REVIEW – If you live in an area where there are cellular “dead zones” or the construction of your home or business makes cell reception difficult, it can be frustrating to not be able to use your cell phone to its full potential. Fortunately, if you have at least some signal reaching your location, a cell phone booster can make quite a difference. The more powerful units, like the HiBoost 4K Plus Signal Booster I tested, are a bit expensive, the 4K Plus goes for $429.99, but they are very effective at what they were designed to do.
What is it?
The HiBoost 4K Plus Signal Booster is a powerful cellphone signal booster compatible with all US and Canadian carriers which amplifies 4G LTE, 3G and 2G signals wherever it’s installed. It’s important to know though that no cell signal booster will be able help in a situation where there is no existing cell signal at all.
The 4K Plus arrives in securely packed box with each of its components protected in molded plastic.
What’s in the box?
- HiBoost 4K Plus Signal Booster
- Outdoor Antenna
- 50ft Low-loss Outdoor Antenna Coaxial Cable
- Power Supply
- Antenna Mounting Hardware
- Signal Booster Mounting Hardware
- Instruction Manual
- Working Bands: 69-716 / 776-787 / 824-849 / 1850-1915 / 1710-1755
- UL Frequency Range: 728-746 / 746-757 / 869-894 / 1930-1995 / 110-2155
- DL Frequency Range: Band 12 / Band 13 / Band 5 / Band 25-2 / Band 4
- Supported Standards: CDMA, WCDMA, GSM, EDGE, HSPA+ EVDO, LTE
- Yagi Antenna Gain: 11 dB
- Built-in Antenna Gain: 6 dB
- Maximum Gain: 65 dB
- Maximum Coverage: 1,000-4,000 Sq Ft
- Maximum Output Power: DL 10 dBm
- MGC (Steo Attenuation): > 25 dB / 1 dB step
- I/O Port: N-Female
- Impedance: 50 ohm
- Environment Condition: IP40
- Dimensions: 6 in x 9.7 in x 1.4 in / 152 mm x 246 mm x 36 mm
- Weight: 5 lb / 2 kg
- Power Supply:
- Input: AC 100-240 V, 50 / 60 Hz
- Output: DC 12 V / 3 A
Design and features
The main unit of the HiBoost 4K Plus Signal Booster is quite hefty. The rear outer chassis is made of aluminum and acts as a heat sink for the unit. The front of the unit is glossy plastic with an inset LCD backlit screen.
The unit’s three buttons allow the user to cycle through screens displaying antenna signal strength and boost or lower the antenna gain. The LCD screen shows real time signal updates and shows information required for troubleshooting.
The Band column shows the working frequency bands where the booster is operating. The UL and DL columns show the real time Uplink (UL) and Downlink (DL) gain. The Power column shows the real time Downlink power that the cell phone signal booster is delivering to the indoor antenna port.
There are also three LED indicator lights on the front of the unit to the left of the screen which provide basic status feedback on the booster. The Alarm LED indicates whether or not the unit is functioning properly. The Power LED indicates if the unit is connected to a functioning power source. The ISO LED lets the user know if there is a feedback or oscillation issue that may be affecting the unit’s performance. Oscillation occurs when signals from the indoor and outdoor antennas interfere with each other.
There are also two additional LEDs on the bottom of the unit that indicate when the unit is connected to a WiFi network and/or a Bluetooth device.
The top of the unit has ports for connecting the outdoor antenna, the power supply, and two optional indoor antennas. The instructions don’t mention any use for the USB port. The unit itself has a built-in indoor antenna, which covers 1,000-4,000 sq ft.
The outdoor antenna is made of lightweight plastic and connects to the included 50ft Low-loss Coaxial Cable.
The other end of the antenna cable attaches to the Outdoor port on the main unit.
There’s quite a bit of setup involved before using the HiBoost 4K Plus Signal Booster. The first most difficult task is mounting the Outdoor Antenna.
The antenna has exterior bolts that attach to the included mounting hardware. The antenna should be mounted on the roof of the house or building where the unit will be installed.
There are two ways to find the optimal placement for the Outdoor Antenna. One method involves downloading and using the HiBoost Signal Supervisor app which will show you the strongest signal as you move the antenna around. The Signal Supervisor App also lets you connect the main unit to your WiFi so that you can monitor the signal strength remotely and the app can connect your cell phone to the unit via Bluetooth to assist in setup as well.
Once you use the Signal Supervisor app to find the strongest signal you’ll know which way the antenna should be pointing when mounted. The other method for finding proper placement is to have one person watching the main unit’s LCD screen and conveying the signal strength readings to the person on the roof. I found that using the app was a bit hit or miss so I checked up on my placement by having another person confirm the readings of the main unit.
Depending on outdoor signal conditions, the HiBoost 4K Plus Signal Booster should cover between 1,000-4,000 sq ft. Not surprisingly, I found that the unit worked great at boosting the signal all throughout my 600 sq ft apartment. Cell signals in my building are notoriously low and the second the HiBoost 4K Plus Signal Booster was powered on my signal strength increased significantly.
The HiBoost Signal Supervisor app showed that signals for the the different cell bands all were boosted into the “super” range.
To confirm I downloaded a third party cell signal measurement app. My before readings were the low -108dBm range.
Once the HiBoost 4K Plus Signal Booster was installed and turned on, my signal strength jumped to -71 dBm, a significant increase.
What I like
- Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity made setup easier
- Works very well once setup is completed properly
- LCD display helpful for status
What needs to be improved
- Companion app could be better
- Finding correct orientation for antenna can be difficult
- Needs more detailed instructions
The HiBoost 4K Plus Signal Booster is really effective at boosting cell signals to areas where those signals are weak. The setup, especially the antenna placement, can be a bit time consuming, but once everything is up and running the unit functions flawlessly. While the price of $429.99 might seem high, it’s quite a bargain when it comes to eliminating the frustration of not being able to use your cell phone effectively in your home or workplace due to poor signal strength.