By Chris Scott Barr
Talking on the phone while driving can be something of a hassle when you don’t have any sort of handsfree device. I have had the opportunity to check out one of the latest offerings from Parrot in this department. The Minikit Chic is a sleek little device that clips to your sun visor and offers a little more than some similar products on the market.
The first thing you’ll notice (other than the floral pattern) is that there really isn’t much to this little device. It’s roughly the size of my iPhone, only a bit thicker. You’ll find two buttons, a knob, a USB port and a clip. The clip is obviously for attaching it to your visor, while the USB port is used for charging and interfacing with your computer if needed. All of the functions you’ll use are controlled by the knob and two buttons, which seems rather simple for all it can do.
When it comes to features, I was surprised to find a few extras that I was not expecting. Sure, you can answer calls with just the push of a button, but it does so much more. The most important thing it does is automatically download the contacts from your phone. This allows it to announce the name of the caller, so long as they are in your phonebook. If you like to know who’s calling before you answer, this can be an invaluable tool.
Since the Chic has all of your contacts, it makes dialing so much easier. You have two options here; scroll through the names by twisting the knob, or by pressing a button and speaking the name of the contact. The best part is that you don’t have to train the device for each name. It will even confirm the contact’s name by repeating it before the call is made.
Unlike most other Bluetooth handsfree kits, there is no speaker on the Chic. Instead Parrot chose to use vibrating panel technology to amplify the sound. I think the choice really paid off for them, as calls usually had excellent and clear sound. During a call you can use the knob to adjust the volume, which is really handy, as it can be found easily without taking your eyes off the road.
The mic is positioned in such a way that it points almost directly at your head (or at least my head, your results may vary depending on your car and height), which meant that most of the time people were able to hear me quite clearly. Background noise was always said to be at a minimum, with only the occasional breakups while driving.
Overall, I think that the Parrot Minikit Chic is a solid product. It seems to do everything that similar devices can do quite well, and adds a few extras that put it ahead of the competition. If you’re looking for a Bluetooth handsfree kit and have a budget of around $100, I would highly suggest checking out the Chic. If you’re not thrilled about the floral pattern, they do make a plain black one. It’s called the Minikit Slim, but aside from the plain black panel, it’s the exact same product.
[ Parrot ]