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By Hanleigh Daniels 4 October 2011

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This connected, always-on era requires one to be able to make and receive calls while on the road, but there’s no need to be stupid about it. Wireless devices and mobile phone accessory maker, Parrot, delivers a practical and stylish answer to this dilemma with its Minikit Slim Bluetooth car kit (promo video posted below).  

Design

The Minikit Slim hands-free kit boasts a sleek black and silver design, not looking out of place when used in conjunction with modern smartphones such as a Galaxy SII or iPhone 4.  

Unlike comparable devices sporting a smaller and chubbier look, with attachments in place allowing you clip it in on the dashboard, the Minikit Slim sports a loftier and thinner design, enabling you to clip it to the sun visor in your car.   

Simple set up

Once the Slim is firmly attached to the sun visor, you simply pair it with your phone via Bluetooth, after which it will automatically download your phonebook contacts. This hands-free kit will also automatically keep contacts synchronised, so that you don’t have to update contacts or manually add new ones to the device at a later stage.  

Set up will be required if you want to make calls via voice tags though, for example “mom” or “work”. This will enable you to conveniently make quick calls to people, merely by pressing the green call button on the Minikit Slim and then speaking the tag you saved for that contact. This feature worked really well, with the Slim also notifying you that it is making a voice call to the contact, enabling you to quickly cancel the call if it is calling the wrong contact.

Navigating the menu system was very intuitive as there are just three buttons on the device. A green button to answer or make a voice call; a red button to reject calls, cancel a selection or exit the menu system; and a central rotary button that you employ to scroll your way through the menu system, adjust the volume and press the button to make a selection in the menu.
 

Functionality

If you opt to utilise the rotary button to make phone calls via the Minikit Slim, instead of using your own saved voice tags, then the process is a little more cumbersome. You need to press the rotary button to access the phone book and then turn it to make your way through each letter under which contacts surnames fall under.

There isn’t a display on the Minikit Slim, but the entire phonebook remains fully accessible to due to the voice synthesis of the names (Text-To-Speech). This device will read the name of the contact (sometimes with funny results, especially with Afrikaans names) and then you hit the rotary button once more to call that number.
 

Impressive audio quality & battery life

When you do get around to making or receiving a call, the audio quality is impressive, as you can clearly hear the person on the line and they you. That said the onboard Advanced Parrot NR3 noise reduction feature could have done with more tuning as callers said that there was still a fair amount of background noise present.

To charge the this gadget, you can either plug it into the 12 V port (cigarette lighter) on your car’s dashboard, or connect it via USB cable to your PC or notebook. The onboard lithium-ion battery will ensure that you won’t have to do this very often, however, as it delivers more than 15 hours talk time and north of 20 days standby according to Parrot. We only had to charge our review unit once over the four day period that we used it.

Final word

Parrot’s Minikit Slim Bluetooth hands-free kit features a modern, trendy and slim design along with some handy Bluetooth abilities. It is available for a recommended retail price of R899 (incl. VAT), enabling you to stay connected while also allowing you to keep your full attention on the road where it belongs. For more info visit http://www.smac.co.za.  

 

PROS
Slim, stylish design, handy clip attachment, very useful automatic Bluetooth pairing feature and intuitive interface.
CONS
Audio quality is good, but noise cancellation feature doesn't seem to work all that well.
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