Review: weBoost Drive 4G-X, 4G-X OTR, 4G-X RV (Mobile Cellular Booster)

weboost-drive-4gx-cellular-booster-review

The weBoost Drive 4G-X comes packaged together with antennas in kits intended for cars, trucks, or RVs. But don't feel constrained by the picture on the box - all three kits can be appropriate for RVers.

The weBoost Drive 4G-X is weBoost's flagship mobile booster.

It was first announced in February 2015 - and began shipping in June of that year.

On paper - the weBoost Drive 4G-X looks extremely similar to the weBoost Drive 4G-M.

Both support the same LTE frequencies, and both are listed as having a 50dB maximum boosting gain (the legal FCC gain limit for a mobile booster).

So why spend $100 more on the 4G-X versus the 4G-M?

weBoost claims that the key difference is in transmit power back to the cell tower, giving us a statement saying:

"The Drive 4G-X has more uplink power, or power sent back to the cellular tower, than the Drive 4G-M. There is about a 6 dBm difference in that power (roughly 23 dBm uplink on the 4G-M and 29 dBm on the 4G-X); this equates to a 600 mW difference in power being sent back to the cell tower. That’s a lot of power!"

We've had the weBoost Drive 4G-X on board as our primary cellular booster since it was released, and we have definitely seen it demonstrate its strengths.

But it is not the best choice for everyone.

weBoost now also sells the Drive 4G-X booster packaged with different antenna combinations in kits too, making this a very flexible (albeit sometimes confusing to understand) foundation for demanding mobile cellular arsenals.

Specifications

  • Gain: 50dB
  • # of Devices Boosted: 4+
  • LTE Bands Supported: 12 (17), 13, 5, 4, 2, 25
  • Exterior Antenna: Bundled antenna varies by kit. SMA antenna jack.
  • Internal Antenna: Bundled antenna varies by kit. SMA antenna jack.
  • Range of Interior Coverage: 6" - 4' max?
  • In Motion Usage: Yes
  • List Price: $479 (4G-X) | $499 (4G-X OTR) | $499 (4G-X RV)

 

Official Bundles

There are three official weBoost bundles that all include the weBoost Drive 4G-X booster.  The original vehicle focused booster kit, a version marketed to truckers, and now a version explicitly marketed to RVers.

Here is what is included in each:

  • Drive 4G-X (Original/Vehicle): Includes a 4" mag-mount roof antenna at the end of a 12.5' cable, and a small interior patch antenna - also on a 12.5" cable. Intended for installation on a metal vehicle roof, with installation of a ground plane it can be made to work quite well on an RV roof. $479.
  • Drive 4G-X OTR: Marketed to the "over the road" big-rig truck market, this kit (announced June 2016) swaps the 4" stubby antenna for the 24" tall rigid version of weBoost's 4G-OTR "trucker" antenna (weBoost also sells separately a 19" spring mounted version of this antenna that might be more RV appropriate for some). The interior antenna remains the small patch antenna. $499
  • Drive 4G-X RV: New in April 2017 and targeted explicitly for RV installation, this kit combines a shorter pole/ladder mount style external antenna with a directional indoor desktop antenna. However the kit makes some compromises with use of connectors and mismatches in components that holds it back from being a top performer. $499

Though the antennas included vary - the core booster is identical between all these packages, and you can legally mix and match weBoost antennas as desired.

There are unofficial bundles that have been put together by various resellers too.

2016 Case Change

In June 2016 weBoost revised the Drive 4G-X case design to have a single status LED (as shown above). The new and old designs should otherwise perform identically.

In June 2016 weBoost revised the Drive 4G-X case design to have a single status LED - instead of the four LED version shown above The new and old designs should otherwise perform identically.

When initially released, the weBoost Drive 4G-X externally looked to be a twin of the cheaper weBoost Drive 4G-M booster - with identical antenna bundles, power supplies, and metal casing making the kits almost indistinguishable other than the -X or -M on the front.

Then in June 2016, the case of the Drive 4G-X got a sleek refreshed look that combined the four individual status lights into one.

We reached out to weBoost, and got confirmation that despite the change in look, internally the boosters are identical:

"The new 4G-X is exactly the same as the previous 4G-X in terms of performance. This was a case change only. We still use the previous FCC certification as well since there was no change to the inside of the unit (therefore we will still use the same part number). We went to one LED to simplify things for consumers. This was not an FCC mandated change."

And indeed our own testing of both the 4-light and 1-light version has born this out.

But this is a bit of a functionality step backwards, and we do prefer the original version with the individual status lights that let us know which LTE bands might be having issues.

Review & Testing Status

weBoost has sent us evaluation units of every official Drive 4G-X booster kit, and we have had this booster in our testing arsenal since August 2015.

The vehicle & OTR 4G-X kit have earned their place as our reference standard that we continue to test all competing boosters against.

We have featured the Drive 4G-X with a variety of antenna combinations in the following testing rounds, and our members have access to the raw field testing data and field notes.

Based on all of these testing rounds, the Drive 4G-X remains our current top pick for those who are frequently further away from towers and who need the best possible upload speeds for two-way video, video broadcasts, and large file uploads.

Otherwise, in our experience the cheaper 4G-M will perform nearly just as well as a general use mobile booster where upload speeds are not the focus.

Our detailed hands-on review and analysis of the weBoost Drive 4G-X is featured in our members-only section below, including a video overview focused on 'Optimizing Your Cellular Signal' showing all of the candidates in the early 2017 testing round in action head-to-head.

Unboxing Videos

The 4G-X RV Kit (April 2017):

The 4G-X OTR Kit (June 2016):

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Purchasing Options

Direct from weBoost: Drive 4G-X | Drive 4G-X OTR | Drive 4G-X RV
(Currently offering $10 off for first time customers .. members check your special discount codes for even more special savings!)

Amazon: Drive 4G-X | Drive 4G-X OTR  | Drive 4G-X RV

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TechnoRV3G Store | Powerful Signal | Wilson Amplifiers | Uber Signal | Repeater Store

 

Accessories & Kits

weBoost Drive 4G-X OTR kit Note: This package ships with the 24" rigid non-spring mounted version of the 4G Trucker antenna. This is not ideal for some RV applications & installation. At this time, if you want the shorter 4G Trucker/RV antenna - we recommend purchasing the 4G-X and spring mounted 19" antenna separately.

Power Supply Note: The 4G-X Vehicle and OTR kits comes standard with a 6v power supply that plugs in to a DC socket (ie. auto / cigarette lighter style). If you won't have a DC socket available and prefer to run this off of 110 AC power, you will also need to obtain a certified AC/DC power supply.  The RV kit comes with both a direct wired 12v option and the plug-in AC adapter.

You'll also find some resellers who sell this unit as part of their own 'RV Kit'.

These are not specifically put together by weBoost, however they are using official weBoost components - such as different exterior & interior antennas, adapters, etc.

Amazon: Unofficial weBoost Drive 4G-X RV Kit

Wilson Amplifiers | Powerful Signal

Related News Articles:

weBoost Drive 4G-X Ratings
  • Overall Rating

Quick Take

The weBoost Drive 4G-X is a solidly performing booster that provides additional transmit power (compared to the 4G-M) offering increased upload speeds in remote locations. It's available in 3 different antenna configurations.

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