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Lifewire / Hayley Prokos
Multiple room coverage
60-day money-back guarantee
Delayed signal boost upon installation
Mount for antenna is not included
The SureCall Flare Cell Phone Signal Booster Kit is a first-rate cell booster for homes up to 2,500 square feet.
The SureCall Flare Booster Kit is a user-friendly cell phone signal booster for either a home or a small business. The SureCall Flare boosts signal speed for any cellular device tied to major carriers (e.g., AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile), and is an attractive, low-profile piece of tech. The whole kit comes at a great price point, which makes it hard to see how you could go wrong with this option, particularly if you’re in the market for a booster that covers up to 2,500 square feet of space.
The SureCall Flare is unobtrusive and fits into any modern space. It has a body that resembles a modern speaker and a white fiberglass antenna that makes the device look and feel uncomplicated. The antenna is less than a foot long and only one-third of a foot wide, making it easy and inconspicuous enough to mount on a roof or a wall without drawing unwanted attention.
Full disclosure: For the purposes of this review process, we didn’t mount the SureCall Flare antenna anywhere. Rather, we propped it up on the side of the building to test the efficacy of the product. If you do purchase this product and plan to mount it, know that the kit comes with an L-Bracket and two U-Bolts. However, it does not include a J-Mount.
The amount of coverage and increased signal strength is dependent on whether your carrier has a tower free of obstructions and within 30 miles.
To mount it, you would place the antenna through the hole at the top of the L-Bracket, which would be attached to the U-Bolts that would hug the pipe or J-Mount needed to hold the antenna upright.
Given that we didn’t take the time to mount the antenna, it took us about ten minutes to set up the whole kit. The first step of the process was finding the outside location with the strongest signal. In its directions, SureCall says that this is generally found on the side of the building that faces the nearest cell tower. It also notes that the higher a user places the antenna, the better.
The SureCall Flare is unobtrusive and fits into any modern space.
We placed the booster in a central location, at least 25 feet from the outside antenna and close to an outlet per SureCall’s directions. We routed the 50-foot coax cable from the outside antenna, which we propped up outside and on the ground, to the booster and secured the connection. Then, we connected the power cord to the booster and plugged the cord into the nearby outlet.
It took a few minutes for the device to calibrate, and it then started working as expected.
Originally, we hadn’t placed the booster far enough from the antenna and thus weren’t reaping the benefits of the booster. We knew this because the booster signaled as much with a flashing yellow LED light.
In the center of the device, at the very bottom, there is a circle of LED lights to indicate issues with the booster. One suggests self-adjustment; another suggests that greater distance between the booster and the antenna is needed to optimize performance; another means the booster is receiving too strong of a signal (which could cause the booster to shut down), and the antenna needs to be moved to a location where the signal is weaker, and the fourth signals the booster has shut down.
We monitored the efficacy of the device by calling *3001#12345#*, which provided a Received Signal Strength Indicator, or RSSI, of roughly -47.00 to -70.00 dBm. In short, that's considered good signal, but to put it into perspective, RSSI is measured on a scale of roughly -50 to -120 dBm, with -50 dBm being excellent and -120 dBm being the worst.
Looking at just the bars as we moved and made calls from room to room, the range never went below two bars and sometimes reached as high as four. To be sure, there was a slight difference in the signal strength based on the placement of the antenna, even if those placements weren’t in completely opposite directions. All signal strength was better with the booster as opposed to without it.
While the SureCall Flare Kit is billed to boost data in addition to voice and text, we didn’t see a notable difference in data strength when we used the product and when we did not.
With a strong incoming signal, the SureCall Flare is billed to deliver up to 2,500 square feet of coverage from the booster. In our 1,800 square-foot house, coverage held up. However, it’s worth noting that with weaker outside signal, that coverage may decrease to around 1,500 square feet.
The amount of coverage and increased signal strength is dependent on whether your carrier has a tower free of obstructions and within 30 miles. If there’s little to no signal anywhere in the vicinity, the antenna won’t have much to boost. This seemed to be the case when we tested a T-Mobile phone with the SureCall Flare Kit.
In the event that the omni-directional antenna doesn’t suffice, SureCall recommends using a directional antenna that can be aimed towards the nearest cell tower (although doing so impacts the portability of the device, as that antenna is bigger and requires more support).
With a price point of $200, the Flare is a solid value. The easy setup process, low-profile design, and reliable performance mean justify that initial outlay, and the Flare is one of the cheaper boosters on the market.
The main differences between the SureCall Flare Cell Phone and its competitor, the SureCall Fusion4Home Yagi/Whip Kit, are the coverage, the body, and the nature of the outdoor antenna.
The SureCall Fusion4Home is billed to cover a bit more space—up to 3,000 square feet—and has a much bigger antenna that looks less like a wand and more like a flag. The Fusion4Home antenna is Yagi (a single long antenna crossed by several shorter metals poles) rather than omni-directional, which could be more suitable for anyone who needs to pick up a weaker direct signal from a distant cell tower. The booster in the Fusion4Home kit is also heavier, making it less travel-friendly, and has a black utilitarian-style body with an old-school antenna that makes the whole thing appear far less aesthetically pleasant.
Price-wise, the SureCall Flare is over $60 less expensive. It’s not a huge difference, but we are inclined to say that if you don’t need the extra 500 square feet of coverage with the Fusion4Home, the Flare offers better bang for your buck.
A great portable option with solid range.
The SureCall Flare Cell Phone Signal Booster Kit performed well within the parameters that it advertises and is available at a budget-friendly price (at least comparatively speaking). Because it has so few pieces to set up and they're all so lightweight, the Flare Kit is also the most travel-friendly option we’ve tested. We could see how this device could come in handy when camping or traveling to any remote location (with a cell tower within 30 miles, of course).