usually get around 80MB down and 12MB up)
The first is a 1GB file download on both the 2GHZ band then the 5GHZ band.
Honestly I hardly ever use my 2GHZ band anymore, for some reason I’ve never gotten great speeds on them and prefer to just be on 5GHZ because I’m usually so close. The differences in speed weren’t that significantly different on the 2GHZ band in terms of time but there was a pretty good decrease in how long the R7500 took to download the file on the 5GHZ band. It was pretty nice to see that the router gave a boost on that side of the game (especially after updating to the latest firmware)
The same test was done while streaming a video from Netflix on my Playstation 4 and the R7500 did a great job of keeping the speeds pretty steady with the console being hardwired.
The most important test performed was one that wasn’t something that I could actually measure with tools, but one more measured on feel than anything else. I fired up Steam and played some Ultra Street Fighter to see how the online component would keep up on a wireless connection. Anyone who has played a fighter online knows that split second reactions are needed to be competitive. I’m happy to say that not only was the connection steady but it gave me the ability to have an almost lag-free experience during my online play.
One small thing I really appreciated was the ability to use the X4 as a NAS, being able to have my storage available via the network was always something that I wanted to have set up simply and easily accessed. The X4 did a great job of letting me pull down my movie files and watch them on multiple devices.
The Nighthawk X4 does what it’s supposed to do pretty well. Did I have a significant boost in my connection speed? No, but I didn’t expect to. What it did well and probably better than my current router is manage multiple devices in a way that made me not see and hiccups while using them on the net. It keep my speeds steady and most importantly gave me the ability to play multiplayer games relatively well via my wireless connection.
To wrap up, I think the X4 is a great router. It’s sleek, performs well and is easy to setup. The only knock I can give it is the price. At $255 on Amazon I’m not sure I recommend it unless you are really in the market for router. There are suitable ones out there for cheaper that will give you similar performance.