By November 27, 2006

Parrot MINIKIT Hands-free Speakerphone review

I’m sure that everyone knows by now that using a mobile phone in your car without some form of hands-free apparatus has been illegal in the UK since the end of 2003.

Hands-free Speakerphone

As I do a lot more driving these days I asked Matt to get me a in-car holder/charger for my T-mobile MDA so that I could use it legally with my Bluetooth Headset.

The trouble, I found, with Bluetooth headsets is that the sound quality isn’t that great for either party during the call. Several we tried seemed to pick up the road noise over and above my voice. The other problem I had was that it was never charged when I needed it!

The other option was to have a Bluetooth car kit fitted to my car. However I really didn’t want to do that. Firstly they seem to be quite expensive and they also need (ideally) professional installation. As my car is new I didn’t really want to have someone fitting anything to it.

When I found out about the Parrot MINIKIT hands-free speakerphone I asked Matt to get me one to try as it looked ideal. No installation necessary, just charge it up and use it!

MINIKIT box

A few days later the Parrot MINIKIT arrived and we charged it up for the prescribed amount of time. Pairing with MINIKIT with my phone was so simple, exactly the same way as you would deal with a Bluetooth headset.

The Parrot MINIKIT requires only three buttons to operate it. There are buttons to make and end the call plus the big button in the middle that serves as a menu button and volume control. As there is no screen on this MINIKIT the menus are accessed by voice prompt which allows you to change things like the language setting, volume settings and Bluetooth pairing. In practice I don’t think you’ll need to use the menus at all.

Parrot MINIKIT Parrot MINIKIT bottom

The MINIKIT can be ‘installed’ in the car in one of two ways. Firstly, thanks to the soft rubber feet on the bottom, it can be simply placed on the dashboard of your car and used in that way. The feet are soft and ‘rubbery’ enough to stop it sliding around under all but the most extreme of vehicle manoeuvres. The only trouble with placing the MINIKIT on the dash is that it’s on show and you really have to hide it away when you leave the car.

The other way and, in my opinion, the best way to fit it is to attach the metal clip which is included with the kit and clip it on to the drivers side sun visor. In this position it’s at the right height to pick up your voice and also nice and easy to reach in order to press any of the buttons. It also makes it unobtrusive and harder for a would-be thief to see.

Parrot MINIKIT Fitted

So what do I think of the Parrot MINIKIT?
I’m very pleased with it actually. When I first used it I called Matt while I was driving to work just to try it out. Matt didn’t even know that I was in the car as all of the vehicle noise was cancelled out. Matt said that it was just like speaking to me on a regular phone. From my point of view the sound quality was great. The loudspeaker is certainly loud enough and very clear.

Where it is mounted on the visor above my head is also ideal as I don’t have to fumble for a device sitting loose on the dash or look for a Bluetooth headset and pop it in my ear quickly before the caller rings off.

The other thing that has really impressed me about the MINIKIT is the battery life. I’ve been using it for about 2 weeks now and it’s still on the first charge. I know I don’t use it a great deal but the standby time is amazing!

What’s also important to me, being girly, is that there are no cables dangling or trailing from the unit to make my new car look untidy and nothing permanently fitted to my car.

CONCLUSION
I really like the Parrot MINIKIT, it’s ideal for me. I cant find anything bad to say about it! If you are someone that doesn’t get on well with Bluetooth headsets, or wants something a little bit better but without having anything too complicated or that needs to be installed then I would say that the MINIKIT is for you.

At the RRP of £59 I think it’s an absolute bargain!

Parrot MINIKIT Specification:

  • 3 button user interface.
  • 2W Hi-Fi speaker.
  • Omnidirectional microphone.
  • DSP-2 signal processing algorithms.
  • Built-in voice recognition software.
  • Pairing: up to five phones.
  • Recharging time: three hours maximum.
  • Talk time: 10 hours.
  • Standby time: over 275 hours.
  • Bluetooth:

  • Bluetooth
  • Bluetooth v1.2
  • Profiles supported: –
  •      •   Headset Profile HSP 1.1

         •   Hands-free Profile HFP 1.0

         •   Object Push Profile OPP

  • Maximum range: 10 metres
  • Phone pairing: by PIN code
  • Software updates by Bluetooth
  • Processor: Parrot P4 + at 64MHz; Combo flash = 16Mbits; RAM = 2Mbits
  • Dimensions: Height = 110 mm; Width = 63 mm; Depth = 28 mm; Weight = 104 grammes
  • For more information and where to buy, please visit the Parrot website.

    Tracy

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    Posted in: Reviews

    About the Author:

    More than 20 years in the IT industry. Blogging with a passion and thirst for new technology since 2005.
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