Specifically, it allows you to geo-filter which game servers with which to connect, so you can ensure the best ping. So, if you’re in Europe you can block servers in the US or Far East, where the distance results in higher pings. It also includes a ping heatmap so you can visualize which servers for any game provide the best ping to your router and then apply the results to the geo-filter.
It also includes standard features such as QoS and a built-in speed test. However, even these are better presented and more granular than the equivalents on most other routers, making it easy to drill down into the details of managing your home network.
Ultimately, the effectiveness of these features will depend on your home situation and what games you play. If you live alone and play games that either always have a reliable ping, or allow you to specify which server to use anyway, then you won’t get much use from these features. However, if you’re constantly battling other household users for bandwidth, and have no control over which server your system might use, then you could see gains in connection stability and reduction in typical ping.
Otherwise, this unit is just the beefier cousin to the RAX40. It has the same overall shape but with even sharper lines and metallic red ventilation grilles at the front and back. The top selection of status LEDs and buttons is the same too, but slightly rearranged, with the power light on its own at the back, the LAN ports off to the right and the other LEDs to the left.
We also appreciate there being a big removable sticker on the front of the unit with the default Wi-Fi name and password. Plus, Netgear’s default password scheme is excellent across all its routers. It uses a combination of two words and three digits that’s generally easy to remember but secure, such as rubbishtracker459. It’s a better system than the string of eight digits or random selection of characters used by some routers.
The number of antennae has doubled too, and this is the only router on test where they’re removable, making them easy to replace if they get damaged, or if you want to attach different antennae.
When it comes to performance, the XR1000 does a reasonable job of justifying its extra cost. At close range it delivered impressive speeds on both the 5GHz and 2.4GHz bands, and although its 2.4GHz speed dropped off at mid-range, the 5GHz band maintained decent numbers. However, at longer range it didn’t overly impress. It was solid enough but didn’t take the win in either band.
This router’s extra gaming features are only going to be of use to some users, but they could be crucial for those users. For others, the high price of this router, along with its good-but-not-stellar Wi-Fi performance and feature set (there’s no mesh option, for example), means there are better buys available.
Good for certain online gamers, but pricey for the extra functions it provides.
£3 inc VAT
DESIGN 16/20 | FEATURES 18/20 | PERFORMANCE 24/30 | VALUE 18/30 | OVERALL 76%
+Genuinely useful gaming features
-Not all games/gamers will benefit
-No mesh network option
Dimensions (mm) 295 x 200 x 64 / 171 mm (W x D x H) / with antennae
Ethernet 4 x Gigabit LAN, 1 x Gigabit WAN
Wi-Fi Dual band (AX5400) 600Mb/sec + 4,800Mb/sec
Spatial streams 2.4GHz 2x2, 5GHz 4x4
USB ports 1 x USB 3
Processor 1.5GHz triple-core
Memory 256MB flash, 512MB RAM
Extras Removable antennae, DumaOS