What good is a cell phone if it keeps dropping calls?
I was very excited last month when my iPhone 5 finally arrived. Unfortunately, as I noted in a previous posting, whenever I attempted to use my new iPhone from my home office in our San Francisco condo, virtually every call would drop. When you need to use your cell phone for business, that’s a major issue.
Needless to say, I was pissed that I had exchanged my highly reliable BlackBerry for this really cool iPhone, which was about as useless for making and receiving calls as my iPod Touch.
It turns out, though, that the problem isn’t with either the iPhone device or the Verizon Wireless service. The phone works fine from just about anywhere else. Even from our bedroom at the back of the condo or the living room in the front, I am able to use the iPhone without suffering from dropped calls. But as soon as I step into my home office, which is located right in the middle of the unit, calls would fail. My home office is a friggin’ dead zone!
But then, while traveling for work a few weeks ago, I saw an ad in the USA Today that grabbed my attention. It was an ad for a cell phone signal booster from Wilson Electronics called “Sleek.” The ad promised that the Sleek could boost your cell phone signal from “no bars to full bars.”
Ah ha! Maybe this device could be the answer to my frustrations with my iPhone. So as soon as I got home from my trip, I logged on to Amazon and ordered the Sleek cradle signal booster. It arrived two days later and I eagerly set it up in my home office, hoping to remedy my dropped calls situation.
No help at all
Nada. No change in the signal strength. No improved performance on my new iPhone.
Disappointed and frustrated, I called the Wilson Electronics tech support hotline and spoke with a guy named Patrick. “Oh, you have a Verizon 4G LTE iPhone,” he said. “Well, you need the Sleek cradle booster made specifically for Verizon 4G LTE devices, the Sleek 4G-V.”
The “V” in 4G-V designates that it is made specifically for Verizon 4G phones. There’s also a 4G-A model for AT&T, an S model for Sprint, and, of course, a T model for T-Mobile. If you switch cell phone providers, you also need to buy a different cradle. Cha-ching!
Of course, nowhere on Amazon did it say that the Sleek Cradle Booster I bought wouldn’t work with a Verizon 4G LTE phone. That would have been a good thing to know, right?
But I digress. Patrick suggested that I return
my original Sleek cradle to Amazon and order the one specifically made for
Verizon 4G LTE. He also told me I needed to order a home/office kit, which contains an AC adaptor and a window-mounted bracket upon which to place the antenna. And so I ordered that kit from Amazon as well. Cha-ching!
A few days later, the Sleek 4G-V cradle and the home/office kit arrived. But unlike the previous model that I had returned to Amazon, there was no antenna included in the box...just the cradle. I once again called Patrick in tech support. He said that the antenna was an independent item that needed to be ordered separately for this model of the Sleek cradle booster, even though it was included with the model that I previously ordered.
HUH? What good is the
cradle and a window-mounted antenna bracket if there’s no antenna to attach to the cradle or to mount on the bracket?
Patrick explained that the second cradle I got is generally sold as a replacement product for the standard Sleek cradle when people upgrade from 3G phones to 4G LTE phones. The working assumption is that, since they are upgrading, they already have the antennas.
Recognizing, perhaps due to the quantity and volume of curse words I was spewing out over the land-line phone that this was not the case with me, Patrick graciously agreed to send me, free of charge, the needed antenna, which arrived a few days later.
I placed the antenna on the window-mounted bracket in my office, connected the antenna cable to the cradle, and put my iPhone in the cradle. I watched with glee as my signal strength jumped from two bars to three, then to four, then to five! I made my first call from my home office and it worked perfectly, as it has since. No more dropped calls!
The bad news is that I had to spend an additional $125 over-and-above the cost of the iPhone 5 to buy the Sleek 4G-V cable booster and the home/office kit just to get my iPhone to work reliably in the dead zone known as my home office.
The good news is that, once I had the proper cradle for my 4G LTE iPhone 5, it worked exactly as advertised, boosting my cell phone signal from few bars to full bars.
Now I really do love my new iPhone and, contrary to what I said last time, I no longer miss my BlackBerry.