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NETGEAR Nighthawk XR1000 Review

The Nighthawk XR1000 has decent speeds for the money, but you may find better value elsewhere.

Is the Nighthawk XR1000 right for you?

The Nighthawk XR1000 has good Wi-Fi 6 speeds for the money and a few nifty tools to help improve your latency when playing games online. But it’s lacking in areas where other similarly priced routers excel. Plus, it only supports internet plans with speeds of 940 Mbps and lower. Honestly, you’ll find better value elsewhere.

Pros:

  • Gaming tools
  • OpenVPN server
  • Ad blocking

Cons:

  • No Multi-Gig internet
  • No parental controls
  • Subscription-locked security

Nighthawk XR1000 standout features

Close up of red grille on Nighthawk XR1000

Gamers may appreciate the Geo-Filter tool that filters out servers with high ping rates. Other callout features include the built-in ad blocking tool, OpenVPN server, and media sharing capabilities.

The best features at a glance:

  • Gaming tools
  • OpenVPN server
  • Media server
  • Ad blocking
  • Content filtering

Compare the Nighthawk XR1000 to the competition

ProductWi-Fi versionMax throughputPrice*Order online
NETGEAR Nighthawk XR1000Wi-Fi 65,400 Mbps$248.95View on Amazon
TP-Link Archer AX11000Wi-Fi 611,000 Mbps$210.00View on Amazon
TP-Link Archer AX6000Wi-Fi 66,000 Mbps$239.99View on Amazon
TP-Link Archer AX90Wi-Fi 66,600 Mbps$239.79View on Amazon

Compared to the routers we’ve tested so far, the Nighthawk XR1000 competes with the TP-Link Archer AX11000, Archer AX6000, and Archer AX90 in speed and price. All four are in the same ballpark in both categories—the only significant differences lie in the features.

The big callout is the XR1000’s lack of Multi-Gig internet support, which the three TP-Link routers have. On the flip side, the XR1000 and Archer AX11000 claim to be gaming routers, but the XR1000 is the only one with real gaming tools.

See our full coverage of the best routers for gaming.

Our Nighthawk XR1000 scoring breakdown

CategoryScore*Summary
Performance4Matches the TP-Link Archer AX11000 and AX6000 routers in speed.
Features3Includes a few gaming tools and an OpenVPN server.
Design3Lacks Multi-Gig internet support and link aggregation.
Setup2Drags you through a subscription nag and video tutorial.
Ease of use5Provides the best web interface we’ve ever used.

* out of 5 points

Nighthawk XR1000 with an antenna disconnected

Performance

4

Wi-Fi configuration:

  • 2.4 GHz band: 600 Mbps (2 x 300 Mbps)
  • 5 GHz band: 4,800 Mbps (4 x 1,200 Mbps)

The Nighthawk XR1000 has good speeds for the money, matching the TP-Link Archer AX11000 and AX6000 routers by the time we tested outside at 120 feet. As with any router we test, the speeds you get ultimately depend on your environment, so you may see better or worse than what we recorded.

Unfortunately, the max you can get in real-world speed is 980 Mbps, thanks to the router’s Gigabit Ethernet WAN port. There’s no Multi-Gig support or link aggregation, so this router is best for internet plans of 940 Mbps and slower.

Nighthawk XR1000 router antennas are marked

Features

3

Notable features:

  • Gaming tools
  • Built-in ad blocker
  • OpenVPN server

Here’s the deal. You can enable the ad blocker and set general content filtering, but that’s it. All other security features require a NETGEAR Armor subscription tied to the Nighthawk app. There are no real parental control tools, so gaming parents need a standalone service to keep their kids in check.

But there are a few callouts here. You get a few helpful gaming tools, a built-in OpenVPN server, and media sharing. There’s Alexa and Google Assistant support too, but it’s not apparent—we had to search the internet to figure it out (other routers show this support in the web interface or app).

What we wish the Nighthawk XR1000 did better

  • Free built-in VPN client
  • Better parental controls

Kudos to NETGEAR for including a built-in OpenVPN server, but some competing routers also have a free built-in client. That’s not the case with the XR1000, but you can use Bitdefender VPN in the NETGEAR Armor subscription.

And while we get that the XR1000 caters to gamers, some of us also have kids. The closest you can get to parental controls from the XR1000 is the Traffic Controller component, which you can use to control when specific devices can connect and the services they can access.

Ports on back of Nighthawk XR1000 router

Design

3

Buttons:

  • Power on/off button (back)
  • Recessed reset button (requires a pin to push) (back)
  • WPS button (top)
  • Wi-Fi on/off button (top)

Ports:

  • 1x Gigabit Ethernet port (WAN)
  • 4x Gigabit Ethernet ports (LAN)
  • 1x USB-A 3.2 port (5 Gbps)

The most important spec to call out here: The XR1000 offers four Wi-Fi streams on the 5 GHz band. That means you can use two modern smartphones at full speed (around 1,200 Mbps each) until you connect a third device to that band. A third band dividing those four streams would be better, so your devices aren’t flooding the same channel, but that’s not the case here.

At this price, you can find better designs with competing products like the TP-Link Archer AX11000. The XR1000 doesn’t support Multi-Gig internet, doesn’t have link aggregation, and is limited to four Gigabit Ethernet ports. But at least you get a USB port to share media across your local network or the internet.

Setup

2

Inside the box:

  • Router
  • 4 detachable antennas
  • Quick Start guide
  • Ethernet cable
  • Power adapter

The setup process is straightforward until the router asks you to register a MyNETGEAR account. After that, you get bombarded by a NETGEAR ProSupport for Home nag that steers you away from the DumaOS interface. When you dismiss the subscription nag, the DumaOS instruction video begins. Really? To access DumaOS, you must open a new tab versus diving right in after the setup.

Netgear router interface

Ease of use

5

Router interface:

We rarely give perfect scores, but holy cow, we love the DumaOS interface. Yes, we know it caters to gamers, but the layout is so perfect we can’t find anything unsavory to call out.

We also love how DumaOS provides explanations for every panel and, in some cases, a tutorial on how to use them. And get this: nearly every setting is a router app (Rapp) you can pin to the dashboard. Kudos to NETGEAR for using the best router interface on the planet.

Are there any additional costs?

You can get the optional NETGEAR Armor subscription with added security features for $99.99 annually. You can also get the NETGEAR ProSupport for Home service, which starts at $19.99 for a 2-year extended warranty or $49.99 for the extended warranty and pro support services.

Overhead view of Netgear Nighthawk XR1000

Our Nighthawk XR1000 review: The verdict

We’re on the fence about the Nighthawk XR1000, and here’s why.

It’s a decent gaming router with the best web interface we’ve ever used. It includes a few goodies like gaming tools, a built-in ad blocker component, media sharing, and an OpenVPN server. Fun stuff, right?

But other routers offer better value. TP-Link’s Archer AX11000 is a good example with its Multi-Gig internet support, eight Gigabit Ethernet ports, free parental controls, free antivirus, and slightly lower price.

And while the XR1000 isn’t a bad router by any means, we know you can get a better one at the same price. Yes, some of the bells and whistles on the XR1000 feature list encourage us to recommend this router, but then we look back at the Archer AX11000 and think, nope.

Get the NETGEAR Nighthawk XR1000

FAQ about the Nighthawk XR1000

What gaming tools does DumaOS include?

Here’s a description of each gaming tool included with DumaOS:

Geo-Filter

This tool blocks servers based on distance and ping. First, set your location and your desired area using a slider. Next, select your gaming devices (up to four) and the games you intend to play. After that, load the game, and the router blocks all connections seated outside the range you selected.

Ping heatmap

Select one of the 17 games from the Select Ping Target menu to see the latency data from all associated servers. Each server is color-coded to indicate a high (red) or low (green) ping. You can also schedule ping tests to see how these server ping rates change over time.

Congestion control

This tool limits the amount of bandwidth non-gaming data gets when you play games online. Set it to Always or Auto-Enable, the latter of which applies only when the router detects online gameplay. After that, adjust the Upload and Download sliders to help reduce congestion while you play.

Who developed DumaOS?

Netduma first created DumaOS in 2017. It’s a router operating system built specifically for gaming. It supports router apps (Rapps), which allow Netduma to introduce new features without a major firmware update. The version installed on the Nighthawk XR1000 during our review was DumaOS 3.1.1.

What’s included in the NETGEAR Armor subscription?

For $99.99 per year, you get the following added features:

  • Antivirus protection (Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS)
  • Anti-malware protection (Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS)
  • Bitdefender VPN
  • Smart Home vulnerability scans
  • Anti-theft protection
  • Anomaly detection
  • Brute force protection
  • Exploit prevention
  • DDoS detection & protection
  • Sensitive data protection

What’s included in the NETGEAR ProSupport for Home subscription?

The 2-year extended warranty starts at $19.99 and includes the following:

  • Repairs
  • Replacements
  • Accidental damage coverage
  • Express replacements

You can tack on extra support services starting at $49.99. These services include:

  • The 2-year extended warranty mentioned above
  • 24/7 expert tech support
  • Exclusive phone support
  • Chat, email, and phone support for software issues

Methodology

We test router speed by setting up each router in an office and connecting it to a local test server. Then, we transmit test data between our wireless devices and the server, taking numerous measurements to account for fluctuations in Wi-Fi speeds.

The first tests occur close to the router, without obstructions—so the Wi-Fi is as strong and fast as it’s gonna get. We repeat the process straight out at 10, 20, and 30 feet, with only a glass door obstructing our view of the router. The same glass door and an exterior door blocks our path when we test outside at 40 and 50 feet.

We also run tests in a hallway to the left of the TV room and office—where there’s a glass door, three walls, and an air handler unit blocking our view of the router. The dining room, another testing point, sits to the right of the kitchen, TV room, and office—two walls and a glass door block the path in this test.

To test video streaming, we connect a fast storage device to the router and stream a 4K video to six wireless devices simultaneously—two phones, three tablets, and a laptop—connected to the same wireless band.

Client devices used in testing

iPhone 12 Pro MaxGoogle Pixel 3
Wi-Fi versionWi-Fi 6Wi-Fi 5
Stream configuration2 x 22 x 2
Max channel width80 MHz80 MHz
Max 5 GHz speed (AX)1,200 Mbps
Max 5 GHz speed (AC)866 Mbps866 Mbps
Max 2.4 GHz speed (AX)195 Mbps
Max 2.4 GHz speed (AC)195 Mbps144 Mbps

Nighthawk XR1000 benchmarks (5 GHz only)

iPhone 12 Pro Max*Google Pixel 3*
2 feet847684
10 feet796659
20 feet747549
30 feet723494
40 feet (porch)534326
120 feet (across street)275122
160 feet (mailboxes)No connectionNo connection
20 feet (hallway)399268

Disclaimer

Amazon.com Prices as of 1/31/23 17:35 MST. Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon.com at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. Highspeedinternet.com utilizes paid Amazon links.

CERTAIN CONTENT THAT APPEARS ON THIS SITE COMES FROM AMAZON. THIS CONTENT IS PROVIDED ‘AS IS’ AND IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE OR REMOVAL AT ANY TIME.

Author -

Kevin Parrish has more than a decade of experience working as a writer, editor, and product tester. He began writing about computer hardware and soon branched out to other devices and services such as networking equipment, phones and tablets, game consoles, and other internet-connected devices. His work has appeared in Tom’s Hardware, Tom's Guide, Maximum PC, Digital Trends, Android Authority, How-To Geek, Lifewire, and others. At HighSpeedInternet.com, he focuses on network equipment testing and review.

Editor - Rebecca Lee Armstrong

Rebecca Lee Armstrong has more than six years of experience writing about tech and the internet, with a specialty in hands-on testing. She started writing tech product and service reviews while finishing her BFA in creative writing at the University of Evansville and has found her niche writing about home networking, routers, and internet access at HighSpeedInternet.com. Her work has also been featured on Top Ten Reviews, MacSources, Windows Central, Android Central, Best Company, TechnoFAQ, and iMore.

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