Review (March 2007) Parrot
By Kevin Nakano
Bluetooth products are an attractive accessory to cell phone users simply because they offer convenience while minimizing the exposure to the higher power RF (Radio Frequency) signals. Not that Bluetooth itself is not RF-based, it is. However, the devices have significantly less RF energy than what the cell phone uses to link to the ground-based towers. Bluetooth technology allows devices (portable and fixed) to communicate to each other from relatively short distances. These devices exchange data (encrypted for security) with the mobile phone. Many new cars feature Bluetooth devices built into the vehicle for hands-free cell phone operation.
Parrot has introduced the MINIKIT ($90), a small portable unit designed to sit on a desk or clip to a car's visor. It's one of my favorite Bluetooth products simply because I don't have to wear it on my head and it provides a link to my phone. It features user-defined voiceprints (a maximum of 150 per phone) that improves performance. The self contained unit has a built-in rechargeable battery that lasts up to 10 hours of talk time and over 200 hours of standby time. The unit fully charges in 3 hours.
As new cell phone laws come into effect, many users will be searching for handsfree cell phone products. California, where we are located, will soon ban motorists from holding cell phones while driving (July 2008). Many other states such as New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and the District of Columbia, have already banned motorists from using handheld cell phones while driving. If the Bluetooth headsets do not look appealing or if you prefer a modular unit for the home or office, the MINIKIT is a great product with excellent performance.
- Kevin Nakano
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