Tag Archives: Gadget Review

Check Out zBoost on Gadget Review

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The zBoost SOHO unit has done it again….transferring a signal challenged home office into a productive workspace with cell signal! Gadget Review takes us through the process of setting up the unit with a work from home professional who states his phone is his business’ “lifeblood”. Check out an a portion of the great review below:

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CuteGeeks.com Review

This week’s testimonial is a review by Cecelia at CuteGeeks.com.  CuteGeeks.com is a technology blog from the female perspective.


Can You Hear Me? Can You Hear Me Now?

July 26th, 2009
By Cecilia

Last month, I began searching for a new place to call home. Criteria that were at the top of my list included large closets, lots of natural light, and proximity to the beach. I’m happy to report that I found a place that met all three criteria. However, there was one key criteria that should have been on my list but wasn’t…cell phone reception.

It wasn’t until I decided to work from home one day that I realized I picked a location that generated only about one or two bars on my AT&T Wireless Blackberry Bold. I experienced dropped calls, “Can you hear me now?” conversations that resulted in the person on the other line hanging up on me, and sometimes the inability to even place a call. It was so bad, I resorted to an almost extinct species in the world of electronics – the home phone. Luckily, I had one, but I thought I’d only be using it to buzz people in from my security gate.

Imagine how ecstatic I was when I was asked to review Wi-Ex’s zBoost YX510-PCS-CEL cell phone reception booster. The cell phone gods must have heard my prayers! I wondered if such things existed and, if they did, whether or not they really work.

I have to admit, I was a little intimidated when I received the package. It included a base unit, base unit antenna, signal antenna, power supply, signal antenna bracket kit, base unit mounting screws, and a DBS satellite coaxial cable. A coaxial cable? I’ve seen the cable man run coaxial cables in my living room, but I’d have to do that myself? Yuck. I thought it would be a lot of work.

But, I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to set up. You’re required to setup the zBoost’s base unit at least 15 feet away from the signal antenna. I decided to place the base unit on one of the shelves in my entertainment center. I then ran the coaxial cable on the ground to the top corner of my dining room, right next to a large window. Then I tested the signal. It appeared as though my reception improved. The one to two bars turned into three to four bars. I tried placing phone calls and I didn’t have any problems. I still wasn’t 100 percent sure it was working or if I was just having a good cell phone reception day because sometimes the bars would drop back to one or two. The power light was also a solid orange color which, according to the user guide, means it’s not working right. The next day, I experienced a dropped phone call, which convinced me it wasn’t working.

I decided to experiment by moving the base unit around, testing various locations. Most of the suitable locations I found were too close to the signal antenna. I finally found that if I placed the base antenna on top of my entertainment center, instead of on one of the shelves, the power light remained a solid green. That’s the key here – finding the proper location to place both the base unit and the signal antenna. It may take you a few tries to find the right place. The user guide states that for the best performance, you should place the signal antenna in the attic or on the roof. Neither of those are an option for me. Placing the signal antenna outside of a window is also a better option, but that would have meant a lot more extra work for me.

The signal antenna also isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing thing to hang on your wall. It’s a white bar that comes with black brackets. I opted to purchase a white bracket on my own from Home Depot to mount it to my wall. It’s still not pretty, but it’s less noticeable than using the black brackets.

I’ve been using the YX510-PCS-CEL now for about a week. It definitely boosted the number of bars on my cell phone, and I haven’t experienced a dropped call or failed call since I found the proper location to place the base unit. Call quality still isn’t perfect. Sometimes I hear static or my conversations don’t sound as clear as they could be if I “naturally” had better cell phone reception. However, it’s an improvement and I’ll take better over nothing.

Gadget Review: Android Power Manager

I have always loved gadgets and it was no surprise (to my wife’s dismay) that I got a Google G1 phone the first day it was launched. It was love at first sight, but like many users have reported, the “blush started to fade from the rose” when I discovered how quickly the battery discharged. I was used to getting 3-4 days on my Motorola V3 so I was shocked when the battery ran down within 8 hours. I loved the phone but the battery life was a deal breaker however, before I gave up on the phone, I went to settings and started going through them one by one. Wi-Fi and GPS were both turned on but since I did not need them, I turned them off. Likewise I wasn’t currently using Bluetooth or the My Location feature so I turned them both off, and because the screen was extremely bright I turned that down as well. I charged the phone fully and then used it with its new settings and and ‘lo and behold, I found the phone lasted all day long.

 Great, but it is a hassle going through the settings every time I wanted to change them so I went to Market and found Power Manager (www.xphonessoftware.com). When I first downloaded it, it was free but the developer lost his job and started charging $.99 for the full version. After using the free version for a few days I sprang for the $.99, full version, (who knows, Uncle Sam may still let me deduct it as an expense, but I won’t hold my breath).

 There have been several updates since, and it continues to improve. The most recent update 07/10/2010 now supports Android 2.5 (cupcake).

Why do I like it? Easy, it is located in the task bar where I can always click on it and instantly change my settings (look for the black triangle at the top of your screen after you install the software). Not only does It comes with some well thought out preset standard settings but it also enables the user to build and store custom settings so you can fine tune it with a click. I love the display status which provides me with a quick snapshot of what is on and what is off, as well as battery condition.

 Do you want to enable all wireless with one touch? You’ve got it. Want to turn Bluetooth on but leave all other settings off? No problem.

Now I no longer worry about battery life, and I am back in love with my G1.Try the free version and then help the guy out with a $.99 donation-I don’t think you will be disappointed and you’ll be helping out someone who continues to upgrade a neat application.