​AC5300 Router reviews: Linksys EA9500 vs. Netgear Nighthawk X8 vs. D-Link DIR-895L

Which is the best AC5300 wireless router according to our group test?

Which AC5300 router should you buy? Picture: Manolo Gómez (Flickr)

Which AC5300 router should you buy? Picture: Manolo Gómez (Flickr)

Review

Netgear Nighthawk AC5300 X8


Price: $699 RRP (From $550 real world)
Stated Max throughput: 5.3Gb/s
Processor: 1.4GHz dual-core
Antennae: 4 external, 4 internal
Ethernet ports: WAN plus 6 Gigabit (two can be aggregated)
Bands: 1 x 2.4GHz, 2 x 5GHz (5GHz has Smart Connect)
MU-MIMO: Yes
USB: 1 x USB2, 1 x USB 3
Other features: WiFi off button, www.myopenrouter.com support
Warranty: 2 years

The Netgear (like the D-Link) is expensive at $700. It’s the most sober looking in this test with only four antennae visible at the back. We were a bit concerned about built quality, though, as one of the rear antennae housings fell off after a very minor knock. The rest of the casing is strong though. The LED lighting prevents it from looking too boxy and these lights can be turned off with a switch at the front. Next to that button is a WPS connect button and a WiFi power button. At the side is a cover which reveals the USB ports.

Setting up is simple enough, once the network is joined and a browser opened, the Netgear Genie software appears. This takes you through basic settings and invites you to install both its Genie app and also an online backup service called ReadySHARE Vault for continuously backing up your PC (onto locally-attached storage).

The settings pages won’t surprise anyone whose seen router settings in the past, but we’re not convinced the Basic Settings layout is basic enough for beginners. What do people really need here beyond network name and password? Nonetheless there are settings here to set up a guest network and access to the USB ports. Advanced settings provide access to all the usual settings though the language isn’t that friendly. Parental controls are the most comprehensive on show but also quite complex to set up and not foolproof. Another unique feature is compatibility with www.myopenrouter.com which allows hacking types to more-easily modify their router's firmware.

One of the most interesting features is the extra two Gigabit Ethernet ports which can be "Aggregated" together for extra speed. This may improve performance for people who constantly use Network Attached Storage but bottlenecks elsewhere will make it unlikely for regular users to notice much difference. Having two extra wired ports is a boon, though.

Read more: Showdown: Sony Xperia Z1 Compact vs Apple iPhone 5S

In terms of performance it was consistently similar to the Linksys up close. It got faster on the 5GHz tests mainly because it used two different channels. The big let down was its inability to connect at 5GHz when two floors up – even to our Xbox.

Ultimately, at $150 more than the Linksys, it doesn’t offer many compelling reasons to choose it instead, but some of the niche features may appeal to power users.

Page 1: Introduction
Page 2: How we tested
Page 3: Results
Page 4: Netgear Nighthawk AC5300 X8 review
Page 5: D-Link DIR-895L AC5300 MU-MIMO Ultra Wi-Fi Router review
Page 6: Linksys EA9500 Max-Stream AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router review
Page 7: Conclusion

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Tags WiFiWi-FiD-LinkLinksysrouterroutersnetgear

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Nick Ross
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