Our problem with Wilson Electronics' cell phone signal boosters has never been their performance--they actually work quite well--but rather with their complicated and clunky setup. Though the company's Mobile Professional Amplifier Kit from 2008 was relatively compact, we're more used to products like the Wireless Amplifier Cradle Kit that involve a few parts.
Luckily, Wilson continues to evolve. Three months ago at CES, the company showed its new Sleek Cell Phone Signal Booster that offers a compact design for in-car use. It consists only of a small amplifier/cradle, a power adapter for your car's cigarette lighter, and the requisite antenna. You still have to thread the antenna cable through your car window, but it's an easy-to-use design arrangement that won't take up much space. The Sleek is $129.
The Sleek's primary part is the phone cradle that's also the actual signal amplifier. Though mostly plastic, the surfaces that touch your handset are covered in a soft touch material so there's no need to worry about scratching your precious device. On the whole, the cradle has a sturdy feel and its basic black color shouldn't clash with your car's interior. It measures 4.25 inches long by 2.5 inches wide by 2.25 inches deep and weighs 2.5 ounces.
You can adjust the securing arms depending on your phone's size. Though it accommodates wider handsets like the iPhone with no trouble, smaller devices like the Nokia 2680 can slip right through the cradle's clutches if you're not careful. For the second-gen product, we'd advise Wilson to give more freedom to adjust the arms inward.
Setup for the Sleek is painless. After securing the cradle to your dashboard (Wilson gives you the tools), you'll need to connect the antenna and power adapter. The antenna cable runs a healthy 12 feet, so you should have enough slack to run it out the window frame and secure the antenna to your car's roof via the magnetic base (clearly, convertibles with fabric roofs won't be so lucky). Running a cable around your car is a little clunky, but you should get used to it.