Review: Wilson Electronics MobilePro cellphone signal booster
Earlier this year, we reviewed the Wilson Electronics Sleek portable signal booster - in this review, we'll look at its "big brother" - the MobilePro signal booster.
Signal boosters are what you use when you find yourself stuck somewhere with little to no cellular signal. Even though mobile operators claim to cover 98% of all Americans, it is that 2% of the nation that suffers from pretty nasty holes in the coverage.
The MobilePro booster is not like those cheap stickers you used to attach to the back of your phone - this is an actual signal boosting device that picks up your signal, and retransmits it at a higher power, using an external antenna.
When I reviewed the Sleek, I was able to make calls in a notorious blind spot, so the technology used by Wilson most certainly works. The MobilePro is based on the same principle, but it is a more flexible solution. The heart of the system is its tranceiver/amplifier unit. This box is powered off a miniUSB plug, and the box includes an AC and car charger.
To use the MobilePro, you attach the included antenna, plug in the power, and watch the bars increase on your phone. To get an even better signal, you can expand the kit with a larger desktop antenna, which will pick up the signal from your phone from within several feet.
The distance between the amplifier unit and the antenna must be at least 20 feet for the system to work.
So - does the MobilePro work? You bet - I took the setup out in my car to my usual signal deadzone (which by the way, still has not been covered by my operators, so thanks for that) and checked my signal before and after plugging the MobilePro in.
Without the MobilePro, I was stuck on just one bar, with no data. A call to voicemail failed to complete. After plugging the Mobile Pro in, I went up to full bars. I made a few test calls, and did a mobile data speed test. All of these were perfect - something I'd never be able to do without the booster.
The Wilson Electronics MobilePro retails for $269.95 - which is a lot to ask for a decent signal. Thankfully, Wilson Electronics dealers have it for substantially less - you'll find it at Amazon.com for $184.99 and at Best Buy for $199.99.
If you regularly travel, being able to pick up a signal, call home and get some work done is quite important, which makes the price easy to justify. The kit includes a carrying case, and the entire setup weighs under nine ounces. The included antenna is magnetic, so you can use the MobilePro on a road trip, in a hotel room or even on a cruise ship to pick up a signal from the shore.
To order your own MobilePro, or to learn more about the accessories and features, head on over to Wilson Electronics.
Filed under: Gadling Gear Review