Review: Netgear Nighthawk X10 and Netgear Nighthawk S8000 — The ultimate gaming router

Gamers who love multiplayer experiences always have issues with lag and other connection problems with playing titles like Halo 5: Guardians or Overwatch. While sometimes it’s due to the fact that a title relies on peer-to-peer connections, a lot of the time—at least in our experience—it’s due to problems with your local wireless setup. For example, your modem or router might not be performing as they should. We’ve tested devices ranging from an Asus 3-in-1 Wireless Router to the Apple AirPort Extreme. While Netgear’s Nighthawk X10 is ludicrously experience, when coupled with the Netgear Nighthawk S8000 switch, it provides the most stable and unprecedentedly fast wireless experience on the market. The price may be a deterrent for many, but if you’re a demanding gamer who needs capable wireless devices to power not only gaming consoles, but also modern televisions and other smart devices, the Nighthawk X10 and Nighthawk S8000 are excellent solutions.

For those unfamiliar with the products, the Nighthawk X10 is the industry’s fastest router for media streaming with Plex Media Server. The Nighthawk X10 delivers 802.11ac and 802.11ad for smooth 4K streaming, virtual reality gaming, and instant downloads. With a powerful 1.7 GHz quad-core processor and quad-stream architecture, you can enjoy combined wireless speeds of up to 7.2 Gbps. The router supports simultaneous streaming, while 160 MHz doubles wireless speeds to mobile devices. Lastly, the Nighthawk X10 uses technology to amplify wireless strength so all of your devices, regardless of their location, are always fully connected.

The Nighthawk S8000 gaming and streaming switch is a versatile, performance-focused, easily configurable network switch designed for multiplayer gaming, 4K media streaming, and basic home network connectivity. Its sleek design makes it perfect for any modern home or small office. The Nighthawk S8000 brings low latency, traffic and port prioritization to demanding online gaming and media streaming. The Nighthawk S8000 comes with plug-and-play installation and settings for gaming and streaming. While the Nighthawk X10 provides a fast wireless connection, the S8000 focuses on eliminating lag even when you’re using multiple devices. It’s not necessary to own both devices because the Nighthawk X10 already enhances your gaming experience.

Contrary to the way they look, the Nighthawk X10 and S8000 are on the larger side. While the Nighthawk S8000 is the size of a normal Motorola modem, the Nighthawk X10 is a behemoth. It’s heavy and requires a lot of space. Luckily, the device isn’t delicate and has exemplary build quality. The materials are robust and give the Nighthawk X10 and Nighthawk S8000 a premium look. If you’re spending that amount on a router and switch, you want them to look the part. Anyone who purchases the Nighthawk X10 and Nighthawk S8000 will be proud to showcase them prominently in their living space.

Now, what about speed? Well, as you know, many gamers don’t have 1 Gbps internet. While the Nighthawk X10 and Nighthawk S8000 can handle those speeds, they still offer benefits to gamers on slower connections. You don’t have to be a professional gamer and involved with eSports to experience its benefits. For example, at the office we have 300 Mbps Virgin service and at home it’s 76 Mbps on TalkTalk. On its own, the Nighthawk X10 can handle multiplayer gaming and all of your devices like smartphones, tablets and multiple computers. We found the Nighthawk S8000 to be particularly useful in eliminating lag when we had multiple consoles connected to the same network. As far as 4K video streaming from Amazon or Netflix is concerned, we weren’t able to distinguish any difference when the Nighthawk S8000 was connected to when the Nighthawk X10 just handled it on its own.

One of the biggest advantages of the Nighthawk X10 has to be the fact that the connection is always strong and doesn’t drop at times like some other routers. For example, with our Asus 3-in-1 Wireless Router we had to reset it each day because it just couldn’t handle multiple devices. We aren’t talking about multiple gaming machines here, we’re talking about an Xbox One and other standard devices like smartphones and tablets. Even a normal load—one which is common in many households—proved to be too much for it if you’re engaged in internet-heavy tasks.

Let’s move onto the Apple AirPort Extreme. The Apple AirPort Extreme is a capable device but it features old technology. The industry is moving towards 802.11ad and the Nighthawk X10 offers that. Apple AirPort Extreme is extremely reliable but also buckles if someone is streaming high-definition content and playing a multiplayer title on a console. While the connection never drops, it still results in lag which can make the gaming experience less than ideal. We never encountered any of these problems when using the Nighthawk X10. Incorporating the Nighthawk S8000 even allowed us to game on multiple consoles and stream Mozart in the Jungle from Amazon at 4K with no lag or other issues.

On average, gamers should expect a 40% increase in speed. On our existing home router, we were getting speeds of around 45 Mbps through wireless. By changing it to the Nighthawk X10, speeds went up to 75 Mbps, exactly what we get over cable. Many of our existing devices like smartphones and tablets also witnessed faster downloads. The gains were similar at the office (30-40%) at 300 Mbps, but we weren’t able to get a definitive measurement because the connection speed from the modem fluctuated often. The upload speeds were the same because they’re limited by our internet provider. The Nighthawk X10 doesn’t diminish speed in any way, a claim which even the Apple AirPort Extreme can’t make.

While the price of the Nighthawk X10 and the Nighthawk S8000 might be a prohibitive factor, if you want the best performance from your internet, it’s the way to go. For £400 and £85 respectively, you’re getting fantastic devices. If you’re a demanding gamer who wants the best—particularly when you’re downloading a lot of digital titles and playing multiplayer games—the Nighthawk X10 is a fantastic router, and the best one we’ve ever tested. The Nighthawk S8000 switch isn’t really necessary unless you have multiple gamers living under the same roof. Lastly, keep in mind that setting up both devices isn’t as simple as it sounds. You’re likely going to run into errors which a simple Google search or YouTube tutorial should resolve.

Nighthawk X10         Nighthawk S8000

9/10                                              8/10