Today we’re looking at the Nighthawk, one of Netgear’s mot recently released routers to feature dual-band 802.11ac connectivity. Looking every bit like a stealth fighter of the same name, it’s not something you might expect to see in an office environment. Forget that old rectangle stuff of years gone by, this mean mother is here to deliver lightning quick internet over 2.4GHz or 5Ghz bands.
Before going further, I will advise readers that I have not spent much time testing or playing with other routers in this area. What drew me to this particular model, however, was its priority streaming and Android applications. Specifically, I was attracted to a router designed to handle multiple connections at once, with some over mobile devices, streaming video, or Xbox 360 online gaming.
At a high level, the R7000 Nighthawk can be optimized if multiple devices are being used at the same time; the router gives more bandwidth to a device that is streaming media as opposed to one that is merely sipping data.
Weighing in under two pounds, the R7000′s sits horizontally on your desk; wall mounting is also optional. The wide base and rubber bottom ensure it doesn’t slide around or get tipped over.
Setup was incredibly easy for this router as we literally took it out of the box and started plugging things in. In fact, when I first set out to install this device I was using only Chrome connected devices in the office. Seeing as how the Windows PC/laptop were not around that day, I wondered what sort of configuration was necessary. Would I need to install drivers or mess with network settings? As it turns out, it was quite simple to plug and play here. With that in mind, I did go back later and make adjustments when the laptop returned to the office. I am not necessarily condoning you do the same with yours; follow the instructions and you’ll be just fine.
The R7000 supports up to 600Mbps at 2.4GHz and up to 1300Mbps on the 5GHz band, both of which were much faster than anything I use here. Given the way carriers are increasing bandwidth speeds, however, I like the peace of mind in knowing it’s going to work over the long haul. Internally, and for what it’s worth, the router has a 1GHz dual-core processor, 128MB flash memory and 256MB RAM. Tinkerers will relish in the fact that they can actually be flashed with open-source firmware.
While the front side shows all of the activity with lights and a USB port, the rear hides everything else. Here’s a quick list of all ports and connectivities in the R7000 Nighthawk:
- Two (2) USB ports—one (1) USB 3.0 & one (1) USB 2.0 port
- 802.11 b/g/n 2.4GHz + 256 QAM support
- 802.11 a/n/ac 5.0GHz
- Five (5) 10/100/1000 Mbps—(1 WAN & 4 LAN) Gigabit Ethernet ports
- Power button
To reduce interference in the 2.4GHz band, the front-facing USB port is the 3.0 standard. Both the front and rear allow for printer connections and USB storage, something I came to quickly appreciate.
After the initial setup process was finished, I was directed to launch a browser which told me everything was good to go. It was here that I could simply go about my business or head to Netgear’s website for grabbing other apps and/or manage my account and setup. Skipping these the first time through didn’t cause any problems and I was able to configure settings rather easily.
One of the standout features in the Nighthawk R700 is its Advanced QoS. For those who stream a lot of video or play online games you’ll want to go in and tweak the settings to allow for this option. Once enabled, it automatically recognizes & prioritizes streaming & gaming applications over the 2.4 and/or 5GHz bands. My family loves to watch Netflix, play Xbox Live, download music, stream multimedia, and generally consume data. I loved being able to set priority for apps and services like YouTube, Netflix, or online gaming. The best part here is that other devices and experiences in the home and office did not suffer or appear to lag. Speaking of which, those considering an NVIDIA Shield will appreciate that the router is optimized for NVIDIA GameStream.
As I mentioned before, I have not tested other routers in this manner. Keeping that under consideration, I did notice that the NightHawk held better range and generally faster speeds than the router that came from my provider. This was to be expected, of course, but the QoS really sold me after I saw how much quicker things buffered and connected.
Thanks to the Beamforming+ technology in the router I was able to enjoy strong signal strength and speeds at much greater distances. Once I relocated the router (see below) to a different part of the house I noticed I could go much further in just about any direction without losing connection. Without doing hard measurements I would estimate that I was able to double the distance in the back yard and sometimes more. Instead of your normal router just broadcasting a halo of Wi-Fi for all to grab, this tech puts your device in direct contact with the router.
I also liked my experiences with Netgear’s mobile applications. The two I played with in this instance were NETGEAR Genie and NETGEAR WiFi Analytics. The former provides a whole host of options that would normally require sitting down at a traditional computer. It’s here that you can adjust parental settings, set up guest connections, share media from a USB port, and more. It’s not the greatest looking app in the world, but it works better in a mobile experience than I expected. As for the Wi-Fi Analytics app, it lets you test your connection speeds, signal strength, and search for interference. It was using this app that I learned that the office was not exactly the best place to keep the router. Using these two alone, I felt more in control of what my network could do and how I could better manage it.
As someone who tests a lot of different devices, and already has quite a few in the house, I was thoroughly impressed with the Nighthawk R7000. My previous router would go through spells where I had to reset it a time or two per day, sometimes over a week or longer. I couldn’t say for certain, but I believe that was related to having so many things attempting connections at once. What’s more, it would drop things on a whim, such as SONOS and the Smart TV features. I am happy to report that since installing the Nighthawk those problems have gone away. Further, our streaming video experience is better than ever without smartphones and tablets feeling the impact.
I wish I could dive deeper into aspects such as how the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands performed comparatively or how throughput fared on either connection. If you’re looking for an in-depth review of the internal components as well as benchmarks and comparisons, definitely read the SmallNetBuilder review. Suffice it to say, any Wi-Fi connected device that comes into the house now is able to connect much quicker and without dropping. The mobile apps provide added benefits to those with smartphones or tablets in the home/office and QoS seriously delivers on its promise.
In the dimly lit press room packed with cameras, flashes, conversation, clickity clat of keyboards and projections on large screens, we were privileged to witness some amazing up and coming technology from VOXX International. We came in expecting cool things and VOXX delivered. While we sat front and center, we failed to position ourselves for photos of the products on the big screens. Before we bombard you with videos that VOXX just over for us, you might want to know who VOXX is…
Voxx International, formerly Audiovox Corporation, is an American consumer electronics company. They have ties in with Klipsch, RCA, Jensen, Advent and many more. If you own anything by those guys, VOXX is behind it.
During the press event, they unveiled and announced some pretty amazing technology. Not all of it is Android related, but that doesn’t make it any less cool. Take quick watch of some of the videos for what was announced. We have a feeling that you will gravitate a lot towards the myris and 360Fly.
360Fly is a small little camera that can mount anywhere and gives you a complete 360º view of a room. More so of a photo sphere in video with touch controls and live fed to your tablet.
myris by Eyelock is the next big thing in security for your desktop and laptop. Scans your eyeball and logs you into everything at once. It is quick, simple and fast. Finger prints are old news.
808 Audio is a new line of premium sound products. Cool stuff.
mywayTV is a set top box that pulls in over-the-air content and connects to the web for streaming various content.
See, we told you. 360fly and myris were pretty cool right? Our guest writer Alex hernandez will be doing up a review of the myris over at Techaeris in the coming weeks. We will be sure to link you guys in and see how well it really works.
Creators of the hugely popular Ingress game, Niantic Labs at Google, are working to bring the next gigantic project online. Today HarperCollins, 20th Century Fox and Google’s Niantic Labs have announced that they are all on board and working together with Bestselling Author James Frey to launch a cross-media project called ENDGAME.
ENDGAME is a novel that will have a series of three books. But it is so much more. ENDGAME is fully integrated with fifteen e-book novellas, YouTube Videos, search and image results, mapping coordinates, social media and interactive gaming all rolled into one massive experience for end users.
Niantic Labs roll in the partnership will be to bring in a augmented reality game that transforms ENDGAME from the books and the videos to the real world. You will join users from around the globe to unlock the mysteries and secrets of ENDGAME. They will also be distributing six ENDGAME novellas exclusively through the Play Store as well. The ENDGAME game is expected to launch in October of 2014.
The entire experience is outlined through the press release and touches on ENDGAME prizes from each book. Real world prizes. For ENDGAME: The Calling, a quantity of gold will be on public display behind bullet-proof glass. Solve the puzzles and you can obtain the key to unlock the case and claim the gold. All of which will be broadcast live on YouTube.
Pretty sure we might just have to get sucked into this one.
Go read up on the press release and let us know what you think about the whole thing.
With PlayStation Vita getting Unity game engine support in today’s update, one of gaming’s most widely used game engines is heading to Sony’s latest handheld. And that means it’s all the easier for the dozens of great Unity engine games to head to the Vita as well, to say nothing of future developments. It also means that, when games are ported, they’ll have access to the full suite of PlayStation Network features (matchmaking, trophies, etc.); previously, many developers took the PS Mobile publishing route, leaving out rich features many other Vita games enjoyed.
As content is the lifeblood of any game console, we’re thrilled to see what today’s update means for 2014 with PlayStation Vita. Unity’s also promising PlayStation 4 support in the near future, which hopefully means that applicable Unity engine games will also have crossbuy support. We can dream, can’t we?
It turns out that Valve’s hardware beta was an actual beta: the Steam Controller is dropping its touchscreen and adding some physical buttons before going up for sale via Steam and at retail later this year. It’s unclear exactly where the buttons will be, but we’re seeing reports that they’ll approximate a d-pad and the standard A/B/X/Y configuration.
According to attendees tweeting from Valve’s Steam Dev Days conference, a “ghosting” mode is offered in replacement (which presumably shows a visualization on-screen of however your buttons are being mapped — that’s our best guess as information comes in). Valve’s also got an API to help devs integrate the Steam Controller into their games, which apparently supports up to 16 players at once.
We’ve yet to see any images of the new controller — what you see above is a beta controller handed out at the dev conference — but we’ll have more specific news as we hear more. For a look at the previously planned touchscreen, we’ve got a mockup in our gallery right here.
[Image credit: @DaveOsrhy]
Need a way to easily access that select group of contacts you converse with frequently without manually creating groups? Well, the same star action that’s used in Gmail to flag important correspondence now appears in Google Contacts. Those folks you affix the gold mark to will be added to the “Starred” group for easy access. Android users’ selections will also sync with Android Contacts to stay organized across desktop and mobile. Of course, you can also use Google+ circles as another organizational alternative.
Source: Gmail (Google+)
Following the appearance of 15-inch models of the latest Retina MacBook Pro in Apple’s online store for refurbished items over the weekend, 13-inch models have now debuted in the store, again offering discounts of roughly 15% compared to brand-new units. While a number of different configurations were available when the 13-inch machines first appeared late yesterday, Apple is currently listing only two of the three stock configurations as available with shipping estimates of 1-5 business days.
– 2.4 GHz dual-core Intel i5 with 4 GB RAM and 128 GB flash storage: $1099 ($200 savings)
– 2.6 GHz dual-core Intel i5 with 8 GB RAM and 512 GB flash storage: $1529 ($270 savings)
The third stock configuration, a 2.4 GHz model with 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage, is listed as out of stock but will be priced at $1269, a $230 savings.
The Los Angeles Board of Education announced on Tuesday that it will continue on with its plan to equip all students, teachers, and administrators in the district with a computer, distributing iPads to 38 additional campuses ahead of state tests in the spring, reports The Los Angeles Times. The school district will also purchase laptops for seven high schools.
The newly approved $115-million proposal does not cap the number of iPads the district is able to purchase for students during testing, but the L.A. Board of Education expects the number to be under 67,500. The iPads will be shared by different classes over the course of six weeks of testing.
Each iPad typically costs the L.A. Unified School District $768, which includes curriculum, but the district is aiming to negotiate a fee of $200 to $300 less for iPads used exclusively for testing. Initially, the school district’s contract locked it into purchasing older iPads, but Apple has now agreed to provide newer models at no additional cost.
Back in June, the Los Angeles Unified School District voted to spend a total of $30 million on Apple’s iPads, equipping every student in 47 of the district’s schools with a tablet preloaded with digital textbooks. The initiative, which saw approximately 35,000 iPads handed out to students in the district, is part of a larger effort to equip all 640,000 students in the district with iPads by the end of 2014.
Though the L.A. School District has seen success with the iPads, it did encounter some difficulties with students bypassing the content restrictions on the devices. As a result, home use of the tablets has been halted.
All of you out there that have been using the Chrome Beta Android app are pretty well versed in the features mentioned in todays announcement from Google. For everyone one else, be on the look out for an update to the main Chrome Browser app as two great little features have made their way out of beta and to the full fledged app.
First up is the Bandwidth Management setting. Simply put, it helps you save precious data consumption as well as make pages load a little faster. Primarily because Googles Servers will swap out larger images for smaller WebP format versions. Enabling this feature will also enable Chrome’s “Safe Browsing” technology. Kind of a win/win right there.
The other feature that many people loved in the beta that is now going to be a standard feature is the Homescreen Web Shortcut button. Say you are browsing a page and need to make sure you don’t forget it or need quick access to it later. Simply hit your magicall 3 dots and hit the ‘Add to Homescreen” It will place a shortcut to that page right on your homescreen. Certainly helps with management a little.
The announcement was made just this morning and we all know Google likes to roll things out slowly. They state ‘over the next few days’. We will keep our eyes peeled for the update and get the APK out to you guys as soon as we get it.
Chrome Browser Play Store Link
A need for data connection is on the go is an ever growing desire by many. Whether it be for a Chromebook, a tablet or even a Galaxy Zoom, connection is important. While many pay the added fees per month to do so through their current device and carrier, others only need it on a short term or monthly basis. NetZero is stepping into the game to offer a monthly no-contract mobile broadband device that can help keep you connected in a pinch.
NetZero offers a USB stick for $49.95 and a mobile hotspot device for $99.95. It piggy backs over Sprint‘s 3G network to deliver data to your devices when you need it. As for plans, you have quite a few options. There is a FREE plan that is good for one year and gives you 200 MBs worth of data. Step it up to $9.95 for 500 MBs, $19.95 for 1Gb, $34.95 for 2GBs and $49.95 for 4GBs. The good news is you are disconnected from the connection if you hit the limit you buy. The bad news, it only is 3G, for now. 4G is scheduled for around the 3rd quarter of this year.
Since it does pull of Sprint for the coverage, you might want to check and see if where you are living or going to be traveling has decent Sprint coverage before you think about buying anything.