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Netgear Nighthawk M2 Mobile Router, hands on: Fast, versatile connectivity for business travellers Review

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Netgear has been busy in recent months, launching an extensive range of Wi-Fi 6 routers, extending its Orbi range of mesh networking systems, and even making a somewhat surprising detour into smart-home devices with the acquisition of the Meural ‘digital canvas’.

Amid the high-profile Wi-Fi 6 products, the company has also updated its range of portable routers with the new Nighthawk M2 Mobile Router (MR2100). The M2 has a UK price of £417 (inc. VAT; £347.50 ex. VAT; US pricing TBA), so it’s certainly not the cheapest portable router available for business travellers. However, its strong performance and versatile connectivity features will help it earn its keep when you’re on the road.

Design & features

The Nighthawk M2 packs a Cat 20 4GX LTE modem, 802.11ac wi-fi, a 2.4-inch touch screen and a 5,040mAh battery into a 105mm-square, 20.5mm-thick case.


Image: Netgear

Very much designed as a ‘travel router’ the square lozenge of the M2 measures 105mm by 105mm by 20.5mm and weighs 240g. It’s easy to slip into a briefcase or bag when you’re travelling, and won’t weigh you down. 

Like its M1 predecessor, the M2 relies on 4GX LTE mobile broadband, as Netgear argues that 5G networks aren’t sufficiently widespread to justify the extra cost of adding 5G support. However, Category 20 4GX LTE support means that the M2 doubles its maximum download speed from 1Gbps to 2Gbps, although the upload speed remains the same at 150Mbps. It then uses dual-band 802.11ac to create its own wi-fi network, which can support connections from up to 20 separate devices.

The M2 also gains a larger 2.4-inch touch-sensitive display that allows you to quickly configure the router, and to monitor signal strength, data usage and other settings. The Netgear Mobile app provides similar controls for Android and iOS devices, and there’s a browser interface available for computers as well.

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Nighthawk M2 ports (left to right): USB-A, USB-C, RJ-45 Ethernet.


Image: Netgear

The M2’s internal SIM slot and battery pack are accessed via a removable panel on the base of the unit, but the M2 has a useful selection of external connectors as well. There’s a USB-C port, which can be used for charging via the included mains adapter or from a USB port on a laptop. A laptop connected via USB-C can also be ‘tethered’ in order to provide a wired network connection if required. There’s also a traditional RJ-45 Gigabit Ethernet port, which can be used for a quick connection to a router in an office, or perhaps in a hotel room that provides Ethernet connectivity. And if you need a bit of entertainment while you’re travelling, there’s a USB-A port on the M2 as well, which can be used to stream music or video files from a USB memory stick or portable hard drive without eating up all your expensive mobile data. 

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You can use the M2 as a battery pack too, as its internal battery can top up a smartphone or tablet connected via the USB-A port.

netgear-m2-briefcase.jpg

Image: Netgear

Our only concern is that Netgear is a little vague about battery life, stating only that the M2 should provide ‘all day continuous use’. However, the battery’s 5,040mAh capacity is greater than that of many high-end smartphones so you shouldn’t have any problems if you’re simply dipping into your mobile broadband every now and then. And if you don’t need the full 2Gbps performance of the M2, then the M1 remains on sale at £245 (inc. VAT; £204.17 ex. VAT, £245 inc. VAT, or $350).

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Major tire recall issued by Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.

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Many years ago, a major recall was issued on Firestone tires that were failing and causing accidents that were sometimes fatal. Recalls in the automotive industry aren’t uncommon, and Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. has now issued a tire recall the covers more than 430,000 light truck tires in the US. The tires are being recalled due to sidewall bulges that could lead to tire failure.

Cooper says the recall covers only certain Discoverer, Evolution, Courser, Deegan, Adventurer, Hercules, Back Country, Multi-Mile, Wild Country, and Big O tires in multiple sizes. Some of those tires are also commonly used on Jeeps and other off-road vehicles as upgrades to factory rubber. Sidewall bulges pose a risk of sidewall separation that would make the tires lose air rapidly and increase the crash risk.

Cooper reports there has been no property damage, death, or injury due to the problem. The recall is expected to begin on March 25, and owners of the tires will be notified. Dealers will replace the tires at no cost. It’s unclear if there is any sort of caveat to the free replacement, such as miles or tire condition.

Some who’ve been using these tires for a while might find the recall results in newer and fresher tires. Having a blowout at high-speed certainly poses the risk of accidents and even death. Recently, automaker Hyundai issued a massive recall on electrified vehicles due to a potential risk of fire.

Reports indicate the recall in Hyundai’s instance will cost as much as $900 million and will see the automaker replacing battery systems in about 82,000 electric cars around the world. That particular recall was among the first for electric vehicles and will show how automakers and battery makers will work together for electric vehicle recalls in the future.

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Rumor claims Mercedes-AMG C63 will go hybrid

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One of the hottest AMG cars made by Mercedes-AMG is the C63. This car has traditionally had a big burly V-8 engine under the hood, making gobs of power. A new rumor has surfaced that claims that will change with the V-8 engine out and a hybrid four-cylinder powertrain in.

Automotive enthusiasts know that means an exhaust note that will lack the throaty rumble of the V-8 engine, but the hybridized four-cylinder will reportedly have massive amounts of power. What’s expected to live under the hood of the car is the AMG M139 turbocharged engine, which is used in the A45 S, combined with an electric rear-wheel-drive unit and integrated starter generator.

The turbocharger used on the four-cylinder also has electric assistance to reduce lag and improve throttle response. When all the electric and gas power is combined, rumor has it total output will be over 550 horsepower with maximum torque up to 590 pound-foot. The car will have active all-wheel drive, but a Drift mode will be standard for those who feel like putting on a smoke show.

All that power goes to the road via a nine-speed sport transmission, and the car will feature adaptive suspension and staggered tires. The vehicle will use a 400-volt electrical architecture rather than the 48-volt system used in other C-Class cars. Another interesting tidbit is that the car is tipped to drive about 40 miles on electricity alone.

One downside with hybridizing cars is the additional weight, with reports indicating the electric components add about 250 kilograms pushing the car close to 2000 kilograms overall. The upside is the smaller four-cylinder engine is reportedly 60 kilograms lighter than the outgoing V-8, and the vehicle will have a 50:50 weight distribution. The car is expected the land in the UK in early 2022, with the reveal by the end of the year.

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2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L starts at $37,000

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Many SUV fans and Jeep fans are excited to hear that an all-new three-row Grand Cherokee was coming. Jeep has officially announced the starting prices for the all-new 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L line, including the entry-level Laredo, Limited, Overland, and Summit models. This vehicle marks the first three-row Grand Cherokee Jeep has ever offered.

The Laredo trim will start at $36,995 and promises a host of standard safety features. Standard features include adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitoring along with all new LED exterior lighting, leather-wrapped steering wheel, tip and slide second-row seats, and a 10.25-inch frameless digital driver cluster with customizable menu options.

The next step up the ladder is the Limited model starting at $43,995. It includes Capri leather seats, a heated steering wheel, standard heated seats in the first two rows, remote start, and a power liftgate. The Overland model starts at $52,995, and 4×4 versions of this model include the Jeep Quadra-Trac II system and a unique Overland appearance.

Overland models get Nappa leather seats and door panels, standard ventilated front seats, premium navigation, LED ambient lighting, length adjustable front-row cushions, hands-free foot-activated power liftgate, and a dual-pane sunroof. Overland buyers can also opt for the optional Trail Rated-Road Group on 4×4 versions that adds skid plates, electronic limited-slip differential, 18-inch wheels, and all-season tires.

The Summit model starts at $56,995 and packs quilted leather seats, real wood veneers, 16-way adjustable front-row seats, and much more. The Summit Reserve starts at $61,995 and features quilted Palermo leather, open-pore waxed walnut wood trim, ventilated second-row seats, and a 950 Watt McIntosh audio system. None of the MSRP’s include the $1695 destination charge.

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