Netgear Nighthawk M6 Pro review: Wi-Fi wherever you go (2024)

The best wireless routers are perfectly fine when you're safe at home (as are the best mesh systems), but what about when you're out and about? That's where the Netgear Nighthawk M6 Pro comes in: it's a high-end mobile router that connects to cellular networks to provide the best mobile Wi-Fi hotspot anywhere.

It's perfect for people who need to stay connected on the go, whether you're heading out camping or going to a business conference. You do need a data SIM card to go with it though – as none are included – so that's another cost to factor into the price of running this mobile router.

Our Netgear Nighthawk M6 Pro review – which has included use in the UK, South Korea and the USA, to test its worldwide capabilities on different networks and bands – is comprehensive enough so you'll know for sure whether this pricey mobile router is the best option for you.

Netgear Nighthawk M6 Pro: Price & Availability

The Netgear Nighthawk M6 Pro is available to buy now, and will set you back around £850 in the UK and $900 in the US (it's cheaper if you buy it locked to a carrier).

In the UK, it's available at retailers including Amazon and Ebuyer, as well as the Netgear Store – and if you check the widgets embedded on this page, you'll see the best prices for it currently available on the web.

Netgear Nighthawk M6 Pro review: Design & Setup

Netgear Nighthawk M6 Pro review: Wi-Fi wherever you go (1)

(Image credit: Future / Mike Lowe)

The Netgear Nighthawk M6 Pro comes in a box with a USB cable and a plug adapter – there's no SIM card in there, though, so you're going to have to buy your own. You'll need a relevant card depending on territory, too, so if you're travelling that'll likely involve multiple SIMs for multiple countries and networks.

Networks will happily sell you a data-only 4G or 5G SIM to work in this mobile router, so it's up to you how much you want to spend – just factor it into the cost when buying this piece of kit. Having bought a card at a South Korean airport for not too much cash at all, it's clear some countries will offer better value than others.

Getting the SIM card into its slot is a little bit fiddly, though, as it's tucked away behind the removable battery inside the unit – you just need to prise the plastic back off the unit. We actually had to look up the instructions online because we couldn't quite figure out the process from the bundled quick-start guide (there's a QR code on a sticker on the rear of the device to help). Physically slipping a SIM in and out of the holder is the fiddly part – keep hold of a SIM tool to assist!

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(Image credit: Future / Mike Lowe)

In terms of overall aesthetic the Netgear Nighthawk M6 Pro is functional and business-like, though not without a certain style – for a router at least. Weighing in at 256 grams with the battery inside, the device has a 105mm square footprint and is 21.5mm thick/tall – so it more or less fits in the palm of your hand, and you'll barely notice it if you're carrying it in a bag.

Once you've got the SIM card in and you've powered up the router, it's a breeze to use really. The on-screen menus are clear and straightforward, and mean you can get everything set up (like the Wi-Fi name and password) without an app – though there are accompanying apps for Android and iOS if you need them.

However, we did find that with little encouragement the front display would mark and scratch – this should be a more resistant material, really, as even the best phones have greater resistance to the elements than this. It doesn't affect use, though.

Netgear Nighthawk M6 Pro review: performance and features

(Image credit: Future / Mike Lowe)

The specs of the Netgear Nighthawk M6 Pro really are impressive, with support for 5G and Wi-Fi 6E, and with a 2.5Gbps Ethernet port built in. You can use it as a mobile hotspot, as a replacement for your main router at home, or as an extender for your main router at home (offering wired internet in a room with a weak Wi-Fi signal, for example).

Testing the router out on a camping trip, we were getting respectable speeds of 10Mbps or so, hampered by a lack of decent mobile signal in that area – which is to be expected in the middle of nowhere. However, the router did well at keeping multiple devices connected, all around the tent and the car (and even as far as the campsite office, half a field away).

Back home, with a better signal, we were getting in the region of 60Mbps. Again, the connections stayed strong and reliable, but it's a small, portable device – you're not going to get the range and the signal strength you do from a bigger router. That said, it's a handy 4G/5G backup if your broadband goes down for whatever reason.

Netgear Nighthawk M6 Pro review: Wi-Fi wherever you go (4)

(Image credit: Future / Mike Lowe)

We've had far better results elsewhere, though, with Seoul in South Korea offering exemplary connection speeds: our 5G SIM there achieved 108Mbps download speeds and over 32Mbps upload – better than some home internet connections of colleagues in the UK! That's good enough to upload 4K video without bother, although on a SIM that could become super-costly.

You can connect up to 32 devices, with support for 2.4Ghz, 5GHz and 6GHz bands, and coverage goes up to 1,000 square feet (93 square metres). Battery life is quoted as 13 hours from the 5040mAh cell (about the size of a large-capacity phone these days), though we didn't get much past 10 – it really depends how hard the router is working and how many devices you've got hooked up to it.

As the battery is replaceable, however, you can buy additional ones if you know you'll be really hammering its use. Alternatively, you can plug in an additional mobile battery through the USB-C port, for example, which is something we tested out at a conference in the USA – and that enabled even longer sessions for non-stop work coverage (always handy when there's no decent Wi-Fi in a venue!).

Netgear Nighthawk M6 Pro review: Verdict

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(Image credit: Future / Mike Lowe)

If you're on the go a lot – whether for business or even living the van or canal boat life – then the Netgear Nighthawk M6 Pro mobile router will keep you connected just about anywhere. Once it's up and running, it's really simple to use, and you can depend on it for a connection that's as speedy as the nearest cell tower will allow – anywhere around the world.

That said, for occasional on-the-go connections, most people are going to be fine using their phones as 4G/5G hotspots. How often, really, are you without Wi-Fi? And how often do you need to connect 32 devices at once? We can't imagine that this is a device that masses of people will truly need.

But if you do require a mobile router then we can wholeheartedly recommend the Netgear Nighthawk M6 Pro. Wired or Wi-Fi, battery or mains power, one connected device or two dozen, it's a clever and versatile gadget. It's delivered aplenty for our tests in the UK, USA and South Korea, which just goes to show how versatile a device this is.

Also consider

There's not a whole lot of competition out there for the Netgear Nighthawk M6 Pro, which makes us think that most people are simply settling for using their phones if they need a hotspot while they're out and about. The devices that are out there are mostly US-only too.

It's worth considering whether devices with SIM functionality built-in might suit you better than the Netgear Nighthawk M6 Pro: both the Apple iPad Pro and the Microsoft Surface Pro 9 come with a SIM slot and are 5G compatible, for example, and both devices can be configured to act as Wi-Fi hotspots for other gadgets.



Netgear Nighthawk M6 Pro review: Wi-Fi wherever you go (2024)


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