Solid Signal’s HANDS ON REVIEW: Surecall EZ4G Cell booster

The booster for the high-rise.

Yes, there are lot of cell boosters out there. Some are small, some are large, but almost all of them have the same problem: you need to put the antenna out on the roof or they don’t work. There are a few exceptions but there’s always a tradeoff. Either the booster itself isn’t very powerful or it’s very expensive.

The days of compromise are over, according to our friends at SureCall, with their EZ4G cell booster. We’re talking 65dB of cell boost, industrial build quality, and the ability to fully boost a 4G signal. And best of all, no climbing on the roof. This makes it perfect for folks with large apartments, or really anyone who doesn’t like to go up on a roof. SureCall sent me a demo unit and I put it through its paces for a week. Let’s take a look.

What’s in the box

The attractive retail packaging reveals two sections, and in the first is the booster itself. This is a solid unit really made of metal, unlike some of the older Wilson products that looked commercial-grade but actually were made of plastic.

As you can see it’s not petite, coming in at about 11″ square, but that also gives it the surface area that it needs to work inside.

Looking at the top you really see the power connection and antenna connection. On the other side of the perforated metal outer edge (which is most likely the actual antenna) is a helpful silkscreened notice giving even the most casual of installers an idea which side needs to point toward the window. Good thing, too.


Looking closer at the front, you see that this booster does not have auto gain control, meaning that it does need to be initially set when you install it. This is a minor inconvenience and it also lets you tailor your usage of the booster easily. If you don’t really need to boost Verizon 4G or AWS frequencies, for example, turn them all the way down.

The other bits and pieces

Of course you get a power adapter and connection cable. It was a nice surprise to see that there are several cable management options included as well. You get 50′ of low-loss RG58 cable with N connectors. That’s right, this booster bucks the recent trend of using RG6 cable with F connectors. That does mean you can’t just run over to Home Depot and buy more cable if you need it, but you should have enough with the kit you have.

The indoor antenna is heavily weighted at the base so it can be comfortably placed anywhere and a simple touch won’t knock it over.

Installation

The trick here with installing this system is that in order to get the whole 75dB boost you really need to make sure the antenna is separate from the base unit. Ideally you want the antenna to be 30 feet from the base unit so that the system can operate at full power without feeding back on itself. That’s why I was glad to see cable clips included as well as a good long run of cable.

In an apartment, you’ll probably have trouble getting the two pieces 30 feet from each other, but that would be ok because you wouldn’t need full power in an apartment that small. But if you’re looking at a home or large apartment it should be no problem to put the antenna somewhere in the middle of the house while the booster points out the window.

After you plan what you’re doing, installation could not possibly be easier. Put the booster unit in the window with the arrow that says “WINDOW” facing out. Seriously, it’s that simple. Then connect up the cable (take off the plastic caps) and plug in the booster. Run the cable to where you want the antenna to be and connect it as well. I feel really comfortable telling you, your mom or dad could do this. You can’t say that about every cell booster on the market, especially the ones that need you to put an antenna on the roof.

And then… I got this.

During my testing, I had put the antenna about 20 feet from the booster, behind two walls. Apparently that wasn’t enough space.

The initial flashes are normal, but if your booster is working right, all the front LEDs should turn off. I’m not a fan of unneccessary indicator lights so that was good to see. Except, I got this flashing red and yellow monstrosity that you see in the video. Not Good.

A quick look at the manual said that the power was too high. Using a flathead screwdriver, I followed the instructions, turning the screws to the left 5dB at a time, I only had to go 10dB before all the lights turned off and I had a perfectly working booster.

Compared to the zBoost YX560 I tested several years ago, performance was even better, not surprising because I was still operating with 5dB more boost. I measured a very respectable -74 on the signal meter, more than good enough to make calls and download videos with ease. I’m sure that if I had separated the antenna even further I would have easily gotten more boost than that.

Conclusion

I have to say, I’d definitely recommend this booster to anyone who couldn’t put an antenna outside for any reason. It does lack auto gain control and it uses a cable that’s not easy to get locally, but the price point is excellent compared to other 72dB 4G products out there and there’s no question that the build quality is flat out superior. In a case where this booster were knocked off a ledge or something, I doubt there would be any damage, which you certainly could not say for a booster clad in plastic. If you are looking for the easiest-to-install booster with the most power, I would definitely check out the SureCall EZ4G.