Review: The Best Portable Cell Signal Booster, The Wilson Sleek

Posted on Nov 7 2010 - 11:56am by Cameron Wright

The Wilson Sleek is a mobile cell signal booster.  It comes with a magnetic mini-antenna, mini-USB auto power cord, and a cradle which boosts the signal as well as holds the phone.  I was also sent some of the additional accessories, a home kit with Antenna Window Mount, Adjustable Suction Cup Cradle Mount, and AC power supply.

For the past few days I have been testing this product, with pretty amazing results.  I first went out and did some test drives, locating the weakest areas for cell service on Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile.  I mapped out the worst areas that I could to test this product in locations that would push its limits.  With each carrier I located places where both data and voice dropped, then the following day I went and tested the Sleek with an Evo 4G, Droid 2, and my trusty G1 (side note: If I had an AT&T phone I would have tested that as well).

SIGNAL HELL

I know of one area where none of the carriers have a signal, it is a nearly half mile long stretch of road, this was my first stop.  Using the Sleek I was able to maintain a phone conversation with all three carriers, although with all three it was definitely not the clearest call quality when in the middle of this stretch.  I also tested data quality and which version of cell network it maintained.  Both Verizon and Sprint dropped to CDMA 1xRTT, but only for a few hundred meters.  They maintained their CDMA: EvDo Rev. A, significantly longer.   What amazed me was that through the entire stretch, while moving, none of the phones lost a connection.

I also tested the Sleek by stopping every 100 meters and seeing the signal strength.  This was the only time when the Sleek lost a signal.  It took me 20 minutes of stopping and moving forward slightly before I caused it to lose a connection.  Without the Sleek powered on I was registering -125 dBm or no connection at all with all three carriers through this section of road.  With the phone cradled and the Sleek powered on I was unable to drop below -110 dBm, while moving.

DAY TO DAY DRIVING

I then tested in real world situations, again testing with and without the cradle powered on.  I would stop and test the phone in weak and strong signal areas.  My typical result was always an average of -23 dBm signal increase, including the highest signal strength that I have ever witnessed on any phone that I have owned, -41 dBm.  I drove through the Amish country of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania with all three carriers and not one time was able to get any of the phones to completely drop a signal.  If anyone has driven through these areas then they’ll understand what a feat that is.  I have come away impressed.

CONCLUSION

I would highly recommend this product for anyone who drives long distances or lives on the fringe of any cell network.  The Wilson Sleek is absolutely worth every penny.  Paired with the Home and Office Kit you really can’t beat the portability and simplistic “installation” that comes with this product.

Pros: Inexpensive, Portable, Easy to Install, Surprisingly powerful, Helps extend battery life (sometimes quite significantly)

Cons: Does not work with ‘4G’ technologies (WiMax and LTE) or with T-Mobile 3G/’4G’ data bands

IF THERE IS NO SIGNAL, no matter what the booster can do, there is still NO signal.  It can only do so much.

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About the Author

I'm like a Teddy bear, brother, gadget guru and garbage pail kid all rolled into one! Huge Android fan - writer at Gadget University, AndroidSPIN, and of course, TDG. My first Android phone didn't have an OS with a codename. I've owned a Nexus, Evo 4G, and now a Thunderbolt. I've made my rounds writing for AndroidFeens, AbsolutelyAndroid, thedroidguy, and currently write for GadgetU as well. I volunteer with the Red Cross (SEPA Chapter). My fiancée and I welcomed our first (and only child into this world in Feb - 2 months early).

  • http://woodworking-books.org woodworking ebooks

    The Wilson Sleek is absolutely worth every penny.

  • http://twitter.com/percyholl percyholl

     I would highly recommend this product for anyone who drives long distances or lives on the fringe of any cell network, they provides best networks and products.
    mobile signal booster