We recently installed a zBoost cell phone signal booster in the office after reading John Biggs’ review of it at the New York Times. I’ve been trying to get a cell phone repeater/amplifier in the office for at least a year, because our office is essentially a big Faraday cage but all the products I could find had very mixed reviews, widely varying prices, and were sold by a random mix of companies. The only seemingly non-snakeoil company we could find was SpotWave but their products seemed to be very, very expensive*. We took a gamble on the zBoost product, installed it right after the winter holidays and it’s done an amazing job of solving our cell phone reception problems. Jason reports that it’s practically doubled his Motorola Q’s battery life (Verizon service). I can comfortably take and make calls on my cell phone sitting at my desk (Cingular service) — no more needing to step outside and battle with the noise of traffic. For anyone considering getting one of these things, I highly recommend the zBoost product. We bought ours from here at Wi-Ex for $399.
(On a side note, I happened to pass by SpotWave’s booth at CES this year and chatted with them and they have recently released a single band cell phone amplifier product for the small businesses like zBoost’s. They confirmed that zBoost’s product was effective, but raised some concerns about whether it was fully compliant with cell phone company and FCC regulations… I’m not how concerned we should be about that, but at this point, we’d have to be doing something very wrong to make me give the thing up!)
14 thoughts on “Brief zBoost cell phone signal booster review”
I am the Director of Product Management for Wi-Ex. I appreciate your review of our product and I understand your concern for some of the ads for lower quality products to boost indoor coverage.
I am disappointed that another company would make vague negative comments about another company’s products. All Wi-Ex products are FCC approved and have been reviewed by all of the major cell phone providers. Our patent-pending technology ensures that Wi-Ex products provide high quality performance and protect the carrier’s network at a very affordable price.
Some questions one should ask when looking for an indoor coverage solution are:
(1) Is it a complete solution with everything included?
(2) Is it easy to install and setup?
(3) Does it work well in variious types of installation conditions?
(3) Are dual-band products available that are compatible with carriers offering service in both Cellular and PCS bands (such as Cingular/AT&T and Verizon)?
Answering these questions, I am confident that consumers will find (as you have) that zBoost from Wi-Ex is a valuable addition to homes and small offices. Thanks again for your review and comments. I will be happy to answer any additional questions you may have.
Director – Product Management
I just ordered one for my place too… thanks!
John, Just to be clear, Spotwave didn’t say anything negative about your products, on the contrary, the person I spoke with was pretty positive and almost acknowledged that they were behind in this area. There were just some general comments that the person I spoke to made (perhaps even before I mentioned that we were using a zBoost product) about how some of the solutions on the market weren’t approved by the cell phone companies and/or the FCC. I’m glad to hear that the zBoost solution is FCC approved. Like I mentioned in my post, it’s a must have for us and I effusively recommend it to people. I would recommend you guys work on your website. It’s not clear that Wi-Ex makes the product — it looks like you are just resellers. And more product data, close-ups of the product (the New York Times had a better/bigger picture of your product than your own website did!), 3rd party reviews, etc. would go a long way as well.
I got here from Richard’s blog, and I am whatdering what you all might think about this product’s application in a rural setting. We have a property in the country that has a poor signal almost everywhere. I find myself wanering around outside while having a conversation, and it gets really old. What sort of range are you getting with it?
btw.. that should be wondering… and wandering… apparently it’s Friday 🙂
Katherine, my guess on the rural setting question….. (I’m in Rakesh’s office building and also love this thing)
I strongly suspect it will work, as long as you can get a signal outside on your roof.
You could put the antenna on a pole on your roof (as we did) (make sure to ground it properly)…. provided that standing on your roof in a fixed location gets a good signal, the repeater should work. Maybe if you can get above any treeline or obstruction it could improve your input signal.
I think we may have to give this a try.
Is there a way that I can determine location (directions) of my verizon signal? This would seem pertinent to antena placement.
You can determine the direction of your signal easily (for any network) using any cellular repeaters. You can try pointing the antenna in different directions and at different altitudes etc, using your mobile phone as feedback. When your phone registers strong signal, you know you’ve got the right direction. Just make sure to try each antenna position for about a minute to give your phone a chance to adapt.
If you want this job made even easier, you could go for the clear voice repeater kit at http://www.repeaterstore.com which has indicator lights built into the repeater so you can see how strong the signal strength is in each position you place the antenna.
Hi, Wondering if this product can be used by more than one phone of the same carrier at the same time, as we have 4 phones in the house. Thanks
Yes, it definitely works with multiple phones and multiple carriers at the same time. We have a bunch of cell phones in the office spanning at least three or four different carriers.
This product has really worked well for me. I have suffered from low reception for years and now my wife gets perfect cell reception also. I could have used this years ago and know a million other people who are the same. I understand that because cellular networks are not allowed to produce these repeater products they have not broken into the mainstream: http://www.repeaterstore.com/news/why-don%e2%80%99t-the-cell-networks-offer-cell-phone-repeaters
This is so typical of multi national corporations (read, the networks) – there is a genuine solution for cell signal – yet they do not promote it as their is no money in it for them!
Does it work with US Cellular service/phones as well?
I know someone who has this in their office. He says that they do the job and work just fine. His setup includes abotu 3 differentnetwork providers.