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Customer Review

1,093 of 1,208 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't waste your time, get the Wilson Dual Band Pro, February 8, 2011
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Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: zBoost ZB545 SOHO Dual Band Cell Phone Signal Booster for Home and Office, up to 2,500 sq. ft. (Wireless Phone Accessory)
I'm writing this review partially because it is therapeutic but mostly to help others in my situation buy the right product for the job! Short story for those who don't want to read my novel... Wilson rocks ... Z-Boost not so much. If you're on the fringe of coverage, do yourself a favor and spend the extra 50 bucks for a superior quality product (Wilson Dual Band Pro). You won't be disappointed!

The Z-boost (or what I like to call the Z-bust) was to be used at a cottage on the fringe of cellular coverage (1 bar standing on my roof and barely any 3G coverage). I purchased the z-boost along with the YX510 panel antennas thinking I had what I needed. I was pretty excited about finally getting 3G signal at the cottage!

I spent a few hours hooking up the system (with no help from the lousy instructions). I had GPS coordinates of the nearest cell towers and exact directional info on where to point my antennas. I started with 100 ft of RG6 cable to give me some flexibility on locating the antenna and booster as I was aware of the challenges resulting from proximity oscillation between the two.

Once installed, I powered up the iphone to see the results... The z-boost showed all systems go (with the very informative green light). From 10 feet away, I had negligible improvement in voice or data. Once I moved outside the 10 foot range, nothing at all.

I masked my disappointment and climbed back on the roof and adjusted the antennas to the next closest tower (I had exact directional info for this one too). I climbed back down and repeated the testing process...no better. At this point, I was ready to throw everything back in the box but read the little slip in the box that said, "do not return this product...call z-boost installation support". I gave them a call. No answer but I left a VM. 24 hours...no response. I called again and finally got someone. The conversation did not start well as the patronizing little **** on the other end of the phone assumed I was a complete idiot. I tried to assure this individual that we could skip to the technical trouble shooting and it was OK to use the big words with me.

The most helpful advice from Z-boost installation support was that my 100ft cable was too long and that I should spin the antenna 360 degrees. When I tried to explain that I recognized there would be some signal degradation due to cable length but it shouldn't be enough to render the system completely useless, he went into idiot mode again. I also needed to explain that 360 degrees represented a complete circle that ended at the same place!

10 minutes later,everything Z-boost was back in the box on its way to the Amazon returns center. For fun, I called up the Wilson help desk (who encourages presales calls to ensure you purchase the right configuration of system before it arrives). I learned more in 10 minutes on the phone with this guy than I had all day with Z-boost. The rep explained that when you're on the fringe of coverage with lots of geographical contour that an omni-directional antenna is much better. The signal bounces around and can come from many directions simultaneously. Unless you have unrestricted line of sight with a tower, directional antennas are not appropriate. He also explained the importance of power boost.

Longer story somewhat shorter...I bought the Wilson Pro. This unit cost me $50 more than I had invested in Z-bust crap. Once installed (using the same 100 ft RG6 wire and same antenna location), I had immediate 4 bar cell coverage all through the house and amazing 4 mbps upload and download speeds where I had none before! It's an amazing product and cannot even be compared to Z-boost.

I'm a happy 3G camper now but not a big Z-boost fan!
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Tracked by 7 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 56 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 14, 2011 2:26:25 PM PST
CabanaGirl says:
Can you post what number you called Wilson? Or inbox me at digodfrey@hotmail.com
Thanks for the awesome review!

Posted on Feb 19, 2011 6:54:49 AM PST
Ruth Adamson says:
I know this was frustrating for you but this made me laugh out loud "I also needed to explain that 360 degrees represented a complete circle that ended at the same place!" I will check out the Wilson Pro, thanks for the review.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 28, 2011 7:59:48 AM PDT
Balrog says:
I also appreciate this review. I know you said it was partly therapeutic, but you should know that reviews by savvy people like you really does help those of us whose idea of hi-tech is a multi-function TV remote.
Telling it in normal English is also a big plus. Please keep it up!
Thanks again

Posted on May 31, 2011 12:38:10 PM PDT
R. Roberto says:
You don't think, by any chance, the rep was trying to tell you to "sweep" the antenna through 360 degrees to find a better signal? (essentially the same thing the Wilson rep said when explaining about the omni directional antenna? That is my first guess after your tale tho I agree most customer service these days are seriously lacking. Remember, the average individual calling these people are idiots at worst, and completely confused or ignorant at best so the reps have been trained to deal with those people, not the ones who think they have it under control and just need a little hand.

Posted on Jun 4, 2011 11:23:57 AM PDT
Grace Renn says:
Thank you for your review! You just saved us a ton of fustration and put a smile on our face.

Posted on Jul 7, 2011 8:58:40 PM PDT
J. Garakani says:
hate to break it to you directional antennas > better then omnidirectional. You probably didnt have it set right.

Posted on Jul 26, 2011 6:49:43 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Oct 19, 2015 6:13:47 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 7, 2011 8:00:56 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 7, 2011 8:01:47 PM PDT
Chris A. says:
"Once installed (using the same 100 ft RG6 wire and same antenna location)" - exactly as others question - you used the same location but changed antenna's from the one you thought should work better to the one that Wilson recommended. The Wilson could very well be a better product, but it's not an apples to apples comparison if you switched antennas when you switched products.

Posted on Dec 29, 2011 8:19:20 PM PST
You sound like you know a bit more than the next guy, but cellular signals (especially in fringe locations) do not "bounce around" and come from different directions and then somehow aggregate to a stronger signal at an antenna. RF power drops exponentially by the square of the distance no matter the path. So even if you could (not going to happen) catch reflected signals, they would be much weaker than the line-of-sight signal, much like visible light (also electromagnetic propagation). In fact, above about 30MHz the radio horizon is literally that. Can't get around the physics, my friend. If the rep told you that, it just shows how little he actually knows. I'm glad you got it working, but like others have pointed out, it's not because the Z was a P.O.S. and the Wilson was advanced alien technology.

Posted on Jan 3, 2012 9:14:21 AM PST
I marked this as a useful review, because he gave a lot of information, especially about the importance of selecting the right product. I think his 1 star review was harsh however. It sound like he simpy had the wrong tool for his task at hand.
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