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Parrot Makes Ultimate Head Unit?

Gordon Kelly


Parrot Makes Ultimate Head Unit?

This is sure to have Alpine looking over its shoulder...

Bluetooth specialist Parrot, which is more famous for making car kits that connect to head units than head units themselves, has come up with the RK8200 - an all-in-one solution of the highest calibre.

Looking mighty similar to Alpine's uber iDA-X001, the RK8200 however has a few more tricks up its sleeve. Rather than focus so heavily on iPod connectivity, it incorporates a Bluetooth handsfree kit (with A2DP & voice recognition) to pair with both mobile phones and Bluetooth equipped MP3 players, internal memory to store over 300 tracks, an SD card slot to play files directly from flash, a USB port to support external drives and MP3 players and even an inline 3.5mm jack for everything else.

Furthermore, Parrot has thrown in an FM tuner with 48 presets and (somehow) managed to create enough space behind the removable head unit that devices can be stored safely there to avoid clutter or visible wires. Oh, and I didn't even get to that gorgeous display yet...!

Fronting all this up is a beautiful 2.4in 262k colour six line screen with ultra wide viewing angle so it can be seen clearly by both driver and passengers. Everything from phone information, contacts, caller names and numbers to playlists, album covers, artists and track titles can be displayed. Meanwhile, navigation is via a slick iDA-X001-ish rotary wheel and eight dedicated buttons.

The price for all this? Just £149.99 - which makes it exactly half the price of Alpine's headliner when it arrives towards the end of the year. Are we impressed? I very much think so...


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Papa Zed

June 10, 2008, 5:16 am

Spotted this in Halfords at the weekend and parted with &#163180 before being allowed to take it home. Fitting was straightforward but getting my Nokia to pair caused a bit of grief (Nokias fault, not the Parrot). I don't have an iPod but I do have a couple of other MP3 players which I had intended to use (one of which is a 30gb Creative). Unfortunately neither of these fitted in the 'hidden compartment' which stuffed that idea. I did load up an 8gb flash drive and have used that instead. First impressions are not good I'm sorry to say. When in radio mode, using the telephone has lost the station and left a bizzare 6 digit number where the radio frequency was previously. Bit of a nuisance to get your original station back again (actually, that is an understatement!) In MP3 mode, listening to and album led to an uninvited 'guest appearance' before returning to the original album playlist. Screen is neigh on impossible to read (due to glare and not being bright enough - even on max brightness in daylight). I would say that it is more dangerous to try and use the screen to select items whilst on the move. As for sound quality... it just doesn't cut the mustard. I took out a Pioneer head unit, but I reckon that before the week is over the old one will be going back in.

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