Netgear WNDR4700 Centria review: multi-functional router with hard disk

Router with removable hard disk

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Introduction

The Netgear WNDR4700 is a unique device, because it doesn't only function as a router, but also as network storage location. It's a concept that Apple applied in its Time Capsule and Western Digital also released a few models with the same feature. The WNDR4700, also called the Centria, is a little different, because it doesn't have a permanently built-in hard disk. Instead it employs a removable tray for this, the same way a NAS device does. That's practical, and also a neat twist on the concept, so we had to find out how well this Netgear router performs.


When you first look at it the WNDR4700 doesn't look any different from the other 802.11ac routers from Netgear. It's a little bigger, but the design is the same. It's also not a model from the the super-fast 802.11ac family, but a 'normal' N900 router that can achieve a maximum theoretical speed of 450 Mbps. Since most people don't yet have devices that are compatible with the new 802.11ac standard, that's not really a big deal.

Netgear WNDR4700 Centria

There is a good reason for the larger size of the WNDR4700 compared to the R6300, and that's the 3.5-inch hard disk space. That kind of makes is a router and NAS in one. Since it frequently happens that these two devices tend to be located close to each other, like in the electric metre cupboard, that's not such a bad idea. We'll find out a bit later whether it's a successful combination.

Netgear WNDR4700 Centria

With an average price of £216 it's certainly not a cheap router, especially considering that doesn't include a hard disk. Netgear also has a model that comes with a 2 TB hard disk, the WNDR4720, which is available for £282. The Apple Time Capsule with 2 TB (£238) is cheaper, and the WD My Net N900 Central 2TB is more expensive at around £290. Those have integrated hard disks however that can't be replaced without opening up the router by removing screws.


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