But what of the user experience? As I wave goodbye to Lee at Nice Ice, I decide to put the kit to the test, pairing up with my Samsung E900 phone. Here’s where we get to see some interesting quirks. Pairing is a fairly easy process, so with that out of the way, I see if it will automatically sync each time I get in the car. Turning the ignition on prompts my phone to pair with the Parrot, which I do, but turning the engine on resets the device and breaks the connection. D’oh! Of course once I authorised the Parrot connection on my phone it automatically connected without the need for any intervention from myself. Connection re-established, I set about making a call – while parked, obviously.
Calling Benny at the office halts my Foo Fighters serenade – the Parrot is designed to be connected to the mute lead on the radio – and gives me the familiar dialling tone. Call quality on my end is pretty good, as I can hear Benny through my speakers no problem. As I pull off and churtle along at 30MPH, Benny reports a complete lack of engine noise or background chatter, which is a testament to the dual-microphone noise reduction technology, it seems. That is, at least, until I rev up to 7000RPM at some traffic lights, where it seems even the Parrot struggles to keep from squawking.
On the motorway, things are not bad at all – but Benny reports rather more background distortion as the road noise increases in the cabin. The kit does a pretty good job of isolating my voice, however, and the overall result is pleasing.
In terms of the featureset, the Parrot supports it all. The usefulness of the music feature will really depend on whether you carry a lot of music on your mobile phone or PDA. If you regularly listen to music via your phone, you’ll appreciate the ability to stream your tunes straight to the car – but I suspect that most people will stick to CDs and iPods. However, the audio quality – being all digital – is actually good, although there is a small lag time to track selection.
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