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Netgear Nighthawk M1 review – the world’s fastest mobile router

Any product that can keep us connected at high speed on the go will always be popular. Meet the Netgear Nighthawk M1 – a mobile router that’s so fast you might need to wear a seatbelt.

The Nighthawk M1 runs on Telstra’s 4G LTE network and it’s theoretically able to hit speeds up to 1Gbps.

The device is designed to keep you – and up to 20 other devices – connected on the move through the dual 2.4Ghz or 5Ghz bands it creates.

So not only can you access the web and download content quickly – you can also upload content quickly as well.

And that speedy connection can also be used for video communication like Skype and Facetime. Our conversations were smooth as silk.

You can also use the M1 as a media hub and stream content to several devices at the same time.

If you use this on your next driving holiday with the kids in the back seat, their entertainment to their devices during the trip is sorted.

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For our review, we didn’t reach speeds anywhere near 1Gbps – but the headroom is there when the network catches up with this device’s stunning capabilities – and it’s not far off.

Yet the speeds we did register were no doubt really impressive and better than the fixed broadband speeds you’d achieve over cable and even on the NBN.

The Telstra 4G LTE Advanced Category 16 network is being upgraded as we speak and they’ve started with the towers in capital city CBDs.

Our speed tests in the Sydney CBD produced wildly different results. Our highest speeds were 293.48 Mbps (in Martin Place) and 146.21 Mbps (on the Martin Place side of the Pitt St Mall) with upload speeds of 37Mbps and 23Mbps respectively.

The Nighthawk M1 even managed 105.69 Mbps at Wynyard Station with an impressive 55.88 Mbps upload speed.

Well short of 1Gbps but impressive nonetheless – and it’s only going to get better.

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We thought we’d get some cracking speeds in Telstra’s building in George St. Funnily enough that was the worst reading we got – 1.4Mbps and 4.61Mbps up.

But outside the Telstra office we got 97.97Mbps but only 1.6Mbps up.

At our home in the eastern suburbs of Sydney we managed 19.46Mbps (down) and 13.95Mbps (up).

That upload speed is pretty impressive when you consider the upload speed on our Optus cable home broadband connection rarely gets over 2Mbps.

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This device is a collaboration between Netgear and Telstra while under the hood Qualcomm has weighed in with the Snapdragon X16 LTE modem that supports faster data throughput on all areas of the Telstra LTE network.

Telstra’s Gigabit LTE network – developed in conjunction with Ericsson – is a world first and when combined with the world’s first Gigabit LTE device like the Netgear Nighthawk M1, it’s a match made in heaven.

The Netgear Nighthawk M1 is a bit larger than your regular mobile hotspot – but this isn’t a regular hotspot. It’s a mobile router.

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It’s square (10.5cm wide and 2cm thick) and has a circular screen – not a touch screen – you can cycle through through the pages with a short press of the on/off switch.

The M1 also has a regular Type A USB port and a USB-C port and an Ethernet port so you connect other devices and stream content from USB drives and external hard drives.

That USB Type A port can also be used to charge up your mobile devices.

The Netgear Aircard app is also a great companion. It allows users to easily set up the M1 with their own network name and password as well as manage the devices connected to the product.

You can also see how much data you’ve used and how you’ve got left and how long before that allowance refreshes. This information can also be seen on the M1’s screen.

The device can also be used as a travel router so you can share the hotel room’s connection with all of your devices.

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On the battery side, we were not disappointed. Because the M1 is a little larger than other hotspots, it’s also got room for a larger battery.

We were connected to the M1 all day through a laptop, tablet and smartphone and still had about 35 per cent battery left at the end of the day.

And what was left took us through till almost the middle of the next day.

The Netgear Nighthawk M1 is available now for $360 through Telstra or on a 24-month plan for $24 a month (1GB data per month), $45 a month (10GB) and $70 (20GB).

VERDICT

The Netgear Nighthawk M1 delivers remarkable performance on the Telstra 4G LTE network. If you want to stay connected on the go, there is simply no better way.

Any product that can keep us connected at high speed on the go will always be popular. Meet the Netgear Nighthawk M1 – a mobile router that’s so fast you might need to wear a seatbelt. The Nighthawk M1 runs on Telstra’s 4G LTE network and it’s theoretically able to hit speeds up to 1Gbps. The device is designed to keep you – and up to 20 other devices – connected on the move through the dual 2.4Ghz or 5Ghz bands it creates. So not only can you access the web and download content quickly – you can also upload…

Netgear Nighthawk M1

Rating - 100%

100%

PROS: Easy to set-up, excellent speeds, great battery life, connect up to 20 devices CONS: Larger than other mobile hotspots, speeds not close to 1Gbps - yet. VERDICT: The Netgear Nighthawk M1 delivers remarkable performance on the Telstra 4G LTE network. If you want to stay connected on the go, there is simply no better way.

User Rating: 2.17 ( 23 votes)

About Stephen Fenech

Stephen is the Tech Guide editor and one of Australia's most respected tech journalists. He is a regular on radio and TV talking about the latest tech news, products and trends.

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  • David McCook

    Hi Stephen,
    Does the M1 have any dynamic DNS options so it can be used for remote access?
    Thanks.

  • DMc

    Hi Stephen,
    Does the M1 have any dynamic DNS options so it can be used for remote access?
    Thanks.

  • Paul Robinson

    Here’s the reply I got from Netgear when I asked for support for tethering: “Based on the serial number of your device, we were able to identify that your unit is not a retail product. This type of unit is engineered / customized based on the needs of an Internet Service Provider and can only be obtained through them. This means that the support including the replacement / return should be handled through the Internet Service Provider which the product was obtained.” In short, netgear doesn’t provide support, on units obtained from Telstra at least. So, good luck with that. Still have USB tethering probs on Win 10 – MS Edge won’t load at all. Firefox sort of works after some long delay. Telstra told me to use Chrome instead, dunno why they’d want me to use a browser I totally dislike.
    Well the good side is that on WiFi, I got up to 55 Mbps on speedtest.net. Better than my <10 Mbps ADSL2+. I'm in Sydney's northwest burbs, near a largeish town. Telstra told me they're presently upgrading the cell towers and the new setup should be working by tomorrow. So I hope it gets better. Still only half of what NBN promises (when they eventually get here).