Monday, August 11, 2008

Cell Phone Booster: zBoost YX600 Series Reviewed

The cell phone coverage in my home office was horrendous....I needed a top of the line cell phone booster. I spent a lot of time researching various options for cell phone signal boosters online and was surprised just how little information is out there. I know a few people that have boosters for their phones so I know they work...I just wanted something that provided a little more coverage than the ones I had seen in person.

After months of on and off research I ended up getting a dual band cell phone booster with an antenna intended for outside use. I looked at plenty of cell boosters with antennas you could set by the window but that wouldn't cut it for me. My office is in a lower level of the house and even right next to the window I barely received a signal and even if I managed to make a call it would just drop within the first few minutes....if it even stayed connected that long.

Anyway here's the model I went with. As I was browsing around the features looked like just what I was after:

  • Improves coverage up to 10,000sq ft and enhances all cell phone functions
  • Ideal for larger homes, warehouses or office buildings
  • Provides cell phone coverage where inside signal is weak or dead spots exist
  • Dual band product that works with all cell phone providers except Nextel IDEN frequency

  • This particular cell phone booster also had some great/honest reviews. <<< Click that link if you want to read the full reviews or just let me spoon feed you what I think you need to read:

    "Wi-Ex's zBoost Dualband Cellphone Signal Booster works brilliantly if set up properly. The average signal strength as tested on 4 CDMA devices increased from 0-2 unstable bars to as many as 4 bars inside the house in a relatively weak signal area. I did not test before and after GSM signal fidelity because I did not have any devices available at the time of set up.

    Wait! I didn't say, "Go buy it" yet. Let's face something- many of us are not made of money, and the price tag of the Dualband Cellphone Signal Booster isn't exactly pennies on the dollar. I searched far and wide for less expensive equipment to boost the signal available here inside the house, and I found none with a similar level of perceived credibility. Unfortunately, the price is still fairly substantial for a product I consider to be a convenience accessory for most non-business customers. "

    *****

    "There is not a place in my 3000 square foot house that doesn't get a signal. This is a tremendous improvement considering I had to keep my phone near a window so as not to miss or lose calls. Is it expensive? Only if you see it as something you don't really need, but considering how much my family uses their mobile phones at home I consider it a bargain.


    My only real complaint is with the instructions. They do not include photographs or drawings that label each component and the order in which they should be connected together. It would have helped me greatly in visualizing how I was going to install everything before I got started."

    *****

    I don't need the dual band but might at some point so went ahead and got it. Didn't really care about the lack of coverage for Nextel either...haven't known anyone for years that uses a Nextel. I don't have a 10,000 square foot house either but figured I would much rather have too much (in terms of coverage) than not enough.

    I ordered with Amazon and everything arrived as planned. One note, if you happen to the order the cell phone booster I linked to above note that it does not come with the cable you'll need to complete the installation. I ordered the cable from Amazon at the same time I ordered the booster.

    Long story short - I now get 1 - 2+ bars everywhere in my house when I use to not even get a signal on the lower levels. I haven't dropped a call since I set everything up (about a week ago) and it's nice not having a dead battery on my phone every morning because my phone spent all night looking for a signal. This booster works with multiple phones at the same too. Handy feature.

    Now you won't go from no signal to 4 bars but when installed properly this booster will give you a reliable signal in places that were dead before. There are a few places in my house where I show 0 bars but even then I still can make/receive calls with no problems. According to the documentation that came with the booster here's what you should expect:

    Question: Why isn't my cell phone indicating more signal with more bars?

    Answer: Our YX500-PCS product has a total gain (antenna to antenna) of 58 db. The YX500-CEL has 56db. You will not observe that gain on your signal meter because of the signal spreading out from the antenna. If your phone has a db meter, 3db is a signicant increase of 2X, 6db is 4x and 10db is 10X. On a 4 bar phone, 1 "bar" equals about 10db.

    The increase in signal you will see depends on:

    1. The level of the signal at the signal antenna (outdoor).
    2. The care of the installation.
    3. The signal already present inside.
    4. The distance of your phone/device from the base unit - signal spreads/diminishes rapidly with distance.

    I will personally attest to #4. If I lay my phone on or very close to the booster I get 4 bars...moving just a few feet away drops me to 1 or 2 bars...still a solid signal though. Sometimes I just leave my phone laying on the booster and use my bluetooth wireless ear bud. Perfect signal, and I do mean perfect.

    Overall I give this booster a 5 star review. It's a little pricey but worth it if you need a reliable signal booster for your cell phone. If you're thinking about buying this booster or have any questions feel free to leave them in the comments below.

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