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The Netgear R7000 Nighthawk Smart Wi-Fi Router has good looks and a cool name, but as always it's what's on the inside that really counts.
Aesthetics are always a personal issue, so you may disagree with my assessment, but the design, sharp angles and deep colours are unique without being an eyesore. The lack of any glossy plastic on the router is another bonus.
The wireless performance is excellent, at both short and long range, matching the best 802.11ac routers I've tested and also performing well on 802.11n.
Bonus points are due for the good, free parental control implementation.
The software interface is crying out for the touch of a graphic designer and UX expert. While all the options you'll need are present, the layout and style is very dated. Firms such as Asus and Linksys are light years ahead with interactive, dynamic web pages. It's hardly user friendly.
As with nearly all 802.11ac routers, I wish it wasn't quite so pricey. You can get a functional 802.11n router for next to nothing these days, so the expense of 802.11ac is tough to swallow. Bear in mind, though, that the Netgear R7000 is far from the most expensive 802.11ac router on the market, when some cost £250.
Although the R7000 is fast, it costs around the same amount as the Linksys EA6900 and the Asus RT-AC68U. Their routers don't look as good, but have much better software. Therefore my preference edges across to them slightly.
But the R7000 is still a fine router. Even if it's not the best on the market, it's unlikely to disappoint, and is a worthy investment if you shop around for a deal.