That was great for Don Draper, but not for me. I wanted to test the state of the art in indoor antennas. My friends at Solid Signal were kind enough to send me two antennas to test, and they didn’t look like any antennas I’d seen before.
The antenna on the left is the Leaf, by Mohu. I know about this antenna because it’s gotten a lot of press lately. You read about it being the first “invisible” antenna. I don’t know too much about Mohu, and their website doesn’t tell you a lot either. But, hey, this is the 21st century. New companies come around all the time. Five years ago I hadn’t heard of Facebook, either.
The antenna on the right is the FlatWave, by Winegard. Now, I know Winegard. They’ve been around forever and they send me products to test all the time. They’ve been a big name in antennas for longer than I have cared about antennas.
Looking at these two antennas, they are very similar. They are both white on one side and black on the other, both have a plastic box down toward the bottom, and both have a thin coax cable. Both even come with velcro dots. And they are both thin. Really thin. The antenna part of both is about the thickness of two credit cards. Folks, that’s thin. The thickest part of both is the plastic part at the base, which tops out for both at about 2cm (.75″)
The Mohu Leaf is laminated. It has a clear plastic edge around it. This gives it a bit of a low-tech look, sort of like you’re using a Trapper Keeper as an antenna. But that’s ok. If the Mohu Leaf were mounted on my wall I wouldn’t notice it at all. The white side is completely white and the black side is completely black. I’m guessing that the 2-color scheme is to help the Leaf blend into its surroundings a little better.
The Winegard FlatWave, on the other hand, looks like a big flat piece of plastic. The black side is completely black, while the white side shows a pattern that I’m assuming is the actual antenna. It’s a bit more of a high-tech look. The Winegard FlatWave is a litle bigger, too. Both antennas are well under 60cm (two feet) square and there’s no reason to think that either has a real advantage on size. Both of these antennas are astoundingly small and thin compared to most indoor antennas.
If these antennas work, they both represent a great value. You should be able to mount either one on a wall with the supplied hook-and-loop stickers, or even use tape to hold them up. They’re both very light and easy to use.
So far, I don’t see where one has an advantage over the other. The Winegard FlatWave is a little less expensive so if they perform the same, I’ll put my money there.
In part 2 of this series, I’ll look at what makes both antennas tick, including the technology that makes them possible.