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More bars, so you can make sure you end up at the right bar.
For some people, as soon as you start your car, the workday begins. You’re making calls about that big merger, checking on the network with your IT homies, or just finding out where everyone is going to eat lunch. If this is you, the last thing you need are dead zones. Dropping an important call can sour a deal, or worse, lead to eating at Bob-in-accounting’s brother’s restaurant for lunch--the Chinese-Mexican-Hungarian-fusion palace.
Enter the world of cell boosters. They harvest the available cell signal and turn it up, man. Cell Ranger’s Auto Ranger Stix promises to boost the voice and data signals in your vehicle, so you’ll have fewer dropped calls and won’t get caught repeating the same question like that annoying Verizon guy.
The device plugs into your cigarette lighter and has an attached 15-foot cable with an antenna at the end. The antenna must be placed on the outside of the vehicle. Cell Ranger assures us that you can close a door or window on the cable without any ill effects. The cable is thin, yet robust, and we didn’t encounter any problems with it or the door seal while testing--it’s also long enough to tuck under seats and floor mats so you don’t end up choking yourself while driving. For drivers with multiple cars, the portability factor is handy. In fact, the only issue with the antenna is a cosmetic one. Having the Stix protruding from our vehicle reminds us of the car phones circa 1991.
Once we had the device plugged in and ready to go, Stix did boost the signal. Using the iPhone’s Field Test mode, we were able to record gains of 8dB to 10dB as we cruised around the San Francisco area. Our cell data stream was also nearly doubled in most cases. A signal gain equals more bars, and more bars mean you’ll drop fewer calls. Real-world tests produced fewer dropped calls and extended call times before we lost the signal in areas known for janky cell signals. We didn’t notice any noise or other problems when using the Stix.
If you can get over the antenna and the long-ass cable--and you understand that signal boosters can’t create signal from thin air--the Stix is a great addition to vehicles that travel through erratic coverage areas.
Auto Ranger Stix
COMPANY: Cell Ranger
REQUIREMENTS: GSM, CDMA, or TDMA cell phone. Does not work with Sprint/Nextel “walkie-talkie” signals
Boosts signals for both voice and data.
Cable and antenna remind us of ’90’s car phones.