Parrot Minikit Chic speakerphone
In addition to letting you make and receive calls in your car, the Chic goes a step further than most other Bluetooth car kits by absorbing your contacts list
- Automatically syncs your contacts, voice interface and controls are easy to use
- Lacks on/off power status indicator, device clip does not attach smoothly to visor
If you are looking for a hands-free way to use your mobile phone in your car, the Parrot Minikit Chic lets you drive and talk without having to glance down at your handset.
Price$ 119.00 (AUD)
Parrot's Minikit Chic Bluetooth speakerphone sure looks purty with its silver and gray, flowery design. The $119.00 device, which is about the same size as an iPod Classic, comes with a built-in clip, so it's ready to slip onto your car's sun visor. When I tried it, however, the clip felt a bit chintzy and failed to pry open very wide. I had to mash it onto my visor to ensure that it stayed in place.
In addition to letting you make and receive calls in your car, the Chic goes a step further than most other Bluetooth car kits by absorbing your contacts list. The feature, which worked great in my tests, lets you store up to 1000 contacts per phone (you max out at 2500, if you have the Chic paired to more than one phone). This helps if your contact list contains hard-to-pronounce names, since you don't have to waste time trying to have your voice understood ("Call Thérèse Home"); instead you can use the device's controls to navigate to your contact's name by letter and select it.
I liked the prominent knob atop the unit--a breeze to find while keeping my eyes on the road. You turn the knob to cycle through menu options, which let you adjust the volume, locate contacts by first letter, and then initiate a call.
Immediately to the left of the knob is an area lit by a red light, which you push to reject an incoming call or hang up. And to the right is an area with a green light to accept a call, to redial (by holding it down for a couple of seconds), and to start dialling by voice. Again, these controls are easy to find by feel alone.
The Chic comes with its own voice-prompt interface, which made me feel as if I had my own virtual butler in the car at all times. For example, when you push the green-lit area, a British-sounding robotic female voice pipes up, asking, "Who do you want to call?" I would respond by stating a name from my phone book, and in my tests it understood me well, initiating calls to the right folks. "Scott cellular, call in progress," it would say, for instance. Similarly, when calls came in and the Chic's memory contained the number, it would announce the name of the caller--a huge benefit when driving.
As with all the Bluetooth speakerphones I tested, the call quality was not perfect. Overall, call recipients thought I sounded far away and muffled; occasionally my voice would fade in and out. Nevertheless, they could hear what I was saying, no problem. The level of interference was up and down, as sometimes it was barely discernible while other times call recipients could pick up a churning sound. I could hear callers' voices just fine, with practically no distortion.
The Chic does not have an indicator to let you know whether the device is on or off. This annoyed me a few times--and, of course, I ended up switching it off when I thought I was turning it on (and vice versa).
If you are looking for a hands-free way to use your cell phone in your car, the Chic lets you drive and talk without having to glance down at your handset. (You'd never do that while driving anyway, right?) So as long as your phone supports automatic transfer of your contacts--look for the automatic synchronisation feature in your phone's specs list--this device will be a big hit. If your phone doesn't support automatic synchronisation, you can use your handset's Object Push feature to send contacts from your cell phone to the Chic. (Your phone's user guide should provide specific instructions on how to send contacts this way via Bluetooth.)
Finally, if the floral look isn't your thing, Parrot also offers the plain-black Minikit Slim--the same $119 product, only without the design.
Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 HP Stream 11 laptop
- 2 B&O BeoPlay A2 portable Bluetooth speaker
- 3 Acer Chromebook 11 (CB3-111)
- 4 Asus Zenbook UX303LN Ultrabook
- 5 Samsung's Galaxy Alpha review: A peek into the Galaxy S6
Best Deals on GoodGearGuide
Latest News Articles
- Hackers target Tor as PlayStation disruption continues
- Connected, self-driving cars in the front seat at CES
- MIT unifies Web development in a single, speedy new language
- Google, Microsoft, Sony make 'The Interview' available online
- Experts: FCC will adopt net neutrality rules in early 2015
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.