The Bottom Line
- Easy to install
- Works with all major US wireless carriers
- May extend phone battery life
- Measurable signal consistency improvement
- Requires wiring two devices together via rather long coax cord
- Need to mount the signal antenna on a window
- Coverage: 1500 sq. ft. in ideal conditions
- Networks: CDMA, GSM, GPRS, EDGE, EVDO, 1xRTT, UMTS, HSPA, 3G
- Model: YX540
- MSRP: $299.99
Guide Review - zBoost Metro Dual-Band Cell Phone Signal Enhancer
May 25, 2011 - The zBoost series of cell phone boosters is designed to strengthen your cell phone's voice and data signals in your home or home office. The Metro model I received for review covers 1,500 square feet, enough for single-story urban dwellings and without needing an outside antenna (there are other models with less and more area coverage if needed). The zBoost Metro also works with all US phones and mobile devices using the 800 and 1900 MHz bands (just about all of them).
The cell booster consists of two parts: a small plastic signal antenna that you mount on the inside of your window, and the zBoost base unit (about the size of a wireless access point) that you connect via coax cable at least eight feet away. Installation is very simple and fast, taking perhaps 10 minutes to get everything in place.
Unfortunately for this review (but fortunately for me otherwise), I have 5-bar coverage in my home from T-Mobile, so there wasn't much signal-boosting needed. I did, however, use several apps to get a more detailed measure of my cellular signal strength so I could compare the connection before and after plugging in the zBoost.
The Android app Real Signal showed that before using the zBoost the GSM value's low was 18, high was 27, and average was 26. After plugging in the zBoost, the values were more consistent: 26 for low, medium, and high.
The zBoost did strengthen the wireless signal so it didn't drop as low during testing as it did before, making the connection much less likely to drop.
The device is obviously best suited for people who have regular connection issues indoors. Survays commissioned by zBoost owner Wi-Ex indicate that 67% of cell phone owners have signal problems at home and 49% have attempted to improve that signal strength. Wi-Ex claims the zBoost can improve data speed from your cell phone almost three times as fast.
I'll have to test the unit again using the underwhelming iphone + AT&T combo sometime, but until then, the zBoost seems like a great solution to a common problem.