Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it has been discontinued. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.
The Mobile1 ZB245 is the only cell phone signal booster for vehicles made by zBoost, which specializes in home devices. It features a dual-band, 40 dB amplifier built into a universal cradle that mounts to your dash. Except for the lower price, very little sets it apart from other cradle signal boosters.
The zBoost Mobile1 ZB245 features a universal cradle design, which means that you place your phone into a holding device that attaches to your dashboard. This design is great as long as you’re the only passenger in your car, because only one phone can benefit from the boosted signal. The best cell phone boosters emit the signal with enough power that it covers all the occupants in your vehicle. Wireless boosters also allow you to use your phone naturally. The cradle design requires you to use the speakerphone or a Bluetooth connection with your stereo.
The Mobile1 amplifier’s 40 dB gain is excellent for a cradle signal booster. It’s more powerful than either the weBoost Drive 4G-S or the weBoost Drive 3G-S . The 3 dB noise figure is also among the best available. This means that you’ll receive a strong five-bar signal in areas where you’d typically only get a one-bar signal. It also increases the battery life of your cell phone because it doesn’t have to search for a signal. However, the amplifier isn’t comparable to the 50 dB amplifiers of the best cell phone boosters we reviewed.
One downside to the Mobile1 ZB245 is the lack of 4G compatibility, which is the most recent generation of cellular technology. 4G provides better voice quality and allows you to download data at a rate of 100 Mbps in a moving vehicle. However, national 4G coverage is still inferior to 3G and 2G coverage. In rural areas, you’re more likely to find only 3G or 2G signals, so the lack of 4G compatibility is only a minor drawback.
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The installation is simple. It comes with a 4-inch outside antenna with a 10-foot coax cable that connects the antenna to the cradle. The antenna attaches to the roof of your car with a magnet. The cradle acts as the inside antenna, so there’s only one coax cable to install. The only other installation step is attaching the cradle to your dashboard, which uses an adhesive.
The zBoost Mobile1 ZB245 has the best cell signal amplifier for a cradle device, but it doesn’t compare to the wireless cell signal boosters. It features dual-band compatibility with 3G and 2G, but it lacks 4G compatibility. It’s an excellent cell signal booster if you only need to boost one phone at a time, because it performs well and is the most affordable device available.