Wilson Sleek - Cell Phone Booster

John Hearne

May 27, 2010
Pontotoc County, MS
[Broken External Image]:http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:vNLrDre-pbZE1M:l

I work in a rural area and we have a lot of areas with sub-optimal cell phone coverage. I've run external antennas on cell phones and been happy with the performance but most modern phones don't have an external antenna jack any more. Until recently, you're only options were expensive, often dedicated cradles and large, cumbersome to install boosters.

I recently found the Wilson "Sleek" on-line. It is a relatively new product, just introduced this spring. The device is powered by 12 volts and can be run from a cigarette lighter, a USB port on a computer, or optional 110 volt adapter. The device itself is a universal cradle that has 3 sets of arms, settable at six different widths. The back of the device is a pad that transfers an amplified signal to the cell phone. In addition to the cradle and a cigarette adapter, the device also comes with a magnetic antenna that is installed outside of the vehicle. The antenna is not hard wired to the cradle so any antenna you want can be used.

I just received my copy of the device for evaluation as did a radio geek friend of mine. We are both impressed. My phone (HTC 8925) picked up 15-18 db of improvement when placed in the cradle. This amounted to two extra bars of service where I tested it. I haven't had a chance to drive my bad cell phone areas and see how much the 15-18 db helps but I suspect it will be noticeable. I have an external antenna on my patrol car and plan on having the connector redone to connect to the cradle, I suspect the performance will be even better.

My buddy has a high end cradle for his Blackberry. He reports that the cradle provided two more bars of service than his high end cradle. He also tried the device inside his house, running the cradle off his computer and reported that it worked just as well for him, giving him cell service in an area that is extremely spotty otherwise.

The only drawbacks I see to the device are limited. First, the device must be in the cradle to work. Unless you're going to hold the whole mess up to your head, you're going to need a bluetooth headset or speakerphone. Second, unlike other products specifically made for a device, the Sleek doesn't offer drop-in charging. There is an extra mini-usb port on the cradle. This will pass the 12 volts from the cigarette plug to the phone. The problem is that nobody is making an inexpensive mini-usb male to mini-usb male cable. Finally, the device with its default mount is very thick. I've traditionally put my cell phone just to the left of the trunk release. With the factory mount, the gear shift and your hand don't have much clearance. I suspect that I'll be coming up with a better solution in the near future.

John Hearne

May 27, 2010
Pontotoc County, MS
I've been testing the Sleek throughout the week and it continues to impress. My patrol area is in rural Mississippi and includes areas shown as "no coverage" on the AT&T map. As a less than scientific experiment, I put a CD on at the house and called my cell phone. Leaving the phone next to the music, I drove my district and was amazed that I had coverage every where, including areas that were previoulsy complete dead spots. I was only able to lose signal when I drove under a bridge with the road I was on going through a cut out. The phone did not disconnect and reestablished contact as soon as I left the area.

All of this was with the magnetic mount antenna that came with the unit. I now am awaiting the arrival of a 12" magnetic mount antenna to try with the unit. At this point, we're planning on buying Sleeks for all of our vehicles, it's just a matter of whether we go with the magnetic antenna or a permanent mount.

The only downside I've found is that the cradle works best when the phone physically touches the cradle. I keep my phone in a rugged case and found out that I picked up ~5-7 db by removing the phone from its case and putting it directly in the cradle. If you use an Otter Box or similar case, you'll be popping the phone in and out if you want maximum performance.

FWIW, I received the min-usb to mini-usb charging cable and am using it now. It works as promised but does add to the already existing mass of wires that the cradle requires.

Also, the thickness of the factory mount is annoying and I have an alternative on order now.


Lifetime VIP Donor
May 20, 2010
I'd be totally sold on this if it functioned as well with the device in the otterbox.. Its a PITA to remove it..

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