Netgear Nighthawk RAXE300 Review (AXE7800)

The Netgear Nighthawk range of routers includes some of the best top-tier routers, including the Nighthawk XR1000, powered by Netgear’s DumaOS operating system. However, some of these routers are overkill for non-gamers looking for a fast, reliable, and affordable Wi-Fi connection at home or office. If you don’t need all the extra features available in high-end routers, the Netgear Nighthawk RAXE300 will save you some money and still get the job done well.

The Nighthawk RAXE300 is a router designed for the mainstream audience and while it doesn’t bring along the DumaOS that’s designed to optimize gaming performance and latency, it still promises top speeds of 7.8 Gbps, as well as support for the latest Wi-Fi 6E technology. It’s not cheap, however, costing $340 / £300, and Netgear requires that you pay extra subscription fees for additional parental and security features. Still, its unique design and strong 6E speeds make it a strong contender in the midrange routers market.

Netgear Nighthawk RAXE300 Specifications

Processor1.7GHz Quad-Core processor
Memory512MB DDR4 DRAM
Storage256MB Flash
Ports1x Gigabit Ethernet (WAN), 1x 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet (WAN), 4x Gigabit Ethernet (LAN), 1x USB-C (3.0)
EncryptionWPA2/WPA3 with PSK
Wi-Fi SupportWi-Fi 6E (802.11ax), tri-band (2.4/5.0/6.0GHz)
Maximum Speed7.8Gbps
Dimensions11.7 x 8.7 x 3.1 inches
Weight4.25 pounds
Netgear Nighthawk RAXE300 Review (AXE7800) folded

Design and Features

There’s no doubt, the Nighthawk RAXE300 is one of the coolest-looking routers we’ve reviewed recently. I’ve seen this design before on the Netgear Nighthawk RAX200, but it still looks snazzy than even the TP-Link AC4000. With a design inspired by the Imperial Shuttle from Star Wars, the Nighthawk RAXE300 looks cool thanks to its clever, fold-up wings that hold the antennas. That’s a few odd years ahead of competing routers with massive arrays of antennas and blinking lights on the body.

Port section is excellent, with no less than six Ethernet ports at the back of the router. The router has two ports (marked in yellow), that can be used for Internet (WAN), supporting either Gigabit or 2.5 Gigabit speeds, alongside four Gigabit Ethernet ports for wired (LAN) connection for devices like laptops and game consoles.

On the RAXE300 router, it’s also possible to aggregate two of these LAN ports, meaning you can combine them to deliver 2Gbps over Ethernet. Also, the Netgear Nighthawk RAXE300 is among the first routers we’ve reviewed with a USB-C port to connect a hard drive or other storage devices; the Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500 also features a USB-C port. The USB-C port is very handy as you can share data from a storage device with other people on your home network.

Setting up the router is done via the Netgear Nighthawk app, and it has the same design as the Netgear Orbi app, only that it has a darker background. The app takes you through all the steps required to connect to the internet and set up Wi-Fi names and passwords.

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Just like all other Netgear products, there are extra features including Parental Control which allows you to create profiles for all users on your network, and assign devices to each one. The free version offers limited controls, but there’s a Premium version that unlocks the option to set time limits and web filtering. If you got kids in the home that need that extra layer, it’s worth paying the $7.99 a month.

The router also supports Netgear Armor, a premium security suite that will set you back $99.99 per year (with a free 30-day trial), which serves to block malicious sites and prevent infected devices from connecting to the internet. If you find these paid services a little too much, you have the option to download desktop and mobile protection software.

No matter how you look at it, Netgear’s subscriptions are not cheap. They are generally more expensive than what competitors are offering, such as Eero Plus available on the Amazon Eero Pro 6E, but the level of protection is superior.

Performance

Netgear’s Nighthawk routers are essentially designed for gamers, which means, that when used for home or office applications, you’re guaranteed impressive performance. During use, the Netgear Nighthawk RAXE300 with its good range provides fast Wi-Fi even to the back rooms in your home or office building, which would normally be Wi-Fi dead zones.

The RAXE300 is a tri-band router with the latest Wi-Fi 6E support, meaning it can connect to devices to the latest 6-GHz band. Naturally, it is backward-compatible, offering 5-GHz and 2.4-GHz bands to support all previous Wi-Fi standards.

Starting off on the 5Ghz band, this router delivers throughputs of up to 572.84Mbits/s at close range, 463.76Mbit/s at 5m on the second floor, and 356.21Mbits/s at 10m on the second floor. These speeds are solid, and while the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE1600 remains faster across the board, that router is a lot more expensive.

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The main reason you’re buying a Wi-Fi router is that it offers a 6-Ghz band, which isn’t supported by Wi-Fi 6 routers. The Nighthawk RAXE300 does a very good job, at near distances, it stands out as one of the fastest routers I’ve tested on that band. Its 342 Mbps throughput on an uncongested network is solid, and its 327 Mbps speed on a congested network is only second to the MSI RadX AXE660 of all its competitors.  Its latency is also fairly strong, but when you move to far distances, throughput is much lower than most competitors.

Finally, at 2.4Ghz band, the Nighthawk RAXE300 is right in the middle of the pack, with decent throughput and stellar latency at near distances. At far distances, you’re not going beyond 100 Mbps, which is still fine for streaming movies on a laptop in your upstairs bedroom.

Netgear Nighthawk RAXE300 Review: Verdict

The Netgear Nighthawk RAXE300 (AXE7800) is a WiFi 6E router whose performance is more than adequate for connectivity speeds for most small and medium-sized homes or offices. Better still, it delivers some of the fastest 6-Ghz speeds at near distances than any other mid-tier router I’ve seen.

However, if you’re looking for a new router that can reach extreme Wi-Fi dead spots in larger homes or homes, this may not be the best option, as its performance deteriorates with increasing distance, and obstacles, such as partition walls.

That said, our greatest disappointment is that this expensive router still requires additional subscription fees for extra features, such as parental controls and Armor security, features that some of its rivals provide for free.

Overall, the Netgear Nighthawk RAXE300 offers good value with a good combination of price, features, and performance, provided you look beyond the optional subscription services. If you’re looking for something faster with a gaming focus, the MSI Radix AXE6600 is a better performer overall and sells for much less.

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Netgear Nighthawk RAXE300 Review (AXE7800)
Netgear Nighthawk RAXE300 Review (AXE7800)
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