Netgear XR1000 Nighthawk (AX5400) Review

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It has been quite some time since I reviewed the XR500, and here I am today with the XR1000 Nighthawk AX5400 router from Netgear. Granted, the XR1000 has been out for some time as well, but this review comes from having used it at length. Roughly 6-12 months.

Now that I have had plenty of time with the XR1000, let’s crack into it and see what makes it a true competitor in the gaming router market.

What Has Improved? Quite a Bit

The XR1000 is now using WiFi 6 (802.11ax), which works noticeably better with WiFi 6 devices. This allows the 5 GHz frequency band to more than double the throughput of the XR500, with 4800 Mb/s. Sadly, 2.4 GHz doesn’t see any improvement on the XR1000. This may be upsetting for those with some older device that are not 5 GHz capable, but the lack of improvement is not staggering.

There are a few other differences too. The Tri-Core 1.5 GHz processor replaces the Dual-Core 1.7 GHz processor that Netgear used in the XR500. This does provide a noticeable difference with the overall performance of the router. It still sports the same amount of RAM and Storage, which I was hoping they would have improved over the XR500. I say this because of the DumaOS GUI that Netgear uses with these routers. I will get more into that a bit later.

As for the ports, there are a few changes here too. The XR1000 has only 1 USB-A port this time, but it can handle speeds up to 5 Gb/s. While I do miss having 2 USB ports, I do appreciate the update to the speed of this port. Using a network drive or setting up a drive for a Plex Server will see a huge improvement in load times. Depending on what kind of drive you are using of course. The XR1000 still has the 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports, along with the Gigabit Ethernet for uplink.

DumaOS on the XR1000

The XR1000 is still using DumaOS, which has been a great GUI, but I am feeling its age. Don’t get me wrong, there is a TON of useful things you can do with it, but it is starting to get bogged down. Like an old cell phone over time, updates release that push the phone to its limits. Until one day, it feels nearly unusable. DumaOS suffers from this too. I was hoping for more RAM or something to weather the storm of updates that Netgear sends out.

Out of the box, the XR1000 was speedy and efficient. Months down the road and having finally setup the router to my liking, DumaOS began to run very sluggishly. Again, the features that DumaOS can provide are phenomenal. I love the congestion control, QoS, Ping Heatmap, and especially the geofilter.

The congestion control is something I recommend everyone setup if they buy an XR1000. This has been especially noticeable on typical home internet configurations. It provides a much more stable internet connection and drastically reduces the number of times the internet slows down or drops out entirely. Cleans up your ping by up to 93%. For more information about the QoS, Ping Heatmap, or Geofilter in DumaOS, check out my original review of the XR500 AC2600 Nighthawk router.

Visually, the XR1000 Is a Huge Improvement

When you pay a decent about of money for a device, you want it to look and feel premium. The XR500 looked fast and slick, but it was a hard plastic body. The XR1000 adds a lovely matte aluminum/magnesium alloy body. It is also a bit smaller and more angled as well. As if it couldn’t already look fast enough.

I really like the cord management, as the USB port was relocated to the back of the router. Cleans up the design. Another little addition to the look and feel of the XR1000 is the red-accented ventilation. Feels like a Lamborghini.

Final Reaction

While there are some caveats, the XR1000 is a much-needed improvement over the XR500. There are plenty of gaming routers on the market from D-Link, ASUS ROG, and others. I couldn’t say exactly where this places among them, but it is one of the best. I can absolutely recommend the XR1000 Nighthawk AX5400 gaming. While there are some cons, they are outweighed by the pros. A faster and more reliable internet connection than most.

Still have questions? Hit me up on Twitter at @keegbots and I’ll get you an answer. Thanks for your continued support!

Rating: 4/5 Atoms

A unit was provided by Netgear for review purposes.

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