As router, the Netgear WNDR4700 definitely managed to convince us of its right to exist. Its performance is outstanding, and it can even hold its own with the best high-end routers on the market. Netgear's software is good, with the Genie program you can configure all of the settings from the desktop so you can avoid the less organized web interface.
Adding an internal hard disk to the mix (not hot-swappable) is not a bad idea in our opinion. However, in the case of the WNDR4700 it's mainly useful for making back-ups, which is a breeze with the excellent ReadyShare Vault software. The role of the internal disk pretty much ends there. While the router is DLNA compatible, you first have to copy the files before you can play them. There are no NAS features included and you can't install any apps. We would have liked to have at least a download client. As it is you might as well attach an external disk to your PC, download media files to that, and then plug it into a media player or HTPC.
The transfer rates to and from the internal disk inside the WNDR4700 are good, but the speed of the USB 3.0 ports are very close which almost makes it pointless to put a hard disk inside. On the other hand, now you have multiple fast connections you can use any way you want. The SD card reader is also a nice bonus.
One thing we didn't like about the WNDR4700 is the relatively loud fan, that always spins even if there's no hard disk inside. It might not bother everyone, and it depends where you put the router, but it would be nice if you had the option of disabling it.
Had Netgear designed this router without the hard disk option but with the same outstanding performance, it would have earned itself the Gold Award. That's how fast this router is. But the hard disk feature brings with it a loud fan that's always on. The transfer rates of the hard disk are good, but the USB 3.0 ports are almost as fast. The main reason we are giving it the Silver instead of Gold Award is that the hard drive feature only provides limited added value in our opinion.
Netgear WNDR4700 (Centria)