During Super-Storm Sandy, Wilson’s Sleek Signal Booster came in remarkably handy. That’s why I was so excited to review their brand new Wilson Electronics Sleek 4G Signal Booster and Home Accessory Kit.
Before we take a closer look, let me share my story about Sandy.
Super-Storm Sandy and the Wilson Electronics Sleek 4G Signal Booster
I was in Cuba when Sandy ripped through and wreaked havoc. We were lucky to be on the other side of the island. As a result we got wind, rain — I saw palm trees doubled over — but that was it. We were able to return home late Friday night, which gave me a chance to prepare to visit with Sandy a second time … that opportunity came a few days later once I was home in New Jersey.
As the rain and wind picked up, the power at our home went out. We were prepared, though; we had flashlights and candles, we had filled with refrigerator with ice, and we had filled the bathtubs with water since, when the power goes out for us, so does the water; such is life in a house with a well rather than city water. I had even thought to download a few movies so I had something to watch. I had not, however, considered the issue of phone connectivity.
Elana and I only use cell phones and, because of our location, rely on a microcell for connectivity. When the power went out, the microcell went offline … and our iPhones did too. That was a big problem. I serve a congregation of 850 households, and I needed to know how they were faring, along with what I and the synagogue could do if any of the members needed help. So there I was. I had no cell reception, and I could not drive to the synagogue due to downed power lines and assorted other issues. It was a problem but, thanks to the Wilson Electronics Sleek Signal Booster, I was able to do what needed to be done.
I jumped in my car, set up the Wilson Electronics Sleek Signal Booster and, with the added connectivity provided was able to make some calls. I was grateful to still have the review sample I had received two years ago, but there was still a problem. You see, my iPhone (and other assorted devices) now all have 4G LTE. The old review sample was designed for 3G only, and it didn’t make use of the latest technology.
Judie and I met with the company at CES 2013, and just last week, they sent a review sample of their Wilson Electronics Sleek 4G Signal Booster and Home Accessory Kit. It looks similar to the 3G model, but it takes advantage of the latest cell technology … and boy does it work!
The Wilson Electronics Sleek 4G Signal Booster has kept everything I loved about the older version, but it has improved upon a time and Sandy-proven technology even more. The booster strengthens 4G signals on all major carrier networks in North America, while continuing to boost legacy 2G and 3G signals. That means you don’t lose anything by moving to the Wilson Electronics Sleek 4G Signal Booster, but you’ll gain the ability to leverage the speed of 4G. Best of all it boosts 2,3 and 4G signals on ALL carriers in North America. This translates to enhances both voice and data communications, and it helps provide a strong, reliable signal in weak signal areas like mine. In fact, I got 2 bars on my iPhone 5 while my car was parked in the driveway yesterday, but once I placed the iPhone in the Wilson Electronics Sleek 4G Signal Booster that jumped to 4-5 bars. The improvement was almost immediate and completely obvious.
The company notes that the Wilson Electronics Sleek 4G Signal Booster provides faster, cleaner 3G and 4G data transfers, and it gives more than 20 times the power of a cell phone alone. If you live in an area with a strong signal, that might not seem all too important, but for someone like me who lives in a populated area where I still seem to have constant issues with connectivity, that improvement is a huge deal.
There is another benefit of the Wilson Electronics Sleek 4G Signal Booster. Because the signal coming to the phone is far stronger than it would otherwise be, the phone itself doesn’t have to work as hard to find a connection and stay locked to it. The result, according to the company, is far better battery life. That makes perfect sense, and I have found everything else the company has said about the Wilson Electronics Sleek 4G Signal Booster to be accurate.
One of the key advantages of the Wilson Electronics Sleek 4G Signal Booster is the simple process of installing it in your vehicle. This is not a situation where you’ll need to go to a professional and pay for the set up; rather, you can set the entire system up on your own in a matter of minutes. The cradle alone is one of the best designed phone holders I seen — this holds true even if you aren’t even using it to boost the signal.
The Wilson Electronics Sleek 4G Signal Booster comes with an adhesive pad that gets attached to the windshield or dashboard. The cradle easily connects to it, and then the included power adapter and cable brings power from your car’s power port (also known as the cigarette lighter) to the unit itself.
The main appearance differences between the Wilson Electronics Sleek 4G Signal Booster and its predecessor are that aFull-size USB replaces miniUSB, and there is a toggle between networks.
The antenna is magnetic and can be placed anywhere on the car’s roof. The instruction manual offers a number of different ways to run the cable and antenna from the unit to the outside. The simplest approach takes a matter of seconds while the more complicated one is a few minutes at most. From there you simply place your phone in the cradle, make sure the toggle is set to your carrier (up is Verizon and down is AT&T), and you are good to go. It is worth noting that the toggle to switch carriers is new with this Wilson Electronics Sleek 4G Signal Booster.
From there, I can honestly say that you can forget about having the Wilson Electronics Sleek 4G Signal Booster in your car. Now, whenever you get in the car, you simply place your phone in the cradle and drive; the signal booster does the rest.
And if you need to charge your phone while driving, you can easily attach a cable to the full-size USB post and connect your phone; because the company no longer uses a miniUSB connector, there is no need to charge you for an adapter. It is a welcome change.
If you are going to buy the Wilson Electronics Sleek 4G Signal Booster (and you should), then you might want to consider also getting the Home/Office Accessory Kit. The accessory kit is a great way to use your Wilson Sleek 4G Signal Booster at home, so you can get the same great speed and signal benefits you’ll enjoy in the car.
The home kit offers you a custom base that works with the Wilson Electronics Sleek 4G Signal Booster to make it desk or night table-friendly, an AC wall adapter, and a window mount that lets you use your antenna inside without having to permanently mount anything. Converting my Wilson Electronics Sleek 4G Signal Booster from auto to home use took about three minutes; it is even less if you purchase a second antenna.
One final item is worth considering is that when you order your Wilson Electronics Sleek 4G Signal Booster, the company offers a small adapter into which you can place a few batteries. Had I had such an accessory in the aftermath of Sandy, I would not have had to leave the (dis)comfort of my home to sit in the car to make my call. While this accessory won’t power the Wilson Sleek 4G Signal Booster for hours on end, it is great to have for those times when the power suddenly goes out.
The Wilson Electronics Sleek 4G Signal Booster is a terrific update to an already-impressive signal booster. It is more powerful than ever, works with both AT&T and Verizon, boosts 2G, 3G and 4G signals, and it has a full-size USB pass through for charging your device on the go. It is a terrific device, and it is one that is worth checking out if you have ever run into any of the connectivity issues that I “enjoy”.
You can learn more and order yours from the company website. And if you do not need the ability to switch between carriers, then you can buy a carrier-specific model and save some money. Get the Verizon Model for $115 from Amazon, or you can get the AT&T version for under $120 from Amazon. The Home Kit is available for under $25 from Amazon.
MSRP: $199.99 (It will be available in ~two weeks)
Home kit- $34.95
What I Like: Fantastic phone cradle; Easy installation; Usable at home and on the go with the Home Accessory kit; Boosts the signal immediately; Saves battery life; Fits a wide range of cellphones
What Needs Improvement: Honestly nothing; this is a product that solves and problem, does exactly what it promises, and does it for a reasonable price. How often can you say that??
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample