Going hands-free with Parrot Minikit Plus

Hello dear readers :)

Let me first of all remind everyone that the use of a cellphone or ear-kits or even bluetooth devices while driving is prohibited by law since 2009. It is also true that many vehicle models now include bluetooth connectivity by default or as an option. IMHO, this is totally unfair because how can a regulation ban the use of bluetooth kits while these are legally imported in vehicles?

Anyway, that’s another topic since today, I’m gonna talk about my recent purchase, the Parrot Minikit Plus.

Choosing a bluetooth kit

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When you want to please those travelling with you, some of you might play a nice music or switch on the air conditioner or simply choose to bring them for a long drive, perhaps along the new Terre Rouge Verdun Link Road? lol

But I’m different!

Why? I wanted to install a bluetooth kit for my passengers to use while I’m are driving and also, for my personal use, of course, when I’m not driving.

Well, after the purchase of my HTC One and wife’s HTC Desire 600 (whose review is still pending btw), I spent much time looking for and choosing a bluetooth car kit, both online and in several areas in the island. While reading on the net, I examined different models, including the bluetooth ear pieces, bluetooth music players, bluetooth car kits which could be plugged to your music system and also, the bluetooth standalone models, like the one I finally purchased.

Price and build quality were two of my main criteria in my quest for the simple reason that I did not want to end up with something not up to my expectations. So, I bookmarked a few models and noted down their prices before starting to look at those in the local market.

Let’s go shopping!

And to tell you the truth, I was rather disappointed and surprised while looking for one here. Very few shops actually sell those bluetooth car kits. I went to several regions, malls, hawker specialized in mobile accessories (LOL) and even car gadgets shops but most of them either sold none while a few had those cheap models (Ranging from Rs500 to Rs1000). I discarded these models immediately because of their ‘no-brand’ and cheap build quality.

However, on the eve of Christmas, I finally found several models in a specialized car shop named “Centre Automobile”, found near Champs De Mars, Port Louis. Several models of the Parrot brand were available in the price range of Rs 3, 200 up to Rs 15, 000. While the prices seem quite high, Parrot produces indeed nice products and those prices were not that excessively high as compared to online prices + the associated shipping, customs costs (Read about online purchases here).

After a demo at the shop, I finally opted for the lowest priced one :-)

The Parrot Minikit Plus

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Despite being the less expensive model in the range of products by Parrot, the Minikit+ offers quite some interesting features;

  • My “coup de coeur” feature :
    -> Voice recognition for accepting and rejecting calls
    -> Call any of your contacts by saying their name after a button press.
  • Automatic synchronization of contacts with your mobile phone.
  • Pairing with up to 10 devices but only 2 devices simultaneously (dual mode).
  • Automatic waking mode when you enter your car through its built in sensor.
  • Good speaker quality and volume.

If you need more details about the product, head over to the official Product page.

Upgrading the software

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Upon purchase, the Parrot Minikit Plus has initially the default software version V1.05 but I quickly upgraded it to the latest one. Fortunately, the process went on smoothly but I still had some fear since I read about many painful upgrades which bricked the device, leaving it good for trash.

And I chose to upgrade it to the French version because with the default English one, it was a sore to hear the Mauritian names being strangely spoken or difficultly recognized by the device’s recognition system. However, the french one is not perfect either but I think better in our Mauritian context.

Using it

Once you install the elastic strap on your sun visor as shown in the pictures, the device attaches to it securely and it can be removed very easily if needed.

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Once you set up everything and if your device is already powered on, the vibration sensor will detect when you are in the vehicle and it will automatically wake up from its sleep mode. An additional beep will be heard when it successfully connects to your smartphone (though I would love to hear it greeting me lol).

Accepting and rejecting calls is very easy with its feature called “Magical words”, or simply the voice recognition system. I was very surprised to see that it instantaneously recognized my words and took the call when I said “Accept” the first time (English version of the software). Nowadays, since I upgraded it to French, I have to say “Accepter”. However I should admit that it is sometimes mischievous, especially when you wanna demo the device to a friend! lol
The only barrier to using  voice recognition is h” is our “Mauritian” names. If all of us were named John, Pierre, Peter, Rita or Smith (no offense meant), using voice recognition would have been so easy, not only for this bluetooth device but also, while handling our smartphones or tablets!

Coming to the controls on the device, it features 2 buttons (Red for going back and rejecting calls and Green for selecting an option or taking a call). And nearly at the top, the big round dial, the “jogwheel” allows you to navigate through the menu system. Additionally, the device provides a vocal feedback to help you move around. Two of the features accessible through jogwheel are the volume control and the phone book.

Conclusion

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If you are looking for something which is reasonably price while being solid, efficient and nicely built, the Parrot Minikit Plus is a nice acquisition, my last one for the year 2013. Totally love it and worth the extra bucks! On top of being very useful to my car passengers, the best thing is that even I can use it when I’m parked :-)

However, with the recent regulations proposed, abandoned, applied and finally stepped down (Read previous post here), we can’t predict anything in our future. Who knows, perhaps tomorrow, the authorities will come forward with a law forbidding passengers to talk while being in a moving vehicle. And if ever we reach that situation, you can still use the Parrot Minikit Plus to listen to your songs from your smartphone :-)

My review is over for today. Thanks for reading the blog regularly! Feel free to add your comments below and share the article among your friends!

Keep tuned for new articles!

Bon weekend!

Disclaimer : yashvinblogs.com will not bear any responsibility if you misunderstand the post or misuse the information provided in any other way. Emphasis has already been laid on the fact that bluetooth devices are not allowed while driving.