To pair you have to enter your passcode onto your device and once connected another Bluetooth device can’t try and connect and hijack the music. We were impressed by the strength of the signal especially as there were at least ten other Bluetooth devices in the office and a Wi-Fi network.
One of the advantages of the two speakers connected without wires is that you can have the two speakers far apart, as long as there within 120 metres. The first time I tried this the music began to play out of sync. This is because the speakers work out the distance between them on initial set-up and don’t realise when one has been moved. This was solved though by resetting the speakers by holding down the set-up button, and re-pairing them.
While the Samsung D900 paired flawlessly, the K800i initially refuse to pair successfully. After a couple of resets it managed it and the music began to flow. However, when we had to reset to sort out the sync issues, it started to behave oddly. Whether this is down to the phone or the speakers is hard to work out, but the speakers are very early samples so that may explain it. What’s cool is that the speakers Firmware can actually be flashed to add more devices and hopefully sort out bugs.
The other issue was controlling the volume. This could not be done from either of the mobiles but it could via the volume slider on Windows Media Player on the Samsung Q1. According to the manual the speakers support the Audio Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP), which means that volume can be controlled remotely- but this is device dependant. If your device doesn’t support it you’ll have to walk over to the speakers to alter the volume, which is a pain. Perhaps shipping a basic remote would get over that issue.
In terms of sound quality we were impressed. The nature of wireless transmission means that there will be some degree of compression and this could be heard in the tracks. How this affected the sound depended on the track with pop tending to fare better than rock tracks. Of course, for purists you can connect by wire, but then there would be little point to these speakers. If you like volume then you won’t be disappointed – we accidentally turned the volume up too loud and when a track kicked it in almost blew the windows out and gave everyone a heart attack. Cool.
We certainly love the freedom that these speakers provide and it’s a great example of cool uses for technology. A great usage scenario would be controlling a playlist at a party just from your mobile phone, or via a PDA. You’ll probably be serving canapés rather than pork sausages though, as the price of these speakers is quite high at a RRP of £254. My aforementioned venerable Wharfdales cost a £100 and that was eight years ago!
The Parrot Bluetooth speakers are wonderful example of the liberating power of technology, freeing us from the tyranny of wires. They’re easy to set-up, easy to use and sound pretty reasonable. As this is a unique use of technology right now you can partially forgive the slightly over-the-odds price. However, you’d have to be pretty keen on the Bluetooth functionality to spend this much, as for this kind of money you can get some truly impressive standard hi-fi speakers.