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Parrot Minikit Smart: A useful tool for freelancers and entrepreneurs?

In his latest review for Startups, Widget’s Mark Needham road tests Parrot’s hands-free car kit – could it benefit your small business?

Back in the days when everyone had a Nokia phone, the first purchase any freelancer made was a hands-free phone kit for their car. But phones change, and the new phone never seemed to work with the old phone kit. With so much business now being communicated via email, text or social media, it is tempting to forget that customers might still want to phone you – and that if they do it will be at a time when it suits them, not you.

After missing an important call while driving to Tesco to buy a sandwich, I have been trying the Parrot Minikit Smart – a holder for a smartphone, which doubles as a Bluetooth hands-free microphone and loudspeaker.

Like a TomTom, the Parrot Minikit sticks to your windscreen with a sucker cup and takes power from the cigarette lighter socket through a cable. It can also pass this power through to your smartphone if you have a USB charging cable. Sensibly, the microphone is included in the holder – there is no additional microphone to wire up.

Once through the Bluetooth mating procedure, the Parrot kit and my iPhone remembered each other. Each time I came back to the car, the iPhone connected automatically to the Parrot speaker without me having to press any buttons.

The call quality is good. It’s like using one of the old Nokia car kits again. In fact, I soon discovered that I did not need to fit the iPhone into the cradle for the system to work – for short journeys you can just throw the phone down on the passenger seat, and if a call comes in you can answer it through the Parrot speaker.

Having tried the various GPS applications on the iPhone, I have gone back to using a TomTom for navigating me to anywhere new – it is still the best for this – but kept the Parrot for phone calls. It risks turning my car into ‘Gadget Man’, but at least I can now nip down to the shops without worrying about missing calls.

Price £69.99
Likely impact on your business 7/10
Likely impact on you 7/10
Usability 10/10
Pro Far better way of making calls in a car
Con A few more wires on the dashboard

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Mark Needham is the founder of Widget.co.uk, a specialist B2B distributor of consumer electronic goods. His book, 66 Plots Updated discusses how the classics of literature would have been affected by GPS.

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