Netgear Nighthawk AX8 8-Stream Wi-Fi 6 Router Review

Netgear Nighthawk AX8 8-Stream Wi-Fi 6 Router Review

Read now netgear nighthawk AX8 8-stream wi-fi 6 router review 2020. Hats off to Netgear for trying to make its router design a little different with the AX8.

If you’ve ever wanted your router to invoke the stylistic spirit of a Star Wars imperial spacecraft, this is the router for you.

The rather splendid-looking Nighthawk AX8 isn’t all style over substance though. This is a highly powerful router.

However, it does trail the other models on test this month in one very obvious way. It has only five Ethernet LAN ports compared to the eight ports you’ll find on all the other routers on test.

For a high-end router priced at 300 inc VAT, that’s quite the slip-up, even if more of people’s internet-connected devices use Wi-Fi instead of wired connections these days.

Ethernet connections aside, though, the AX8 includes the expected dual-band Wi-Fi configuration, with a 4×4 antennae arrangement for each band.

Inside there’s an unspecified 1.8GHz quad-core processor. You also get two USB 3 ports that can be used to share printers and USB storage.

Dual-function link aggregation is also supported, so you can either hook up two cables to the LAN ports for a faster (2Gbps) LAN connection. Or one cable to the LAN port and one to the WAN port to create a faster internet connection.

Looking more closely at that design again, the exterior metallic grey surfaces are all plastic, while a black-painted metal grille covers the central portion, providing some ventilation.

What’s more, these vents are apparently not enough to properly cool the hot-running hardware inside, as Netgear has also seen fit to install a fan.

Specification

Weight 1281g
Dimensions (mm) 305 x 202 x 161 (W x D x H)
Ethernet 5 x LAN + 1 WAN 1000Mbps
Wi-Fi 802.11ax dual band (AX6000)
USB ports 2 x USB 3
Processor 1.8GHz quad-core
Extras Fold-down sides

It’s a long while since we’ve encountered a router with a fan inside it. It was quite a shock to hear the surprisingly loud volume of this one, at least when the unit is powering up.

It’s easily audible over an adjacent PC, for instance. However, once the unit has settled back down to normal operation, it’s quiet enough to be largely unobtrusive.

Nonetheless, none of the other units apparently needed active cooling, and we’d certainly prefer not to have it on a device that’s going to be permanently powered on.

Meanwhile, those intriguing wings are permanently attached to the router, but fold down for stowing. The mechanism works well you have to lift up the side slightly to unhook the wing and then fold it down.

However, there’s a slight concern that the wiring is exposed when a wing is folded in this way, as there’s potential for the wire to get snagged or trapped.

Setting up the AX8 was simple enough, although Netgear doesn’t overly hold your hand. The menus are fairly spartan and lack the slickness of the TP-Link’s menus, for instance.

In terms of key software features, Netgear offers the usual USB printer and storage sharing. QoS options and security features as the other routers on test this month.

When it comes to performance, the AX8 was actually more capable than we expected. Given its slightly less beefy look compared with the competition.

It was the slowest in our shortest-range test (which is still quite long-range). But it topped the chart (other than the Asus mesh unit) in our most challenging, long-distance test.

Its USB speed was also the fastest we recorded, providing a plentiful speed of 832Mb/sec, although it didn’t recognise our exFAT formatted USB drive, unlike the TP-Link.

Conclusion

The Netgear AX8 is a sleek and high-performance Wi-Fi 6 router that largely delivers the performance and features you expect for its high price. However, the TP-Link AX6000 offers more Ethernet ports and slightly faster performance for less money, making it our top pick for an independent router this month.

Verdict

Decent performance and features, but other options offer slightly more for less money.

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