Netgear Nighthawk M1 Mobile Router Review: Dreaming of Gigabit

Huge expectations, a five star device for other great reasons

When Telstra, Ericsson, Qualcomm and Netgear got together recently to launch a new product we knew it was going to be something special.  And the expectations created from the launch of what Telstra is calling GigabitLTE are high.

I’ve been testing the all-new Netgear Nighthawk M1 mobile router for a little while now, in optimal conditions and regional Australia and I think what we have here is the best portable hotspot on the market – worthy of the more fitting name – Mobile Router.

Remember the tests and demos Telstra did where speeds in excess of 800 or 900Mbps were achieved.  Those were essentially lab tests.  The real world is a few pegs down, but still super impressive.

Telstra told us at the launch that in real-world conditions you’d expect more like 300-350Mbps downloads at best, with 150Mbps upload speeds.

So just what is it capable of?  Stunning speeds, no question.

The upgrade of Telstra’s 4G network towers to support Gigabit LTE is going to take some time, my guess is right now there is one tower location in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane which will expand over the weeks and months ahead and as demand grows.

Driving around the Sydney city CBD doing speed tests on my mobile while connected to the Nighthawk M1 Mobile Router via WiFi the results were all over the shop.

I got download speeds as little as 47Mbps (little – come on, that’s amazing), and as high as 340.06Mbps.

Yep, 340Mbps.  Wow. Uploads peaked at 50.84Mbps.

Now I did a LOT of tests.  So many that I used 10GB of data on my SIM – oops:)

The range of results, and the difference in range from one spot in the city to the next is enormous.  I could be getting 90-100 in one spot, or 300 the next.  At first I thought I’d found the “hot spot” at the top of Martin Place on Elizabeth St, then I had a similar huge result down on Liverpool St many blocks south.

This is not a flaw in the system – this is more likely due to the fact the network is brand new.  Once all the city towers are upgraded there will be solid consistency across the city.

These are not Gigabit speeds, and they won’t be.  Regardless, these speeds are stunning.

As for the Netgear Nighthawk M1 itself, what a cracker.

The battery life is amazing, I used it all day driving some 10 hours, with my phone connected streaming music.  Battery never missed a beat.  This thing is a genuine all-day router for those out and about.

Then there’s the ethernet port.  Now this might seem unimportant to many people – for those serious about connecting this means you are tapping directly into the available speeds.  I use a remote connection device for doing my radio show on the road – connecting via the ethernet port means a solid reliable connection.

It’s a big device, when compared to other traditional mobile hotspots, but they suffer from poor battery life and don’t have the technology on board the this one has.

Overall, it’s a fantastic portable office option.   The device will set you back $360 then on top of that you need an ongoing Telstra data plan.

New plans from Telstra show $15 a month on a twelve month plan gets you 1GB per month, $45 per month for twelve months gets you 10GB and $70 per month for twelve months gets you 20GB of data.

If you’re ok to commit to two years months at $45 or $70 you’ll get the device for free, at $24 a month you get 1GB of data and the device paid off at $9 a month included in that $24.

Remember, it’s FAST so you’ll chew through data faster than normal!

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Tech

Trevor produces two of the most popular technology podcasts in Australia, Your Tech Life and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He has a weekly radio show on 2UE, as well as appearances across the country and regularly provides Technology Commentary to Channel 9’s Today Show and A Current Affair. Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave. Like this post? Buy Trev a drink!
9 Comments on this post.
  • Jason
    15 February 2017 at 11:37 am
    Leave a Reply

    Try connecting over ethernet instead of using Wi-Fi. In the same spot you got 340mbps, your ethernet speeds over a cat6+ rated cable should be much higher than that.

    • Trevor Long
      15 February 2017 at 1:54 pm
      Leave a Reply

      Not really a “portable” situation though. I use the Ethernet when at a hotel or somewhere, but not out and about. Good to know though!

  • daryl
    16 February 2017 at 6:35 am
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    I have one, it’s faster than my ADSL and not bad on the train but not the best in a cutting which is to be expected but wondered if the aggregation would improve things in difficult landscape.

  • daryl
    18 February 2017 at 3:24 am
    Leave a Reply

    one initial impression is that it doesn’t get as warm as the previous 4GX device.

  • Anita
    20 February 2017 at 12:34 pm
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    I’d like to know if this device can be connected to a yagi antenna for people in the country who don’t have very good mobile service? Also can this device be used as wifi router (for example could i connect this to a satellite service and use as wifi device)?

    • Trevor Long
      21 February 2017 at 7:27 pm
      Leave a Reply

      No, and No. Get Satellite NBN and a wifi router

    • Colin Donaghy
      21 February 2017 at 9:59 pm
      Leave a Reply

      Yes, has two TS9 antenna ports under the rubber flaps.

      • Trevor Long
        22 February 2017 at 8:42 pm
        Leave a Reply

        Awesome, good to know!

  • melih Goker
    9 March 2017 at 12:06 pm
    Leave a Reply

    Hi I like to know while not using NightHawkM1 but leaving it ON does it still use DATA
    I normally use 10 GB per month on my ipad after NightHawkM1 45 gb in FOUR days
    Telstra cannot eork it out easy way out U Used it even thought I’ve been using 10 gb for the past 36 months doesnt tell them anything
    Stiill ongoing issue

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