Review — Parrot Minikit+



The Parrot Minikit+ is the Bluetooth, hands-free kit you’ve always wanted, but never knew you needed. Confused? So am I.

Talking on your mobile while driving is illegal in some countries, so it makes a modicum of sense to employ a hands-free kit. Some use the voice-free option on their phones, shouting loudly into a tiny speaker as they drive. Other less fashionable drivers use the headphones which come standard with their mobile. But I roll with a different, tech-infused crowd and prefer to embrace the future, yo.

Parrot style

The look and feel of the Minikit+ is stellar. The device is practically all speaker, with a microphone located flush on top of the device. In the middle is the volume knob, sitting next to this is the off switch on the left, and the on/phonebook button on the right. The phone plugs in via a USB cable directly into the cigarette lighter, or a free USB port in your fancy BMW.

What do you get for your hard-earned US$100? How about hands-free calling and A2DP audio streaming (plays music off your mobile), the Minikit+ also automatically downloads your phonebook when first paired. Want to dial a number? Press the green button and speak your contacts name. In practice, this worked better than the voice dialling option on my iPhone.

Answering a call uses what Parrot calls, “Magic Words.” When the phone rings, say “Accept” or “Reject” to pick up the call. Again, the Minikit+ is highly attuned to vocal input and instantly drops or answers the call. It’s an awesome feature I’d like to see built into more mobile phones.

Light and thin design

I’ve spoken about the design of the Minikit+ already, but what irked me greatly was the thin metal hinge located on the back of the device, which is supposed to hook into the visor of my car. In theory, the metal clasp detaches itself at the most inconvenient moments and is a bitch to reattach. I’d have preferred a clamp, or a sticky pad option.

Don’t sell your radio

While A2DP audio is a neat feature, sound is mono and “meh” is the best word to describe it. A lack of visible screen also makes controlling the device tremendously fiddly. If you have a massive library of music, navigating from track to track will become the new bane of your existence.

Quality, hands-free calling

Regardless of these tiny issues, the Parrot Minikit+ is a terrifically useful device and a must for drivers. Parrot’s Magic Words feature works superbly, and the quality of the audio is sharp when compared to the usually dull and tinny hands-free option built into most mobile phones. I love it, and the extra addition of driving safety alone makes this a worthwhile purchase.

Verdict: Gear

Steven Norris: grumpy curmudgeon


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