Range: 60 Miles
Channels Received: 27
1080p Reception: Yes
Cable Length: 12 Feet
Size: 12.5 x 13.2 inches
Simply buying an amplified or powered antenna doesn't guarantee better TV reception. Witness the Mohu Leaf 50. While easy to install and offering a reasonable price compared to some other powered models, it failed to deliver on the initial promise.
Contrary to its moniker, the Mohu Leaf 50 is rated to pick up stations up to 60 miles away. But its less-than-ideal sensitivity when it came to tuning in TV stations was apparent, especially when compared to other powered models such as the Antop HD Smart Antenna SBS-301 and Mohu's own Arc Pro that we've recently tested.
Mohu Leaf 50 review: Design
Typical of the category, the Mohu Leaf 50 is a large, flat indoor TV antenna for wall or window placement. Its plastic facade is white on one side and black on the other to improve its feng shui. The detachable coaxial cable to the antenna means it can easily be replaced should it be damaged or extended with a longer cable should the need arise. The in-line amplifier, which is smaller than an Oreo cookie, doesn't have any signal strength indicators, but is detachable. Being able to remove the amplifier is important because in some situations the antenna may perform better without it (see Performance below).
Mohu Leaf 50 review: Setup
Installing the Mohu Leaf 50 couldn't be more straightforward. All the cables and connections to the TV and tiny in-line amplifier attach easily. There are stickers should you want to adhere the antenna to a window or wall. We recommend experimenting with different locations before committing to a final position. Simply scan for stations using your TVs tuner—and then check each station. Sometimes a station will register in the scan but turn out to be unwatchable in practice.
To see what's potentially available in your neighborhood, we also suggest visiting a site such as Antennaweb.org. You'll be able to see a list and a map with the location of local broadcast towers. By checking there first, you can determine whether a powered or non-amplified antenna will be sufficient—or if there's nothing within range at all.
Mohu Leaf 50 review: Performance
Mohu has an excellent line of indoor antennas, so we've come to expect a lot from the company's models. Unfortunately, we were disappointed with the Leaf Fifty's performance. An initial scan for available stations with the Mohu Leaf 50's power amp turned on resulted in a list of 34 channels. That's a respectable number but when we started testing each channel we were less sanguine.
While we could view the news on the local NBC affiliate and a talk show on ABC, we could not tune in the major Fox or the CBS affiliates. The community access stations in the mid-band came in fine, but there were problems with lower-band channels including PBS and some independent local broadcasters. What was available comprised mainly throw-back TV stations running syndicated shows from 40 years ago (although it did a good job tuning in the major Spanish language channels in the area). Ultimately, only 27 channels were deemed watchable in our tests.
Compare that number to the recently tested Antop HD Smart Antenna SBS-301 and the Mohu Arc Pro, which received 33 and 34 stations, respectively, and the RCA ANT3ME that pulled in 33 stations.
Considering the scores of stations available over the air in our New York City test location, we also tested the antenna several times with the amplifier out of the loop. An initial scan then turned up 38 channels. Surprisingly, we could now watch the local CBS affiliate, but Fox 5 was still missing in action as were several other stations. In the end, using the Mohu Leaf 50 without the amp revealed a total of 29 watchable stations.
As with any other model, how the antenna performs in your area will depend on how crowded your TV market is and on the placement of the antenna given local obstructions.
Mohu Leaf 50 review: Verdict
The Mohu Leaf 50 did not distinguish itself when it came to either performance or features. In particular, it turned in disappointing reception results by missing about half a dozen stations that other powered models like the Antop HD Smart Antenna SBS-301 and RCA ANT3ME managed to tune in. The Antop model is more expensive than the $55 Leaf at $80 but the RCA antenna is cheaper at $40. So make sure you check out our reviews before making a decision.