CelLynx 5BARz Road Warrior Cell Phone Signal Booster Review

Can you hear me now? Everyone with a cellphone has probably asked that question at one time or another while checking the signal on their phone. I’ve been skeptical of so called signal boosters after reviewing the the Cell Ranger PORT Signal Booster a few years back, but agreed to try the CelLynx 5BARz Road Warrior Cell Phone Signal Booster when it was offered to me. Let’s see if this one really does what it claims.

Hardware Specifications

Maximum input power: +20 dBm
Output power: 0.25 watt average /1 watt maximum
Service Antenna: Cigarette lighter/power cord antenna
Frequency Bands: Full-band US Cellular and full-band US PCS
System gain Cell/PCS: 40/45 dB, self-optimizing
System noise figure: 5 dB nominal at maximum gain
Power Supply: 12 VDC
Power dissipation: 6 Watts
Dimensions: 5.0″ x 4.75″ x 1.35″
Weight: 1 lb (0.45kg)

Package Contents

Base unit
Cradle
Car mount / 12V power
AC adapter
USB Charging cable (requires an iGo plug for the phone of your choice)
User Guide

Right away I could tell that this was a serious product unlike the Cell Ranger. I like the fact that it can be used when you’re mobile (in a vehicle) or in an office.

There are two main parts to this product. The base station and the cradle. The base station is a little smaller than a portable CD player (do they even sell those these days?).

The front of the base has a power LED of 5 signal bars. The whole thing lights up and doesn’t actually measure signal strength.

On the back you will find the cradle cable connector and power connector. There’s also a sticker that covers an external antenna port.

The cradle is padded with neoprene on the back and sides and has an adjustable grip. The cradle might not be able to hold narrow phones.

A goose neck style 12V car mount is included that attaches to a socket on the back of the cradle.

The mount is keyed to allow easy connection and removal. There’s also a swing out stand built into the back of the cradle.

This is how you would use the 5BARz Signal Booster on a desk. You’re probably wondering how you answer calls if the phone is always in the cradle. That is the one ‘gotcha’ for this product… the best solution is to use a Bluetooth headset or speakerphone while using the 5BARz booster.

You’ll also notice what looks like a USB connector in the side of the cradle. You can use this connector to charge your phone while you are also boosting its signal. A USB Charging cable is included in the package, but requires an iGo plug for the phone of your choice. If your phone can be charged via USB and you already own a cable for it, it will work just fine with this cradle, which provides a charge regardless if the cradle’s power switch is on or off.

Only two connections are required to get up and running. The cable from the cradle plugs into the back of the base as does the AC adapter or the 12V mount into a power port on your car. If you use the 5BARz in your car, you can just set the base on your dash. It has rubber feet with a good grip. I didn’t have any problems with it sliding off.

I tested the 5BARz with my iPhone 3GS on the AT&T 850MHz network. This product also claims to boost Verizon and Sprint signals too.

My first test was not very scientific at all. I took a screen shot of the signal bars with the phone in my basement before turning on the booster and then again when powered on. I was immediately impressed given the fact that I have never had a full signal in the basement of my house. Heck, I’ve never had a full signal upstairs or outside either.

Then I recalled that I could go into field test mode on my iPhone to get a better representation of the signal strength. You can do this by manually dialing *3001#12345#* followed by a tap of the Call button. Once you do that, the signal strength bars in the upper left are replaced by a negative number. The less negative the number, the better your signal strength. For a reasonably reliable signal, the number should be less negative than -100. Ideal strength would be somewhere around -50. From the image above you can see that without the 5BARz, the signal is bad and with the 5BARz it is significantly improved. The weird thing that I’ve noticed though is that AT&T’s signal bounces around a great deal. But with this booster, I never saw a signal worse than -79.

I also tested the booster in my car. I was very curious to see if it would solve a ‘black hole’ issue on my way to and from work. There’s a short distance where the AT&T signal drops completely out. I was super surprised when I was able to get 2 bars in the area where I normally see No Service. However, on the way home on the same day, I did see a No Service message for a few seconds in that same area while using the 5BARz. Of course, this device can’t magically create a signal where one does not exist at all. So don’t think that if you live in a true dead zone that it will somehow solve that problem. But, if you just have a really weak signal, it should be able to boost it.

I’m confident that the CelLynx 5BARz Road Warrior Cell Phone Signal Booster really works. It’s pretty expensive at $300, but for people that live on the fringe coverage areas or often drive through areas with weak signals, this product will definitely help boost signals and prevent dropped calls.

 

Product Information

Price:$299.00
Manufacturer:CelLynx
Pros:
  • Easy to setup and use
  • Compatible with all carriers (Verizon, AT&T, etc)
  • Boosts signal as advertised
Cons:
  • Price
Posted in: Reviews, Wireless

10 comments… add one

  • John Kes June 11, 2010, 4:47 pm

    You have to pay real money to get something that really works.

    1
  • JT June 12, 2010, 10:50 pm

    Just to nitpick a bit, regarding the negative number, you want a number greater than -100. Although 79 is less than 100, -79 is greater than -100.

    Did you try using the phone for a call or data and then turning this device on to see if reception improved? Just wondering if it is noticeably different when you go from 3 bars to 5 bars in the same location.

    2
  • Julie June 13, 2010, 7:59 am

    @JT Yes I did make calls and try different data tasks. I was able to make / receive calls in the black hole zone I talked about in the review. Using a speed test app, I did get faster file transfers when using the 5BARz.

    3
  • Pam T. June 14, 2010, 9:12 am

    A little confused here…are you saying the phone needs to stay in contact with the mount in order to get the improved reception? So if you lift the phone off the mount to answer it, your signal drops?

    4
  • Julie June 14, 2010, 9:35 am

    @Pam T. Yes, the phone would lose the boosted signal if you remove it from the cradle. It is suggested that you use a Bluetooth headset or speakerphone in tandem with this product.

    5
  • robert October 4, 2010, 8:21 am

    So bottom line for an Iphone if you needed a signal enhancing module would you get the 5Barz or the Wilson Electronics iBooster? Please advise.

    6
  • gus August 30, 2011, 2:52 am

    Julie,

    In the area I am at (indoors only), I get horrible signal (voice and data) so I decided to look for options (leading me to 5barz). I saw a lot of reviews out there (videos, pics, blogs, etc) and YOU ARE THE FIRST to show pics of dbm changes. Going from 3 bars to 4 bars or 5 bars don’t mean anything (it could have just been for show). What really counts is the changes in dbm’s from being attached to the cradle or not. Thank you thank you thank you!!!!

    I am still skeptical and will need to do more research, however, I do want to know if the device is sturdy. I would think shelling out $300.00 will make the device last for a while instead of needing to be replaced after a few weeks to a few months. How long have you had it and is it still going strong?

    7
  • Julie August 30, 2011, 1:09 pm

    @gus the device is sturdy. It’s not something I use on a daily basis. I have loaned it to friends etc and it seems to still work great.
    If you do end up getting one, please post a comment on your experience with it.

    8
  • gus September 1, 2011, 2:41 pm

    @julie have you tested it regarding data speed via http://www.speedtest.net? I’d like to know if 5barz made a different in data speed transfer.

    9
  • Julie September 1, 2011, 3:50 pm

    @gus I don’t have any specific data, but according to one of my comments to this review, I did try a speed test app and received faster downloads using the 5barz device.

    10

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