If you've ever found yourself on a lone road in the middle of nowhere with zero bars of reception on your phone, it's quite likely that you've entertained the idea of grabbing a signal booster. Wilson Electronics, one of the best known manufacturers of such devices, is introducing its latest Sleek 4G booster at CES. What makes this version different from the models launched just a few months ago? Instead of needing separate boosters for AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile, it's now capable of supporting phones, tablets and hotspots on all three, as well as legacy signals for all other US carriers. Head to the press release for more details.
Update: We actually had a chance to catch up with Wilson Electronics here at CES Unveiled 2013 and spend some brief time with the Sleek 4G signal booster. For a piece of kit that can take virtually any US wireless frequency (with Nextel and WiMAX as the only exceptions) and amplify it, the Sleek 4G signal booster is a quite unassuming black, plastic accessory. The add-on, which is set to retail for $199, works by plugging into any smartphone via USB -- yes, your phone will have to be on to power it -- and features a switch alongside that port to toggle between AT&T and Verizon's LTE. Considering the ever-growing sizes of smartphones these days, Wilson's seen fit to include three sets of extenders in the box to accommodate whatever handset you happen to sporting. It begins shipping next week, so if you typically have issues with cell reception, this could very well be one (pricey) solution.
Wilson Electronics Sleek 4G signal booster hands-on at CES Unveiled 2013See all photos
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Joseph Volpe and Sarah Silbert contributed to this report.
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World's Most Advanced 4G Mobile Cellular Signal Booster Covers 5 Spectrum Bands
The Sleek 4G signal booster from Wilson Electronics boosts 4G signals for AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon customers, as well as legacy signals for all U.S. carriers
Las Vegas – Jan. 7, 2013 – Promising stronger signals and fewer dropped connections, Wilson Electronics, North America's leading maker of cellular signal boosters, today announced the Sleek® 4G, the world's most advanced 4G mobile booster designed to improve cell reception in cars, trucks, boats and other vehicles.
The Sleek 4G boosts cellular signals inside a vehicle for customers whose devices operate on all U.S. carriers' 4G networks (except WiMAX). The Sleek 4G also will also amplify pre-existing signals, which includes all major carriers and their legacy voice and data services. This allows the user to enjoy a strong, reliable signal even where 4G services are unavailable.
Benefits include fewer dropped connections and no-service "dead zones," faster data transfer rates and improved battery life for wireless devices. The Sleek 4G was named an International CES Innovations 2013 Design and Engineering Awards Honoree, and is on display in the Wilson Electronics booth #35666 through Jan. 11 at the International CES in the Las Vegas Convention Center.
"The Sleek 4G offers cellular customers a complete mobile signal boosting solution," said Laine Matthews, Wilson's director of business development. "It maintains a strong, reliable signal for any cellular device. We're always striving to deliver the best boosters to our customers, and it's great that we can offer a device that works with multiple carriers' 4G networks, as well as legacy networks, that's this small and this affordable."
The Sleek 4G measures just 2.5 by 4.5 by 2.5 inches (6.4 x 11.4 x 6.4 cm) and weighs only three ounces (85 grams). The device is sold as a plug-and-play kit and is expected to be available later this month from Wilson retailers with a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $199.95. No tools are required for installation, and most any consumer can install the Sleek 4G in his or her vehicle in a matter of minutes.
The Sleek 4G's patented, all-in-one cradle design facilitates use of a Bluetooth headset or other hands-free device by those behind the wheel. An optional accessory kit converts the Sleek 4G into an indoor booster suitable for home or office. The Sleek 4G is FCC type accepted.
The Sleek 4G delivers more than 20 times the power of a typical cell phone, and works with all U.S. cellular devices including tablets, modems and mobile hotspots like the Mi-Fi™ and JetPack™. Like all Wilson signal boosters, this device features cell site protection techniques developed through cooperative effort between Wilson and several major cellular carriers that prevent the possibility of interference with any nearby cell tower.
How it Works
The roof-mounted antenna receives a weak signal from a cell tower and sends it over a thin coax cable to the Sleek 4G cradle. The signal is then boosted by the Sleek 4G's built-in amplifier and transmitted to the cell phone or other device by the Sleek 4G's built-in antenna. The process is then repeated in reverse to send a boosted signal from the phone or other device back to the cell tower.