Netgear’s Nighthawk line of routers is some of the most customizable their are out there. The Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500 is no exception delivering on great performance but one advantage it has over the others is its focus on being a gaming router first. Lets break down the categories for what this router has to offer.
The Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500 has a pretty sleek design with 4 antenna ports and is shaped like an alien spacecraft. It has 1 WAN/4LAN gigabit per second ports, 2 USBC2600 with a Qualcomm dual-core 1.7GHz/512MB/256MB processor and a Qualcomm QCA 9984 Peak, 802.11ac performance 715.4 (at 15feet). The specs plus its aggressive look compliments a gamers setup well although the unit could be a tad bit smaller which would conserve on very necessary space. The indicator lights are in the front and shaped like a “V” of the unit which adds to its style.
While the hardware in most cases would be the most important part in any router Netgear has made it a point to equip this with the best experience possible, that’s why it has NetDuma’s DumaOS software. This might be the most robust router software I’ve seen to date. It not only has a dashboard to help indicate the bandwidth usage but with filters, QoS, Devise Management and VPN this thing is a beast! You are able to take devises and know its exact usage and if you want to make it more or less of a priority. It also has a great feature of putting your gaming first in any situation so if too many devises show up on the network it will manage them without harming your performance. You are also able to set your gaming location to get the best ping you possibly can so if you receive that on the east coast of the state or anywhere you can make it to not go beyond that point.
When testing this out in various cases it seemed to get almost the full 1bg come through at around 5 feet with Verizon Fios. At around 15 feet or more is when you’ll experience dropped rates with the 5ghz bands but the hardware lends it to still have great performance throughout your space.The distribution of managing devices does it very well without even needing to mess with the settings in the OS. Our only real gripe is that Nighthawk has become somewhat of an ecosystem that means playing nice with other routers to setup a bridge or mesh can be challenging or non existent. It’s best to stick to Nighthawk aligned products for the best use of everything.
The NETGEAR Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500 had continued to impress as one of the best gaming routers out, the software has also seen upgrades to take advantage of widgets and apps which we’ll do a deeper dive on in another review. If you have multiple devices running on your network but gaming comes first then this is the perfect router to ensure you keep low latency through your sessions.